Persia (Puhr´zhuh)

An empire that at its height stretched from Greece in the west to India in the east. The Persian Empire came into being with the victories of Cyrus the Great over his Medan overlord (ca. 550 BCE) and lasted until the conquests of Alexander the Great (ca. 330 BCE). In the Bible, Cyrus is hailed as the chosen deliverer of the Jews from Babylon (Isa 44:28, “my shepherd”; Isa 45:1, “his anointed”), and he is recognized for his role in the rebuilding of the Temple (2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-2; Ezra 3:7; Ezra 4:3). The reign of Darius I (522–486) provides the dating framework for the books of Haggai and Zechariah. Artaxerxes (465–424) is mentioned in Ezra 6:14; Ezra 7:1; and Ezra 9:9 and in Neh 2:1; Neh 5:14; and Neh 13:6). The story of Esther is set in the reign of Ahasuerus (also called Xerxes, 486–465). A later Darius (II or III) is named in Neh 12:22). Both Esther and Daniel refer to Medes and Persians together (Esth 1:3; Esth 1:18-19, Dan 5:8; Dan 6:28), particularly to stress the unalterability of their laws. (Dan 5:31 and Dan 6:28 distinguish a Medan from a Persian empire (cf. Dan 10:1), but (Dan 8:20) treats the two as one. (Dan 10:13, Dan 10:20-21), dealing with the conflicts of the empires, speaks of a “prince of Persia” against whom the angel Michael represents divine power on behalf of the Jews (cf. also Dan 11:2). In a list of officials in (Ezra 4:9-10), Persians and other peoples appear among those who were settled in Samaria and elsewhere by Osnappar (probably Ashurbanipal).

Isa 44:28

28who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd,
and he shall carry out all my purpose”;
and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Your foun ... View more

Isa 45:1

Cyrus, God's Instrument
1Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip kings of their rob ... View more

2Chr 36:22-23

Cyrus Proclaims Liberty for the Exiles
22In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord stirred ... View more

Ezra 1:1-2

End of the Babylonian Captivity
1In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, t ... View more

Ezra 3:7

7So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to ... View more

Ezra 4:3

3But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of families in Israel said to them, “You shall have no part with us in building a house to our God; but we al ... View more

Ezra 6:14

14So the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by comman ... View more

Ezra 7:1

The Coming and Work of Ezra
1After this, in the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,

Ezra 9:9

9For we are slaves; yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to give us new life to ... View more

Neh 2:1

Nehemiah Sent to Judah
1In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was served him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. N ... View more

Neh 5:14

The Generosity of Nehemiah
14Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second ... View more

Neh 13:6

6While this was taking place I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes of Babylon I went to the king. After some time I asked lea ... View more

Neh 12:22

22As for the Levites, in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, there were recorded the heads of ancestral houses; also the priests until the reign ... View more

Esth 1:3

3in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his officials and ministers. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinc ... View more

Esth 1:18-19

18This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's behavior will rebel against the king's officials, and there will be no end of ... View more

Dan 5:8

8Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation.

Dan 6:28

28So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Dan 5:31

31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Dan 6:28

28So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Dan 10:1

Conflict of Nations and Heavenly Powers
1In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The word was true, ... View more

Dan 8:20

20As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia.

Dan 10:13

13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the princ ... View more

Dan 10:20-21

20Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I am through with him, the prince of Gree ... View more

Dan 11:2

2“Now I will announce the truth to you. Three more kings shall arise in Persia. The fourth shall be far richer than all of them, and when he has become strong t ... View more

Ezra 4:9-10

9(then Rehum the royal deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the envoys, the officials, the Persians, the people of Erech, ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.