Isaiah 45:1-6
Thus said the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him…

The name of Cyrus is written Kuras in Babylonian cuneiform, Kurush in Old Persian. Ctesias stated on the authority of Parysatis, the wife of the Persian king Ochus, that her younger son was named Cyrus from the sun, as the Persians called the sun Kupos (Epit. Phot. 80; Plut. Artax. 1). In Zend, however, the sun is hware, which could not take the form Kupos in Old Persian, though in modern Persian it is khur, khir, and kher The classical writers have given extraordinary accounts of his birth and rise to power All these versions have been shown to be unhistorical by contemporaneous cuneiform inscriptions. The most important of these are(1) a cylinder inscription of Nabonidus, the last king of the Babylonian Empire, from Abu Habba (Sippara);

(2) an annalistic tablet written shortly after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus;

(3) a proclamation of Cyrus of the same date... The proclamation of Cyrus shows that he was not a Zoroastrian like Darius and Xerxes, but that as he claimed to be the successor of the Babylonian kings, so also he acknowledged the supremacy of Bel-Merodaeh the supreme Babylonian god. Hence the restoration of the Jewish exiles was not due to any sympathy with monotheism, but was part of a general policy. Experience had taught him the danger of allowing a disaffected population to exist in a country which might be invaded by an enemy; his own conquest of Babylonia had been assisted by the revolt of a part of its population; and he therefore reversed the policy of deportation and denationalisation which had been attempted by the Assyrian and Baby-Ionian kings. The exiles and the images of their gods were sent back to their old homes; only in the case of the Jews, who had no images, it was the sacred vessels of the temple which were restored.

(Prof. A. H. Sayce, LL. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

WEB: Thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him, and strip kings of their armor; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut:

The Unity of History
Top of Page
Top of Page