Babylonian & Persian Periods
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586−332 BCE





Cyrus II [559-530]



Fall of Babylon to Cyrus (October 9, Cyrus' accession year).


It would seem that, on October 29, Cyrus appointed his 62 year old general Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, governor over the conquered Chaldean kingdom. Darius the Mede, who was made ruler (Daniel 9:1) was known as Gobryas (Herodotus, History 1.191) and Gubaru (Whitcomb 1959:11). 

On November 6, Cyrus' general Ugbaru, who engineered the capture of Babylon, died of a sudden fatal illness (Archer 1985:76). The implication is that God provided special encouragement and protection to Darius, which evidently included the divine removal of a dangerous rival, through the agency of the archangel Gabriel (Daniel 11:1).


Timeframe of Daniel 9. In the first year of governor Darius, Daniel comes to realize that with the fall of the Babylonian empire (Jeremiah 25:11-12) the time had come for God to bring the Jews back to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29:10) as the 70 years were complete (Daniel 9:2). Deeply moved, Daniel humbles himself and implores God in prayer and fasting to forgive the Jews and to restore Jerusalem (Daniel 9:3-19). In response, Gabriel appears and tells him of seventy weeks and the anointed prince [The Seventy Weeks Prophecy] (Daniel 9:24-27).



Cyrus issues a proclamation for the Jews to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-2). All during Cyrus' reign the Samaritans harassed the Jews and hired counselors against them.



Timeframe of Daniel 10-12 (Daniel told of coming events by angel [unidentified but probably Gabriel again]).


Return of Jews under Zerubbabel (probable; 70 years, inclusive, from 1st phase of captivity in 605 BCE).

605/604 BCE - 70 years = 535/534 BCE

Reconstruction of the Temple begun.

Cambyses [530-522]



Rebuilding of the Temple stopped until the second year of Darius I.

The second son of Cyrus II assassinated by his brother Cambyses II, who kept the murder a secret.

Patizithes, Magi custodian of Cambyses’ palace, deposed Cambyses (while he campaigned in Egypt).

Pseudo-Smerdis [522]



Patizithes put forward his brother Guamata, to impersonate Smerdis, and proclaimed him king. After a reign of seven months Darius I slew the pretender in a coup d'état.

Darius I - the Great [522-486]



Darius I, son of Hystaspes of the Achaemenid dynasty, took the throne in a coup d'état. He began his reign in 522 at about age 28 (Archer 1985:76).


Haggai and Zechariah prophesy (Ezra 5:1).



Darius issued a decree that the rebuilding of the Temple should resume without interference (Ezra 6:6-12).



On Adar 3 the Jews finished construction of the Temple (Ezra 6:13-15).

Xerxes I - Ahasuerus [486-464]






Battle of Thermopylae. The Battle of Thermopylae (Greek: Θερμοπύλαι) took place over three days during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BCE, at the pass of Thermopylae ('The Hot Gates'). It was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. The Persian army, which modern estimates have placed at around 300,000, arrived at the pass in late August or early September. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held up the Persians for seven days in total (including three of battle), before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history's most famous last stands. During two full days of battle, the small force led by King Leonidas I of Sparta blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Aware that they were being outflanked, Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army, and remained to guard the rear with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, the vast majority of whom were killed.



Esther made queen.


Jews delivered from death.

Artaxerxes I [465-423]



Artabanus, a courtier, murdered Xerxes in December 465


458 (457)

Ezra left Babylon for Jerusalem on Nisan 1 [the 1st month]. Ezra arrived in Jerusalem on Ab 1 [the 5th month] (Ezra 7:1-9).


458 (457)

Artaxerxes sent Ezra and his party to Jerusalem to beautify the Temple and make offerings (Ezra 7:11-26). The group included some of the people of Israel, some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and temple servants (Ezra 7:6-7).


445 (444)

Nehemiah troubled as the wall of Jerusalem remained in ruin the gates destroyed.

Nehemiah asks Artaxerxes I to send him to Jerusalem to rebuild the city (Nehemiah 2:1-5).

Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1; 5:14).

Ezra, with Nehemiah present, read the Law in a public ceremony (Nehemiah 8:9).


433 (432)

End of Nehemiah's first term as governor. After a 12-year stay Nehemiah left Jerusalem and returned to the capital a Shushan (Nehemiah 5:14; 13:6).

Nehemiah returned for a second stay before Artaxerxes' reign ended in 424 BCE (Nehemiah 13:6-7).

Xerxes II and Secydianus or Sogdianus [424-423]

Darius II [423-405/4]

Artaxerxes II [405/4-359/8]

Artaxerxes III [359/8-388/7]

Darius III [336/5-331]



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