[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Darius the Mede and

Ronald Monestime wbsc400 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 17 22:09:07 EDT 2010

Hello Eva Ritsema,I have done an more in depth study on the issue of "Darius the Mede" as part of my work on the "Seventy Weeks of Daniel" (Dan 9:24-27), in order to confirm the said date when it was written (Dan 9:1), especially against the popular (non-believing) theory that it was written by an uninformed Jew long after the fact, mainly due to a supposed wrong naming of the Medo-Persian ruler here. (See my summary of findings in this blog post: http://njkproject.blogspot.com/2008/07/biblical-interpretation-of-daniels-70.html )It turns out that the view that identifies "Darius the Mede" with Cyrus the Great is indeed the one that is most valid. It is supported by several conclusive customary, historical and linguistic factors. I'll state them as succinctly as possible here:Customary-Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) indicated the that name "Darius" was a actually surname/title (i.e., a "throne name") that meant "Doer/Worker" (Histories 6:98.3)-though Cyrus was the son of "Cambyses I, the Persian", the semitic use of son does not necessarily mean the immediate son of a father, but can also refer to any descendant. (The writer of the book of Daniel was more than likely a Jew and/or a semite and thus would have been familiar and comfortable with using "son" as such. His audience also would readily understand this.) It is in this way that Jesus of Nazareth was said to be the "son of David" and not solely, strictly the "son of Joseph". So the mention of Darius the Mede (Cyrus) as the "son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Mede" is not automatically an error. (It has been demonstrated that the same thing is done by this author of Daniel in Dan 5:2 with Belshazzar who was actually the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar)-As Herodotus also points out that "Xerxes" was also a surname/title (= "throne name") which meant "Warrior" (Histories 6:98.3), then it can be seen that since "Ahasuerus" is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek "Xerxes," then this ancestor was not being referred to by his actual name but by his throne name.Historical-In the Jewish Historical/Apocryphal book Tobit (originally composed in Aramaic), there is a brief mention in the final verse (14:15), of the destruction of Nineveh. This is a historical event that had taken place in 612 B.C. It is also said in this passage that at that time the king of Babylon united with the king of the Medes in order to overthrow this great city. What is significant in this passage is that the names of these two kings who united together are given in the (standard version) Greek manuscripts of this text as “Nebuchadnezzar and Asuerus [=Ahasuerus],” but historically, the Babylonian and Median kings that had united to overthrow Nineveh are cited as being: “Nabopolassar and Cyaxares.” F. Zimmerman (The Book of Tobit, 123) was on a right [though parallel] track when he suggested/concluded that 'The Greek scribes indulged their fancy by substituting more familiar names as Nebuchadnezzar and Asuerus [=Ahasuerus] for the unfamiliar ones in the Gk.[=Greek] texts' However, it instead is the case that these kings were instead being referred to by their throne names. (Josephus shows that such titular substitutions were quite common (e.g. Antiquities 11:6.1 [#184] (though his chronology, and thus identifications, are faulty here; cf. also Plutarch, Life of Artaxerxes, 1-2)So this Ahasuerus/Xerxes ancestor could easily have been this Cyaxares I (625-585 B.C.), the great-grandfather of Cyrus. He was also from the royal, Median lineage of Cyrus's mother Mandane thus the applicable addition of "the Mede". However if Cyrus is simply referred to in a non-titular way, it is quite acceptable to call him Cyrus, the Persian (father's side) (Dan 6:28 vs. titular mentions in 5:31/11:1).-Why make reference to Cyaxares I, Cyrus's great-grandfather here? Well it was also customary among semites to make such ancestral references/identifications to a notable and prominent ancestor. (That is why, e.g., Jesus was called the "son of David" and not, e.g., "the son of Melchi" (Luke 3:24).) Cyaxares I was indeed such a "worthy" ancestor as it is noted of him that he was the first king of the Medes, the one who “established the Medes’ universal empire,” (Diodorus Siculus, 9:20.4) and thus it has been said that he was the one who “saw the ascendancy of the Medes to their greatest heights.” (Herodotus 1:106; Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 53)Linguistic-the waw in Dan 6:28 could easily be explicative and thus restating with more precision: "...Darius, that is Cyrus the Persian"So in summary: The opening statement in Dan 9:1a which said that “Darius, was the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed [lineage] of the Mede,” was actually a reference to King Cyrus who was the descendant of the great Median King: Cyaxares I. His "first year when he was caused to be made king (cf. Waltke and O’Connor, IBHS, 482 [30.2.1d]) over the realm of the Chaldeans" and thus when this prophecy was given, was thus: ca. 539/38B.C.Hope this helps!More details and documentation is provided in my forthcoming book on Dan 9. Summarized on this blog post:http://njkproject.blogspot.com/2008/07/biblical-interpretation-of-daniels-70.htmlRonald Monestimewww.njkproject.info/wbschttp://njkproject.blogspot.comwww.njkproject.info

> From: thebodyofjesusthenazoraion at juno.com
> Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 18:51:08 +0000
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Darius the Mede and
> Could ya'll comment on this hypothesis
>  Stephen Miller's appropriation of D. J. Wiseman's hypothesis that "Darius the Mede" and Cyrus the Great were the same person, a highly speculative theory. This "solution" to the absence of nonbiblical references to "Darius the Mede" is based on the claim that Daniel 6:28, which says that "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian" has been mistranslated and should read that "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." By claiming that the Aramaic waw traditionally translated with the English conjunction and could have meant even or namely in this verse, Wiseman and proponents of this interpretation "solve" the problem of Darius's historicity by making this just another name for Cyrus, who was mentioned in several extrabiblical records contemporary to the time when Daniel presumably served as an important official in the sixth-century BC Babylonian and Persian governments. We will soon see that this int
>  erpretation of Daniel 6:28 is tenuous at best.
> Eva Ritsema
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