4.3 - Darius the Mede


4.3.1 - Who is Darius the Mede?

In one sense, we know everything we need to know about Darius the Mede: the man who received the kingdom at the downfall of Babylonian was named Darius and was a Mede of about 62 years of age (Dan. 5:31). This is sufficient for the believer who rests upon what God has revealed—no more information is needed to make sense of what the Bible records and the place Darius occupies in the sequence of Gentile Kingdoms.1

But, for those who are interested in the relationship between God’s revelation and what is known from extra-biblical sources concerning history, the question arises whether Darius the Mede is known to archaeology or by historical records outside the Bible?

4.3.2 - Darius: A Title

Correlating Darius the Mede with rulers known to extra-biblical history has proven to be a complex task, made all-the-more challenging because the name “Darius” is applied within historic inscriptions to at least five Persian rulers.2 The frequency with which the name appears suggests “Darius” was a title, similar to Pharaoh” (used of Egyptan rulers) or “Caesar” (used of Roman rulers).3 An added complication is the practice of some rulers who took on additional throne names in honor of relatives or previous leaders whom they admired.

The original name of Artaxerxes I (465– 425/4 BC) was Cyrus; that of Darius II (424-405/4 BC) was Ochus; that of Artaxerxes II (405/4-359/8 BC) was Arses; and that of Artaxerxes III (359/8-338/7 BC) was Ochus. The next king, Arses (338/7-336/5 BC), may have taken a throne name during his brief reign, but if so it is not known [Ibid., 86]. The last king, Darius III (336/5-330 BC), was originally named Artašat [Ibid., 90]. [Rüdiger Schmitt, “Achaemenid Throne-Names,” Annali dell’Istituto Orientale di Napoli 42 (1982): 83-85, 86, 90].4

Sometimes a king would be referred to by his original name, other times by his throne name, and different kings shared similar or identical names.

Ancient kings are often known by a number of different names. In fact, no two lists of the later Median kings, as given by the old historians, agree with each other; and the monuments seem to differ from them all.5

The meaning of the title “Darius” has been variously given as: lion-king,6 holder of the good,7 possessing wealth,8 one who restraints or prudent or lord-king,9 holder of the scepter or holder of wealth,10 and restrainer, compeller, or commander.11

4.3.3 - Darius Within the Bible

The name Darius appears in 5 books of the Bible describing three different kings:12

The Darius of the book of Daniel appears earlier in history than the two kings of the same name mentioned by Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah.16 Although the latter two kings named Darius are Persian in origin, Daniel’s Darius is of Median ancestry.

He bore the same name as Darius king of Persia (cf. Ezra. 4:5dāryāwesh); and his father’s name was Ahasuerus (’ăhashwērôsh, being the same name as the son of Darius king of Persia, Xerxes (cf. Ezra 4:6). He was not merely called a Mede, but actually was a Mede, because he was “of the seed of the Medes” (Dan. 9:1). He was born in the year 601/600 B.C., since he was “about threescore and two years old” in the autumn of 539 B.C. when he received the kingdom of Babylonia after the death of Belshazzar (Dan. 5:31). . . . the Book of Daniel gives far more information concerning the personal background of Darius the Mede than of Belshazzar or even of Nebuchadnezzar. For he is the only monarch in the book whose age, parentage, and nationality are recorded.17

Evidence of his affiliation with Media is found in the rediscovery of Cyrus’ decree authorizing the rebuilding of the temple in the Median capital of Ecbatana (Ezra 6:2).18

4.3.4 - Darius Outside the Bible

Critics of the book of Daniel interpret the lack of extra-biblical evidence concerning Darius the Mede as a serious historical problem. As we’ve seen in our study of the critics, they interpret Darius as an historical blunder on the part of Daniel.19

[In] . . . a statement involving what the critics view as “the most serious historical problem in the book” (H. H. Rowley, Darius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel, p. 8). Rowley comments (pp. 12-43) that identification with Astyages, the last of the Median kings, or with his son, Cyaxares, is invalid, as well as with Cambyses, a son of Cyrus, or with Gubaru (Gobryas or Ugbaru), who led the army that took Babylon. He concludes that Darius the Mede is an historical nonentity, his mention in Daniel being a historical blunder, the result of confusion with Darius the son of Hystaspes, who is associated with the later fall of Babylon in 520 B.C.20

Even if there were no extra-biblical evidence for Darius the Mede, this would not have any bearing on the reliability of the book of Daniel: recall the lack of extra-biblical attestation for Belshazzar until the 19th century.

[There is a lack of extrabiblical evidence concerning] the person called “Darius the Mede” [Dan. 5:31], for whom no confirming ancient Near Eastern evidence has yet been uncovered. This was also once true for Belshazzar, but confirming extrabiblical evidence has now been found for him. Several other cases in Daniel could be added here. However, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” When we simply do not have any extrabiblical evidence that confirms that an event or person in Daniel is historical, this does not mean that these events and persons are fictional. It only means that we have no surviving evidence from outside the Scriptures to confirm them. [emphasis added]21

One would think the critics might have become more cautious regarding arguments from silence after the Belshazzar situation, but not so.22 As with Belshazzar, we are dealing with fragmentary evidence from antiquity. Evidence for other key biblical figures was also unknown from ancient inscriptions until relatively recently (e.g., Pontius Pilate in 1961, Felix in 1966).23 In the case of Darius the Mede, the situation is made more difficult because no Median documents have ever been found.24

Although there are no known archaeological documents which unambiguously name “Darius the Mede,”25 there are ancient witnesses to a “Darius” who fits with what we know concerning Darius the Mede from the biblical record.

There are, to be sure, ancient witnesses which do not recognize Darius the Mede, but the statement that “Darius the Mede is not known from any extrabiblical sources” simply is not true. The name “Darius” is known from Berossus and Harpocration, and is implied in the throne name taken by Darius Hystaspes, while the man himself is given a very full description by Xenophon. Aeschylus, the Behistun inscription, and the Harran Stele also attest to this king’s existence. These are numerous and varied witnesses of high credibility. It is only in some extrabiblical sources, as well as in some modern scholarly sources, that one finds no recognition of Darius the Mede. [emphasis added]26

Aeschylus is widely recognized as a well-placed, independent, and reliable source for early Persian history who predates both Herodotus and Xenophon. Further, as a Greek warrior, he does not share the pro-Persian bias of the cuneiform propaganda texts, even though the Persae reenacts the battle of Salamis from the Persian side. In lines 765-69, Aeschylus describes a Median king who reigned between Astyages and Cyrus, and who evidently was on the throne when the Medo-Persian army conquered the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The position occupied by this king corresponds to that of Daniel’s Darius the Mede and Xenophon’s Cyaxares II, but has no place in the Histories of Herodotus. The testimony of Aeschylus adds weight to the evidence supporting Xenophon’s version of the accession of Cyrus, against that of Herodotus [emphasis added]27

In the entry for Δαρεικός [Dareikos], Harpocration makes the following comment: . . . Darics are gold staters, and each of them also had the value of what the Athenians call the ‘gold coin’ (ὁ χρυσοῦς [ho chrysous]). But darics are not named, as most suppose, after Darius the father of Xerxes, but after a certain other more ancient king [Harpocration Lexicon of the Ten Orators Δ 5, Δαρεικός [Dareikos]]. Thus, Harpocration affirms that there was a king named “Darius” who preceded, at an unspecified distance in time, Darius Hystaspes. This comment is striking because of its source—a secular Greco-Roman researcher who did his research at the greatest library in antiquity. The importance of Harpocration’s comment for this study lies in his affirmation that there was a king named “Darius” who reigned sometime before the man who is called “Darius I” by modern historians. [emphasis added]28

Berosus may also have made mention of Darius the Mede. - Herodotus vs. Xenophon

Another factor that complicates the identification of Darius the Mede is conflicting accounts by historical writers. The two main sources for the historical period occupied by Darius the Mede are the Greek historians Herodotus and Xenophon. Where these two writers disagree, whom are we to follow? This dilemma underscores the importance of giving priority to the record of the inspired text of Scripture.29

Anderson identifies numerous ancient sources that question the credibility of Herodotus: Aristophanes, Cicero, Ctesias,30 Diodorus of Sicily, Plutarch, and Strabo (some of which may have their own credibility issues).31 On the identification of Median kings, Anderson and Anstey are among those who favor the account of Xenophon over Herodotus.32

The problem is rooted in a historical conflict between Xenophon and Herodotus, the two major Greek historians who narrate histories of Cyrus. Proposals exist for correlating figures in the histories of both Xenophon and Herodotus with Daniel’s Darius the Mede. . . . many important texts support the version of the Cyrus story given by Herodotus, but . . . each is problematic; the histories of Xenophon and Daniel, though the weaker voice in extant extrabiblical texts, can claim strong support from a surprising number and variety of sources.33

Xenophon’s order of succession [of Median kings] . . . agrees best with Berosus, Josephus and the Books of Daniel, Tobit and Bel and the Dragon. Scholars find it hard to abandon so good an authority as Herodotus, but he must be rejected here.34

Xenophon and Herodotus differ on at least the following points: 1) Xenophon has a Median king ruling while Cyrus led Medo-Persian armies against Babylon whereas Herodotus has Cyrus overthrowing the last Median king prior to attacking Babylon;35 2) The order of the Median kings Cyaxares and Astyages;36 3) Whether the Medes and Persians operated as a confederacy.37

The decision whether to favor the account of Herodotus or Xenophon comes down to which conflicting historical records are deemed more reliable.38

The numerical majority of ancient evidence stands essentially on the side of Herodotus, though with some degree of variation. The witnesses which support Herodotus include the Cyrus Cylinder, the Verse Account, the Nabonidus Chronicle, the Dream Text, the Dynastic Prophecy, the contract texts, Ctesias, Thucydides, and Aristotle. Of these, only the cuneiform texts are significant as witnesses; but the first four named betray a strong bias which provides a reason for historical distortion. The Dynastic Prophecy is late, and the contract texts do not affirm that Cyrus overthrew Astyages. A diverse minority of ancient evidence stands on the side of Xenophon (and Daniel): the Harran Stele, Berossus, Harpocration, and Aeschylus. Each of these four witnesses is independent and of high credibility.39

Following in the footsteps of Anstey, Anderson departs from the prevailing scholarly view40 in suggesting the testimony of Xenophon is the more reliable on the matters before us.41 He doubts the historical accuracy of Herodotus, due to his penchant for telling entertaining stories,42 his accounts which conflict with other ancient writers, and the testimony of Cicero.43

Where Xenophon gives information that diverges from Herodotus, it is often corroborated by other sources. Four of these are . . . (1) the royal upbringing of Cyrus; (2) the existence of Belshazzar; (3) the existence of Gobryas; and (4) the marriage of Cyrus to the daughter of Cyaxares.44

4.3.5 - Who is Darius?

Given this state of affairs, attempts to correlate the biblical Darius the Mede” with historical figures known outside the Bible has resulted in a wide variety of opinion.

Two men are most often identified as the person who could be the one Daniel calls Darius the Mede: the commander Gubaru, who captured Babylon, and Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great), who ruled Persia from 559 BC until his death in 530. [A few evangelical scholars hold that Darius was a historical person, but offer no opinion as to whether he should be identified with a particular person known from extrabiblical historical records. See, for example, Walvoord, Daniel, 134, and Young, Daniel, 131. Miller holds that Darius could be either Gubaru or Cyrus, but he does not favor one over the other (Daniel, 177).]45

(1) Darius may have been another name for Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” It was common for ancient rulers to use different names in various parts of their realms. Thus Darius may have been a localized name for Cyrus. (This is the view of D. J. Wiseman, “Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel,” in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, pp. 12-14.) (2) A second explanation is that Darius was appointed by Cyrus to rule over Babylon, a comparatively small portion of the vast Medo-Persian Empire. According to Daniel 9:1 Darius “was made ruler over the Babylonian Kingdom.” This suggests that he ruled by appointment, rather than by conquest and thus would have been subordinate to Cyrus, who appointed him. The historical situation leading to this appointment, based on the Nabonidus Chronicle, was that Babylon was conquered by Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, who entered the city of Babylon the night of Belshazzar’s feast. After Ugbaru conquered Babylon on October 12, 539 b.c., Cyrus entered the conquered city on October 29 of that same year. Ugbaru was then appointed by Cyrus to rule on his behalf in Babylon. Eight days after Cyrus’ arrival (Nov. 6) Ugbaru died. If Darius the Mede is another name for Ugbaru, as is entirely possible, the problem is solved. Since Darius was 62 years old when he took over Babylon (Dan. 5:31), his death a few weeks later would not be unusual. According to this view (presented by William H. Shea, “Darius the Mede: An Update,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 20. Autumn 1982, pp. 229-47), Gubaru is another spelling for Ugbaru, with the name Gobryas being a Greek form of the same name and appearing in Xenophon’s Cyropœdia 4. 6. 1-9; 7. 5. 7-34. (3) A third explanation is that Ugbaru, governor of Gutium, conquered Babylon, and that Gubaru, alias Darius, was the man Cyrus appointed to rule over Babylon. (This is the view of John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Darius the Mede. Nutley, N.J.: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co., 1974.) (4) Still others suggest Darius the Mede should be identified with Cambyses, Cyrus’ son, who ruled Persia 530-522 b.c. (This view is held by Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel. Reprint. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing Co., 1977, pp. 142-55.) Any of these four views may be correct, but perhaps the second one is preferable.46

We discuss various identities proposed for Darius below, including: Astyages II, Gobryas, Ugbaru, Gubaru, Cambyses II, Cyrus, and Cyaxares II. But the best solution may simply be that Darius is Darius! As was the case with Belshazzar, attempts to identify Darius with known historical figures may be premature: historical records may yet surface unambiguously identifying a different individual as the biblical Darius.

4.3.6 - Gobryas, Gubaru, Ugbaru

Among extra-biblical persons identified by commentators as Darius the Mede,” we find: - Darius is Gobryas?
According to Boutflower, Gobryas is one of only two possible persons identifiable as Darius the Mede (the other being Cambyses II, son of Cyrus).51 The Annalistic Tablet and Xenophon’s Cyropœdia identify Gobryas as the general who led the attack on Belshazzar’s palace.52 As governor of Gutiam (part of Media), Gobryas may have been a Mede.53 He was present on the night of the events of Daniel 5 and his age was approximately that of Darius the Mede.54

Gobryas had strong motivation for taking revenge against Belshazzar, who had capriciously murdered his son, and defected to Cyrus, taking with him part of Babylon’s army.

Now one of the assets that Nabonidus had was a general by the name of Gobyras; Gobyras was a commander of his eastern division on the gulf. And Gobyras was one of Nebuchadnezzar’s great generals, he was an older man by the time Nabonidus reigned, and Gobyras was a smart military man who saw which way the wind was blowing, and when he saw Cyrus coming down from the north he knew that Cyrus was the man for the future. Not only had the Jews prophesied the rise of Cyrus, and not only had the Gentiles prophesied the rise of Cyrus, one of things we’ll see was that Cyrus was the closest thing to a Messiah that the ancient world ever saw. Gobyras saw the hand-writing on the wall so he defected. And he took all of the eastern division with him. When he took that eastern division with him, Cyrus thought so much of that that he decided to make Gobyras the commander of the siege of Babylon. So this is how Gobyras is now commanding the armies, October 12, 539 BC, the day of Daniel 5. The armies are not only surrounding the city but they’re under the command of one of their formal generals.55

This identification is favored by Albright,56 Anderson (Sir Robert),57 Boutflower,58 Clough,59 Leupold,60 and Mills.61

Against this identification is Gobryas’ lack of royal descent and the consistency of Scripture in referring to him as Darius and never Gobryas.62 - Darius is Ugbaru?
“With the abrupt decline of the Cyaxares theory following the publication of cuneiform texts, a new theory came to predominate among writers who upheld the historicity of Darius the Mede: Darius was identified with a Persian-appointed governor (and/or general) named Gubaru (and/or Ugbaru).”63

Advocates of this view believe, due to translation issues, Ugbaru was conflated with Gubaru and misidentified as Xenophon’s Gobryas.

[Whitcomb] noted that the majority of translations of the Nabonidus Chronicle made since the time when it was first published by T. G. Pinches have failed to distinguish between two separate individuals, Gubaru and Ugbaru, mentioned in lines 15 to 22 of Column III of the Chronicle, and instead have identified them with Gobryas mentioned by Xenophon. The translation by Sidney Smith, published in 1924, however, made such a distinction and suggested that the chronicler intended to differentiate between Ugbaru of Gutium and Gubaru, the former being the Gorbryas of Xenophon, who died after the fall of Babylon; whereas the latter was subsequently appointed by Cyrus as governor of southern Babylonia. Whitcomb has suggested very plausibly that Ugbaru, the governor of Gutium, was the one who led the Persian troops to victory in Babylon in 539 B.C. and died some three weeks after this event, possibly from wounds. Gubaru was then appointed governor of Babylon and the region beyond the river by Cyrus, a position which he appears to have held for at least fourteen years, and was mentioned in the book of Daniel under the designation of Darius the Mede.64

Having led troops into Babylon on the night of its fall, Ugbaru may qualify as the Gobryas of Xenophon. But his death soon thereafter disqualifies him as a candidate for Darius the Mede.65

[Ugbaru] lost his life to a fatal illness less than a month [after Babylon was taken] (Babylon was taken on 12 October 539, and Ugbaru died on 6 November). It was not Ugbaru, then, but Gubaru whom Cyrus appointed vice-regent of the Chaldean domains on 29 October. The Nabonidus Chronicle and other cuneiform texts of that era indicate that he continued on as governor of Babylonia for at least fourteen years, even though Cyrus may have taken over the royal title at a solemn public coronation service two years later.66

Gubaru the Governor of Babylon was not the general who took the city on the 16th of Tishri (October 12, 539 B.C.), and who was given the title, Governor of Gutium. For the Ugbaru, Governor of Gutium, who conquered Babylon on October 12 was the same Ugbaru who died on the night of November 6, three weeks later.67

If the relationship of Gobryas, Ugbaru, and Gubaru were not complex enough, scholars disagree on whether the cuneiform symbols within the names for Ugbaru and Gubaru designate two different names. Whitcomb and Archer argue the symbols describe two individuals whereas Steinmann asserts otherwise—that differentiating Ugbaru from Gubaru is a misreading of the cuneiform. See One or Two Individuals? - Darius is Gubaru?

Whitcomb has been a strong advocate for identifying Darius as Gubaru.68 He asserts that, due to a mistranslation of the Nabonidus Chronicle, two different people (Ugbaru and Gubaru) were misidentified as a single individual (Xenophon’s Gobryas). When properly translated, the two are to be differentiated: Ugbaru entered Babylon at the fall of the city to the forces of Cyrus, but died soon thereafter. Another individual, Gubaru, was appointed as governor by Cyrus until his arrival some two weeks later.69 It is Gubaru who should be identified as the biblical Darius the Mede.”70

The viability of this view depends on answers to several questions: - One or Two Individuals?
This view believes the Nabonidus Chronicles name two different individuals: Gubaru, who differs from Ugbaru.

Now it is very important to observe that there are two different names in the Nabonidus Chronicle, both of which have been translated as “Gobryas” by Professor Oppenheim. In line 14, it was “Ugbaru the governor of Gutium” that entered Babylonian on the 16th day (of Tishri—October 12). And it was this same Ugbaru whose death is recorded as having occurred on the 11th of Arahshamnu (November 6), according to line 22. But the governor of Cyrus who installed governors in Babylonian after the fall of the city was Gubaru, not Ugbaru. This distinction has generally been obscured by translators and historians. . . Not only have many scholars ignored the distinction between Ugbaru and Gubaru, but they have also overlooked the fact that Ugbaru died just three weeks after he had conquered Babylon.71

Because of the resemblance between Ugbaru and Gubaru, earlier Assyriologists supposed that they referred to the same man. But the syllable GU is written quite differently from UG in Akkadian cuneiform.72

Whitcomb and Archer hold that two individuals are described—and that the cuneiform symbols representing the beginning of each name (UG and GU) are distinct. But Steinmann maintains the opposite: that the symbols are similar and represent a single individual, “This man [Gubaru] is also called Ugbaru, since the cuneiform signs for ‘ug’ and ‘gu’ are similar.”73 - Gubaru Called King?
The text of Daniel implies Darius was a legitimate king (Dan. 6:6, 9, 25; Dan. 9:1). If Gubaru is not of royal descent—serving under Cyrus—why would the inspired text refer to him as “king”74 and never governor”?75

Proponents of this view note Darius the Mede “received” the kingdom (Dan. 5:30) and was “made king” (Dan. 9:1): implying a subservient role under a greater authority. We discussed this possibility in our commentary on Daniel 5:31. Since Gubaru was not a king in his own right, they argue the passive verbs indicate Darius the Mede was not born a king. Rather, he was appointed to the position:

Darius the Mede “received” (Aram. qabbēl ; NIV, “took over”) the royal authority from one who was empowered to invest him with it—presumably Cyrus himself. Daniel 9:1 states that he “was made ruler” (Heb. homlak) over the realm of the Chaldeans—a term never applied to one who seizes the sovereignty by force of arms but rather to one who is appointed to kingship by a higher authority. All this fits Gubaru perfectly, and it is only reasonable to conclude that he was the one referred to in Daniel 5:31 as “Darius the Mede.”76

Perhaps Gubaru had acting authority as king in the absence of Cyrus,77 while remaining subordinate to Cyrus.78 Archer suggests Darius (Gubaru) was only considered king until Cyrus arrived. Thereafter “Gubaru remained on as his deputy, however, even after that event. Daniel therefore refers to no later year of Darius’s reign than his first (Dan. 9:1), and thereafter dates his public service (Dan. 1:21) and his visions (Dan. 10:1) by the regnal years of ‘Cyrus, king of Persia.’ ”79

Whitcomb points to the Behistun Inscription wherein governors over Persian districts are referred to as “kings.”80 Wilson concurs: governors of ancient provinces and cities were sometimes called kings.81 But Anderson observes that the governors using this term in the Behistun Inscription were rebelling against Darius—so this cannot be taken as general evidence that governors normally referred to themselves as kings.82

Wilson suggests the “peoples, nations, and languages” Darius the Mede is said to rule (Dan. 6:25) could simply refer to the ethnic diversity within Babylonia over which Gubaru governed.83 But Darius wrote a proclamation to numerous dominions within his kingdom (Dan. 6:26)—suggesting a much larger region than Gobryas governed.

The term “realm of the Chaldeans” (מַלְכּוּת כַּשְׂדִּים [malkûṯ kaśdîm]), which is used in Daniel 9:1, has a different meaning than the term “land of the Chaldeans” (אֶרֶץ כַּשְׂדִּים [ereṣ kaśdîm]), which is used in eleven other OT verses (Isa. 23:13; Jer. 24:5; 25:12; 50:1, 8, 25, 45; 51:4, 54; Eze. 1:3; 12:13). The former refers to the entire Neo-Babylonian Empire—now merged into the Medo-Persian Empire—while the latter refers solely to the area where native Chaldeans lived. Thus, Darius the Mede did not rule merely over a local province, but over the entire empire.84

If Darius was under Cyrus, then why was the decree-limiting petition (Dan. 6:7) made to Gubaru instead of Cyrus?85

There are other problems with the identification of Darius as Gubaru. For instance, why would a governor or vassal king have the authority to write to “all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwelt in the entire earth” and command them to honor Daniel’s God (Dan. 6:25-27)? Why would Gubaru have authority to order that no one pray to any god but to himself (Dan. 6:7, 12) if he were merely a vassal of Cyrus? Would not this be seen in the Persian court as an attempt to elevate himself above Cyrus? Moreover, advocates of this theory offer no hard evidence for Gubaru’s age or his Median descent. Therefore, while it is possible that Gubaru could have been the man known to Daniel as Darius (perhaps as his throne name), the probability of this identification is low.86

Further, why would angelic help be offered to Gobryas (Darius) in place of Cyrus (Dan. 11:1)?87 - Gubaru a Mede?
Daniel tells us Darius is of Median descent (Dan. 5:31; 9:1; 11:1). Was Gubaru a Mede? Here we meet with a variety of answers.

Showers states Gubaru was a Mede by his father, but provides no specific evidence.88 Montgomery observes the Behistan Inscription identifies Gubaru as a Persian.89 Xenophon relates that Gubaru (if Gobryas in the Cyropœdia can be taken for Gubara) claimed to be Assyrian by birth90 and Harrison, writing in 1979, states there is no specific evidence showing Gubaru to be a Mede.91 - Time in Office
Whitcomb suggests that two men named Gubaru, serving as Governors of Babylon in proximate time periods, must be one and the same individual.

This leads us to the conclusion that the Gubaru, Governor of Babylon and beyond the River, who is mentioned in cuneiform documents dated in the fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years of Cyrus (535, 533, 532, and 531 B.C.), and in the accession year and second, third, fourth, and fifth years of Cambyses (530, 528, 527, 526, and 525 B.C.), is the same person as the Gubaru of the Nabonidus Chronicle . . . who is spoken of as the governor of Cyrus that appointed governors in Babylon . . . Otherwise, we would have two men of the same name, holding the same high office in the same province and under the same emperor (Cyrus) within four years of each other—a theory that is just as improbable as it is unnecessary to maintain. But if these various cuneiform documents speak of the same Gubaru, the hypothesis that it was Gubaru the Governor of Cyrus who died on the night of the 11th of Marcheswan (November 6, 539 B.C.) utterly collapses.92

If this is so, then the period of his time in office is long enough to meet the requirements of the biblical description of Darius the Mede.

In the first place, we learn that Gubaru, who was the Governor of Babylonia on the very day that Cyrus first set foot in the conquered Babylon (October 29—seventeen days after its conquest by Ugbaru), continued in that position throughout the rest of Cyrus’ reign and through more than half of the subsequent reign of Cambyses the son of Cyrus. . . . a period . . . of fourteen years (539-525 B.C.).93

Steinmann disagrees, maintaining that Whitcomb’s conclusions are discredited.

In the past there was some confusion because there were two men named Gubaru who were governors over Babylon. The first Gubaru was the general who captured the city in 539 BC and died one month later. The other was governor over Babylon from at least Cyrus’ fourth year (spring 535–spring 534) to Cambyses’ fifth year (spring 525–spring 524). Many scholars hold that this second Gubaru became governor at the end of Cyrus’ first year (Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 95). Failure to distinguish these two men led some scholars to make claims about Gubaru being Darius that could not be sustained. For example, see the now discredited study by Whitcomb, Darius the Mede.94

Steinmann rejects the notion Ugbaru (who died shortly after Babylon’s downfall) is to be differentiated from Gubaru, and concludes it is Gubaru who died shortly after Babylon falls to the forces of Cyrus. Therefore, his time in office is insufficient to qualify as Darius the Mede.95

An analysis of cuneiform text in Cyrus’ initial years appear to undercut Whitcomb’s assertion Gubaru governed during the period attributed to Darius the Mede in Daniel.96Advocates of this view include: Anderson (Sir Robert),97 Leupold,98 Shea,99 Showers,100 Whitcomb,101 and Wilson.102

4.3.7 - Family Relations of Darius as Median King

A straightforward reading of Daniel implies Darius was a legitimate Median king (Dan. 6:6, 9, 25; Dan. 9:1). If so, that would stand as evidence against the identification of Darius as Gobryas, Ugbaru, or Gubaru (above).

It is instructive to chart the family relations among the three major world-powers involved in the events surrounding the fall of Babylon: Persia, Media, and Babylon. Of particular significance are relationships established through intermarriage: apparently Cyrus and Darius the Mede were closely related. (The chart also serves as a helpful reference to historical persons discussed below.)

Family Ties Among World Powers

Family Ties Among World Powers


Newton identifies Cyrus as the brother-in-law of Darius the Mede104 whose father, Cambyses,105 was the brother-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar through Amyite.106 This identification is followed by Anstey.107 This results in far-reaching family ties between Persia and Babylon: Cyrus’ aunt was Nebuchadnezzar’s wife (Amyite).108 Those commentators who identify Darius as Cyaxares II have Cyrus as the nephew of Darius instead of his brother-in-law. As is often the case, the political relationships between the world-leaders of that time were influenced by family relations.

Anderson explains the family ties between Astyages and his son Cyaxares II (Median) and Cambyses I and his son Cyrus II (Persian) and the resulting transition in power from the Medes to the Persians:

The Median king Astyages (throne name: Ahasuerus/Xerxes) formed an alliance with the Persians which was formalized when he gave his daughter Mandane in marriage to the Persian king Cambyses I (ca. 580 BC). Henceforward, the Medes and the Persians were to be confederated as a single state. Since Media was the more powerful of the two peoples, the Median king was to be head of the confederated government. The firstborn son of Cambyses I and Mandane was Cyrus, who therefore stood in line to succeed his father as king of Persia. . . . in Media Astyages died and was succeeded by his son Cyaxares II (throne name: Darius). Within a few years, Cyrus had won the support of many nations and had effectively surrounded Babylonia with his forces. He conducted his affairs largely in independence of Cyaxares, who was still formally the head of government. At some point, Cyrus had been given the title of “king,” either when his father died, or when he was formally recognized as the crown prince.109

Cyaxares had no son, and therefore no natural successor. To complete the circumstances, Cassandane, the wife of Cyrus who had borne him Cambyses, died shortly after the fall of Babylon. Thus it was, that when Cyrus returned to Media to present the spoils of victory to Cyaxares, the latter gave him his daughter in marriage and betrothed Media to Cyrus along with her. Cyrus was now crown prince of Media, in addition to being king of Persia and commander of the army. When Cyaxares died about two years after the fall of Babylon (ca. 537 BC), Cyrus established a new dynasty which occupied a united Medo-Persian throne.110

4.3.8 - Darius is Astyages II?

Theodotian’s version of Bel and the Dragon (1:1) has been understood by some to associate Darius the Mede with the Median king Astyages:111 Καὶ ὁ βασιλεὺς Ἀστυάγης προσετέθη πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας αὐτοῦ καὶ παρέλαβεν Κῦρος ὁ Πέρσης τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ. [Kai ho basileus Astuagēs prosetethē pros tous pateras autou kai parelaben Kuros ho Persēs tēn basileian autoụ]112

Probably the oldest extant interpretations of Darius the Mede are to be found in the Greek versions of Daniel. The Theodotionic text of Bel and the Dragon 1:1 (intended to follow Daniel 12:13) evidently identifies Darius the Mede with the Median king Astyages, given the parallel wording to Daniel 6:1(Th) / 5:31(E) and the fact that the chapter is set after the fall of Babylon: “And King Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus the Persian received his kingdom” . . . . This statement was probably not intended as a denial of the existence of Darius the Mede, but rather gives an interpretation of who Darius the Mede was. The name “Astyages” was evidently substituted for “Darius” for the sake of clarity, since Astyages was commonly held to be the last Median king.113

This is Astyages II, not to be confused with Astyages I—the grandfather of Cyrus by his daughter Mandane (see Family Ties Among World Powers).114

This identification of Darius the Mede is one of the oldest among commentators,115 including the great Bible chronologist, Martin Anstey.116

The claim of Astyages king of the Medes was made to rest, first on the conciliatory disposition manifested by Cyrus toward conquered kings, and then on the fact that Cyrus was related to the Median king either by descent or by marriage, and lastly on the argument that it would be sound policy on the part of Cyrus to gratify his Median subjects by making a descendant of Cyaxares viceroy of Babylon.117

Against this identification is Xenophon’s statement that Astyages died before Cyrus began his campaign118 and the age given for Darius the Mede at the fall of Babylon (Dan. 5:31) making him a mere seven-year-old boy at his ascension to the throne.119

4.3.9 - Darius is Cambyses II?

The view identifying Cambyses II as Darius the Mede originated as early as 1901,120 but its greatest proponent has been Boutflower, writing in 1923.121 Cambyses II was the son of Cyrus and his successor, who became viceroy in 538 B.C. and ruled Persia from 530-522 B.C.. (See Family Ties Among World Powers.)

If we follow the guidance of the Annalistic Tablet . . . and the irrefutable evidence of the contract tablets, there are two persons, and only two, who can henceforth be looked upon as forming the original of the Darius of the Book of Daniel. According to the cuneiform records the choice must lie between Gobryas, Cyrus’ governor in Babylon, and Cambyses the son of Cyrus. . . . I am inclined to give the precedence to Cambyses the son of Cyrus; and that, mainly on two grounds: first, Gobryas, unlike Darius the Mede, is never called a king, or described as having royal power, he is only a “governor”; secondly, Gobryas was not the successor of Belshazzar on the throne of Babylon. In both of these respects Cambyses has incomparably the stronger claim . . . for some nine months in the first year of Cyrus after the capture of Babylon, Cambyses occupied the same position in relation to his father Cyrus, both in the empire and on the throne of Babylonia, which Belshazzar had held under his father Nabonidus; and also that Cambyses was appointed by his father Cyrus as the successor of Belshazzar. And this is what I understand the writer of the Book of Daniel to mean, when, after describing the circumstances of Belshazzar’s death, he adds, “and Darius the Mede received the kingdom,” i.e. Darius received that had been Belshazzar’s.122

Cyrus, anxious doubtless to conciliate the Babylonians, and knowing that nothing was so likely to effect this as giving them a king of their own to succeed the dead Belshazzar, designed to place his young son Cambyses on the throne, and to give him the title, “King of Babylon,” which had probably been given to Belshazzar. For this purpose he waited till near the close of the year to show all due respect to the dead monarch. Then, as soon as the week of public mourning was over, and when the vast throng of people were duly impressed with the kindness of the conqueror, on the very next day he sent his son Cambyses to the temple of Nebo, a temple which bears this significant name, ‘The Temple where the Sceptre of the World is given.’ Into this temple kings entered at the beginning of their reign. Thus Nabonidus says on his famous stele, “ ‘Into the Temple where the Sceptre of the World is given,’ into the presence of Nebo the prolonger of my reign, I entered. A righteous sceptre, a legitimate rod of authority enlarging the land, he entrusted to my hands.” [Stele of Nabonidus, col. vii.] Cambyses, by entering this temple immediately after the obsequies of Belshazzar were over showed that he was about to succeed that monarch. . . . After the ceremony of Cambyses’ visit to the temple of Nebo, it would appear to the people of Babylon that as Cyrus had taken the place of Nabonidus on the throne of empire, so his son Cambyses had taken the place of Belshazzar the son of Nabonidus on the throne of Babylon. The above reference, so likely in itself, is abundantly confirmed by the evidence of the contract tablets. . . . The mention of their two royal names on the . . . ten tablets of the first year of Cyrus, belonging to six different months, is a sure proof that he and his son Cambyses were reigning together during the first nine months of that year, the former as “King of Countries,” the latter as “King of Babylon.”123

As additional evidence, Boutflower notes that when dating events Daniel only mentions the first year of Darius the Mede (Dan. 9:1; 11:1) corresponding with the temporary role which Cambyses held under Cyrus as “King of Babylon.”124 Where Josephus mentions that Darius the Mede “was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks,”125 Boutflower suggests the name Josephus failed to relate was Cambyses. He points out the historian Ctesias states Cambyses was the son of the daughter of Astyages—a statement similar to Josephus.126 But there are several problems with Boutflower’s identification.

First, contrary to ancient practice, Boutflower makes Cambyses a Median through his maternal rather than paternal line.127 Moreover, Herodotus contradicts Ctesias and identifies the mother of Cambyses as Cassandane—of Persian descent.128

Second, Daniel indicates Darius the Mede was about 62 years old when he received the kingdom (Dan. 5:31). Since Cyrus was close to this age himself, his son Cambyses would have been far younger. Boutflower realizes this and suggests a scribe of the book of Daniel has mistakenly copied the Hebrew letters—misrepresenting the age of Darius—which should have originally read 12 instead of 62 (samek ס, denoting the value 60, being copied by mistake for an original yod י, denoting the value 10).129

Whitcomb responds:

Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old when he received the kingdom from Belshazzar (Dan. 5:31), and Cambyses could not possibly have been that old in 539 B.C. Realizing this, Boutflower maintains that a copyist made a mistake in transcribing the original number-letters, and that Darius the Mede was not sixty-two in the year of Babylon’s fall, but only twelve! The theory is somewhat bizarre and lacks adequate proof.130

It seems Cambyses is neither Median, nor of the right generation to qualify as Darius the Mede.

4.3.10 - Darius is Cyrus?

Cyrus II of Persia

Cyrus II of Persia


This view holds Cyrus, whose forces invaded Babylon on the night of Belshazzar’s death, is the biblical Darius the Mede.”

A second proposal to reconcile Daniel’s account with that of Herodotus identifies Darius the Mede as none other than Cyrus himself. This theory was evidently first put forth by Boscawen in 1878, as an early response to the publication of cuneiform records indicating that Cyrus conquered Babylon and began to reign as king immediately afterward [W. St. Chad Boscawen, “Babylonian Dated Tablets, and the Canon of Ptolemy,” Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology 6, no. 1 (1878): 29-30]. Boscawen’s proposal was disparaged shortly thereafter by Rawlinson, who, after a few brief criticisms, wrote, “We will not insult our readers’ intellects by continuing” [George Rawlinson, Egypt and Babylon from Sacred and Profane Sources (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1885), 127-28]. After suffering neglect for many years, this proposal was revived by the noted Assyriologist D. J. Wiseman, who gave it a more credible defense [D. J. Wiseman, “Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel,” in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel (London: Tyndale, 1965), 12-16]. The identification of Darius with Cyrus has been the most popular view among recent writers who uphold the historicity of Darius the Mede, probably due to increasing problems discovered in the Gubaru theory.132

The most likely solution to the problem is that Darius the Mede is another name for Cyrus, whose mother was a Median princess. The evidence for the identification of Cyrus as Darius the Mede is considerable. Darius was about 62 years of age when Babylonian was conquered (Dan 5:31). Cyrus died at the age of 70 in 530 B.C. This would have made him about 62 in 539 B.C. when Babylon was conquered. Herodotus twice notes that Cyrus was not the great Persian ruler’s original name but that his mother, a Median, had given him a different name at birth. Darius appointed 120 satraps (Dan 6:1), issued a letter to “all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in the entire earth” (Dan. 6:25-27), and restricted prayer so that it could only be addressed to the king (Dan 6:7, 12)—all indicative of supreme royal authority that would have been reserved only for Cyrus. Finally, we should note that Dan 6:28 most probably identifies Darius the Mede as Cyrus by use of an epexegetical waw. . . . The conjunction waw is often used epexegetically in Daniel. It also is used to identify the Assyrian king Pul as Tiglath-pileser at 1 Chr 5:26. By . . . tying the names Darius (the Mede) and Cyrus (the Persian) together; Daniel makes the point that Babylon fell to “the Medes and the Persians” (Dan 5:28) in fulfillment of the prophecies that Babylon would fall to the Medes (Isa 13:17; Jer 51:11, 28) in conjunction with the Persians (Isa 21:2).133 - -ADVOCATES
Advocates of this view include: Clough,134 Constable.135 Dean,136 Miller,137 Steinmann,138 and Wiseman.139 - From Median to Persian Dominance
Proponents of this view do not believe there was a final Median king named Darius prior to the ascendancy of Persia under Cyrus. They bypass this possibility in asserting Darius the Mede and Cyrus are one-and-the-same.

It is our view they err in giving greater weight to (uninspired) extra-biblical historical records than a straightforward reading of the (inspired) biblical record. This is an unfortunate pattern within the field of biblical commentary: 1) the biblical text—when taken at face value—says something concerning a topic; 2) non-believing scholars emphasize the silence of the extant archaeological record regarding the topic; 3) believing commentators, in an attempt to gain traction (or a hearing) in academia, work valiantly to reinterpret the biblical text to conform to the uninspired and incomplete archaeological record; 4) in the process, the plain biblical record is distorted.140

The issue comes down to how soon Media was eclipsed in the transition from a Medo-Persian Empire (with Media over Persia) to a Persian Empire (with Media under Persia).141

It appears that the Chaldean kingdom, after its overthrow by the Medes and Persians, did not immediately pass into the hands of Cyrus, but that between the last of the Chaldean kings who lost the kingdom and the reign of Cyrus the Persian, Darius, descended from a Median family, held the reins of government, and that not till after him did Cyrus mount the throne of the Chaldean kingdom, which had been subdued by the Medes and Persians.142

The primary historical issue . . . is whether Cyrus deposed the last Median king (Astyages) ca. 560-550 BC, well before the fall of Babylon, or whether he inherited the position of the last Median king (. . . Darius the Mede) ca. 537 BC, within about two years after the fall of Babylon.143

From our vantage point in history, the interpreter is faced with the following choice: 1) follow extra-biblical archaeological evidence highlighting Cyrus’ early career (omitting any mention of Darius); or 2) hold fast to the inspired biblical record which seems to describe two different individuals.

Archaeological records attributing early dominance to Cyrus and omitting Darius the Mede144 include the Egibi Tablets,145 the Cyrus Cylinder, the Verse Account of Nabonidus, the Nabonidus Chronicle, and the Dream Text (Sippar Cylinder) of Nabonidus.146 But how objective are these records, and what importance should be attributed to their omission of Darius the Mede in view of their commercial or political purpose?147

No one doubts Persia, under Cyrus, eventually dominated Media—the Scriptures say as much (Dan. 8:3 cf. Dan. 8:20; 10:1, 13; 11:2).

Daniel refers four times in Daniel 5-6 to “the Medes and the Persians” (Dan. 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15 ; cf. Dan. 8:20), because a Median king was reigning over the empire at the time of the events in these chapters. However, the book of Esther reverses this order to “the Persians and the Medes,” because Persian kings were reigning at the time of that book’s history (Est. 1:3, 14, 18-19). This fits well with vision of the ram in Daniel 8:3, which indicates that the Medes were initially dominant when the Medo-Persian Empire began, but that the Persians subsequently became dominant. This is further corroborated by Isaiah 13:17 and Jeremiah 51:11, 28, in which God says He will bring the Medes against Babylon. If Cyrus had conquered the Medes, so that the Persians were ruling over them, these prophecies should have represented the Persians as the primary nation that comes against Babylon. Instead, the Bible presents the Medes as the leading nation which overthrew Babylon. Thus, this biblical evidence indicates that Cyrus the Persian did not in fact become king of the Medo-Persian Empire until after the fall of Babylon.148

The issue is whether, at the overthrow of Babylon and for the time period described within Daniel 6, Cyrus was ruling alone—or shared rule with the final Median ruler whom he eventually overthrew.149

Cyrus shared power with a Median king until about two years after the fall of Babylon. . . . Cyrus did not make a hostile conquest of Media, did not dethrone the last Median king, and did not become the highest regent in the Medo-Persian Empire until after the fall of Babylon. . . . Cuneiform references to Cyrus as “king” soon after the fall of Babylon are easily explained through a coregency which lasted until the death of Darius the Mede . . .150

There was a Median king who was reigning as head of the Medo-Persian confederation at the time of Babylon’s fall. Cyrus was his coregent, the hereditary king of the realm of Persia, the crown prince of Media, the commander of the Medo-Persian army—yet it was King Darius who was officially recognized as the highest power in the realm.151

The length of the reign of Darius the Median is not stated in Scripture, . . . but it is clear from Dan. 6:28 that he was succeeded by Cyrus, and from 2 Chron. 36:20-23 that the 1st year of Cyrus was the 70th and last of the 70 years’ captivity which began in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim, B.C. 605. Hence, whatever may be the number and the names of the monarchs between Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, and whatever the number of years that each monarch reigned, we know that the 1st year of Cyrus was the year B.C. 536, and we may provisionally accept the received dates derived from secular history as given by E. A. W. Budge in the British Museum Guide . . . adding thereto the name of Belshazzar as Co-Rex with his father Nabonidus, B.C. 541-539, and the name of Darius the Mede as Rex B.C. 538 and 537, with Cyrus as Co-Rex during these two years, and making Cyrus sole King on the death of Darius the Mede, B.C. 536.152

Although Cyrus began his reign over Babylon when the city fell, the question is whether he was part of a confederation of kings under the wider umbrella of Median rule?153

In the only other paragraph in the History of the Peloponnesian War that mentions Cyrus the Great, Thucydides attributes the conquest of Asia Minor to “Cyrus and Persia” (Κῦρος καὶ ἡ Περσικὴ [Kuros kai hē Persikē]) [Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War 1.14.2].154

Given the close family ties between Cyrus and the Median line of rulers, it should come as no surprise a Mede assumed the throne after the capture of Babylon:

How could a Mede have assumed the throne after a combined Medo-Persian army had captured Babylon? The answer is found in Cyrus’s well-known practice of promoting goodwill and loyalty on the part of the Medes by choosing the ablest of them to high office in the newly constituted Medo-Persian Empire. According to Herodotus (1.127) it was a Median general named Harpagus who encouraged young Cyrus to revolt against his grandfather Astyages, king of Media. Even after he had defeated and captured Astyages, Cyrus treated him with respect and even made him satrap of Barcania or Hyrcania (according to Ctesias, at least). The Median capital, Ecbatana, was taken over by Cyrus as administrative head of the new empire. R. Ghirshman (Iran [Baltimore: Pelican, 1954], p. 129) states, “The Median officials, in association with a number of Persians, were kept at their posts, and the change in the seat of power took place so discreetly that for the western peoples, the Persian was still the Median kingdom.” This was certainly the case so far as Herodotus and Xenophon were concerned. They often refer to the officials and the armies of Darius and Xerxes as “Medes” in alternation with the term “Persians.”155

Although forces with Cyrus overthrew Babylon, Daniel’s statements that Darius the Mede “received the kingdom” (Dan. 5:31) and was “made king” (Dan. 9:1) could naturally describe how control over Babylon—in the de facto hands of Cyrus—was transferred or subjugated beneath a Median ruler of greater authority. Or these statements could be taken as describing the sovereign action of God, who sets up and deposes kings.156 - LXX on Cyrus vs. Darius
As mentioned earlier, some commentators appeal to the LXX, Theodotion’s version of Bel and the Dragon, in support of the idea early Jewish interpreters believed Cyrus to be Darius the Mede.157 Theodotion’s text of Bel and the Dragon has Cyrus as king when Daniel is cast into a lion’s den (Bel. 1-2, 29-31)—an obvious parallel to the famous event Daniel records during the reign of Darius the Mede (Dan. 6:16). But a closely-related indicator of early Jewish thought, the Old Greek (OG) text of the LXX, identifies Darius and Cyrus as different individuals.158 In any event, it seems unwise to read much authority into inferences based on such a fanciful and unreliable account as Bel and the Dragon. - Son of Ahasuerus
Daniel gives the name of the father of Darius the Mede as Ahasuerus (Dan. 9:1), the Hebrew equivalent of Xerxes159 Within the context of Daniel 9:1, many hold it to be a reference to Astyages (see Family Ties Among World Powers)160 and argue that this is contrary to taking Darius the Mede as Cyrus—whose father was Cambyses.161 But this argument is weak since the term is an indefinite royal title applied to others besides Astyages (Xerxes, Est. 1:1). It is at least plausible the title could be applied to one of Cyrus’ predecessors.162 - A Median King?
If Daniel unambiguously describes Darius as a Mede (Dan. 5:31; 11:1 cf. Jer. 51:11, 28), how could Cyrus—of Persian descent—qualify to be Darius? Advocates of this view appeal to subtle distinctions to make their case:

Darius is called a Mede in Daniel, but never “king of the Medes.” Instead, Daniel uses “the Mede” to refer to Darius’ descent from Median ancestors (Dan. 9:1). This matches what was known of Cyrus. On his father’s side he was a Persian: he was descended from his great-great-grandfather Achaemenes (ca. 700–ca. 675), his great-grandfather Teispes (ca. 675–ca. 640), his grandfather Cyrus I (ca. 640-600), and his father Cambyses I (ca. 600-559), all of whom were Persian rulers. However, Cyrus’ father, Cambyses, was a vassal of the Medes and married Mandane, the daughter of the Median king Astyages (Old Persian: Aršivaiga; 585-550). Cyrus became ruler of Persia in 559 BC. He rebelled against his grandfather Astyages and deposed him in 550. Thus Cyrus united the Medes and the Persians in his dual heritage as a Persian and a Mede, and he eventually became ruler of the combined kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians. Herodotus knew that Cyrus was the son of a daughter of Astyages, and Xenophon noted that he was born to a daughter of a Median king. In Dan 9:1 Darius the Mede is called “son of Ahasuerus,” which may refer to his Median grandfather, since “Ahasuerus” could be a Hebrew rendition of [Cyrus’] Median name (translated into English as) Astyages.163

Steinmann admits to Cyrus’ strong Persian paternal connection, but argues for a tenuous Median connection: his father was a vassal of the Medes and his mother, Mandane, was a Mede. (See Family Ties Among World Powers.) We’ve seen a similar argument before: proponents of the view identifying Cambyses as Darius the Mede argue that Cambyses can be considered Median by virtue of his mother Amytis. But, as we observed earlier, this runs counter to ancient practice which reckoned ethnic ties along paternal lines.164

The discovery of one of the Nabonidus texts at Harran, inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform, referred to the “king of the Medes” in the tenth year of the reign of Nabonidus (546 B.C.). D. J. Wiseman identified this ruler with Cyrus the Persian, assuming that he used the title “king of the Medes” in addition to the more customary designation of “king of Persia, king of Babylonia, king of the lands.” . . . While Cyrus was related to the Medes through his mother Mandane, it was the custom of the Achaemenid kings to trace their lineage to Persian origins in the victories of Achaemenes over Sennacherib in 681 B.C. Thus the reference to the “seed of the Medes” (Dan. 9:1) must imply that the paternal ancestry of Darius was Median. This, as Rowley has pointed out, would not describe Cyrus the Persian accurately.165

Steinmann realizes the weakness of his argument and suggests that although Cyrus was not Median, perhaps Daniel used the phrase “the Mede” for reasons of prophetic fulfillment:

Daniel’s use of the name “Darius” may be his way of emphasizing the fulfillment of the words of the prophets who spoke of the Medes as the ones who would bring about Babylon’s fall (Isa. 13:17; 21:2; Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel himself speaks about the fall of Babylon to “the Medes and the Persians” (Dan. 5:28).166

This seems to suggest the biblical text is stretching the truth in an attempt to cover a mismatch between the predicted words of the prophets (Babylon would fall to a Median power) and the historical reality (that it fell to Cyrus, a Persian)—a precarious suggestion for a believer, even if well-intentioned.

Taking “Darius the Mede as a description of an individual with such definite Persian ancestry seems too big of a stretch. If Daniel meant to describe a person with such strong Persian ties through his paternal ancestry, why wouldn’t he have written, “Darius the Persian?

Cyrus always identifies himself as Persian, rather than Median, as do other historical records from the period. Thus, when Cyrus boasts of his royal lineage in lines 20-22 of the Cyrus Cylinder, he speaks only of his Persian ancestry through his paternal linage, and says nothing about his maternal Median ancestry. The book of Daniel, as well, calls Cyrus “the Persian” (Dan 6:28), but calls Darius “the Mede” (Dan 5:31; 11:1).167 - Daniel Describes Two Individuals
A key plank in the identification of Cyrus as the biblical Darius the Mede is the question of how to interpret the waw conjunction where both names are mentioned: “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” [emphasis added] (Dan. 6:28). Does Daniel refer to one or two individuals in this verse? Should the connecting waw be translated “and” (per the KJV, NKJV, NASB, ESV, HCSB, NET, NIV, TNK), or should it be translated “even”—as an epexegetical/explicative?

Proponents of taking the waw epexegetically (as “even”) appeal to what they believe to be a similar passage in 1 Chronicles 5:26, which states: “the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria.” [emphasis added] But how similar are these passages? If they are as similar as proponents maintain, why do the translations which render the waw at 1 Chronicles 5:26 as epexegetical/explicative (“that is,” “even”) render Daniel 6:28 differently? Clearly, the translation committees don’t see the passages as being as similar as proponents of the Cyrus = Darius identification maintain.168

Wiseman points to 1 Chronicles 5:26 as an example of a verse in which a single king is referenced by two different names, separated by a wāw: “the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria” . . . He then suggests that Daniel 6:28 does the same, and translates “in the reign of Darius, even [rather than ‘and’] in the reign of Cyrus the Persian” . . . With this interpretation, the only verse in the book of Daniel that apparently makes an explicit distinction between Darius and Cyrus actually becomes a statement of their identity. . . . In response, it may be noted that 1 Chronicles 5:26 is not an exact parallel to Daniel 6:28, since the former passage uses the same descriptive phrase, “king of Assyria,” with both names. In Daniel 6:28 a contrast of persons seems to be implied—Darius, who is called “the Mede” in Dan. 5:31, versus Cyrus “the Persian.”169

Proponents of this view require Daniel 6:28 to read differently than every major Bible translation—a sure sign we are on thin ice.

More, the view Cyrus is Darius the Mede ignores consistent distinctions Daniel makes between Darius (as a Median, Dan. 5:31; 9:1, 11:1) and Cyrus as a Persion (Dan. 6:28; 10:1). If Cyrus and Darius in Daniel are describing the same individual, why would the inspired text lead readers so naturally to conclude two different individuals are in view?170

It is hard to understand why Daniel would mix the nomenclature of “Cyrus (the Persian)” (Dan. 1:21; 6:28; 10:1) and “Darius (the Mede)” (Dan. 5:31; 6:1, 6, 9, 25, 28; 6:2, 7, 10, 26,; 9:1; 11:1) if one and the same person were intended by them. Indeed, there is a historical reference to the first year of “Darius the Mede” (Dan. 11:1) in the context of a vision that is said to have occurred in the third year of “Cyrus king of Persia” (Dan. 10:1). The most straightforward explanation of the references in Dan. 10:1 and Dan. 11:1 is that Cyrus had succeeded Darius by the time of this vision—not that the writer of the book was haphazardly mixing the names and descriptions of a single person. Daniel refers once to the first year of Cyrus (Dan. 1:21), so the difference cannot be explained by the hypothesis that Cyrus took a different name during his first year. . . . Wherever two different names are used for a single person elsewhere in the book, the identification is made explicit (Dan. 1:7; 2:26; 4:8, 19; 5:12; 10:1). Daniel 6:28 does not identify Darius and Cyrus as one and the same person, but rather distinguishes between the two men and their reigns in accordance with the ordinary and expected meaning of wāw.171

Josephus also understood Darius and Cyrus to be different individuals.172 - An Unpersuasive Theory
We find ourselves in agreement with Anderson:

While Wiseman may have demonstrated that the identification of Darius the Mede with Cyrus the Persian is logically possible, no one has demonstrated that it is historically probable. The greatest difficulty in seeing an identity between Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian is the apparent distinction made between the two in the book of Daniel itself. Further, no source outside of the book of Daniel gives any indication that Cyrus was known as Darius the Mede.173

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Cyrus equals Darius identification is its implication concerning the perspicuity of Scripture: if Daniel meant to communicate that Cyrus and Darius the Mede were one-and-the-same, then the book of Daniel is either obscure or misleading.

Advocates of this view include: Steinmann174 and Wiseman.175

4.3.11 - Darius is Cyaxares II?

If Darius the Mede is not Gobryas, Gubaru, Ugbaru, Astyages II, Cambyses II, or Cyrus, what candidates remain for the last Median king? We discuss two additional identities that have been suggested: 1) Cyaxares II; or, 2) his son—an individual with scant historical information.

The view Darius is Cyaxares II son of Astyages I, brother of Mandane and Amyite, was once a popular view for the identity of Darius the Mede.

The view that Darius the Mede is the man identified by Xenophon as Cyaxares II was once the dominant view among commentators on the book of Daniel, but was virtually abandoned after Akkadian inscriptions that supported Herodotus were discovered in the late nineteenth century. . . . Major Akkadian inscriptions which agree, in general, with the version of the Cyrus story given by Herodotus include the Nabonidus Chronicle, the Verse Account of Nabonidus (apparently), and the Dream Text/Sippar Cylinder of Nabonidus.176

Commentators who followed Xenophon’s history identified Darius the Mede with Cyaxares II, while those who followed Herodotus identified Darius the Mede with Astyages. The majority view until the nineteenth century identified Darius the Mede with Cyaxares II, and affirmed the historicity of both. The nineteenth century saw a split develop between writers who followed Xenophon’s presentation of the accession of Cyrus, and those who followed Herodotus. The turning point in this debate came when the Cyrus Cylinder, the Nabonidus Chronicle, the Dream Text, and Babylonian contract texts from the reigns of Nabonidus and Cyrus were all published at about the same time (ca. 1880). Each of these cuneiform sources appeared to reflect the Herodotean story of the accession of Cyrus, and did not recognize the reign of any Median king between Nabonidus and Cyrus. Nearly all scholars viewed these texts as confirmation of Herodotus; the historicity of Xenophon’s Cyaxares II was considered disproved.177

This view received widespread and early consideration, largely because of two early and influential proponents: Jerome178 and Josephus.179

Barnes summarizes the view. It accounts for the contribution of Cyrus, leading the overthrow of Babylon, and the supremacy of Darius in light of their family ties.

Cyaxares, the uncle of Cyrus, is in the Scripture called Darius the Mede Dan. 5:31, and it is said there, that it was by him that Babylon was taken. But Babylon was taken by the valor of Cyrus, though acting in connection with, and under Cyaxares; and it is said to have been taken by Cyaxares, or Darius, though it was done by the personal valor of Cyrus. Josephus (Ant. xii. 13) says, that Darius with his ally, Cyrus, destroyed the kingdom of Babylon. Jerome assigns three reasons why Babylon is said in the Scriptures to have been taken by Darius or Cyaxares; first, because he was the older of the two; secondly, because the Medes were at that time more famous than the Persians; and thirdly, because the uncle ought to be preferred to the nephew. The Greek writers say that Babylon was taken by Cyrus, without mentioning Cyaxares or Darius, doubtless because it was done solely by his valor.180

As we discussed above, the primary historians of this period, Herodotus and Xenophon, differ at numerous points (see Herodotus vs. Xenophon). With the discovery and publication of new archaeological texts, the historical account from Herodotus appeared vindicated. The account in Xenophon’s Cyropœdia, identifying Cyaxares II as the king under whom Babylon was taken, fell into disfavor.181

However, this view was almost completely abandoned after Akkadian inscriptions that supported Herodotus were discovered and published in the late nineteenth century (ca. 1880). Thus, although the identification of Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares II goes back at least to Josephus and Jerome, this view has virtually disappeared from commentaries on Daniel since Keil—so much so that many modern OT scholars probably are not even aware of this position or of the evidence which supports it.182

Yet there remains historical and archaeological support for this view beyond Xenophon’s Cyropœdia. The Harran Stele implies there was a king of the Medes whom Cyrus did not overthrow,183 and the Behistun Inscription mentions “Cyaxares” by name.184 There are also significant parallel’s between Xenophon’s account of Cyaxares and Daniel’s Darius.

If Daniel’s Darius the Mede is to be found in Xenophon’s account, he is Cyaxares (II), the son of Astyages. The positions of these two men are obviously parallel—Cyaxares is king of the Medo-Persian Empire, and so is Darius. Daniel 9:1 states that Darius was a Median king, and Cyaxares was the son of the Median king Astyages. Xenophon portrays Cyrus as commander of the combined Medo-Persian army while still a subordinate to the Median king. This offers a way of harmonizing the biblical (Isa. 45:1-3) and extrabiblical texts that present Cyrus as a conqueror of kingdoms with Daniel’s implied claim that the reign of Cyrus over the empire did not begin until after the fall of Babylon. Xenophon notes that Cyaxares was the uncle of Cyrus, and he states explicitly that Cyaxares was older than Cyrus [Xenophon Cyropaedia 4.5.32; 6.1.6]. Although Xenophon does not specifically give the age of Cyaxares, Daniel’s statement that Darius was sixty-two when he “received” . . . the Babylonian kingdom (Dan. 5:31) fits easily within the expected parameters. Initially, Xenophon’s account appears to have many correspondences to that of Daniel. . . . The most obvious objection to the identification of Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares is use of different names. Daniel 9:1 refers to “Darius the son of Ahasuerus” . . . , whereas the corresponding figure in Xenophon’s story is called “Cyaxares” . . . , the son of “Astyages”. This is, however, merely a difference, not a contradiction, for one individual may have multiple names.185

Herodotus and Xenophon were not the only historians to discuss the fall of Babylon. Berosus, a Chaldean Priest residing at Babylon, wrote a history of Babylonia in Greek (ca. 268 B.C.).186 Relating the events of the fall of Babylon, Berosus mentions both Cyrus and “King Darius,” indicating Darius had great authority.187 There is some question whether this fragment of Berosus is genuine. If it is, then it provides a substantial historical witness to a Median king who held great authority at the time of the fall of Babylon.188

Advocates of this view include: Anderson,189 Barnes,190 Calvin,191 Clarke,192 Combs,193 Fausset,194 Feinberg,195 Gill,196 Gesenius,197 Gill,198 Greene,199 Hengstenberg,200 Jerome,201 Josephus,202 Keil,203 Larkin,204 McGee,205 Torrey,206 Ussher,207 Young,208 and Zöckler.209 To these names may be added the extensive list compiled by Anderson.210

4.3.12 - Darius is Darius

As we’ve seen, numerous historical candidates have been proposed as Darius the Mede.” These well-intentioned proposals are motivated by the desire to correlate the record of the Bible with information known from extra-biblical history and archaeology. This underscores an important attribute of the Bible: the events it describes are anchored in real history. The Bible is much more than a book of philosophy, morals, or theology. It documents the outworking of God’s purpose (telos) in history, from creation (Genesis 1) to redemption and restoration (Revelation 22).

But the Bible differs from other historical records because it is God-breathed (2Ti. 3:16) and therefore inerrant (e.g., Ps. 119:140, 160; Dan. 10:21; Mat. 5:18; Luke 16:17). This must be kept in mind when comparing the account of the Bible with uninspired historical records. Where extra-biblical historical records contradict or omit information given in the Bible, the biblical record must take precedence. Especially given the fragmentary nature of the archaeological record.

As was the case for many years with Belshazzar, the relative silence of the extra-biblical record concerning Darius the Mede may come to an end through the process of archaeological discovery. This possibility should give the biblical interpreter pause: the biblical title “Darius the Mede” may ultimately surface in the archaeological record describing a different individual than any of the men proposed above.

Only fragmentary extra-biblical information related to a Median king named Darius is presently known. These sources identify a king by the name of Darius who was a contemporary of Cyrus, Nabonidus, and Belshazzar, and having authority greater than Cyrus.

[There are] two ancient extrabiblical sources of a king named Darius who preceded Darius (I) Hystaspes (522-486 BC). According to one of these sources, this Darius ruled at exactly the time that Daniel assigned to Darius the Mede. Neither source derived its information from the Bible or from any text that depends on the Bible. These sources and their importance relative to Daniel’s Darius were noted in the nineteenth century by C. F. Keil. They were also noted by Otto Zöckler. These eminent German Protestant commentaries are still in print, so it is curious that, with few exceptions, modern commentaries on the book of Daniel repeat the misconception that there is no mention of a ruler named Darius who was a contemporary of Cyrus the Great in any ancient work except the book of Daniel and works that rely on it, such as Josephus.211

The Babylonian historian Berossus wrote during the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus I (281-261 BC) a three-volume history of Babylon called the Babyloniaca. Scholars believe that Berossus derived his information primarily from Babylonian sources, such as cuneiform records stored in the Esagila. . . . Babyloniaca is also cited in the first volume of the Chronicle of Eusebius . . . Eusebius’s citation of Berossus . . . adds further information as follows: “Cyrus at first treated him [Nabonidus] kindly, and, giving a residence to him in Carmania, sent him out of Babylonia. (But) Darius the king took away some of his province for himself.” [Josef Karst, ed., Die Chronik aus dem Armenischen übersetzt mit textkritischem Commentar, vol. 5 of Eusebius Werke, Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte, vol. 20 (Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1911), 246. Karst gives an alternative translation of the final clause that emends the base text to read “(But) Darius the king kept him out of that province.” If this alternative reading was the original, it would still preserve the idea that Darius was a king and that he could override an order given by Cyrus.] . . . Beaulieu . . . suggested that the Darius in question could be Darius Hystaspes. By his own admission, however, Nabonidus was between sixty-five and seventy years old when he became king in 556 BC, which means that he would have been between 99 and 104 years old when Darius Hystaspes ascended to the throne in 522 BC, if he were still alive (possible, but unlikely). . . . If the authenticity of this text in Eusebius/Abydenus/Berossus is acknowledged, several points may be inferred: 1) there was another king who was contemporaneous with Cyrus and Nabonidus; 2) he was associated with these two kings when Babylon was conquered, thus also making him a contemporary of Belshazzar, son and coregent of Nabonidus, who was ruling in Babylon at the time; 3) this king was named Darius; 4) he somehow had authority over Cyrus, since he was able to overrule Cyrus’s disposition of part of Carmania. [emphasis added]212

Another extra-biblical attestation to Darius the Mede may be the daric, mentioned earlier—a coin minted and named in honor of “Darius.” Against Herodotus—who attributed the daric to Darius Hystaspes (reigned 521→486 B.C.)—Harpocration indicates the coin memorialized an earlier Darius.

Valerius Harpocration was a lexicographer who wrote in the latter half of the second century AD and who was a tutor of the emperor Verus (reigned AD 161-169). He was associated with the great library at Alexandria and consequently had access to many ancient books that later were lost when the library was destroyed. His only surviving work is Lexicon of the Ten Orators, a glossary to terminology used by Greek orators. The portion of Harpocration’s work that is significant for the issue of Darius the Mede is his entry for the word “daric” (δαρεικός [dareikos]). Herodotus claimed that Darius Hystaspes invented the daric coin as a memorial to himself (Histories 4.166). By contrast, in Harpocration’s entry for “daric,” he wrote, “But darics are not named, as most suppose, after Darius the father of Xerxes, but after certain other more ancient king.” [Harpocration, Lexeis of the Ten Orators Δ 5, Δαρεικός [Dareikos].] Harpocration nowhere in his work refers to the Bible or to any biblical subject, which makes it highly unlikely that he took his information from the book of Daniel. . . . According to Harpocration, the Darius after whom the daric coin was named lived before Darius (I) Hystaspes. Although Bivar claimed that the daric was first minted in 515 BC, Rogers argued that Herodotus’s reference to millions of darics in existence at the time of Xerxes’s invasion of Greece in 480 BC shows that darics must have begun to be minted well before the time of Darius Hystaspes.213

This was the view held by Newton,214 who identified Darius the Mede as the son of Cyaxares,215 as did Anstey.216 See Family Ties Among World Powers.

Newton elaborates:

According to Herodotus and Xenophon, Astyages gave his daughter Mandane to Cambyses, a prince of Persia, and by them Astyages became the grandfather of Cyrus. [Herodotus, book 1. c. 107, 108] [Xenophon, Cyropœdia, book 1. c. 2. s. 1. 5:11, 13] According to Xenophon, Cyaxeres was the son of Astyages and gave his daughter to Cyrus. [Xenophon, Cyropœdia, book 1. c. 4. s. 9. 5:53] Xenophon says that this daughter . . . used to play with Cyrus when they were both children, and she said she would marry him. [Xenophon, Cyropœdia, book 8. c. 5. s. 19. 6:403] [Xenophon, Cyropœdia, book 8. c. 5. s. 28. 6:409] Therefore, they were about the same age. . . . So then Astyages, Cyaxeres and Darius reigned successively over the Medes. Cyrus was the grandson of Asytages and married the sister of Darius and succeeded him on the throne. Therefore, Herodotus has inverted the order of the kings Astyages and Cyaxeres. He makes Cyaxeres to be the son and successor of Phraortes, and the father and predecessor of Astyages, the father of Mandane, and the grandfather of Cyrus. . . . It seems most likely then: 1) Astyages, the father of Mandane and the grandfather of Cyrus, was the father and predecessor of Cyaxeres. 2) The son and successor of Cyaxeres was called Darius. [emphasis added]217

Aeschylus, who lived in the reigns of Darius Hystaspes and Xerxes I, and died in the 76th Olympiad around 476 B.C., introduces Darius Hystaspes complaining of those who persuaded his son Xerxes I to invade Greece. . . . For he that first led the army was a Mede; The next, who was his son, finished the work, For prudence directed his soul; The third was Cyrus, a happy man, etc., [Aeschylus, Persians, book 1 v 759-769]. The poet here attributes the founding of the Medo-Persian Empire to two immediate predecessors of Cyrus. The first man was a Mede and the second was his son Darius the Mede, who was the immediate predecessor of Cyrus according to Daniel (Dan. 6:28). Therefore, the first was the father of Darius, that is Achsuerus, Assuerus, Oxyares, Axeres, Prince Axeres, or Cy-Axeres for the word Cy means a prince. Daniel states that Darius was the son of Achsuerus or Ahasuerus, (as the Masoretes erroneously call him), of the seed of the Medes, that is, of the seed royal (Dan. 9:1). That is that Assuerus who together with Nebuchadnezzar took and destroyed Nineveh, according to Tobit (Tobit 14:15). The Greeks attribute this to Cyaxeres and by Eupolemus to Astibares, a name perhaps corruptly written for Assuerus. By this victory over the Assyrians and the overthrow of the empire, whose capital was Nineveh and the ensuing conquests of Armenia, Cappadocia and Persia, he began to extend his reign over all Asia. His son Darius the Mede finished the work by conquering the kingdoms of Lydia and Babylon. The third king was Cyrus, who had great successes under and against Darius and as a result, ruled a large and peaceful empire. [emphasis added]218

Regardless of whether Darius the Mede turns out to be the son of Cyaxares, we expect additional historical information concerning the figure of Darius the Mede to surface in the future in confirmation of the Biblical record.

Firstly, we have only a fraction of the artifacts from ancient times which have survived erosion, decay, souvenir hunting, and other human destruction. Secondly, of this fraction only a fraction of that has been surveyed. Israeli teams, for example, recently surveyed 2,000 archaeological sites of which 800 were previously unknown. Thirdly, of the fraction surveyed only a fraction has been excavated; in Israel, due to modern obstructions and high costs only 150 sites of 5,000 have been excavated. Fourthly, of this very small fraction of sites excavated, only a fraction have been examined and when a tel is excavated, usually only very small parts are actually dug up. One scholar estimated that to examine completely the Hazor site would take 800 more years at the present rate of digging. Finally, of the artifactual material examined, only a fraction has been published; 50 more years would be required just to publish the materials already unearthed and examined. . . . Summarizing the extreme fragmentary nature of the artifactual data, Professor Yamauchi says, “if one could by an optimistic estimate reckon that one-tenth of our materials and inscriptions have survived, that six-tenths of the available sites have been surveyed, that one-fiftieth of these sites have been excavated, that one-tenth of the excavated sites have been examined, that one-half of the materials and inscriptions have been published, one would have one over ten times six over ten times one over fifty times one over ten times one-half at hand, but six one hundred thousandths of all the possible evidence. So any time that someone comes up to you and says that there’s no evidence of Darius the Mede, remember he is dealing with probably about one-millionth of the available data. So you don’t have to worry, there’s probably somewhere in the 999,000 parts that have not been discovered there’s information about this unknown figure, Darius the Mede. [emphasis added]219

Even though our current information is inadequate to solve the riddle beyond doubt, we should not relinquish hope of more information still to be unearthed at some archaeological site or awaiting the philologist’s scrutiny in some silent museum archive. . . . the same uncertainty and speculation surrounded the search for the identification of Belshazzar before the discovery of the cuneiform documents that settled the matter that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’s son.220


1“Fortunately, it is not necessary to settle this question [concerning the identity of Darius] in order to understand what is here meant to be taught us. All the facts and lessons remain precisely the same whether we can tell who this Darius the Median was, or not.”—Joseph Augustus Seiss, Voices from Babylon; or, The Records of Daniel the Prophet (Philadelphia, PA: Porter & Coates, 1879), 162.

2 “[Darius] is used in inscriptions for at least 5 Persian rulers.”—John MacArthur, ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1997), Dan. 5:31. “Grotefend has read it in the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, as Darheush, that is, ‘Lord-King,’ a name applied to many of the Medo-Persian kings in common.”—A. R. Fausset, “The Book of Daniel,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Dan. 6:1.

3“Archer suggested that ‘Darius’ may have been a title of honor in the Persian Empire as ‘Caesar’ was in the Roman Empire or, I might add, ‘Pharaoh’ was in Egypt.”—Thomas Constable, Notes on Daniel (Garland, TX: Sonic Light, 2009), Dan. 5:31. “An item of extrabiblical evidence for ‘Darius’ as a throne name for Cyaxares and ‘Ahasuerus’ as a throne name for Astyages is the use of these two names by Darius Hystaspes and his son Xerxes. . . . Esther 1:1 also indicates that there was at least one king called ‘Ahasuerus’ who reigned before Xerxes, as it explains that ‘this is the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Kush, over 127 provinces’.”—Stephen Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal (PhD diss., TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 2014), 56-57.

4Ibid., 56.

5H. A. Ironside, Lectures on Daniel the Prophet, 2nd ed (New York, NY: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), 79.

6“The true orthography of the name has come to light of late from what is called the cuneiform writing, in which it is written Khshyarshâ, or Khshwershe. This appears to [stand for] . . . lion-king, . . .”—Wilhelm Gesenius, E. Ernest Kautzsch, and Arthur Cowley, eds., Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1910, 2003), 34.

7“The name ‘Darius’ (Old Persian Dārayavauš is a word formed from the Median and/or Persian language. It means ‘holder of the good’ (from dar- ‘to hold’ and vahu ‘the good’). Since the name Darius comes from the Median or Persian language, the first king to have held this name must have been a Mede or a Persian.”—Steven D. Anderson, “The Remembrance of Daniel’s Darius the Mede in Berossus and Harpocration,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 173 no. 690 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, July-September 2016), 321.

8“Modern scholars . . . attach the following meanings to the three names: Darius, ‘possessing wealth’; Xerxes, ‘a royal person’; Artaxerxes, ‘the law of the kingdom,’ or ‘he whose kingdom is lifted up.’ ”—Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel (London, England: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1923), 154.

9“The name Darius - דריוס [ḏryws], is the name under which the three Medo-Persian kings are mentioned in the Old Testament. There is some difference of opinion as to its meaning. Herodotus (vi. 98) says, that it is equivalent to ἐξιες [exies], ‘one who restrains,’ but Hesychius says that it is the same as φρονιμος [phronimos] - ‘prudent.’ Grotefend, who has found it in the cuneiform inscriptions at Persepolis, as Darheush, or Darjeush (‘Heeren’s Ideen,’ i. 2, p. 350), makes it to be a compound word, the first part being an abbreviation of Dara, ‘Lord,’ and the latter portion coming from kshah, ‘king.’ ”—Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1884-85), Dan. 5:31.

10“If we could only be sure as to the meaning of the word Darius, we might understand better why the name was given, or assumed, as a royal or princely appellation. The first part of the name may be the same as the New Persian darâ, ‘king.’ Or the name may be derived from the Old Persian verb dar, ‘to hold,’ and may simply mean ‘holder of the scepter.’ According to Spiegel, Bartholomae, and Tolman, it comes from dar, ‘to hold,’ and a hypothetical vahu (Sansc., vasu), ‘good wealth’; hence ‘possessor of wealth.’ ”—Robert Dick Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel (New York, NY: G. P. Putnams & Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1971), 139.

11“In meaning it is probably connected with the new Persian word Dara, ‘king.’ Herodotus says it means in Greek . . . Ἐξείης [Exeiēs], coercitor, ‘restrainer,’ ‘compeller,’ ‘commander.’ ”—Robert Dick Wilson, “Darius,” in J. W. Orr, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1915), s.v. “Darius.”

12“The first person called Darius is the person who is in [Daniel 6], also mentioned in Daniel 9:1 and 11:1 and that is ‘Darius the Mede.’ The second Darius that’s mentioned in Scripture is Darius the king of Persia, mentioned in Ezra, Haggai Zechariah. He is also known as Darius I Hystaspes and is the cousin of cousin of Cyrus the Great, and he rules after Cyrus, from 521 BC to 486 BC. The third Darius is Darius the Persian who’s mentioned in Nehemiah 12:22, and he is known in history as Darius Codomannus or Darius III and is the last king of Persia before Alexander the Great takes him out and begins the third empire. This Darius is not to be confused with the Darius in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai or Zechariah.”—Robert Dean, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso [transcriber], 2006), 24.285.

13“The name Ahasuerus (which is more of a title than a name) in modern language means majesty. It is used in the Scriptures in connection with at least four persons, and is Persian, rather than Median. Since Darius the Mede was the son (or the grandson) of an Ahasuerus, we know that he was of royal seed (probably through his mother) not only of Media, but also of Persia.”—Oliver B. Greene, Daniel (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, 1964, 1974), 204. See Family Ties Among World Powers.

14“So the Darius, which in the book of Ezra precedes Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, and the Darius which in the same book follows them, is, by the book of I Esdras, one and the same Darius. Therefore, I take the book of I Esdras to be the best interpreter of the historical sequence of the events in the book of Ezra. Hence, the Darius mentioned between Cyrus and Ahasuerus, is Darius Hystaspes. Therefore, Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes who succeeded him, are Xerxes I and Artaxerxes Longimanus. The Jews who came up from Artaxerxes to Jerusalem, and began to build the city and the wall, are Ezra and his companions.”—Isaac Newton, Larry Pierce, and Marion Pierce, eds., Newton’s Revised History of Ancient Kingdoms (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1728, 2009), 129.

15“Darius was the name of three Persian kings: Darius I or Darius the Great (522-486 b.c., whom we shall refer to simply as Darius; Darius II (423-405 b.c.,) who was known as Nothus; and Darius III (335-330 b.c.), also known as Codomannus, the last Persian king, whose kingdom was conquered by Alexander. . . . Darius is mentioned prominently in Ezra 4-6 (compare Hag. 1:1, 15; 2:10; Zech. 1:1, 7; 7:1) as the Persian monarch under whom the temple at Jerusalem was finally reconstructed after the Jewish return from exile under Cyrus. ‘Darius the Persian’ in Nehemiah 12:22 was probably Nothus, but Codomannus has also been suggested. [See F. M. Cross, ‘The Discovery of the Samaria Papyri,’ BA 26 (1963): 121; idem, ‘Aspects of Samaritan and Jewish History in Late Persian and Hellenistic Times,’ HTR 59 (1966): 203ff.]”—Edwin E. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 129-139.

16When describing the Seal of Darius the Great in the British Museum, Masters relates: “Seal of Darius the Great (Case 6): First, it is helpful to know which Darius this is. After the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, a regional governor ruled by the name of Darius, serving under Cyrus. He is described in Daniel 9. He is also mentioned in Daniel 6, and in Daniel 11 where he is called ‘Darius the Mede’. He is not the Darius of this seal. After this regional ruler had passed from the scene, another Darius came to prominence, a successor of Cyrus, emperor of the entire empire. This was Darius the Great, or Darius I, who lived 521-486 BC. During his reign the prophets Zechariah and Haggai ministered, and both mention him. So does Ezra as he records the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 5-6). When obstructionists stopped the rebuilding of the Temple, an appeal was made to Darius I (in 520 BC). He ordered a full investigation of the archives, and found the original decree of Cyrus authorizing the project. Darius made a new proclamation together with a total rebuilding grant (Ezra 6:8).”—Peter Masters, “A Tour of Biblical Evidence in the British Museum,” in Bible and Spade, vol. 13 no. 2 (Landisville, PA: Associates for Biblical Research, Spring 2000), 55. “Darius the Mede was definitely not the same person as Darius the Great (Darius I) who was much younger and ruled Persia later, from 521-486 B.C., nor was he Darius II who ruled even later.”—Constable, Notes on Daniel, Dan. 5:31. “Darius the Mede was sixty-two (Dan. 5:31) when he assumed the throne, whereas Darius the Persian—who was third successor to Cyrus rather than his predecessor—was in his early twenties when he assassinated the imposter Gaumata in 522.”—Gleason Leonard Archer, “Daniel,” vol. 7 in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985), 18.

17John C. Whitcomb, Darius the Mede (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1959, 1963), 7-8.

18Anderson suggests Gobrayas (whom he identifies as Gubaru) is Darius the Mede. “Ezra records that in the reign of Darius Hystaspis the Jews presented a petition to the King, in which they recited Cyrus’ decree authorising the rebuilding of their Temple. The wording of the petition clearly indicates that, to the knowledge of the Jewish leaders, the decree in question had been filed in the house of the archives in Babylon. But the search there made for it proved fruitless, and it was ultimately found in Ecbatana (or Achmetha: Ezra 6:2). How, then, could a State paper of this kind have been transferred to the Median capital? The only reasonable explanation of this extraordinary fact completes the proof that the vassal king whom Daniel calls Darius was the Median general, Gobryas (or Gubaru), who led the army of Cyrus to Babylon. . . . He had governed Media as Viceroy when that country was reduced to the status of a province; and to any one accustomed to deal with evidence, the inference will seem natural that, for some reason or other, he was sent back to his provincial throne, and that, in returning to Ecbatana, he carried with him the archives of his brief reign in Babylon.”—Robert Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1909, 1990), xiv-xvi. Regardless of whether Darius is Gobryas (or Gubaru), this provides evidence of Darius’ connection with Media rather than Persia.

19“Darius the Mede is unhistorical.”—Marc Berlin and Brettler, eds., The Jewish Study Bible (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1985, 2004), Dan. 6:1.

20Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), 1634-1635.

21Andrew E Steinmann, Daniel (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2008), 11.

22“The discovery during the nineteenth century of extrabiblical historical records that name Belshazzar should lead scholars to be more cautious about denying the historicity of Darius, another person from antiquity named in Daniel.”—Ibid., 290. “Bible-believing scholars have for some years recognized this problem and have felt that an answer would some day come. They cannot forget that only thirty years ago Belshazzar himself was as great a problem. History and archaeology then knew no ruler between Nabonidus, king of Babylon in its last days, and Cyrus the conqueror.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, ix.

23“The failure to appreciate the fragmentary nature of available evidence leads to the false assumption that a figure in literary sources must be unhistorical if contemporary epigraphical documentation for his existence is unavailable. It was not until 1961 that the first epigraphical text for Pontius Pilate was discovered, and it was not until 1966 that similar documentation for Felix, the governor of Judea, was found.”—Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era, Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 137 no. 545 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1968), 9.

24“As to why extrabiblical texts which reckon dates by the reign of Darius the Mede have not been found, one reason has already been noted: no Median documents whatsoever have been found. The existence of the Medes and their rulers is known only from outside sources.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 137.

25 “The natural place to begin looking for extrabiblical information concerning Darius the Mede would be Median inscriptions. Unfortunately, no Median inscriptions have been discovered to date. . . . In the absence of any Median inscriptions, the next place to look for information concerning Darius the Mede is in Persian inscriptions, since the Bible presents Darius as the first king of the Medo-Persian Empire. Unfortunately, the first significant inscription in the Persian language is the Behistun inscription of Darius Hystaspes (ca. 518 BC), which is trilingual and does not describe the accession of Cyrus or the fall of Babylon. . . . there are no extant texts in the Persian language which provide a history of Cyrus or his Median predecessors.”—Ibid., 14-15. “Without any Median or Persian texts available, the only other potential extrabiblical contemporary sources for the accession of Cyrus and the fall of Babylon are cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia. A few relevant texts are extant, . . . However, the information they provide regarding the accession of Cyrus, though important, is scant and contradictory. . . . There are other problems as well: the Cyrus Cylinder and Verse Account are propaganda pieces, and must be viewed with a critical eye. The Dream Text, or Sippar Cylinder, of Nabonidus is found, upon analysis, to be a propaganda piece as well.”—Ibid., 15.

26Ibid., 181.

27Ibid., 164.

28Ibid., 157-158.

29“The testimony of these various authorities is perplexing and confusing. They must all be called as witnesses, but in no case can they be looked upon as authorities to be accepted in preference to the text of the Old Testament.”—Martin Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1) (London, England: Marshall Brothers Ltd., 1913), 22.

30According to Yamauchi, Ctesias has his own credibility issues: “Ctesias, who should have had access to Persian documents, is a disappointingly unreliable source. Plutarch, who used Ctesias, comments: ‘It is not infrequent with him [Ctesias] to make excursions from truth into mere fiction and romance.’ Whereas Herodotus correctly named six of the seven conspirators led by Darius, Ctesias got only one of the names correct.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 79. “Ctesias is notorious as an unreliable historical source.”—Ibid., 264.

31Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 19-21, 140.

32Anderson suggests the account of Herodotus is distorted by propagandistic motives promoted by Cyrus. “Xenophon’s detailed account agrees remarkably well with the book of Daniel, and can claim surprising support from a number of other ancient sources. The account of the accession of Cyrus given by the Greek historian Herodotus, which forms the basis of the modern historical reconstruction of events, is a legendary recasting of a propagandistic myth promoted by Cyrus as a means of legitimating his conquest in the minds of an unfavorable Babylonian populace.”—Ibid., 1-2. “It can be stated definitively that between the stories of Xenophon and Herodotus, at least one of them is largely fictive. Further, the differences are too great to have come about by an innocent mistake; the fictional account must have been created intentionally.”—Ibid., 36.

33Ibid., 12.

34Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 268.

35“Xenophon describes a Median king, Cyaxares II, who was the actual head of government while Cyrus led the Medo-Persian armies on campaigns of conquest. Herodotus, on the other hand, claims that Cyrus overthrew the previous Median king in a coup, and he recognizes no further Median kings. A preliminary analysis finds that Xenophon’s story is more credible than that of Herodotus.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, iii.

36 “There is great confusion between the use of the names Cyaxeres and Astyages. As Sir Isaac Newton says : ‘Herodotus hath inverted the order of the Kings Astyages and Cyaxeres, making Cyaxeres to be the son and successor of Phraortes, and the father and predecessor of Astyages, whereas according to Xenophon the order of succession of the Kings of Media is (i) Phraortes, (2) Astyages, (3) Cyaxeres, (4) Darius the Mede, after which comes (5) Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire.’ ”—Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 22. “Instead of the succession of Herodotus (Deioces, Phraortes, Cyaxares, Astyages), we adopt that of Xenophon, who makes Cyaxares (1) the son of Astyages I, (2) the brother of Mandane (Cyrus’ mother), and (3) the father of Astyages II (Darius the Mede). Xenophon’s order of succession is Deioces, Phraortes, Astyages I, Cyaxares, Astyages II (Darius the Mede), . . .”—Ibid., 268.

37“Since Xenophon presents the Medes and Persians as a united confederacy, while Herodotus presents one nation ruling the other, this is further reason to prefer Xenophon’s account of the rise of Cyrus over that of Herodotus.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 81.

38Yamauchi gives Herodotus an uneven endorsement: “Herodotus was harshly criticized in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when archaeology was in its infancy and corroborative evidence from excavations was lacking. Subsequent discoveries, however, have confirmed his reliability at many points, . . .”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 77. “Although there is little doubt that Xerxes was able to amass the largest army and navy ever mustered in antiquity, the enormous numbers listed by Herodotus have aroused the greatest scepticism.”—Ibid., 195.

39Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 168.

40“The prevailing scholarly view of the Cyropaedia as essentially fictional is largely a product of the modern scholarly rejection of the historicity of Cyaxares II.”—Ibid., 33.

41“If Xenophon used credible sources for the framework of the Cyropaedia, and only some secondary details were purely his own invention, this would mean that the major historical claims made in the Cyropaedia are potentially reliable. As such, the Cyropaedia differs from the story of the rise of Cyrus given by Herodotus, in which major elements in the plot are generally recognized as mythical or legendary. . . . Hirsch argues that ‘Xenophon received a particularly vivid picture of Cyrus the Great and Old Persia from the entourage of the younger Cyrus’[Hirsch, ‘History and Fiction,’ 84]. . . . Xenophon wrote after Herodotus, so it is significant that he contradicts Herodotus in his history of how Cyrus came to the throne.”—Ibid., 31-32.

42“Herodotus was above all a raconteur of entertaining stories. The fact that he himself did not believe the account did not deter him from relating an interesting tale. At times he gives several contradictory stories. This was the case, for example, in his description of Cyrus’s birth and youth, the variant versions of which contain patently legendary motifs. On the other hand, scholars have been impressed with Herodotus’s reliability in recounting the career of Cyrus.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 78.

43“While Herodotus does have commendable characteristics as a historian, he was not perfect. His weaknesses are shown by: (1) a penchant for telling entertaining stories; (2) problems with his use of sources; and (3) other ancient writers who give conflicting historical information.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 25. “The extent of the historical accuracy or inaccuracy of Herodotus is a matter of scholarly debate. . . . Cicero probably best represented the mixed opinion of the ancient world on Herodotus when he famously called him ‘the father of history’ (patrem historiae), but said in the same sentence that his works contain ‘innumerable fabulous tales’ (innumerabiles fabulae) [Cicero De Legibus 1.1.5].”—Ibid., 18-19.

44Ibid., 42.

45Steinmann, Daniel, 291.

46J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, 1983), Dan. 6:1.

47The other being Ugbaru.

48“The failure to see that the so-called ‘Gobryas’ of the Nabonidus Chronicle was actually two different persons, Ugbaru and Gubaru, because of an inaccurate translation by Pinches [in 1882], left certain points in confusion. It was not understood, until Sidney Smith’s translation was published in 1924, that Ugbaru, the Governor of Gutium, died shortly after the Fall of Babylon. Thus, he could not have been the same person as Gubaru whose name appears in contract tablets for fourteen years after 539 B.C.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 43-44. “Whitcomb distinguishes Gubaru from Ugbaru, both of whom are called Gobryas in some translations of the Nabonidus Chronical. Whitcomb holds that Ugbaru, identified previously as the governor of Gutium in the Nabonidus Chronical, led the army of Cyrus into Babylon and died less than a month later. Gubaru, however, is identified by Whitcomb as Darius the Mede, a king of Babylon under the authority of Cyrus.”—John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), 133.

49“Gubaru is not actually mentioned by Herodotus, although his version of the Cyrus story allows for the existence of Gubaru, who is described by the Nabonidus Chronicle (as Gubaru and Ugbaru) and by Xenophon (as Gobryas).”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 59.

50Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 43-44.

51“If we follow the guidance of the Annalistic Tablet . . . and the irrefutable evidence of the contract tablets, there are two persons, and only two, who can henceforth be looked upon as forming the original of the Darius of the Book of Daniel. According to the cuneiform records the choice must lie between Gobryas, Cyrus’ governor in Babylon, and Cambyses the son of Cyrus.”—Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 143.

52“According to the Annalistic Tablet, the general who led the troops of Cyrus into Babylonian, and who—as borne out by the Cyropœdia of Xenophon—conducted the attack on the palace, was Gobryas. It was the men with Gadatas and Gobryas who, according to that historian, overpowered the Babylonian king [Cyropœdia, book vii. chap. v. 30.], against whom both those generals had a special grudge [Cyropœdia, book iv. chap. vi. 4, and book v. chap. ii. 28.].”—Ibid., 145.

53“Another point in favour of Gobryas’ claim to be the original of Darius the Mede, lies in the fact that Gutium, the country of which he was already the governor when he came over to the side of Cyrus, formed a part of Media. This he may very well have been a Mede, or have been looked on as representing the Medes.”—Ibid.

54“The age of threescore and two years, or thereabouts, agrees admirably with what we glean from the pages of Xenophon. That historian describes Gobryas as an old man when he came over to the side of Cyrus, and yet credits him with having sufficient energy to join Gadatas in leading the attack on the palace.”—Ibid.

55Charles Clough, Lessons on Daniel (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso, [transcriber], 2006), 15.198.

56Albright felt it was probable that Darius the Mede was Gobryas who took the city while Cyrus was absent on a European campaign. [Bruce K. Waltke, “The Date of the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 133 no. 532 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, October-December 1976), 328]

57“But who was this Darius? Various hypotheses are maintained by scholars of eminence. By some he is identified with Gobryas, and this suggestion commends itself on many grounds.[1] Others, again, follow the view adopted by Josephus, according to which Darius was ‘the son and successor of Asytages’ —namely, Cyaxares II. . . . Yet another suggestion remains, that Darius was the personal name of ‘Astyages,’ the last king of the Medes. . . . I myself adopt the first of these rival hypotheses, . . . [1] - The language of the Cyrus inscription is very striking, as indicating that Gobryas was no mere subordinate; e.g., ‘Peace to the city did Cyrus establish. Peace to all the princes of Babylon did Gobryas his governor proclaim. Governors in Babylon he (Gobryas) appointed.’ ”—Anderson, Daniel in the Critic’s Den, 37-38.

58“If we follow the guidance of the Annalistic Tablet . . . and the irrefutable evidence of the contract tablets, there are two persons, and only two, who can henceforth be looked upon as forming the original of the Darius of the Book of Daniel. According to the cuneiform records the choice must lie between Gobryas, Cyrus’ governor in Babylon, and Cambyses the son of Cyrus.”—Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 143.

59Clough, Lessons on Daniel, 15.198.

60“We believe that the evidence points convincingly to the person of Gobryas of Gutium, the man who was appointed by Cyrus to rule Babylon after he himself (Cyrus) had entered the city.”—H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1949, 1969), 238. “It is claimed that there is no proof available that Gobryas can be said to be a ‘Mede’ because he is described as being of ‘Gutium.’ Wilson* offers the following to show how Media may well be included in this term: ‘Gutium was a country of undefined extent but probably embracing all the territory between Babylonia on the one side and the mountains of Armenia to the north and Mt. Zagros to the northeast on the other, and perhaps even the country beyond Mt. Zagros whose capital city was Ecbatana.’ After the thoroughgoing refutation that Wilson has offered of this as well as of all other current objections on the question of the identity of Darius the Mede we believe that serious questions as to the correctness of our account can hardly trouble any man who is ready to weigh all the sound evidence submitted by this able scholar.”—Ibid., 244.

61“To my mind, one possible candidate fills the biblical specification very well. He is Gubaru (Gobryas), one of Nebuchadnezzar’s generals . . .”—Monty S. Mills, Daniel: A Study Guide to the Book of Daniel (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1988, 1999), Dan. 6:1.

62“Again, no such figure as Darius the Mede is known to history. Attempts to identify him with Gobryas (Ugbaru), the general of Cyrus who occupied Babylon, have failed to explain why he should be called Darius the Mede.”—John J. Collins, “DANIEL, BOOK OF,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: Doubleday, c1992, 1996), 2:30.

63Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 8.

64Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1969, 1999), 342-343.

65“An obvious difficulty with Shea’s view is the brevity of Ugbaru’s proposed reign. Although Shea attempts to work out a possible chronology, one week hardly seems to leave sufficient time for the . . . events which took place during the reign of Daniel’s Darius the Mede . . .”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 64-65.

66Archer, Daniel, Dan. 5:30-31.

67Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 22.

68Whitcomb, Darius the Mede.

69“Though the Persian army conquered Babylon on 16 Tishri 539 (October 12, 539), Cyrus did not enter the city until he arrived with other Persian troops on 3 Heshvan 539 (October 29, 539). Thus Gubaru ruled Babylon until Cyrus arrived.”—Steinmann, Daniel, 292.

70“Now it is very important to observe that there are two different names in the Nabonidus Chronicle, both of which have been translated as ‘Gobryas’ by Professor Oppenheim. In line 14, it was ‘Ugbaru the governor of Gutium’ that entered Babylonian on the 16th day (of Tishri—October 12). And it was this same Ugbaru whose death is recorded as having occurred on the 11th of Arahshamnu (November 6), according to line 22. But the governor of Cyrus who installed governors in Babylonian after the fall of the city was Gubaru, not Ugbaru. This distinction has generally been obscured by translators and historians. . . Not only have many scholars ignored the distinction between Ugbaru and Gubaru, but they have also overlooked the fact that Ugbaru died just three weeks after he had conquered Babylon.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 17, 20.


72Archer, Daniel, Dan. 5:30-31.

73Steinmann, Daniel, 291-292.

74“Daniel refers to Darius the Mede by the title of ‘king’ some thirty times and does not ascribe any other title to him, whereas all the sources that describe Gubaru present him as holding some lesser rank.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 66.

75“Whitcomb acknowledges that Gubaru would not have been called šarru in the Akkadian language, but claims that there was no contemporary Aramaic word for ‘governor,’ forcing Daniel to use the Aramaic term מֶלךְ [melk] This claim is simply wrong, given Daniel’s use of both פֶּחָה [peḥâ] (Dan. 3:2-3, 27; 6:8[MT]) and אֲַשְׁדַּרְפַּן [ʾăašdarpan] (Dan. 3:2-3, 27; 6:2-5, 7-8[MT]). Daniel knew the official terminology well, and he must have applied the proper term to Darius.”—Ibid., 67.

76Archer, Daniel, Dan. 5:30-31.

77“But who was the actual king of Babylon during the years when Cyrus was out of the country and when young Cambyses was representing the Achaemenid royal family as ‘the King’s Son’ in Sippar? It was, in our opinion, none other than Gubaru the Governor of Babylon and the District beyond the River. For the contract tablets . . . though not dated according to the reign of Gubaru, are full of dreadful references to his name. The guilty party in a broken contract would not be committing a sin against Cambyses, or even against Cyrus, but against Gubaru.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 34. “It is highly significant than neither Cyrus nor Cambyses are mentioned in any cuneiform texts as being the final and supreme authorities in Babylonia against whom crimes would be committed. Only Gubaru held such a preeminent legal position in the vast and populous areas of Babylonia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine.”—Ibid., 23.

78“That the author was fully aware of the existence of Cyrus is proven by the fact that his name appears three times in the book. That he was also aware of the subordination of Darius the Mede to Cyrus is implied by the analogy of Belshazzar and Nabonidus in the fifth chapter and by the dating of events according to the reign of Cyrus instead of the reign of Darius the Mede alone.”—Ibid., 41.

79Gleason Leonard Archer, “Modern Rationalism and the Book of Daniel,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 136 no. 542 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, April-June 1979), 136.

80“In the Behistun Inscription (Col. 1, 3-4), Darius counts his father as a king; and yet according to Col. II, 16, and Col. III, 1, he was apparently a governor of Parthia. Now if Darius Hystaspes himself could refer to the governors of various districts within the Persian Empire as kings, how much more might this title have been applied, popularly and even officially, to Gubaru the Governor of Babylon and the Region beyond the River. For Gubaru was no ordinary governor; his domain, extending over all Babylonia, Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, was by far the most populous and wealthy in the entire Persian Empire.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 31.

81“That Gubaru is called governor (pihatu), and Darius the Mede, king, is no objection to this identification; for in ancient as well as modern oriental empires the governors of provinces and cities were often called kings. Moreover, in the Aramaic language, no more appropriate word than ‘king’ can be found to designate the ruler of a sub-kingdom, or province of the empire.”—Wilson, Darius, s.v. “Darius.” Wilson admits Gobryas is never referred to as a king in ancient documents, “Wilson writes: ‘Of course, I have always admitted that Gobryas is not called king in the Babylonian language, where sharru would be the word. My claim has been that in the pure Aramaic, where neither sharru nor pihatu is found, the word malka would be the best equivalent native title, just as khshatrapava (satrap) would have been in native Persian.’ ”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 32.

82“Whitcomb also appeals to the Behistun inscription for evidence that a Persian governor could call himself ‘king,’ but he does not seem to realize that the governors who proclaimed themselves ‘kings’ were rebelling against Darius and claiming a new title.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 67.

83“The peoples, nations and tongues of chapter 6 are no objection to this identification; for Babylonia itself at this time was inhabited by Babylonians, Chaldeans, Arabians, Arameans and Jews, and the kingdom of the Chaldeans embraced also Assyrians, Elamites, Phoenicians and others within its limits.”—Wilson, Darius, s.v. “Darius.”

84Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 68.

85“If the ‘Darius the Mede’ in Daniel 6 were Gubaru, his officials would have suggested issuing a decree that petition could be made only to Cyrus for thirty days— though even in this instance Gubaru probably would have lacked the power to issue such a bold proclamation.”—Ibid.

86Steinmann, Daniel, 293.

87“The statement in Daniel 11:1 that the primary angelic opponent of Satan was assigned to help Darius the Mede in the first year of his reign is yet another indication that Darius was the highest ruler in the empire.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 69.

88“Gubaru was born in 601 bc; thus, as Daniel indicated, he would have been ‘about the age of sixty-two’ when Babylon fell in 539 bc. Gubaru’s father was a Mede; thus, he too was a Mede. The area over which Cyrus appointed him governor was basically the same as that which comprised the former kingdom of Babylon.”—Renald E. Showers, The Most High God: Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1982), Dan. 5:31.

89“The Behistun Inscr. knows Gubaru as a Persian, against Wilson’s vain attempts to prove the possibility of his being a Mede.”—James A. Montgomery, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Edinburgh, Scotland: T & T Clark, 1927, 1959), 65.

90“ ‘And when he [Gobryas] saw Cyrus, he spoke as follows: “Sire, I am by birth an Assyrian; . . .’ ”—Xenophon, Cyropædia (New York, NY: The MacMillan Co., 1914), 4.6.2.

91“Whitcomb has suggested very plausibly that Gubaru was the person mentioned in Daniel under the name of Darius the Mede. To date, however, there is no specific evidence which would show that he was a Mede, a descendant of Ahasuerus, or a man who was about sixty years of age.”—Roland K. Harrison, “Daniel, Book of,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 1:863.

92Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 21.

93Ibid., 23.

94Steinmann, Daniel, 291-291.

95“Upon his arrival, Cyrus apparently appointed Gubaru as governor of Babylon because the Nabonidus Chronicle notes that Gubaru, ‘his [Cyrus’] governor,’ appointed (sub)governors for Babylon (cf. Dan. 6:1-2]). However, Gubaru died on 11 Heshvan (November 6), having ruled only twenty-five days from the fall of Babylon and only one week after having been appointed governor of Babylon by Cyrus.”—Ibid., 292. “The twenty-five days of his rule are barely enough time to encompass the events of Daniel 6 and 9 (cf. Dan. 9:1). Daniel 6 refers to thirty days during which no one could pray to any god except to Darius (Dan. 6:7, 12]), and that time period would have expired after the death of Gubaru/Darius.”—Ibid. “The account in Daniel 6 depicts Darius as favorably disposed toward Daniel, implying that the king had had time to develop a relationship that expressed a warm affection for him. Probably it would have required at least a few months for such a relationship to develop.”—Ibid.

96“The critical flaw in Whitcomb’s historical analysis was his failure to cite cuneiform texts dated to the first three years of Cyrus which name the governor of Babylon. . . . Whitcomb evidently was not troubled by the lack of references to Gubaru in administrative or economic texts dated to the accession year or the first three years of the reign of Cyrus, and he evidently did not check to see whether texts dated to these years may name a different person as governor of Babylon. In fact, as Grabbe has pointed out, Whitcomb’s Gubaru did not become governor of Babylon until the fourth year of Cyrus; various texts name a different person as governor of Babylon during the first three years of Cyrus . . . and Gubaru is not referenced as governor in any texts until the fourth year of Cyrus [Lester L. Grabbe, ‘Another Look at the Gestalt of “Darius the Mede,” ’ Catholic Biblical Quarterly 50, no. 2 (1988): 206-7]. . . . According to Daniel 1:21, Daniel retired from government service in the first year of Cyrus, so if Gubaru did not become governor of Babylon until the fourth year of Cyrus, he cannot be the Darius in whose administration Daniel served.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 61-62.

97Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 10th ed (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1894, 1957), xiv.

98Charles offers the very good note that ‘some sort of division of Babylon is recorded on the Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus, where it is said that Gubaru, governor of Babylon under Cyrus, “appointed governors in Babylon.” ’ Since we identify Gubaru with Darius the Mede we regard the note in question as extrabiblical confirmation of the fact involved.”—Leupold, Exposition of Daniel, Dan. 6:1-3.

99“This view is not as popular as it once was, it has had defenders in recent times [Most notable is a series of articles by Shea, ‘An Unrecognized Vassal King of Babylon in the Early Achaemenid Period,’ parts 1-4; ‘Darius the Mede: An Update’; ‘The Search for Darius the Mede (Concluded), or, The Time of the Answer to Daniel’s Prayer and the Date of the Death of Darius the Mede.’ For a time Shea abandoned this view in favor of identifying Darius as Cyrus (‘Darius the Mede in His Persian-Babylonian Setting.’)].”—Steinmann, Daniel, 292. “Shea concludes that there are six points in which the careers of Gubaru I and Darius the Mede match: (1) Gubaru led the Medo-Persian troops who captured Babylon (see Dan. 5:28). (2) He installed governors there (see Dan. 6:1-2). (3) He was probably quite old, since he died soon after the capture of Babylon (see Dan. 5:30). (4) According to cuneiform texts he died about a year after he conquered Babylon (see Dan. 9:1; 11:1). The explanation for the transition from the regnal reckoning of Darius the Mede to the ‘third year of Cyrus’ (Dan. 10:1) would be the assumption that the former had passed from the scene. (5) The distinction between the kingdoms of Darius and of Cyrus in Daniel fits the evidence of the chronology and development of Cyrus’s titularies. (6) Just as Darius was ‘made king,’ Gubaru served as a vassal under Cyrus.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 59. “William H. Shea’s thorough study of the titularies of Cyrus and of Cambyses revealed that in 90 percent of the four hundred cases checked, the standard royal titulary in economic texts for Cyrus was ‘King of Babylon, King of Lands.’ In carefully analyzing the chronology of these titles, Shea discovered that Cyrus was called ‘King of Lands’ at the beginning of his first year (538) and ‘King of Babylon, King of Lands’ at the end of this year. He concludes that the reason Cyrus did not carry the title King of Babylon during his first nine months was because Gubaru, the conqueror of Babylon, bore this title. He furthermore suggests that the latter be identified as the enigmatic ‘Darius the Mede’ of the Book of Daniel (see chapter 1). [W. H. Shea, ‘An Unrecognized Vassal King of Babylon in the Early Achaemenid Period,’ AUSS 9 (1971): 113.]”—Ibid., 89.

100“Most recent research, however, favors the view that he was Gubaru (Gobryas), the man whom King Cyrus appointed to be governor of Babylon. Gubaru was born in 601 bc; thus, as Daniel indicated, he would have been ‘about the age of sixty-two’ when Babylon fell in 539 bc. Gubaru’s father was a Mede; thus, he too was a Mede. The area over which Cyrus appointed him governor was basically the same as that which comprised the former kingdom of Babylon.”—Showers, The Most High God: Commentary on the Book of Daniel, Dan. 5:31.

101“[Darius the Mede] can be none other than Gubaru, the man whom Cyrus made to be governor over all of Babylonia, . . .”—John C. Whitcomb, Daniel (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1985), 80.

102Wilson, Darius, s.v. “Darius.”

103This chart is adapted from New Chart of Persian and Median Royal Lineages, [Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 198], an adaptation of S. Douglas Waterhouse, “Why Was Darius the Mede Expunged from History?” in To Understand the Scriptures: Essays in Honor of William H. Shea, ed. David Merling (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Institute of Archeology, 1997), 179. Anderson’s chart has been augmented with information from: [2] = [Newton, Newton’s Revised History of Ancient Kingdoms, 165-166]; [3] = Timeline, [4] = [Michael Levy, ed., Britannica 2012 Deluxe Edition CDROM], [5] = [Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 268].

104Josephus refers to Cyrus as the kinsman of Darius “Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old.”—Flavious Josephus, “The Antiquities of the Jews,” in Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus : Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996, c1987), 10.247-248.

105Astyages had no son, and Cyrus was born of the marriage of Mandane, the daughter of Astyages, to a Persian named Cambyses [Herodotus Histories, 1.107-9]. . . . There is no Median monarch who follows Astyages in the version of the Cyrus story given by Herodotus.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 26-28. “Astyages (585-550 b.c.) is the Greek for Old Persian Arštivaiga, ‘Brandishing a Lance,’ Ištumēgu in Akkadian. His daughter, Mandana, married a Persian, Cambyses I, and gave birth to the famous Cyrus the Great.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 56.

106“Cyrus: brother-in-law of Darius the Mede . . . father of Cambyses . . . father of Smerdis . . . grandson of Astyages . . . son of Cambyses . . . son of Mandane.”—Newton, Newton’s Revised History of Ancient Kingdoms, 165. “Cyaxeres: brother of Amyite . . . brother of Mandane . . . brother-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar . . . father of Darius the Mede . . . son of Astyages . . . uncle of Cyrus . . . also called Ahasuerus or Axeres . . .”—Ibid. “Darius the Mede: brother-in-law of Cyrus . . . husband of Ariene . . . son of Achsuerus . . . son of Cyaxeres . . .”—Ibid., 166.

107“We adopt [the succession] of Xenophon, who makes Cyaxares (1) the son of Astyages I, (2) the brother of Mandane (Cyrus’ mother), and (3) the father of Astyages II (Darius the Mede).”—Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 268.

108The person identified as Cambyses I on our chart is called Cambyses II by Dean: “Not only did Astyages marry off one daughter to Nebuchadnezzar, he had another daughter named Mandane and he married her off to Cambyses II, of Anshan, which is also called Pars or Fars, which came to be known as Persia where they speak the Farsi language; all of those terms, Pars, Fars, Farsi, are all interrelated. This was Cambyses II of Anshan and the son of Mandane and Cambyses II was Cyrus the Great, Cyrus II, and that would mean that his mother’s sister is Nebuchadnezzar’s wife. So Nebuchadnezzar is Cyrus the Great’s uncle.”—Dean, Lessons on Daniel, 20.240-249. “The Persians are beginning to become organized themselves. And they’re under the leadership of a man named Cambyses, and Cyaxares son, who is Astyages, comes to power and he realizes he has to do something about this power developing on his flank, these Persians, so he marries off one of his daughters to Cambyses and the product of that union is one of the greatest rulers of the ancient world, Cyrus II called Cyrus the Great.”—Ibid., 20.245. “Nebuchadnezzar was related by marriage, because he married a Median princess, he was related to Cyaxares the Great of the Medes. Also Cyrus because Cyaxares’ son, Astyages, had a daughter who was name Mandane and she was married off to Cambyses, the Persian, and their son was Cyrus who was prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah to be someone God had chosen, God would raise up specifically in relationship to Israel and to returning the Jews to the land.”—Ibid., 21.245. “Cyaxares, who is now mentioned for the first time in the Chronicles, and Nabopolassar then met by the captured city and established an alliance of ‘mutual friendship and peace’ (Akkadian sulummū compare Hebrew shalōm, Arabic salām). According to Greek sources the alliance was sealed by the marriage of a Median princess to the son of Nabopolassar, the great Nebuchadnezzar.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 54.

109Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 173-174.

110Ibid., 176.

111Some would argue that Bel and the Dragon associates Darius the Mede with Cyrus, not Astyages. In the account, it is Cyrus who gives permission to cast Daniel into the lion’s den (Bel 29-31 cf. Daniel 6:16). “[1] And king Astyages was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus of Persia received his kingdom. [2] And Daniel conversed with the king, and was honoured above all his friends. . . . [30] Now when the king saw that they pressed him sore, being constrained, he delivered Daniel unto them:  [31] Who cast him into the lions’ den: where he was six days.”—The Apocrypha : King James Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1995), s.v. “Bel 1-2, 30-31.” It is best not to give credance to theories based on Bel and the Dragon—a highly fanciful and unreliable account. See Darius is Cyrus? See LXX on Cyrus vs. Darius.

112Theodotion, “Daniel (Theodotion’s Translation),” in Alfred Rahlfs, ed., Septuaginta: With Morphology (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1996, c1979.), Bel 1:1.

113Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 3.

114“In Bel and the Dragon, Darius the Mede, the predecessor of Cyrus, is identified with Astyages.”—Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 22. “In Bel and the Dragon we read that King Astyages (viz. Darius the Mede) was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus of Persia received the Kingdom.”—Ibid., 267.

115“The identification of Darius the Mede with the Median king Astyages was proposed occasionally from antiquity until the early twentieth century [George Synkellos The Chronography of George Synkellos: A Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation 275-78; John Lightfoot, The Works of the Reverend and Learned John Lightfoot D. D., Late Master of Katherine Hall in Cambridge and Prebend of Ely, vol. 1 (London: Robert Scot, Thomas Basset, Richard Chiswell, and John Wright, 1684), 134-35; Brooke Foss Westcott, ‘Darius,’ in Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, rev. and ed. by H. B. Hackett and Ezra Abbot (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1868), 549; Bernard Alfrink, ‘Darius Medus,’ Biblica 9 (1928): 316-40].”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 10.

116“Instead of the succession of Herodotus (Deioces, Phraortes, Cyaxares, Astyages), we adopt that of Xenophon, who makes Cyaxares (1) the son of Astyages I, (2) the brother of Mandane (Cyrus’ mother), and (3) the father of Astyages II (Darius the Mede). Xenophon’s order of succession is Deioces, Phraortes, Astyages I, Cyaxares, Astyages II (Darius the Mede), and this agrees best with Berosus, Josephus and the Books of Daniel, Tobit and Bel and the Dragon. Scholars find it hard to abandon so good an authority as Herodotus, but he must be rejected here.”—Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 268. “The account of [the fall of Babylon] are very divergent. One of them represents Cyrus as the nephew and son-in-law of Darius the Mede, but he was more probably his cousin and his brother-in-law, having married the sister of Darius the Mede (Astyages).”—Ibid., 231.

117Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 143-144.

118“If one accepts the claim made by Herodotus that Astyages was the last Median king and that he had no son [Herodotus 1.109, 130], then it is natural to attempt to identify Daniel’s Darius the Mede with Astyages. This view obviously contradicts the history of Xenophon, who not only recognizes the presence of a Median successor to Astyages, but also states that Astyages died before Cyrus began his campaign of conquest [Xenophon Cyropaedia 1.5.2]. It otherwise rests almost completely on speculations that are unsupported by positive evidence..”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 77-78.

119“Further evidence against the hypotheses made by this view comes from the book of Daniel, which states that Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old when Babylon fell (Dan 5:31[E] / 6:1[MT]). If Astyages were sixty-two years old in 539 BC, this would imply that he was a mere boy of seven years when he became king in 594 BC—assuming that the figures given by Herodotus are to be believed. . . . The date of 594 BC for the accession of Astyages is based on the figures given in Herodotus for a thirty-five year reign of Astyages, followed by a thirty year reign of Cyrus (Herodotus 1.130, 214).”—Ibid., 79.

120“This theory was first set forth by Winckler in 1901 and by Riessler in 1902. But it remained for Charles Boutflower to present, in 1923, the most elaborate defense of the Cambyses identification.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 44.

121Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel.

122Ibid., 143, 145-146.

123Ibid., 147-149.

124“We learn from the [contract tablets] that this reign of Cambyses as king of Babylon which covered the first nine months of the year 538 B.C., terminated before the tenth month was over for in a tablet dated 1.10.0 Cambyses is not mentioned, and the title ‘King of Babylon’ is given to Cyrus. . . . In perfect accordance with this result is the fact that in the Book of Daniel we find only the first year of Darius the Mede mentioned.”—Ibid., 149-150.

125“When Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old. He was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks.”—Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 10.247-248.

126“Josephus, speaking of Darius the Mede, says that ‘he was the son of Astyages and had another name among the Greeks.’ [Antiquities x. ll, 4.] The first statement viz. that Darius the Mede was the son of Astyages, approaches very nearly the statement of Ctesias that Cambyses was the son of the daughter of Astyages . . . the other name of Darius the Mede, by which he was known among the Greeks, and which appears for the moment to have escaped the historian’s memory, was the name Cambyses.”—Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 153-154.

127“Ctesias tells us in his Persica that after the defeat of Astyages king of the Medes and the capture of Ecbatana, Cyrus married Amytis the daughter of Astyages, and that Cambyses was the fruit of that marriage. It was, then, as a child of a Median mother that Cambyses received the title ‘Darius the Mede.’ ”—Ibid., 152.

128 “It is a well established fact that the father of Cambyses, Cyrus the Great, was of a true Persian lineage; and Professor A. T. Olmstead follows Herodotus (I, 208; II, 1; III, 2) in asserting that Cambyses was the eldest son of Cyrus by Cassandane, daughter of Pharnaspes, a fellow-Achaemenid. Thus, both the father and mother of Cambyses were true Persians.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 45. “Cambyses bore the name of his grandfather, Cambyses I, the father of Cyrus. His mother was Cassandane, the daughter of Pharnaspes.”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 94.

129“According to the Sippara Inscription of Nabonidus . . . Cyrus defeated Astyages king of the Medes and captured Ecbatana in the third year of the reign of Nabonidus. It is also clear from the contract tablets that Babylon was taken by Cyrus in the seventeenth year of the reign of Nabonidus. If, then, Cyrus married Amytis the daughter of Astyages shortly after the capture of Ecbatana, Cambyses would be quite young when he was appointed by his father to succeed Belshazzar.He might very well be twelve years old. I shall now give some reasons for thinking that 12, and not 62, was the original reading of Dan. 5:31. The age of Darius the Mede, viz. 62, is expressed alphabetically by the letters Samekh Beth. We need not quarrel with the Beth, but Samekh, which stands for 60, must evidently be a corruption, if the Median Darius is the same person as Cambyses. . . . during the last quarter of the sixth century B.C. and the first half of the following century there was a remarkable resemblance between the letters Samekh and Yod, so that a carelessly written Yod might very easily be mistaken for a Samekh. . . . Now, if for Samekh Beth we read Yod Beth, the age of Darius is reduced from 62 to 12. . . . To show that this idea is not a fanciful one, we are able to point to a passage in the Book of Isaiah [Isa. 7:8] where this same mistake has been made; a passage where, through an error of the copyist, the letter Samekh has supplanted a Yod.”—Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 156, 158. “Darius the Mede, despite the difficulty caused by his age as given in Daniel 5:31, appears to the writer to be none other than Cambyses the son of Cyrus, who, in the first year after the capture of Babylon, reigned for some ten months as king of Babylon, being probably intended by his father to succeed Belshazzar.”—Ibid., 11. Boutflower suggests the actions of Darius the Mede in Daniel 6 provide evidence of an immature ruler, over his head.“The sixth chapter of Daniel throws a remarkable light on a question about which we should otherwise be completely in the dark, viz. the cause of the removal of Darius-Cambyses from his post as king of Babylon. . . . The story shows that his turbulent subjects were too much for Cambyses . . . shocked at [the duplicity of Daniel’s accusers], and mortified possibly by their conduct towards himself, as well as deeply impressed by the might miracle wrought [in the lion’s den], hesitated not to put those who had accused Daniel to death. Such an act must have aroused great indignation in Babylon, and would convince Cyrus that the wisest course was to withdraw his young son from a too prominent post, and take to himself the title, ‘King of Babylon,’ and probably to entrust a considerable amount of delegated power to his governor Gobryas, who was probably himself a Mede.”—Ibid., 165.

130Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 46.

131Relief of Cyrus at the gate of Pasargadae. Copyright © 2007 by Siamax. Use of this image is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

132Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 9.

133Andrew E Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), 176-177.

134“I’m going with Dr. Wiseman’s theory that Darius the Mede is another name for Cyrus the Great.”—Clough, Lessons on Daniel, 20.264.

135“The last verse [Dan. 6:28] notes that Daniel continued to enjoy success during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus. That is, Daniel continued to enjoy success during the reign of Darius even the reign of Cyrus since Darius was apparently a title for Cyrus.”—Constable, Notes on Daniel, 71.

136“immediately we run into the first problem in the text here and that is who is Darius the Mede? I’ve already said that history tells us that the commander of the army and the king of the Medo-Persian Empire is Cyrus, Cyrus the Great.”—Dean, Lessons on Daniel, 24.280. “The two best cases are either Cyaxares II or this is Cyrus the Great. I tend to lead toward Cyrus the Great, but as I said at the beginning we can’t be dogmatic about this.”—Ibid., 24.286.

137“Ancient Jewish sources lend support to the supposition that Darius the Mede was Cyrus the Persian. In 11:1 both the LXX and Theodotion read Cyrus rather than the Masoretic Text’s Darius the Mede. Baldwin asserts: ‘This suggests that the Greek translator knew of the double name, and preferred to use the one that was better known to avoid confusing his readers.’ [Baldwin, Daniel, 27] The Jewish author of Bel and the Dragon preserved the name Cyrus as the king who cast Daniel in the den of lions.”—Stephen R. Miller, “Daniel,” in E. Ray Clendenen, Kenneth A. Mathews, and David S. Dockery, eds., The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 176.

138“This identification was proposed again in modern times by the British scholar D. J. Wiseman and has been adopted by others. This identification interprets the waw on וּבְמַלְכוּת [wûḇemalḵûṯ] in Dan. 6:28 as epexegetical or explicative: . . . ‘So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, that is, in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ This kind of use of the conjunction waw is common in Daniel. It also occurs in Chronicles in a reference to an Assyrian king by his shorter and longer names: . . . “The God of Israel arounsed the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, that is, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assria. (1Chr. 5:26) That is similar to the reference to the foreign king(s) in Dan. 6:28. Thus this interpretation of the waw in Dan. 6:28 is altogether reasonable.”—Steinmann, Daniel, 293.

139“Another conservative view claims that Darius the Mede is simply another name of Cyrus the Persian. That position is based upon a possible translation of Dan. 6:28; ‘Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even the reign of Cyrus the Persian’ (D. J. Wiseman, ‘Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel’, pp. 9-18). That identification has simplicity in its favor and tallies with the fact that ancient rulers frequently had more than one name.”—Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, 1635.

140Disagreement in academic circles over how to interpret early Genesis is a case-in-point.

141Some hold the Medes became subject to the Persians prior to the fall of Babylon recorded in Daniel 5, “By the victory in 550 of the Persian chief Cyrus II the Great over his suzerain, Astyages of Media, the Medes were made subject to the Persians. In the new Achaemenian Empire they retained a prominent position; in honour and war they stood next to the Persians, and their court ceremonial was adopted by the new sovereigns, who in the summer months resided in Ecbatana.”—Levy, Britannica 2012 Deluxe Edition CDROM, s.v. “Media.”

142Carl Friedrich Keil, “Daniel,” in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 617.

143Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 13.

144Some add the Harran Inscription to this list. But this assumes that the phrase “king of the Medes” refers to Cyrus, and not to an actual Median king: “In 1957 Donald J. Wiseman . . . appealed to the Harran inscription, which refers to the king ‘of the Medes,’ who in that year 546 B.C. could be ‘no other than Cyrus the Persian’—Media having been incorporated into what became the greater realm of Persia in 550 B.C. Actually, the inscription only authenticates what is found in Herodotus and the Midrash.”—James M. Bulman, “The Identification of Darius the Mede,” in Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 35 no. 3 (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Theological Seminary, Spring 1973), 247. Wiseman’s logic is skewed by assuming his conclusion: 1) Cyrus had full ascendency over Media in 550; 2) therefore, mention of a “king of the Medes” after that point in time must necessarily designate Cyrus. The possibility that Media still held dominance in the alliance in 546 is not allowed—although this is what the biblical text requires.

145“Table-case G in the Babylonian and Assyrian Room of the British Museum, contains a most important and valuable series of clay tablets, dating from the 1st year of Nebuchadnezzar to the 36th year of Darius. These are largely legal and commercial documents, many of them recording business transactions carried out by the members of the great mercantile house, founded by a wealthy merchant—a Babylonian Rothschild of the 7th Century B.C.— named Egibi or Sin-muballit. These tablets . . . are dated according to the year of the reign of the King of Babylon, and thus contribute to the fixing of the Chronology of the period. Transactions are recorded in every one of the 43 years of Nebuchadnezzar, from B.C. 604-562 ; the 2 years of Evil-merodach, B.C. 561-560 ; the 4 years of Neriglissar, B.C. 559-556 ; the accession year of Labashi-Marduk, B.C. 556 ; and the 17 years of Nabonidus, B.C. 555-539. Transactions are recorded in each of the 9 years of Cyrus, B.C. 538-530, including the two years in which he was Co-Rex with Darius the Mede, B.C. 538-537, and the 7 years in which he was sole King, B.C. 536-530. Cyrus being regarded as King of Babylon during the whole of these 9 years, Darius, the Mede, whose residence was at Ecbatana, is not mentioned.”—Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 258.

146“There are four significant Akkadian texts which describe or allude to the accession of Cyrus: the Cyrus Cylinder, the Verse Account of Nabonidus, the Nabonidus Chronicle, and the Dream Text (Sippar Cylinder) of Nabonidus. (An additional literary text which provides information concerning the reign of Nabonidus, the so-called Royal Chronicle, is fragmentary, and the extant portion deals only with events in the early part of the reign of Nabonidus, thus giving no information concerning Cyrus or the Medes.) . . . each of these inscriptions supports the claim made by Herodotus that Cyrus conquered the Medes and became sole king of the Medo-Persian realm before his conquest of Babylon, and yet each is problematic in certain ways.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 83-84.

147Those of a commercial nature being less subject to bias then those with political motives. “An analysis of the Dream Text shows that it could not have been composed by Nabonidus at any point in his reign. It is another propaganda text produced by Cyrus, and as such its claims concerning Cyrus ought to be viewed with a skeptical eye.”—Ibid., 119. “The Dream Text has been wrongly considered a genuine inscription of Nabonidus. To regard it as authentic would create too many incongruities with what is known elsewhere about Nabonidus and Cyrus. The Dream Text is actually another piece of Persian propaganda, published by Cyrus around the time that he conquered Babylon, as part of his effort to convince the Babylonians to accept his rule.”—Ibid., 128. “The absence of all notice by Berosus, Herod., and Ctesias of the short Median reign can furnish no substantial ground for calling in question the statements of Xen. regarding Cyaxares, and of Daniel regarding the Median Darius . . .”—Keil, Daniel, 622.

148Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 79-80.

149“The Persians had developed into a kingdom subordinate to the Medes, probably during the reign of Cyaxares. When Cyrus had come of age, he led the Persians in a revolt against his grandfather (550). . . . Thereafter the Medes were to play a subordinate though important role under the Persians in the Achaemenid period (550-330 b.c.).”—Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible, 56-57.

150Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 1, 2.

151Ibid., 183.

152Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 231.

153“It is true that Cyrus began to reign over Babylon immediately after the city fell to his army, but it is also true that Darius the Mede and Cambyses began to reign over Babylon at the same time. According to Daniel 5:31(E) / 6:1(MT), the legal head of this confederation of kings was Darius.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 138.

154Ibid., 154.

155Archer, Daniel, 17.

156“Some might object that the statements that Cyrus ‘received the kingdom’ (Dan. 5:31) and ‘was made king’ (Dan. 9:1) are inaccurate because they depict Cyrus as having a passive role. It would have been more accurate to describe him as the active conqueror, since he defeated the Babylonians and seized the throne that had been occupied by Chaldean kings. However, these statements by Daniel should be read as theological in nature. Daniel often uses passive constructions that imply that God is the real agent of the action.”—Steinmann, Daniel, 294-295.

157“When H. H. Rowley in 1935 gave the definitive refutation of various proposals for identifying Darius the Mede with someone known to history, he made no mention of any attempt to solve the problem in line with Theodotion’s text of Bel the Dragon. Here the king who has Daniel consigned to the lions’ den is ‘Cyrus of Persia’; an opinion attested elsewhere in early Jewish thought.”—Bulman, The Identification of Darius the Mede, 247. “Some ancient Jewish texts identify Darius as the Persian king Cyrus the Great. The oldest is Theodotion’s version of Bel and the Serpent (Bel 1).”—Steinmann, Daniel, 293.

158“The Old Greek definitely does not attempt to identify Darius and Cyrus as one and the same individual, against the claims of Baldwin and Steinmann, since it says in 6:29(G) / 6:28(E) that Cyrus ‘received’ . . . the kingdom after the death of Darius.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 3. “καὶ ὁ Βασιλευς Δαρεῖος προσετέθη πρὸς τὸ γένος αὐτοῦ, καὶ Δανιηλ κατεστάθν ἐπὶ τῆς Βασιλείας Δαρείου, καὶ Κῦρος ὁ πέρσης παρέλαβε τὴν Βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ. [kai ho Basileus Dareios prosetethē pros to genos autou, kai Daniēl katestathn epi tēs Basileias Dareiou, kai Kuros ho persēs parelabe tēn Basileian autoụ]”—Anonymous, “Daniel (Old Greek Version),” in Alfred Rahlfs, ed., Septuaginta: With Morphology (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1996, c1979.), Dan. 6:29. And King Darius was gathered to his race [fathers], and Daniel was put in charge upon the kingdom of Darius, and Cyrus the Persian, received his kingdom. Both Theodotian and the OG have Cyrus for Darius in comparison to the MT at Daniel 11:1. “Bulman notes the use of dual names, points to the Septuagint and Theodotion which render Daniel 11:1 the ‘first year of Cyrus’ rather than the ‘first year of Darius,’ ”—Yamauchi, Archaeological Backgrounds of the Exilic and Postexilic Era, Part I: The Archaeological Background of Daniel, 9. “ἐν ἔτει προώτῳ Κύρου [en etei proōtō Kyrou]”—Theodotion, Daniel (Theodotion’s Translation), Dan. 11:1., in the first year of Cyrus.ἐνιαυτῷ τῷ πρώτῳ Κύρου τοῦ Βασιλέως [eniautō tō prōtō Kyrou tou Basileōs]”—Anonymous, Daniel (Old Greek Version), Dan. 11:1., in the era of the first year of Cyrus the King.

159“Daniel identified the father of Darius the Mede as Ahasuerus, the Hebrew equivalent of Xerxes (Dan. 9:1).”—Anderson, The Remembrance of Daniel’s Darius the Mede in Berossus and Harpocration, 322. “The same word in unpointed Hebrew took the form [’chshwrsh], probably pronounced [’achshawarash], but at a later time it was wrongly vocalized so as to produce אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ [ʾăḥašwērôš], from whence ‘Ahasuerus’ in English versions of the Bible comes.”—Burton Scott Easton, “Xerxes,” in J. W. Orr, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1915), s.v. “Xerxes.”

160“It occurs Est. 1:1, and frequently in that book; also, Ezr. 4:6 (where, from the date, Cambyses must be understood), and Dan. 9:1 (of Astyages, the father of Darius the Mede).”—Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1846, 2003), 34.

161“Daniel 9:1 speaks of Darius the Mede as being ‘the son of Ahasuerus.’ The name Ahasuerus . . . appears also in Ezra 4:7 and frequently in Esther, where it refers to Xerxes king of Persia, the son of Darius Hystaspes. . . But we . . . know that Cyrus the Persian was the son of Cambyses (Kanbujiya). Consequently, the statement of Daniel 9;1 once again becomes a stumbling block to our acceptance of the equation, Darius the Mede=Cyrus the Persian.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 48-49. “However, against the book of Daniel, which calls Darius the son of Ahasuerus (Dan. 9:1), the historical sources reveal that Cyrus was the son of Cambyses.”—C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1986), 284. “Darius is said to have been the son of Ahasuerus (Dan 9:1), whereas Cyrus was the son of Cambyses I.”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 73.

162“ ‘Ahasuerus’ [Dan. 9:1] may be an ancient Achaemenid royal title bestowed on one of Cyrus’s ancestors.”—Steinmann, Daniel, 294.


164“It is true, of course, that the Medes and Persians were both Aryan peoples; and . . . Cyrus had a Median mother . . . But Cyrus and the other Achaemenid kings were always careful to emphasize their distinctly Persian lineage back to Achaemenes, who led the armies of Parsumash and Anshan against Sennacherib in 681 B.C. Cyrus never referred to himself as ‘King of the Medes,’ as far as the inscriptions are concerned; and it is only through secondary sources that we learn of his Median mother. The phrase ‘seed of the Medes’ in Daniel 9:1 means that the paternal (as opposed to maternal) ancestry of Darius was Median.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 47.

165Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 341.

166Steinmann, Daniel, 295.

167Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 73.

168“Dr. Wiseman suggests that we translate Daniel 6:28 to read: ‘Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even in the reign of Cyrus the Persian,’ and cites I Chronicles 5:26 as a parallel (‘And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tiglathpileser king of Assyria,’ where the same king is spoken of). But the analogy of I Chronicles 5:26 does not adequately support Wiseman’s proposed translation of Daniel 6:28, for both parts of the former reference employ the descriptive phrase ‘king of Assyria,’ while in the latter instance Darius the Mede is set over against Cyrus the Persian.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 48.

169Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 69, 72.

170“It would be highly perplexing to find the author of the Book of Daniel referring to Darius the Mede in some passages (Dan. 5:31; 9:1; 11:1), and to Cyrus the Persian in others [Dan. 6:28; 10:1], if he intended us to understand these names as referring to the same person throughout.”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 48.

171Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 69, 72.

172Baltasar, who by the Babylonians was called Naboandelus: against him did Cyrus, the king of Persia, and Darius, the king of Media, make war; . . . Now after a little while, both himself and the city were taken by Cyrus, the king of Persia, who fought against him; for it was Baltasar, under whom Babylon was taken, when he had reigned seventeen years. And this is the end of the posterity of King Nebuchadnezzar, as history informs us; but when Babylon was taken by Darius, and when he, with his kinsman Cyrus, had put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians, he was sixty-two years old. He was the son of Astyages, and had another name among the Greeks.” [emphasis added]—Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 10.231-232, 247-248.

173Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 75.

174“Darius is most likely another name for Cyrus the Great. While the evidence for this hypothesis is not ironclad, it is strong and fits well with both the book of Daniel and the rest of Scripture. Moreover, there are extrabiblical sources about Cyrus that correlate well with what Daniel says about Darius. Therefore, unless other evidence surfaces to shed further light on Darius, it is best to consider him the same historical person as Cyrus the Great.”—Steinmann, Daniel, 296. Steinmann notes that the practice of praying to a king (Dan. 6:7, 12) may have originated with Cyrus.“The practice of praying to a king (Dan. 6:7, 12]) bestowed on him a special connection to the divine, which is central to the plot of Daniel 6. The inauguration of this practice was traced by Arrian (in the second century AD) to Cyrus the Great [Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, 4.11].”—Ibid., 294.

175Dr. Wiseman states: “It now seems that in Babylonia Cyrus used the title ‘King of the Medes’ in addition to the more usual ‘King of Persia, King of Babylonia, King of the lands. . . .’ Is it too bold an hypothesis to suggest that the ‘King of the Medes’ of our Babylonian text may yet prove to be the ‘Darius the Mede’ of Daniel’s day?”—Whitcomb, Darius the Mede, 47.

176Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 2.

177Ibid., 178.

178“After he had been killed by Darius, King of the Medes, who was the maternal uncle of Cyrus, King of the Persians, the empire of the Chaldeans was destroyed by Cyrus the Persian.”—Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (Translated by Gleason L. Archer Jr.) (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 407, 1958), Dan. 5:1. “Next to Josephus, the most important ancient commentator to express a view on Darius the Mede is Jerome, who writes as follows [Archer’s translation]: After he had been killed by Darius, King of the Medes, who was the maternal uncle of Cyrus, King of the Persians, the empire of the Chaldeans was destroyed by Cyrus the Persian. It was these two kingdoms [the Median and the Persian] which Isaiah in chap. 21 addresses as a charioteer of a vehicle drawn by a camel and an ass. Indeed Xenophon also writes the same thing in connection with the childhood of Cyrus the Great; likewise Pompeius Trogus and many others who have written up the history of the barbarians. [Gleason L. Archer Jr., ed., Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel, trans. Gleason L. Archer Jr. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), 55.] Some authorities think that this Darius was the Astyages mentioned in the Greek writings, while others think it was Astyages’ son, and that he was called by the other name among the barbarians. . . . Although Jerome acknowledges a difference of opinion among commentators of his own day regarding Darius the Mede, his statement that Darius was the maternal uncle of Cyrus indicates his preference for the identification of Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares II, since both Herodotus and Xenophon testify that Astyages was not the uncle of Cyrus, but his grandfather [Herodotus 1.107-8; Xenophon Cyropaedia 1.2.1]. In another place, Jerome actually quotes the view of Josephus, and seems to represent it as his own. [Jerome Commentariorum in Danielem libri III 829]”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 5.

179“Among early Christian and Jewish commentators on Daniel, Josephus and Jerome were the most influential for later church history. Josephus, the earlier of the two sources, writes: Now Darius put an end to the dominion of the Babylonians with Cyrus his relative, being sixty-two years old when he took Babylon—who was the son of Astyages, but was called by another name among the Greeks [Josephus Jewish Antiquities 10.248/10.11.4.]. Xenophon is the only Greek historian who is known to refer to a son of Astyages, and his works were read widely in antiquity. Thus, although Josephus does not explicitly refer to Xenophon, he appears to identify Daniel’s Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares II.”—Ibid., 4-5.

180Barnes, Notes on the Bible, Isa. 41:2.

181“The argument in favour of Cyaxares II., the son of Astyages, was based in part on the Cyropœdia of Xenophon, who makes this monarch the king under whom Babylon was taken and goes on to relate that he gave his daughter in marriage to Cyrus with Media in her dowry. It was also thought to be borne out by some lines in Perœ of Æschuylus, and to be well-nigh established by the statement of Josephus in his Antiquities, x. 11, 4 . . .”—Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 143-144.

182Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 7.

183“The Harran Stele . . . offers strong support for the existence of Xenophon’s Cyaxares II and Daniel’s Darius the Mede by implying that there was a king of the Medes whom Cyrus did not overthrow.”—Ibid., 131.

184“Positive evidence for the existence of Cyaxares comes from the famous Behistun (Bisitun, Bisutun) inscription of Darius Hystaspes, who seized power in 522 BC after fighting off various other claimants to the throne following the death of Cambyses. It is also understandable why the name ‘Cyaxares’ is used in the inscription instead of ‘Darius’ (if this indeed was the throne name of Cyaxares), since the latter term could create confusion with the king who continually identifies himself as ‘Darius’ in the inscription.”—Ibid., 38-39.

185Ibid., 53-54.

186 [Floyd Nolen Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament: A Return to Basics, 4th ed (The Woodlands, TX: KingsWord Press, 1993, 1999), 199], see Berosus.

187“The excerpt of Berossus which concerns the fall of Babylon in 539 BC is presented below . . . But it came to pass in the seventeenth year of his [Nabonidus’s] reign, that Cyrus came out of Persia with a great army; and having subdued all the rest of his kingdom, he rushed upon Babylonia. And when Nabonidus learned of his attack, he met (him) with his army and joined battle, and was defeated in the battle; and, fleeing with a few (troops), he was confined within the city of the Borsippans. Then Cyrus seized Babylon, and ordered the outer walls of the city to be torn down, because the city had been very troublesome to him, and seemed hard to conquer. He then marched against Borsippa to force Nabonidus to capitulate. But Nabonidus did not wait out the siege, but gave himself up. Cyrus at first treated him kindly, and, giving a residence to him in Carmania, sent him out of Babylonia. (But) Darius the king took away some of his province for himself. [v. l.—But) Darius the king kept him out of that province.] So Nabonidus passed the rest of his time in that land and died. . . . the most significant line in the passage quoted above is the one which occurs only in the Armenian text of the Chronicle of Eusebius, referring to the actions of a certain ‘King Darius,’ who either took for himself part of the province which Cyrus (whom he does not call ‘king’) had given to Nabonidus, or else barred Nabonidus from entering the province. If this statement is authentic, Berossus speaks of a ‘King Darius’ who was on the throne of the Medo-Persian Empire at the time of Babylon’s fall, and who had the authority to override the edicts of Cyrus. . . . however, the complex text-critical situation of the Babyloniaca raises questions as to whether the statement concerning King Darius was actually written by Berossus, or whether it may have been added by a later excerpter or copyist. This key statement is contained only in the Chronicle of Eusebius (and therefore only in Armenian), and not in an excerpt of the same passage from Berossus in the Preparation for the Gospel of Eusebius (9.40-41/455-57),172 or in the Greek text of Josephus quoted above.” [emphasis added]—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 148-151.

188“Two conclusions may be drawn from the review of the evidence above. First, if the statement in the Babyloniaca may be regarded as part of the original text composed by Berossus, it offers very strong corroboration for the identification of Daniel’s Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares II, and for the existence of both. Berossus was an independent, well-placed source who had no Jewish or Christian bias, and his history of the Neo-Babylonian period is respectably accurate. He lived and wrote in the Hellenistic period, about 250 years after the fall of Babylon, which gives sufficient distance to mitigate potential biases and political agendas with respect to Cyrus and Nabonidus. Thus, this single remark by Berossus carries significant weight, even when judged against the earlier and lengthier texts which do not recognize Darius the Mede. The second conclusion is that the potential strength of this evidence is weakened somewhat by text-critical issues of rare complexity, involving an incredibly convoluted history of transmission (and history of modern scholarly reconstruction) for two ancient works which are no longer extant as originally written—the Babyloniaca of Berossus, and the Chronicle of Eusebius.”—Ibid., 153.

189“Xenophon’s Cyaxares II is found to parallel Darius the Mede very closely; there are differences between the two, but not contradictions.”—Ibid., iii.

190“It appears from the passage in Dan. 5:30-31; 6:28, that Darius the Mede obtained the dominion over Babylon on the death of Belshazzar, who was the last Chaldean king, and that he was the immediate predecessor of Koresh (Cyrus) in the sovereignty. The historical juncture here defined belongs, therefore, to the period when the Medo-Persian army led by Cyrus took Babylon (538 b.c.), and Darius the Mede must denote the first king of a foreign dynasty who assumed the dominion over the Babylonian empire before Cyrus. These indications all concur in the person of Cyaxares the Second, the son and successor of Astyages (Ahasuerus), and the immediate predecessor of Cyrus.”—Barnes, Notes on the Bible, Dan. 6:1.

191John Calvin, Commentary on The Prophet Daniel (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998, 1561), Dan. 5:31.

192“Darius the Median took the kingdom - This is supposed to be the same as Cyaxares, son of Astyages and maternal uncle of Cyrus, to whom he gave the throne of Babylon, after himself had had the honor of taking the city. . . . The Medes and Persians were confederates in the war; the former under Darius, the latter under Cyrus. Both princes are supposed to have been present at the taking of this city. Mandane, daughter of Astyages, was mother of Cyrus, and sister to Cyaxares.”—Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible - Daniel (Broken Arrow, OK: StudyLamp Software, 1832), Dan. 5:31.

193“Others, with whom this writer agrees, say that Darius is Cyaxares II, king of Media and uncle of Cyrus . . .”—James O. Combs, Mysteries of the Book of Daniel (Springfield, IL: Tribune Publishers, 1994), Dan. 6:1.

194Darius the Median—that is Cyaxares II, the son and successor of Astyages, 569-536 b.c.”—Fausset, The Book of Daniel, Dan. 5:31. “Three [kings] of that name occur: Darius Hystaspes, 521 b.c., in whose reign the decree was carried into effect for rebuilding the temple (Ezra 4:5; Hag 1:1); Darius Codomanus, 336 b.c., whom Alexander overcame, called ‘the Persian’ (Ne. 12:22), an expression used after the rule of Macedon was set up; and Darius Cyaxares II, between Astyages and Cyrus [Aeschylus, The Persians, 762, 763].”—Ibid., Dan. 6:1.

195“Although the city was actually taken by Cyrus, it was done in the name of Cyrus’s uncle, Darius the Mede.”—Charles Lee Feinberg, A Commentary on Daniel: The Kingdom of the Lord (Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1981), 70.

196“This was Cyaxares the son of Astyages, and uncle of Cyrus; he is called the Median, to distinguish him from another Darius the Persian, that came after, Ezra 4:5, the same took the kingdom of Babylon from Cyrus who conquered it; he took it with his consent, being the senior prince and his uncle. Xenophon [Cyropœdia, l. 8. c. 36] says, that Cyrus, after he took Babylon, set out for Persia, and took Media on his way; and, saluting Cyaxares or Darius, said that there was a choice house and court for him in Babylon, where he might go and live as in his own.”—John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (Broken Arrow, OK: StudyLamp Software, 1746-1763), Dan. 5:31.

197See the extensive list of advocates in [Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 6-7]

198“For he [Cyrus] married the daughter of Cyaxares or Darius who was his uncle, and succeeded him as sole monarch of the empire.”—Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Dan. 6:28.

199“Cyaxeres king of the Medes (the same person called Darius in Daniel 5:31) . . .”—Greene, Daniel, 207.

200See the extensive list of advocates in [Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 6-7]

201“After he had been killed by Darius, King of the Medes, who was the maternal uncle of Cyrus, King of the Persians, the empire of the Chaldeans was destroyed by Cyrus the Persian.”—Hieronymus, Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel (Translated by Gleason L. Archer Jr.), Dan. 5:1.

202Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 4-5.

203“The statement, also, that Darius was about sixty-two years old when he ascended the throne of the Chaldean kingdom, harmonizes with the report given by Xenophon, that when Cyaxares gave his daughter to Cyrus, he gave him along with her the kingdom of Media, because he had no male heir, and was so far advanced in years that he could not hope to have now any son.”—Keil, Daniel, 621. [Ibid., Dan. 5:31]

204“Cyaxares, king of the Medes, who is called ‘Darius’ in verse 31 summoned to his aid his nephew, Cyrus, of the Persian line. And in the seventeenth year of Nabonidus, and the third year of Belshazzar, Cyrus laid siege to the city of Babylon [Isa. 44:28; 45:1-4].”—Clarence Larkin, The Book of Daniel (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1929), Dan. 5:31.

205“ ‘Darius’ is the Darius Cyaxares II of secular history, and he ruled for only two years.”—J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1981), Dan. 6:2.

206“This was Cyaxares, son of Astyages, king of Media, and maternal uncle to Cyrus, who allowed him the title of his conquests, as long as he lived. Dan. 6:1, Dan. 9:1”—R. Torrey, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1995), Dan. 5:31.

207See the extensive list of advocates in [Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 6-7]

208“The various sources mentioned here are all examined and discussed in greater detail in Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal. . . . the present authors hold to the thesis that Daniel’s Darius the Mede is to be identified with the Cyaxares II of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia . . .”—Anderson, The Remembrance of Daniel’s Darius the Mede in Berossus and Harpocration, 323.

209Otto Zöckler, “The Book of the Prophet Daniel,” in John Peter Lange, ed., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1880), Dan. 5:31.

210The identification of Daniel’s Darius the Mede with Xenophon’s Cyaxares II by these two early and important writers ensured the adoption of this view by many later commentators on Daniel. This view clearly predominates among major Protestant writers of the Reformation and post-Reformation period. The great Reformer John Calvin expressed this view in the sixteenth century [John Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Daniel, trans. Thomas Meyers, vol. 1, Calvin’s Commentaries (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1852; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948), 347-48]. In the mid-seventeenth century, it was defended by James Ussher in his famous Annals of the World [James Ussher, The Annals of the World: Deduced from the Origin of Time, and Continued to the Beginning of the Emperour Vespasians Reign, and the Totall Destruction and Abolition of the Temple and Common-wealth of the Jews (London: J. Crook and G. Bedell, 1658), 85-86, 101]. In the eighteenth century, it was expressed by William Lowth, father of the Robert Lowth who is famous for his Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews [William Lowth, A Commentary upon the Prophecy of Daniel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, 2 vols. (London: William Mears, 1726), 1:52]. In the first part of the nineteenth century, it was affirmed by Adam Clarke, who wrote a major commentary on the entire Bible; by Thomas Hartwell Horne, who wrote the first major introduction to the Bible; and by the celebrated grammarian and lexicographer Wilhelm Gesenius [Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible . . . with a Commentary and Critical Notes., vol. 5 (New York: Abraham Paul, 1825), 19.H.1-2; Thomas Hartwell Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 8th ed., vol. 4 (London: T. Cadell, 1839), 213, 217; Samuel Davidson, The Text of the Old Testament Considered: With a Treatise on Sacred Interpretation; and a Brief Introduction to the Old Testament Books and the Apocrypha, vol. 2.2 of An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, by Thomas Hartwell Horne, ed. Thomas Hartwell Horne, Samuel Davidson, and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, & Roberts, 1856), 926; Wilhelm Gesenius, Thesaurus philologicus criticus linguae hebraeae et chaldaeae veteris testamenti, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Leipzig: F. C. G. Vogelii, 1835), 349-50.]. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was propounded by Humphrey Prideaux, whose OT and NT Connected was a standard work for many decades; by C. F. Keil, whose Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, coauthored with Franz Delitzsch, remains a classic today; by Albert Barnes, whose multivolume Bible commentary is still in print today; by E. W. Hengstenberg, a well-known German scholar of the mid-nineteenth century; and by Otto Zöckler in Lange’s Commentary, edited by James Strong and Philip Schaff [Albert Barnes, Daniel, 2 vols., Notes on the Old Testament (London: Blackie & Son, 1853; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 1:303-4; 2:3, 6-10, 158; E. W. Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Genuineness of Daniel and the Integrity of Zechariah, trans. B. P. Pratten (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1847), 40-43; C. F. Keil, Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel, trans. M. G. Easton, Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1877; repr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 192-200; Humphrey Prideaux, An Historical Connection of the Old and New Testaments: Comprising the History of the Jews and Neighboring Nations, from the Decline of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel to the Time of Christ, ed. J. Talboys Wheeler, 3rd ed., vol. 1 (London: William Tegg & Co., 1877), 106-12; Otto Zöckler, The Book of the Prophet Daniel: Theologically and Homiletically Expounded, trans. and ed. by James Strong, vol. 13 of Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical, with Special Reference to Ministers and Students, ed. John Peter Lange and Philip Schaff (New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1876), 35-36].”—Anderson, Darius the Mede: A Reappraisal, 6-7.

211Anderson, The Remembrance of Daniel’s Darius the Mede in Berossus and Harpocration, 316-317.

212Ibid., 317-319.

213Ibid., 319-320.

214“Darius coined a great number of pure gold coins called Darics, or Stateres Darici. Suidas, Harpocration, and the scholiast of Aristophanes say that these were coined not by the father of Xerxes I, but by an earlier Darius, by Darius the first who was the first king of the Medo-Persian Empire.”—Newton, Newton’s Revised History of Ancient Kingdoms, 110.

215“According to Cicero, Cyrus lived seventy years and according to Ptolemy’s Canon, he reigned nine years over Babylon. Therefore, he was sixty-one years old when he captured Babylon and Darius the Mede was sixty-two years old (Dan. 5:31). Hence, Darius was two generations younger than Astyages, the grandfather of Cyrus.”—Ibid., 107.

216Anstey, The Romance of Bible Chronology: The Treatise (Vol 1), 268.

217Newton, Newton’s Revised History of Ancient Kingdoms, 107-108.

218Ibid., 106.

219Clough, Lessons on Daniel, 20.264.

220Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, 285.

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