Kings of Persia in Biblical Times

by | May 21, 2021 | 02 Library, Background & History, Charts OT

The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus the Great who conquered Babylon in 536 BC. Cyrus issued the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

Under Darius, the second Temple of Zerubbabel was completed.

Under Xerxes (Ahasuerus), the events recorded in the Book of Esther happened.

Under Artaxerxes, the Jewish state was reformed by Ezra, and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by Nehemiah.

The capital of the Persian Empire was Shushan. The Empire lasted a little more than 200 years, and came to an end in 330 BC.

Kings of Persia in Biblical Times

Cyrus II “the Great” (600-529 BC) founded the first Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great respected the customs of the lands he conquered and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem.

Cambyses II (530-522 BC) conquered Egypt during his reign.

Darius I (aka Darius the Great) (522-486 BC) ruled the Persian empire at it peak. The second temple was completed during his reign.

Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) 486-465 BC is the King who marries Esther.

Artaxerxes I (465-425 BC) commissions Ezra & Nehemiah to return and rebuild Jerusalem.

Xerxes II (425-424 BC) was assassinated by his half-brother, who was in turn assassinated by Darius II.

Darius II (423-404 BC) – little is know about his reign.

Artaxerxes II (404-359 BC)

Artaxerxes III (359-338 BC)

Artaxerxes IV (Arses) (338-336 BC)

Darius III (336-330 BC) was defeated by Alexander the Great.

In Scripture

Persia is referenced 29 times in 25 verses in Scripture:

2Ch 36:20; 2Ch 36:22; 2Ch 36:23;

Ezr 1:1; Ezr 1:2; Ezr 1:8; Ezr 3:7; Ezr 4:3; Ezr 4:5; Ezr 4:7; Ezr 4:24; Ezr 6:14; Ezr 7:1; Ezr 9:9;

Est 1:3; Est 1:14; Est 1:18; Est 10:2;

Eze 27:10; Eze 38:5; Dan 8:20;

Dan 10:1; Dan 10:13; Dan 10:20; Dan 11:2.

Persian (2x) in Neh 12:22; Dan 6:28.

Cyrus is mentioned 23 times in 19 verses (12X in Ezra):

2Ch 36:22; 2Ch 36:23;

Ezr 1:1; Ezr 1:2; Ezr 1:7; Ezr 1:8; Ezr 3:7; Ezr 4:3; Ezr 4:5; Ezr 5:13; Ezr 5:14; Ezr 5:17; Ezr 6:3; Ezr 6:14;

Isa 44:28; Isa 45:1;

Dan 1:21; Dan 6:28; Dan 10:1.


Chronology of Ezra-Nehemiah

Wikipedia: List of the Kings of Persia

Encyclopedia Britannica: Cyrus the Great

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Cyrus the Great

1906 Jewish Encyclopedia: Cyrus the Great

American Tract Society Dictionary: Cyrus

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Cyrus

Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Cyrus

Fausset Bible Dictionary: Cyrus

Holman Bible Dictionary: Cyrus

Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Cyrus

Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Cyrus

Morrish Bible Dictionary: Cyrus

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Cyrus

McClintock and Strong: Cyrus; Cyrus (2)

Maps – Holman Bible Atlas

World Powers of the 6th century BCE

The Conquests of Cyrus the Great

The Persian Empire

The Return of the Jewish Exiles to Judah

Judah in the 5th century BCE

Palestine after the Exile

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