Cyrus the Great affirms the Bible is fact.
In the Bible, there are not only scientific truths, but also many historical truths. God recorded things to happen in world history in the Bible.
The Bible makes a specific reference to Cyrus as the conqueror of Babylon and identifies him as God’s chosen instrument in the liberation of the people of Judah from captivity from Babylon. In order to return them to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple previously destroyed by Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus himself never knew God though. This is one of the most dramatic and incredible fulfillment of Bible prophecies that even scholars could not deny.
Cyrus looked on the lands of the median empire and beyond.
Cyrus the great was the founding father of the Iranian nation and was the first world leader to be referred to as great. Cyrus founded the first world empire by defeating the median dynasty and uniting the tribes of Iran. His armies conquered most central and southwest Asia as well as some parts of Europe. By 500 B.C, Persia was the largest empire that the world had ever seen, even exceeding the size and wealth of Rome at its height four centuries later. Cyrus’ overlord was his own grandfather, Astyages, the ruler of the powerful Median kingdom. Cyrus’ conquest of Media was merely the start of his wars. The ultimate irony is that the foundation of his empire would be initiated by his enemies’ aggression, not his.
Cyrus, the triumphant conqueror
Cyrus vs Astyages
Astyages the ruler of the median, launched an attack against Cyrus. He tasked Harpagus as the top general with leading this attack. However, Harpagus was a double agent and notified Cyrus of the plan, encouraging him to revolt against the media and then defeated with him. Several other members of the media nobilities were in a large portion of his army. The resulting conflict lasted three years until the final battle in 550 BC, which resulted in the capture of Ecbatana. Cyrus now ruled over these median lands.
The battle of Thymbra; Persians 49,000 vs Lydians 105,000 (547BCE)
The Lydian king Croesus attacked Achaemenian. Cyrus assembled his army and met Croesus’s force at the mountain town. Both the Lydians and Persian armies were cavalries. They were placed in front of the chariots. Croesus was utilizing his specialized Egyptian phalanx troops. Cyrus also had an unlikely secret weapon on his sleeve. A Persian officer noted to Cyrus that the Lydian horses would lack familiarity with camels and that might be possible to panic them at the scent of the animals. With Cyrus’s permission, a newly organized camel corps was established. When the animals came out from the baggage train, the Lydian infantry, and cavalry attacked, they were bogged down by a constant barrage of arrows from the town and the Persian archers inside the towers. On the left side of the field, the Lydian horses were as planned but were thrown into confusion by the approaching camels that were moved forward. Some riders panicked, dismounted, and fled from their horses, rendering the riders useless, due to their now unbalanced and clumsy riding lances. Croesus left the battlefield. Cyrus’ army now surrounded the Lydians from all sides but the Lydian Army ‘continued’ to resist. Impressed by the tenacity, Cyrus offered to negotiate and they wouldn’t have to fight for Croesus. With this condition, they were spared and became a part of Cyrus. Cyrus was victorious.
Persia was invincible and its appetite to conquer was beginning to frighten an emerging power across the Mediterranean. By the year of 540 BC, Cyrus captured Elam and its capital Susa, yet one great power still remained in western Asia, the Neo-Babylonian empire. Now he had set his eyes on Babylon.
Babylon: A Wonder of the Ancient World
Mesopotamia is a land located within the borders of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers where the culture was first born. Over 2,500 years ago, a huge metropolis arose in the heart of this region, Babylon, the city, one of the wonders of the world. More than millions of people lived behind its towering wall, and the gates of polished brass and there were a warlike people during the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar. His cruel and fierce Babylonian armies conquered the surrounding countries including Israel.
Becoming the captive of Babylon ( 587 B.C)
Jer.25:11~14 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. “But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, … They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”
In the end, this terrible prophecy was correct. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, spoiled Jerusalem and took treasures from Solomon’s temple. The walls of Jerusalem were destroyed and the temple burned to the ground. All of the city’s treasures were taken to Babylon. The remaining leaders of Judah were killed and the rest of the people were carried into captivity to Babylon. Ten thousand of the leading men of Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon. King Zedekiah(Mattaniah,597-586) attempted to escape but was captured and taken to Babylon on chains. The Babylonians killed his sons in his very sight and then blinded him. Only the very poorest remained in Judah in the hills. They got along wearisome life until 70 years were completed as the prophecy of Jeremiah. It’s because they forsook the covenant of God. (Jer 44:22-23)
The fall of Babylon- Cyrus invented Babylonia ( 539B.C)
Ancient Babylon was a dream city of the international fame and the gate of the world, but it was a dream that collapsed with astonishing speed. The immensely powerful city walls never really had to defend Babylon against an enemy. The rain was eroded from within. And as the year passed, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, became king. He was a cruel and selfish man, who thought only about having a good time. And under his rule, the city of Babylon was full of wickedness and sin. And that time soon came. For outside the walls of Babylon, it was besieged by Cyrus, the Persian and general of his uncle Darius the Mede. Cyrus had with him the combined armies of the Medes and Persians. Now Belshazzar organized a big banquet and invited many important people, celebrating his taking of throne without notice of what outside was happening; The mighty army that had camped outside the city for two years, quickly began to move. Their number was immeasurable, like water in a river.
Cyrus used all this manpower to divert the river Euphrates which flowed through Babylon and marched his army into the city at night along the dry riverbed, where he found the large brass gates that open off the river into the city, wide open, soon the army swept down on the streets. The guards were slain and the army stormed the city while the inhabitants were drunk, having fun, feasting and reveling, but no sound of warning reached the banquet hall. Suddenly, a terror-struck guard appeared on the steps of the hall.
“The enemy! The enemy is in the city!”
But the invincible enemy was already there. The hall would soon surrender, and Belshazzar, the last empire of the kingdom, would be in the hands of Cyrus, the mighty warrior. Belshazzar, who was certain the great Babylonian Empire would never end, was slain. His kingdom became rotten and was destroyed for all time. Nobody would ever live there again; neither people nor cattle forever more. This was a key moment in the history of the Jewish people. They had spent 70 years weeping by the rivers of Babylon and now, finally, they were preparing to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.
Cyrus cylinder, a great archeological discovery verifies the Bible is Fact.
In room 52, a section of the British Museum in London that covers ancient Iranian history, there is a rugby-ball-sized clay cylinder known as the Cyrus Cylinder. 2,500years ago, Cyrus made a historic proclamation of his views and laws on this baked clay cylinder and this object became the first declaration of human rights, including women rights, religious tolerance, and individual freedom. Not only does this object represent one of the most important archaeological treasures of the ancient world history but it stands as an amazing verification that the Bible is fact.
A historical moment; The first human rights were born.
In 539 b.c, Cyrus conquered Babylon but he did not present himself as a conqueror. He presented himself as a liberator rescuing these people from a despotic ruler and then he did totally unprecedented things. One of Cyrus’ first acts after his conquest was to release Jews, who had been made captive by the Babylonians for decades.
Ezra 1:1~3 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, … Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.
Think about it. At any age, if a country conquers another, the people who were conquered had to become slaves and serve their enemy. For example, just a few decades ago, Korea was occupied by Japan. the Japanese occupation was quite harsh to the local people. The massive military came over and committed many violent crimes against the people. Their violent actions were not only towards the people, they also severely stripped down many of the royal palaces in Seoul during the Japanese Colonial Period. Changgyeonggung, one of the five palaces in Seoul experienced one of the biggest degradations when it was demoted from its palace status and converted into a park and a zoo. It was a common and usual procedure, especially in ancient times. When Cyrus conquered Babylon, the Israelites were living there being captive by Babylonians. Since the Israelites served Babylonians as their slaves, they had to become slaves to Persians and serve them, too. Because Babylon was conquered by Persia. What is amazing here is what Cyrus did. Cyrus did not behave as most conquerors do, and worked as a liberator for Israelites instead of taking on the role of the conqueror for them. Isn’t this amazing?
An extreme oddity of Cyrus
The cylinder was apparently broken, either accidentally or even deliberately at the moment of its discovery or soon after, and is now made up of several pieces that have been fixed together. So, it would be extreme an oddity that Cyrus broke the pattern of what all powers did when they subjugated nations. Even Historians say this is very ironic.
Ezra 1:1~3 … “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.
If king Cyrus of Persia had believed in God of Jehovah, he would have called him as “for our God” but he didn’t. He called Jehovah “Their God” cause he didn’t believe in Him. The Media-Persian empire that he ruled at that time, had traditionally worshiped the sun god in the form of Zoroastrianism or Mithraism. The empire that believed in another religion, did not enslave the people of Israel but liberated them. Plus, he issued a royal proclamation to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, and he enthusiastically supported it both physically and financially. Isn’t’ that amazing?
Why Cyrus did so?
Isa 45:1~7 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him … so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
King Cyrus was greatly astonished to see the prophecy of Isaiah because it spoke of him 170 years before: it prophesied his name “Cyrus”, he would be a king, conquer Babylon and liberate the Israelites. Everything he would do in the future was recorded in the book in detail. If you were him, what would you feel? Cyrus the Great is mostly known as the triumphant conqueror, supper warrior of the classical era. He crushed all his rivals and became the undisputed leader of Persia. That was the scenario written by God 170 years before the birth of Cyrus by his prophet and historian Isaiah. God said that he summoned Cyrus by his name and bestowed on him a title of honor. Cyrus realized that everything written by Isaiah about him was fulfilled so far. He discovered their God and his hand in shaping his own destiny. He understood that he was destined to set free the people of God and send back to their home. This is why Cyrus was able to write the first chapter of human rights and be the first man, who said no to slavery…
Cyrus cylinder itself affirms the bible is fact
This document was written in ancient Akkadian and discovered in 1879 in Babylon. It was created and used as a foundation deposit, a commemorative text written for Cyrus as he rebuilt Babylon. The text speaks of Babylon and Cyrus and also outlines a critical policy. In the text, Cyrus says that he strengthened the defenses of the inner city wall, Imgur-Enlil, and he also says that he completed the city wall, made up of baked bricks, alongside the river Euphrates. It speaks about how Cyrus allowed people who were previously held captive to return to their homeland to rebuild their religious sanctuary with public funding and their previously plundered costly religious icons. This is exactly what bible claims.
Before the cylinder was discovered, historians looked with some suspicion on the Bible account of Cyrus and his decree, such discoveries as the Cyrus cylinder have confused the critics and helped establish the veracity of the Bible account. They took this passage to be fiction, because after all, what the king would do such a thing? But since the cylinder was discovered, it proved that the Bible is, in fact, correct, and historically reliable in this regard. Another tremendous discovery was made in early 2010. Two fragments of a copy of the cylinder were found in the British Museum. These pieces originally came from a city, south of Babylon, meaning there was a copy very close by in another important city of that day. It gives a strong evidence to the fact that the cylinder’ contents were distributed around the Persian empire as an imperial decree of the king. Overall, The object verifies that a decree of this kind was given to all the people conquered by the empire, making it seem quite more reasonable to accept the reliability of the decree he gave to the Israelites, which is recorded in Ezra
Cyrus, the romantic humanist
Cyrus gave autonomy to all the sates and ensured their sovereignty. This system of governance was the first of its kind and inspired the later Macedonian and Rome empire to rule in a similar fashion. It was something that was adopted by the Hellenistic kings. Started with Alexander and then it was adopted when the Rome empire expanded. Also, Cyrus is arguably the earliest humanist. When there were no human rights, and the world only knew savagery and slavery, Cyrus respected people of all kinds even those whom he conquered. His humanitarian ideas spread all over the world including the founding fathers of America, who owned multiple people. Since 1977, a replica of the Cyrus cylinder sits at the halls of the United Nations as a reminder of the importance of these same ideas to all humanity. Even Cyrus himself probably didn’t imagine, the far-reaching consequences, a millennia after his death. He was a political genius and an excellent benevolent manager of men. Historians have called him a humanist, the Jews have called him a messiah or the anointed one- in fact, he is the only gentile in the Bible to be referred to as Messiah-, his own people called him father, and even the Greek whom he conquered called him a just and worthy lawgiver and ruler. If you’re looking for the greatest personages in history who have affected the world, Cyrus the Great is one of the few, who deserves the epithet – the one who deserves to be called the great.