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Week 13 - Angels

Daniel 10:1 - 11:2

In this prelude to the future history of Israel under the Greeks, we get a brief glimpse into another world. There are mysterious and intriguing references to things like the "Book of Truth".

The Last Kings of Persia

Cyrus 559 - 530 BC - issued the decree to return the gods captured by Babylon to their home cities, ending the 70 year captivity. (See Ezra 7:15 - the Persians thought of the God of Israel, like all the other gods, as living in their home city of Jerusalem.)

According to the Midrash, while Cyrus and the Darius of Daniel 6 are killing Belshazzar and his drunken nobles, a young girl named Vashti, daughter of Belshazzar runs to her fathers quarters, and is captured by a young soldier who will become Darius I. He gives her to his young son, Ahasuerus as a wife. This would make Vashti about 15 years older than Ahasuerus, and while a 50 year old can be stunning, I'm not sure I buy the story.

Ezra 4:1-24

  1. Ahasuerus/Cambyses 529 - 522 BC
  2. Artaxerces/Pseudo Smerdis 522 - 521
  3. Darius I, son of Hystaspes 521 - 485 BC
  4. Ahasuerus/Xerces 485 - 465 BC - Son of Darius Hystaspes. Xerces is around 36 when he takes the throne, and the events of Esther transpire. The vast wealth of Xerces (see Esther 1) enables him to mount vast and well equipped armies. During his reign, the Greeks rebel against a corrupt satrap in Greece. Xerces "stirs up all" against the Greeks in an overreaction, invades Greece with a huge army and Navy, and is ignominiously defeated by land and by sea. This seals the doom of the Persian Empire, and his successors are ignored by Daniel 11.
  5. Artaxerces, son of Xerces 465 - 424 BC - issues the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC (or 458 - see Ezra 7:7-8).