Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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        (Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was
        conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the
        Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of
        Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he
        became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it
        partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on
        universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on
        the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the
        ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf.,
        "Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2).
        Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the
        Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God
        employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may
        posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some
        knowledge of their religion.
        The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his
        elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor
        the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two
        years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon
        after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual
        king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian
        empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem
        marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr.
        36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5).
        This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg.,
        "Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes"
        (Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of
        Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus
        (Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the
        Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern
        Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the
        north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at
        Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
        conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then
        sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the
        daily services in the temples continued without a break. In
        October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
        amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province
        of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile,
        Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated
        honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus,
        conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of
        Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and
        made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed
        the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to
        return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of
        their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
        had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Cyrus' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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