6 occurrences in 6 dictionaries

Reference: Darius


1. DARIUS THE MEDE Da 5:31; 9:1; 11:1, was son of Astyages king of the Medes, and brother of Mandane mother of Cyrus, and of Amyit the mother of Evil-merodach and grandmother of Belshazzar: thus he was uncle, by the mother's side, to Evil-merodach and to Cyrus. The Hebrew generally calls him Darius; the Septuagint, Artaxerxes; and Xenophon, Cyaxares. Darius dethroned Belshazzar king of the Chaldeans, and occupied the throne till his death two years after, when it reverted to the illustrious Cyrus. In his reign Daniel was cast into the lion's den, Da 6.


Spoken of in Ezr 4-7, Haggai, and Zechariah, as the king who renewed the permission to rebuild the temple, given to the Jews by Cyrus and afterwards recalled. He succeeded Smerdis, the Magian usurper, B. C. 521, and reigned thirty-six years. He removed the seat of government to Susa, whereupon Babylon rebelled against him; but he subdued the rebellion and broke down the walls of Babylon, as was predicted, Jer 51:58.


Ne 12:22, was one of the most brave and generous of the Persian kings. Alexander the Great defeated him several times, and at great length subverted the Persian monarchy, after it had been established two hundred and six years. Darius was killed by his own generals, after a short reign of six years. Thus were verified the prophecies of Daniel, Da 8, who had foretold the enlargement of the Persian monarchy, under the symbol of a ram, butting with its horns westward, northward, and southward, which nothing could resist; and its destruction by a goat having a very large horn between his eyes, (Alexander the Great,) coming from the west, and overrunning the world without touching the earth. Nothing can be added to the clearness of these prophecies, so exactly describing what in due time took place and is matter of history.

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the holder or supporter, the name of several Persian kings. (1.) Darius the Mede (Da 11:1), "the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes" (Da 9:1). On the death of Belshazzar the Chaldean he "received the kingdom" of Babylon as viceroy from Cyrus. During his brief reign (B.C. 538-536) Daniel was promoted to the highest dignity (Da 6:1-2); but on account of the malice of his enemies he was cast into the den of lions. After his miraculous escape, a decree was issued by Darius enjoining "reverence for the God of Daniel" (Da 6:26). This king was probably the "Astyages" of the Greek historians. Nothing can, however, be with certainty affirmed regarding him. Some are of opinion that the name "Darius" is simply a name of office, equivalent to "governor," and that the "Gobryas" of the inscriptions was the person intended by the name.

(2.) Darius, king of Persia, was the son of Hystaspes, of the royal family of the Achaemenidae. He did not immediately succeed Cyrus on the throne. There were two intermediate kings, viz., Cambyses (the Ahasuerus of Ezra), the son of Cyrus, who reigned from B.C. 529-522, and was succeeded by a usurper named Smerdis, who occupied the throne only ten months, and was succeeded by this Darius (B.C. 521-486). Smerdis was a Margian, and therefore had no sympathy with Cyrus and Cambyses in the manner in which they had treated the Jews. He issued a decree prohibiting the restoration of the temple and of Jerusalem (Ezr 4:17-22). But soon after his death and the accession of Darius, the Jews resumed their work, thinking that the edict of Smerdis would be now null and void, as Darius was in known harmony with the religious policy of Cyrus. The enemies of the Jews lost no time in bringing the matter under the notice of Darius, who caused search to be made for the decree of Cyrus (q.v.). It was not found at Babylon, but at Achmetha (Ezr 6:2); and Darius forthwith issued a new decree, giving the Jews full liberty to prosecute their work, at the same time requiring the Syrian satrap and his subordinates to give them all needed help. It was with the army of this king that the Greeks fought the famous battle of Marathon (B.C. 490). During his reign the Jews enjoyed much peace and prosperity. He was succeeded by Ahasuerus, known to the Greeks as Xerxes, who reigned for twenty-one years.

(3.) Darius the Persian (Ne 12:22) was probably the Darius II. (Ochus or Nothus) of profane history, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was the son and successor of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). There are some, however, who think that the king here meant was Darius III. (Codomannus), the antagonist of Alexander the Great (B.C. 336-331).

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A common name of several Medo-Persian kings, from a Persian root darvesh, "restraint;" Sanskrit, dhari, "firmly holding."

1. Darius the Mede. (See DANIEL; BABYLON; BELSHAZZAR; CYRUS.) Da 5:31; 6:1; 9:1; 11:1. This Darius "received the kingdom" (Da 5:31) of Babylon as viceroy from Cyrus, according to G. Rawlinson, which may be favored by Da 9:1; "Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldaeans." He in this view gave up the kingdom to his superior Cyrus, after holding it from 538 to 536 B.C. Abydenus makes Nebuchadnezzar prophesy that a Persian and a Mede," the pride of the Assyrians," should take Babylon, i.e. a prince who had ruled over the Medes and Assyrians.

Cyrus, having taken such a prince 20 years before Babylon's capture, advanced him to be deputy king of Babylon. Hence he retained the royal title and is called "king" by Daniel. Thus Astyages (the last king of the Medes, and having no issue, according to Herodotus, 1:73, 109,127) will be this Darius, and Ahasuerus (Achashverosh) = Cyaxares (Huwakshatra), father of Astyages. Aeschylus (Persae, 766, 767) represents Cyaxares as the first founder of the empire and a Mede, and Sir H. Rawlinson proves the same in opposition to Herodotus. Aeschylus describes Cyaxares' son as having "a mind guided by wisdom"; this is applicable both to Darius in Da 6:1-3, and to Astyages in Herodotus. The chronology however requires one junior to Astyages to correspond to Darius the Mede and Cyrus' viceroy, whether a son or one next in succession after Astyages, probably Cyaxares.

Harpocration makes him to have introduced the coin named from him the daric. Xenophon's account of Cyaxares agrees remarkably with Daniel's account of Darius. Xenophon says Cyrus conquered Babylon by Cyaxares' permission, and appointed for him a royal palace and rule and home there (see Da 6; 9:1; 5:31). Daniel's statement that Darius was 62 years old accords with Xenophon that when Cyaxares gave Cyrus his daughter he gave him along with her the Median kingdom, himself having no male heir, and being so old as not to be likely to have a son. Darius' weakness in yielding to his nobles (Daniel 6) accords with Xenophon's picture of Cyaxares' sensuality. The shortness of his reign and the eclipsing brilliancy of Cyrus' capture of Babylon caused Herodotus and Berosus to pass Darius unnoticed. Cyaxares is the Median uwakshatra, "autocrat," answering to Darius the Persian, Darjawusch "the ruler;" kschaja, "kingdom," is the root in the Persian Ahasuerus, Kschajarscha, and the Median Astyages.

2. Darius, son of Hystaspes, fifth from Achaemenes, who founded the Persian dynasty. The Magian Pseudo-Smerdis Aartxerxes; Ezr 4:7 usurped the throne, pretending to be Cyrus' younger son. (See ARTAXERXES.) As he restored the Magian faith, effecting a religious as well as political revolution, he readily gave ear to the enemies of the Jews whose restorer Cyrus had been (Ezr 4:7-24). Darius Hystaspes with six Persian chiefs overthrew the impostor and became king 521 B.C. As soon as Darius was on the throne the Jews treated Smerdis' edict as null and void. This bold step is accounted for by Darius's own inscription at Behistun stating that in his zeal for Zoroastrianism he reversed Smerdis' policy, "rebuilding the temples which the Magian had destroyed and restoring the religious chants and worship which he had abolished."

The Jews so counted on his sympathy as not to wait for his express edict. Their enemies, hoping that Smerdis had destroyed Cyrus' decree, informed the king of the Jews' proceeding and proposed that the archives at Babylon should be searched to see whether Cyrus had ever really given such a decree. It was found at Ecbatana. In his second year Haggai (Hag 1:1; 2:1,10) and Zechariah (Zechariah 3-4; Zec 7:1-3) the prophets encouraged Zerubbabel and Jeshua to resume the building of the temple that had been discontinued (Ezra 5). Tatnai and Shethar Boznai's effort to hinder it only occasioned the ratification of Cyrus' original decree by Darius.

Darius in his decree in Ezra (Ezra 6) writes as might have been expected from the Zoroastrian Darius of secular history; he calls the Jews' temple "the house of God," Jehovah "the God of heaven," and solicits their prayers "for the life of the king and of his sons." Herodotus (vii. 2) confirms the fact that he had sons when he ascended the throne. His curse (Ezr 6:12) on those who injure the temple answers to that on those who should injure the inscriptions at Behistun, and his threat of impaling such (Ezr 6:11) answers to the Behistun and Herodotus (iii. 159) record of the ordinary punishment he inflicted. The "tribute" (Ezr 6:8) too he was the first to impose on the provinces (Herodotus, 3:89). in four years it was completed, i.e. in the sixth year of Darius (Ezr 6:15), in 516 B.C. In this same year he suppressed with severity a Babylonian revolt. He reduced under his supremacy Thrace, Macedon, and the islands in the Aegean Sea, 513-505 B.C. Invading Greece, he was defeated at Marathon 590. Before he could renew the campaign, with preparations completed he died 455 B.C.

3. Darius the Persian (Ne 12:11-22). As "Jaddua" was high priest at the invasion of Alexander the Great, Darius III, Codomanus, his enemy (336-330 B.C.), last king of Persia, is meant. Darius II, or Nothus, king from 424 to 405 B.C., would be meant if Nehemiah were the writer; but it is more likely he was not, and that the continuation of the register down to Alexander's contemporary, Jaddua, is inserted by a later hand.

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1. Son of Hystaspes, king of Persia (b.c. 521

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(lord), the name of several kings of Media and Persia.


Da 6:1; 11:1

the son of Ahasuerus,

Da 9:1

who succeeded to the Babylonian kingdom ont he death of Belshazzar, being then sixty-two years old.

Da 5:31; 9:1

(B.C. 538.) Only one year of his reign is mentioned,

Da 9:1; 11:1

but that was of great importance for the Jews. Daniel was advanced by the king to the highest dignity,

Da 6:1

ff., and in his reign was cast into the lions' den. Dan. 6. This Darius is probably the same as "Astyages," the last king of the Medes.

2. DARIUS, the son of Hystaspes the founder of the Perso-Arian dynasty. Upon the usurpation of the magian Smerdis, he conspired with six other Persian chiefs to overthrow the impostor and on the success of the plot was placed upon the throne, B.C. 521. With regard to the Jews, Darius Hystaspes pursued the same policy as Cyrus, and restored to them the privileges which they had lost.

Ezr 5:1

etc.; Ezra 6:1 etc.


Ne 12:22

may be identified with Darius II. Nothus (Ochus), king of Persia B.C. 424-3 to 405-4; but it is not improbable that it points to Darius III. Codomannus, the antagonist of Alexander and the last king of Persia, B.C. 336-330.

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DARIUS was the name of several princes in history, some of whom are mentioned in Scripture.

1. DARIUS the Mede, spoken of in Da 5:31; 9:1; 11:1, &c, was the son of Astyages, king of the Medes, and brother to Mandane, the mother of Cyrus, and to Amyit, the mother of Evil-merodach, and grandmother of Belshazzar. Darius the Mede, therefore, was uncle by the mother's side to Evil-merodach and Cyrus. The Septuagint, in Daniel vii, give him the name of Artaxerxes; the thirteenth, or apocryphal chapter of Daniel, calls him Astyages; and Xenophon designates him by the name of Cyaxares. He succeeded Belshazzar, king of Babylon, his nephew's son, or his sisters grandson, in the year of the world, 3448, according to Calmet, or in 3468, according to Usher. Daniel does not inform us of any previous war between them; but the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah supply this deficiency. Isa 13; 14; 45; 46; 47; Jer 50; 51.

2. DARIUS, the son of Hystaspes, has been supposed by some, on the authority of Archbishop Usher and Calmet, to be the Ahasuerus of Scripture, and the husband of Esther. But Dr. Prideaux thinks, that Ahasuerus was Artaxerxes Longimanus. This prince recovered Babylon after a siege of twenty months. This city, which had been formerly the capital of the east, revolted from Persia, taking advantage of the revolution that happened, first at the death of Cambyses, and afterward on the massacre of the Magi. The Babylonians employed four years in preparations, and when they thought that their city was furnished with provisions for a long time, they raised the standard of rebellion. Darius levied an army in great haste, and besieged Babylon. The Babylonians shut themselves up within their walls, whose height and thickness secured them from assault; and as they had nothing to fear but famine, they assembled all their women and children, and strangled them, each reserving only his most beloved wife, and one servant. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Isa 47:7-9. Some believe that the Jews were either expelled by the Babylonians, as being too much in the interest of Darius; or that, in obedience to the frequent admonitions of the prophets, they quitted that city when they saw the people determined to rebel, Isa 48:20;

Jer 50:8; 51:6-9; Zec 11:6-7. Darius lay twenty months before Babylon, without making any considerable progress; but at length, Zopyrus, one of his generals, obtained possession of the city by stratagem. Darius ordered the hundred gates of brass to be taken away, according to the prediction of Jer 51:58, "Thus saith the Lord, The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burnt with fire, and the people shall labour in vain." This is related in Herodotus.

3. DARIUS CODOMANUS was of the royal family of Persia, but very remote from the crown. He was in a low condition, when Bagoas, the eunuch, who had procured the destruction of two kings, Ochus and Arses, placed him on the throne. His true name was Codoman, and he did not take that of Darius till he was king. He was descended from Darius Nothus, whose son, Ostanes, was father to Arsames, that beget Codomanus. He was at first only a courier to the emperor Ochus. But one day when he was at this prince's army, one of their enemies challenged the bravest of the Persians. Codomanus offered himself for the combat, and overcame the challenger, and was made governor of Armenia. From this situation, Bagoas placed him on the throne of Persia. Alexander the Great invaded the Persian empire, and defeated Darius in three successive battles. After the third battle, Darius fled toward Media, in hopes of raising another army. At Ecbatana, the capital of Media, he gathered the remains of his forces, and some new levies. Alexander having wintered at Babylon and Persepolis, took the field in search of Darius, who quitted Ecbatana, with an intention of retreating into Bactria; but, changing his resolution, Darius stopped short, and determined to hazard a battle, though his army at this time consisted only of forty thousand men. While he was preparing for this conflict, Bessus, governor of Bactria, and Narbazanes, a grandee of Persia, seized him, loaded him with chains, forced him into a covered chariot, and fled, carrying him with them toward Bactria. If Alexander pursued them, they intended to purchase their peace by delivering Darius into his hands; but if not, to kill him, seize the crown, and renew the war. Eight days after their departure, Alexander arrived at Ecbatana, and set out in pursuit of them, which he continued for eleven days: at length he stopped at Rages, in Media, despairing to overtake Darius. Thence he went into Parthia, where he learned what had happened to that unfortunate prince. After a precipitate march of many days, he overtook the traitors, who, seeing themselves pressed, endeavoured to compel Darius to get upon horseback, and save himself with them; but he refusing, they stabbed him in several places, and left him expiring in his chariot. He was dead when Alexander arrived, who could not forbear weeping at so sad a spectacle. Alexander covered Darius with his own cloak, and sent him to Sisygambis his wife, that she might bury him in the tombs of the kings of Persia. Thus were verified the prophecies of Daniel, viii, who had foretold the destruction of the Persian monarchy, under the symbol of a ram, which butted with its horns westward, northward, and southward, and which nothing could resist; but a goat which had a very large horn between his eyes, and which denoted Alexander the Great, came from the west, and overran the world without touching the earth; springing forward with impetuosity, the goat ran against the ram with all his force, attacked him with fury, struck him, broke his two horns, trampled him under foot, and no one could rescue the ram. Nothing can be clearer than these prophecies.

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