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Darius
        the holder or supporter, the name of several Persian kings. (1.)
        Darius the Mede (Dan. 11:1), "the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed
        of the Medes" (9:1). 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 (Dan. 6:1, 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" (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 (Neh. 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).
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Darius' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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