[b-hebrew] Darius the Mede
sarasotapt at comcast.net
Sun Apr 18 15:58:25 EDT 2010
The following represents the work I did in Daniel, addressing this
subject of the identity of Darius.
1. Chapter nine begins with a chronological note that places this event
just following the events of chapter 5.
2. The only real chronological question to be answered is how this
chapter relates to Daniel 6.
a. The first year of Belshazzar. 553 BC
b. Chapter 7. 553 BC
c. Chapter 8. 551 BC
d. Chapter 5. 539 BC
e. Chapter 6 & 9 539-538 BC
3. The events of chapter six tend to suggest that Darius was still
relatively new to the throne and that fact made him more easily
manipulated by the unscrupulous commissioners and satraps.
4. Therefore, apart from further evidence, we will place this event
during the same general time of chapter six, either just before or just
following those events.
5. This chapter fits very well into the revealed practice of Daniel to
pray three times each day. Dan. 6:10
6. We know from Daniel 6 and secular history that Babylon was taken
without a fight by the shrewd plan of diverting the Euphrates and
entering the city via the riverbed.
7. Xenophon concurs with Herodotus and relates how Cyrus engineered the
surprise attack through the skillful leadership of his generals Gadatas
and Gobryas. Cyropaedia 7.20
8. All the historians generally agree, despite minor variations in
detail, that Babylon fell to the united forces of the Medes and Persians
under the command of Cyrus.
9. This brings us to the problem of identifying Darius the Mede, who is
unknown in history by that name.
10. Anyone that discusses this issue must necessarily base their
arguments on a relative scarcity of factual material; therefore, the
Word of God will be given more consideration than fragmentary records
outside the Bible.
11. It must be emphasized that there is no established fact that
contradicts a person by the name of Darius the Mede reigning over
Babylon; those that suggest Daniel is in error must do so without proof.
12. Daniel states that Darius was definitely of Median descent, born to
one Ahasuerus (Xerxes?), who is otherwise unknown, at least by this
name. Dan. 9:1
13. Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name for Xerxes, which was a common name
among the royalty of the Medes and the Persians, who often took several
14. Both passages in Daniel 5:31 and 9:1 state that the kingdom was
conferred on him from some outside agent and that he did not win the
right to rule Babylon by some conquest of his own.
a. Dan. 5:31 Darius the Mede received the kingdom...
b. Dan. 9:1 employs a Hophal perfect, the causative passive stem, and
should be translated was caused to rule.
15. Some have suggested that the term Darius is not a name, but an
honorific derived from the Old Persian dialect and meant The Royal One.
16. However, Daniel does not seem to use the term Darius as a title, but
it may have been used so much that it basically became a nickname that
indicated that he was descended from royalty. Dan. 6:6,9
17. That a Mede was given the throne after the Medo-Persian conquest is
consistent with the well-known practice of Cyrus of promoting goodwill
and loyalty on the part of the Medes by choosing the ablest of them for
high offices in the newly constituted Medo-Persian Empire.
18. Both Herodotus and Xenophon often referred to the officials and
armies of Darius and Xerxes alternating the name Medes with the name
19. This brings us to two men that are often confused due to the
similarity of their names, Ugbaru and Gubaru.
20. That they are distinctly separate persons is obvious since Ugbaru
was known to have died during the year 539 BC.
21. He died less than a month after Babylon was captured on Oct. 12, 539
BC, losing his life to a fatal illness on Nov. 6, 539 BC.
22. The Nabonidus Chronicle and other texts of that era indicate that
Gubaru (a.k.a. Darius) was appointed as ruler on Oct. 29, 539 BC and
continued to reign for at least fourteen years.
23. This Gubaru appears as the governor of Babylon and Ebir-nari (the
western domain of Chaldean sovereignty) in tablets dated from the fourth
to the eighth year of Cyrus, and even as late as the fifth year of
Cambyses. c. 525 BC
24. If this man was the uncle of Cyrus, this makes it altogether
probable that he was appointed as the viceroy over Babylon for the
purpose of bringing it into full submission and cooperation with the
25. Gubaru/Gobryas/Darius was about 62 years old when he received his
confirmation as the new king of the Babylonian portion of the empire
26. He continued as ruler for some time although Cyrus probably took
over the royal title at a solemn public coronation when he arrived in
Babylon two years later.
27. Although Cyrus would have eventually been formally installed as
ruler of Babylon, The Nabonidus Chronicle and other, cuneiform texts of
that era indicate that Gubaru continued as governor of Babylon for at
least fourteen years.
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