Easton's Bible Dictionary
The holder or supporter, the name of several Persian
(1) Darius the Mede ( Daniel
11:1 ), "the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes" ( Daniel
On the death of Belshazzar the Chaldean he "received the kingdom" of Babylon as
viceroy from Cyrus. During his brief reign (B.C. 538-536) Daniel was promoted
to the highest dignity ( Daniel
6:1 , 6:2
); but on account of the malice of his enemies he was cast into the den of lions.
After his miraculous escape, a decree was issued by Darius enjoining "reverence
for the God of Daniel" ( Daniel
6:26 ). This king was probably the "Astyages" of the Greek historians. Nothing
can, however, be with certainty affirmed regarding him. Some are of opinion that
the name "Darius" is simply a name of office, equivalent to "governor," and that
the "Gobryas" of the inscriptions was the person intended by the name.
(2) Darius, king of Persia, was the son of Hystaspes, of the royal family of the Achaemenidae.
He did not immediately succeed Cyrus on the throne. There were two intermediate
kings, viz., Cambyses (the Ahasuerus of Ezra), the son of Cyrus, who reigned from
B.C. 529-522, and was succeeded by a usurper named Smerdis, who occupied the throne
only ten months, and was succeeded by this Darius (B.C. 521-486). Smerdis was
a Margian, and therefore had no sympathy with Cyrus and Cambyses in the manner
in which they had treated the Jews. He issued a decree prohibiting the restoration
of the temple and of Jerusalem ( Ezra
4:17 - 22
). But soon after his death and the accession of Darius, the Jews resumed their
work, thinking that the edict of Smerdis would be now null and void, as Darius
was in known harmony with the religious policy of Cyrus. The enemies of the Jews
lost no time in bringing the matter under the notice of Darius, who caused search
to be made for the decree of Cyrus (q.v.). It was not found at Babylon, but at
Achmetha ( Ezra
6:2 ); and Darius forthwith issued a new decree, giving the Jews full liberty
to prosecute their work, at the same time requiring the Syrian satrap and his
subordinates to give them all needed help. It was with the army of this king that
the Greeks fought the famous battle of Marathon (B.C. 490). During his reign the
Jews enjoyed much peace and prosperity. He was succeeded by Ahasuerus, known to
the Greeks as Xerxes, who reigned for twenty-one years.
(3) Darius the Persian ( Nehemiah
12:22 ) was probably the Darius II.
(Ochus or Nothus) of profane history, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was
the son and successor of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). There are some, however, who think
that the king here meant was Darius III. (Codomannus), the antagonist of Alexander
the Great (B.C. 336-331).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
he that informs himself
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(lord) The name of several kings of Media and Persia.
DARIUS THE MEDE,
( Daniel 6:1 ; 11:1 ) "the son of Ahasuerus," ( Daniel 9:1 ) who succeeded to
the Babylonian kingdom on the death of Belshazzar, being then sixty-two years
old. ( Daniel 5:31 ; 9:1 ) (B.C. 538.) Only one year of his reign is mentioned,
( Daniel 9:1 ; 11:1 ) but that was of great importance for the Jews. Daniel was
advanced by the king to the highest dignity, ( Daniel 6:1 ) ff., and in his reign
was cast into the lions den. Daniel 6. This Darius is probably the same as "Astyages,"
the last king of the Medes.
the son of Hystaspes the founder of the Perso-Arian dynasty. Upon the usurpation
of the magian Smerdis, he conspired with six other Persian chiefs to overthrow
the impostor and on the success of the plot was placed upon the throne, B.C. 521.
With regard to the Jews, Darius Hystaspes pursued the same policy as Cyrus, and
restored to them the privileges which they had lost. ( Ezra 5:1 ) etc.; Ezra 6:1
DARIUS THE PERSIAN,
( Nehemiah 12:22 ) may be identified with Darius II. Nothus (Ochus), king of Persia
B.C. 424-3 to 405-4; but it is not improbable that it points to Darius III. Codomannus,
the antagonist of Alexander and the last king of Persia, B.C. 336-330.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The name of three or four kings mentioned in the Old Testament. In the original
Persian it is spelled "Darayavaush"; in Babylonian, usually "Dariamush"; in Susian(?),
"Tariyamaush"; in Egyptian "Antaryuash"; on Aramaic inscriptions, d-r-y-h-w-sh
or d-r-y-w-h-w-sh; in Hebrew, dareyawesh; in Greek, Dareios; in Latin, "Darius."
In meaning it is probably connected with the new Persian word Dara, "king." Herodotus
says it means in Greek, Erxeies, coercitor, "restrainer," "compeller," "commander."
(1) Darius the Mede
(Daniel 6:1; 11:1) was the son of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) of the seed of the Medes
(Daniel 9:1). He received the government of Belshazzar the Chaldean upon the death
of that prince (Daniel 5:30 , 31 ; 6:1), and was made king over the kingdom of
From Daniel 6:28 we may infer that Darius was king contemporaneously with Cyrus.
Outside of the Book of Daniel there is no mention of Darius the Mede by name,
though there are good reasons for identifying him with Gubaru, or Ugbaru, the
governor of Gutium, who is said in the Nabunaid-Cyrus Chronicle to have been appointed
by Cyrus as his governor of Babylon after its capture from the Chaldeans. Some
reasons for this identification are as follows:
|(a) Gubaru is possibly a translation of Darius. The
same radical letters in Arabic mean "king," "compeller," "restrainer." In Hebrew,
derivations of the root mean "lord," "mistress," "queen"; in Aramaic, "mighty,"
(b) Gutium was the designation of the country North of Babylon and was in all
possibility in the time of Cyrus a part of the province of Media.
(c) But even if Gutium were not a part of Media at that time, it was the custom
of Persian kings to appoint Medes as well as Persians to satrapies and to the
command of armies. Hence, Darius-Gubaru may have been a Mede, even if Gutium were
not a part of Media proper.
(d) Since Daniel never calls Darius the Mede king of Media, or king of Persia,
it is immaterial what his title or position may have been before he was made king
over the realm of the Chaldeans. Since the realm of the Chaldeans never included
either Media or Persia, there is absolutely no evidence in the Book of Daniel
that its author ever meant to imply that Darius the Mede ever ruled over either
Media or Persia.
(e) That Gubaru is called governor (pihatu), and Darius the Mede, king, is no
objection to this identification; for in ancient as well as modern oriental empires
the governors of provinces and cities were often called kings.
Moreover, in the Aramaic language, no more appropriate word than "king" can be
found to designate the ruler of a sub-kingdom, or province of the empire.
(f) That Darius is said to have had 120 satraps under him does not conflict with
this; for the Persian word "satrap" is indefinite as to the extent of his rule,
just like the English word "governor." Besides, Gubaru is said to have appointed
pihatus under himself. If the kingdom of the Chaldeans which he received was as
large as that of Sargon he may easily have appointed 120 of these sub-rulers;
for Sargon names 117 subject cities and countries over which he appointed his
prefects and governors.
(g) The peoples, nations and tongues of chapter 6 are no objection to this identification;
for Babylonia itself at this time was inhabited by Babylonians, Chaldeans, Arabians,
Arameans and Jews, and the kingdom of the Chaldeans embraced also Assyrians, Elamites,
Phoenicians and others within its limits.
(h) This identification is supported further by the fact that there is no other
person known to history that can well be meant. Some, indeed, have thought that
Darius the Mede was a reflection into the past of Darius Hystaspis; but this is
rendered impossible inasmuch as the character, deeds and empire of Darius Hystaspis,
which are well known to us from his own monuments and from the Greek historians,
do not resemble what Daniel says of Darius the Mede.
(2) Darius, the fourth king of Persia
called Hystaspes because he was the son of a Persian king named Hystaspis, is
mentioned in Ezra (4:5, et al.), Haggai (1:1) and Zechariah (1:1). Upon the death
of Cambyses, son and successor to Cyrus, Smerdis the Magian usurped the kingdom
and was dethroned by seven Persian nobles from among whom Darius was selected
to be king. After many rebellions and wars he succeeded in establishing himself
firmly upon the throne (Ant., XI, i). He reorganized and enlarged the Persian
empire. He is best known to general history from his conflict with Greece culminating
at Marathon, and for his re-digging of the Suez Canal. In sacred history he stands
forth as the king who enabled the Jews under Jeshua and Zerubbabel to rebuild
the temple at Jerusalem.
(3) Darius, called by the Greeks Nothus, was called Ochus before he became king.
He reigned from 424 to 404 BC. In the Scriptures he is mentioned only in Nehemiah
12:22, where he is called Darius the Persian, probably to distinguish him from
Darius the Mede.
It is not necessary to suppose that Darius Codomannus who reigned from 336 to
330 BC, is meant by the author of Nehemiah 12, because he mentions Jaddua; for
(a) Johanan, the father of this Jaddua, was high priest about 408 BC, as is clear
from the Aramaic papyrus from Elephantine lately published by Professor Sachau
of Berlin, and Jaddua may well have succeeded him in those troubled times before
the death of Darius Nothus in 404 BC. And (b) that a high priest named Jaddua
met Alexander in 332 BC, is attested only by Josephus (Ant., XI, viii, 5). It
is not fair to take the testimony of Josephus as to Jaddua without taking his
testimony as to the meeting with Alexander and as to the appeal of Jaddua to the
predictions of the Book of Daniel. But even if Josephus be right, there may have
been two Jadduas, one high priest in 404 BC, and the other in 332 BC; or the one
who was alive and exercising his functions in 404 BC may still have been high
priest in 332 BC. He need not have exceeded 90 years of age.
According to the Eshki Harran inscription, which purports to have been written
by himself, the priest of the temple in that city had served for 104 years. In
our own time how many men have been vigorous in mind and body at the age of 90,
or thereabouts; Bismarck and Gladstone, for example?
R. Dick Wilson
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, chaldean, darayavaush, dariamush, darius, define, hystaspes, king, king of persia, marathon, nothus, ochus, suez canal, the mede, the persian