Ezra 4’s Cyrus, Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius



Damien F. Mackey

Here continues the task of revising ancient Persian history, with an anticipated severe reduction in the number of kings that one will find listed in the text books.

Part One: A Revised Overview


Ezra 4:4-6 is thought to give the overall range of Persian history to be covered in this chapter, from Cyrus down to Darius:

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

before the sacred writer(s) proceed to fill in the details – especially regarding the forced interruption of work towards the building of the Temple (vv. 6-23).

The narrative then returns to, and concludes with, king Darius in v. 24: “Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia”.

The framework that we are given in Ezra 4, bookended by Cyrus and Darius, is as follows:

Cyrus (v. 5)

Ahasuerus (v. 6)

Artaxerxes (vv. 7-23)

Darius (vv. 5, 24)

Whilst there is not much dispute amongst commentators about the identifications of Cyrus and Darius, they can differ about who were “Ahasuerus” and “Artaxerxes”.

Generally they, following the standard list of Persian kings,

List of the Kings of Persia from 550 BC to 330 BC

Persian Kings

Period of Reign (Approx)

Cyrus II “the Great”

550-529 BC

Cambyses II

529-522 BC

Darius I

522-486 BC

Xerxes I

486-465 BC

Artaxerxes I

465-425 BC

Xerxes II

425-424 BC

Darius II

423-404 BC

Artaxerxes II

404-359 BC

Artaxerxes III

359-338 BC


338-336 BC

Darius III

336-330 BC

will regard Cambyses as both “Ahasuerus” and “Artaxerxes”.

Less commonly some commentators prefer, for the identification of “Artaxerxes”, the usurper, Gaumata, sometimes equating him with the obscure Bardiya.

The Matthew Henry Commentary, for instance, favours a double identification for Cambyses:

[Cyrus] then either died or gave up that part of his government, in which his successor was Ahasuerus (v. 6), called also Artaxerxes (v. 7), supposed to be the same that in heathen authors is called Cambyses, who had never taken such cognizance of the despised Jews as to concern himself for them, nor had he that knowledge of the God of Israel which his predecessor had. To him these Samaritans applied by letter for an order to stop the building of the temple; and they did it in the beginning of his reign, being resolved to lose no time when they thought they had a king for their purpose. ….

[End of quote]

Whilst Herb Storck (History and Prophecy: A Study in the Post-Exilic Period, House of Nabu, 1989, p. 64), accepting that “Ahasuerus” is Cambyses, thinks that “Artaxerxes” must be Gaumata/Bardiya:

The section of Ezra iv. 6-23 involves the whole reign of Cambyses and Bardiya. The subject … structure, prosopography … syntax and vocabulary … of the section naturally supports this interpretation. As the text can thus sustain this interpretation it remains only to show reasonable grounds that the sequence Cyrus, Ahasuerus (Cambyses), Artaxerxes (Bardiya) and Darius can be justified from what is known of them historically. It will now be argued that Ahasuerus can be Cambyses and that Artaxerxes may be Bardiya/Gaumata. As this thesis is almost never argued in current scholarship, it will require a careful and rather lengthy discourse. ….

[End of quote]

What I take from the Matthew Henry Commentary is that only one king is being referred to under the two names of “Ahasuerus” and “Artaxerxes”.

But I think that he is not Cambyses.


Whilst I expect to have more to say later about this idiosyncratic king and his place in history, I have already opened proceedings towards an entirely new assessment of Cambyses by drawing some parallels between him and Daniel’s King Nebuchadnezzar about whom one may read in my:

“Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel


Re my different view of Cambyses, I refer to this series of articles:

Nebuchednezzar and Cambyses

Common factors here may include ‘divine’ madness; confounding the priests by messing with the Babylonian rites; and the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia.

Nebuchednezzar and Cambyses. Part Two: Messing with the rites

As was the case with King Nabonidus (= Nebuchednezzar II), so did Cambyses apparently fail properly to observe established protocol with the Babylonian rites.

Nebuchednezzar and Cambyses. Part Three: Egypt and Ethiopia

Of Nebuchednezzar II’s conquest of Egypt, well-attested in the Bible, it is extremely difficult to find substantial account in the historical records. Not so with the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia by Cambyses.

Cambyses Mad Yet Great

And even, right out of left field:

Cambyses and Julius Caesar



The Book of Esther presents us with a Great King who is variously called “Ahasuerus” and “Artaxerxes”. And this is good enough for me. I have identified him as both “Darius the Mede” and Cyrus:

Is the Book of Esther a Real History? Part Three: “King Ahasuerus”


I concluded this article with:

According to my radical truncating of the number of Chaldean kings of this era, Nebuchednezzar II’s son, Evil-Merodach (or Awel-Marduk), was the last of the rulers of this dynasty – and he was the same person as Belshazzar:

Neo-Babylonian Dynasty Needs ‘Hem Taken Up’. Part One (b): Evil-Merodach is Belshazzar


Hence it is likely that the Medo-Persian king who succeeded Belshazzar, “Darius the Mede” – who I believe to have been Cyrus himself (see e.g.):

Darius the Mede “Received the Kingdom”


was the Great King “Ahasuerus” (“Artaxerxes”), whose wife Queen Esther was.

[End of quote]

Darius the Great

More recently, in my article:

“Three Kings” and the “Fourth” of Daniel 11:2


I have identified:

Darius the Mede = Cyrus the Great = Darius the Great

thereby most radically shortening Medo-Persian history.

This would mean that only the one Medo-Persian kings is actually being referred to in Ezra 4.

Now, the description of Ezra’s king Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes fits tolerably well with what we learn about the Great King of the same names in the drama of Esther, supplemented with parts of the Book of Daniel.

Apart from Mordecai’s dream, in the second year of Ahasuerus, we do not engage the reign of the Great King until his third year of reign (Esther 1:3), when he was in high celebratory mode.

Likely earlier than this incident was that of Ezra 4:6: “And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem”.

However, that King Ahasuerus had severe trouble early in his reign is apparent from a comparison of Daniel 6 (in which he is called “Darius the Mede”) and, more emphatically, Bel and the Dragon (in which he is called “Cyrus of Persia”):

Daniel 6:24: “At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children”.

Bel and the Dragon (1:28-30): “When they of Babylon heard that, they took great indignation, and conspired against the king, saying, The king is become a Jew, and he hath destroyed Bel, he hath slain the dragon, and put the priests to death. So they came to the king, and said, Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thine house. Now when the king saw that they pressed him sore, being constrained, he delivered Daniel unto them …”.

This conspiracy against the king could well pertain to the conspiracy that Mordecai uncovered (Esther 2:21-23): “Once, while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigsan and Seresh, two officers of the king’s night guards, became angry at the king, and they conspired to poison the king. Mordecai found out about it, so he told Queen Esther, and Esther told it to the king, citing Mordecai as her source. They investigated the matter, and it was verified, and they were both hanged on gallows. It was then recorded in the royal book of chronicles”.

When we move on to Ezra 4’s account of “Artaxerxes”, we encounter a name, “Bishlam”, or other variations, that is not unlike that of the conspirator, “Bigsan”, or other variations (e.g. “Bigthan”).

D. Clines (Esther Scroll: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=PBediPzesQ0) has put forward “the supposition that Haman was himself implicated in the conspiracy of [Bigthan and Teresh] which Mordecai uncovered, as is suggested by both the Greek versions …”.

Ezra continues:

In the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia. The letter was written in Aramaic and translated. Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king as follows: Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the governors, the officials, the Persians, the men of Erech, the Babylonians, the men of Susa, that is, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River. (This is a copy of the letter that they sent.) “To Artaxerxes the king: Your servants, the men of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired. Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”

Similarly, Haman informs Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes of this allegedly rebellious and lawless people (Esther 3:8-9): “There is a nation scattered and separated among the nations throughout your empire. Their laws are different than everyone else’s, they do not obey the king’s laws, and it does not pay for the king to tolerate their existence. If it pleases the king, let a law be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay to the executors ten thousand silver Kikar-coins for the king’s treasury”.

And Queen Esther, in her prayer, would note that (vv. 19-20) “… our enemies are no longer satisfied just to see us in slavery. They have made a solemn promise to their idols not only to destroy the people who praise you, but to do away with your Law and to remove forever the glory of your house and altar”.

That is just what the enemies of the Jews were intending in the Ezran drama.

And, just as Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes will respond to this accusation (Esther 3:9-10): “The king removed his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, persecutor of the Jews. The king said to Haman, ‘Keep the money, and do whatever you want with that nation’,” so, too, did he, in Ezra, harken to Rehum and his crew (4:17-23):

The king sent an answer: ‘To Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now the letter that you sent to us has been plainly read before me. And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me. And take care not to be slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?”

Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease.

Haman’s feigned concern that “… it does not pay for the king to tolerate” the Jews, may echo the rebels’ feigned solidarity: “Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?”

Part Two: Darius the Great

Though the foundation of the Temple of Yahweh was laid in the second year of Cyrus, this incident has been wrongly re-dated by commentators to a presumed king “Darius”, thought to have been of several reigns later than Cyrus.


Ezra 3:8-10 makes it abundantly clear that “the foundation of the Temple of the Lord” was laid already in the second year of the return from captivity:

In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work. They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the Lord. Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.

When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel.

Yet the prophet Haggai’s reference to this important event, now about half a year later, in the ninth month of the second year of Darius (Haggai 2:18; cf. v. 10): “From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid”, is generally estimated by commentators (who distinguish Cyrus from Darius) to have occurred two reigns later:

Cyrus II “the Great”

550-529 BC

Cambyses II

529-522 BC

Darius I

522-486 BC

That is, almost two decades later (Cyrus 538 – Darius 521 = 17).

With my identification of the aged Jeremiah, post-exilic, with both Haggai and Zechariah

Complete Jeremiah


operating in “the second year of Darius” (cf. Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 1:1), I am perfectly happy not to have to extend Jeremiah’s age by a further 17 years.

Nor do I think that the evidence demands it.

Dream of king Nebuchednezzar suggests a shortened chronology

Image result for statue nebuchadnezzar


Damien F. Mackey

With Nebuchednezzar himself identified by Daniel as the statue’s “head of gold” (2:38), then we are left with only three more kingdoms symbolised on the lower parts of the statue.


Daniel recalls for Nebuchednezzar the king’s terrifying dream (Daniel 2:31-35):

‘You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth’.

Perhaps most scholars would identify this succession of four kingdoms in the following manner:

1. Head of gold – Babylon
2. Breast and arms of silver- Medo-Persia
3. Belly and thighs of brass- Hellenistic Greece
4. Legs of iron – Rome

That view, however, would not allow for the fact that Nebuchednezzar himself alone, who did not constitute the entire kingdom of Babylon, had been identified by Daniel as the head of gold. Hence
it completely rules our Belshazzar, who succeeded his father, and who also possessed a kingdom as is apparent from Daniel 5:

16 ‘If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom’.

and again:

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Daniel 5:2: “Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought …”.

This crucial chapter 5 of the Book of Daniel, clearly outlining as it does the royal succession, from (i) Nebuchednezzar, to (ii) his son, Belshazzar, to (iii) Darius the Mede, provides us with all of the necessary information for identifying the Dream’s kingdoms 1, 2 and 3.

Nebuchednezzar is 1, the Head of Gold (as we are told);
Belshazzar is 2, Breast and Arms of Silver; and
Darius the Mede (or Cyrus) is 3, Belly and Thighs of Brass.

Daniel, after waxing most eloquent about the Golden kingdom of Nebuchednezzar (2:37-38), brushes aside Belshazzar’s Silver kingdom with merely (v. 39): ‘Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you …’. He is slightly more lavish with the Medo-Persian kingdom of Darius: ‘…yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

But what of the fourth kingdom?

In my recent article:

“Three Kings” and the “Fourth” of Daniel 11:2


I identified:

Darius the Mede = Cyrus the Great = Darius the Great

thereby most radically shortening Medo-Persian history.
And I added that Darius the Great was the one who was defeated by Alexander the Great:

But Darius would finally have to contend with “the prince of Greece [Javan]”, who was Alexander, also known as “the Great”. I Maccabees 1:1: “After Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and the Medes, he succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.)”.
We are much, much closer to the Greek era than the conventional historians have realised.

What follows from this line of reasoning is that Daniel 2’s fourth kingdom of Iron was, not Rome, but Alexander’s Greek (Hellenistic) kingdom.

Nebuchednezzar’s Dream Statue:

1. Nebuchednezzar: Golden;
2. Belshazzar: Silver;
3. Darius (Cyrus): Bronze;
4. Alexander: Iron

Prophet Jeremiah’s “Seventy Years” of Babylonian Rule



Damien F. Mackey

Scholarly opinion differs as to what constitutes the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem of the prophet Jeremiah’s predicted period of “seventy years” of service under Babylonian rule.

The opinion expressed here is that a revised chronology of the Neo-Babylonian empire, structured along biblical lines, is required to make mathematical sense of Jeremiah’s words.


The following list shows the conventional sequence of Neo-Babylonian (or Chaldean) kings, also known as “Dynasty XI”, naming six kings in total:

Dynasty XI of Babylon (Neo-Babylonian)

• Nabu-apla-usur 626 – 605 BC

• Nabu-kudurri-usur II 605 – 562 BC

• Amel-Marduk 562 – 560 BC

• Neriglissar 560 – 556 BC

• Labaši-Marduk 556 BC

• Nabonidus 556 – 539 BC

Instinctively, as a revisionist, one can anticipate that that will be too many kings, too many years. And, according to my Neo-Babylonian revision, which has taken seriously the biblical sequence of kings, there are too many kings. I have suggested, in fact, two too many.

The Book of Daniel, for instance, passes directly from Nebuchednezzar, to Belshazzar, to the Medo-Persian kingdom. Daniel 5:

18 Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor.

22 But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

With this in mind, I concluded in the course of my Neo-Babylonian revision:

Neo-Babylonian Dynasty Needs ‘Hem Taken Up’. Part Two: How the Kings Line Up


The following new arrangement of the neo-Babylonian kings was suggested in Part One:


• Nabu-apla-usur [Nabopolassar]

• Labaši-Marduk

• Nabu-kudurri-usur II = Nabonidus

• Amel-Marduk = Neriglissar = Belshazzar

[End of quote]

The six kings of conventional Neo-Babylonian history (according to which the biblical king “Belshazzar” is completely omitted) have here been reduced to only four.

Now, as we shall find, the collective reign of these four kings covers very close to 70 years (to be considered a round number), just as Jeremiah had been inspired to foretell (Jeremiah 25:1-14):

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.

And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention. They said, “Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. Do not follow other gods to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you.”

“But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.”

Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

“But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever. I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

A New Reckoning

Without a streamlined chronology, scholars who attempt to make mathematical sense of Jeremiah’s “seventy years” end up having to admit to more than one period of that length of time. For instance, we read this juggling Christian version of it at: http://walvoord.com/article/250

The precise prophecy of Jeremiah 25:11-12 predicts that the king of Babylon would be punished at the end of seventy years. Jeremiah 29:10 predicted the return to the land after seventy years. For these reasons, it is doubtful whether Anderson’s evaluation of Daniel 9:2 as referring to the destruction of the temple itself is valid. The judgment on Babylon and the return to the land of course took place about twenty years before the temple itself was rebuilt and was approximately seventy years after captivity beginning in 605 b.c. Probably the best interpretation, accordingly, is to consider the expression the desolations of Jerusalem, in Daniel 9:2, as referring to the period 605 B.C. to 539 B.C. for the judgment on Babylon, and the date of 538 b.c for the return to the land.

This definition of the expression the desolations of Jerusalem (Dan 9:2) is supported by the word for “desolations” … which is a plural apparently including the environs of Jerusalem. The same expression is translated “all her waste places” in Isaiah 51:3 (cf. 52:9). Actually the destruction of territory formerly under Jerusalem control even predated the 605 date for Jerusalem’s fall.

Although it is preferred to consider Daniel 9:2 as the period 605 b.c.-539 b.c, Anderson may be right in distinguishing as he does the period of Israel’s captivity from the period of Jerusalem’s destruction. Zechariah 1:12, referring to God’s destruction of the cities of Judah for three score years and ten, may extend to the time when the temple was rebuilt. This is brought out in Zechariah 1:16 where it is stated, “Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” It is most significant that the return took place approximately seventy years after the capture of Jerusalem in 605 b.c, and the restoration of the temple (515 b.c) took place approximately seventy years after the destruction of the temple (586 b.c), the latter period being about twenty years later than the former. In both cases, however, the fulfillment does not have the meticulous accuracy of falling on the very day, as Anderson attempts to prove. It seems to be an approximate number as one would expect by a round number of seventy. Hence, the period between 605 b.c and 538 b.c would be approximately sixty-seven years; and the rededication of the temple in March of 515 b.c, would be less than seventy-one years from the destruction of the temple in August of 586 b.c

What is intended, accordingly, in the statement in Daniel 9:2 is that Daniel realized that the time was approaching when the children of Israel could return. The seventy years of the captivity were about ended. Once the children of Israel were back in the land, they were providentially hindered in fulfilling the rebuilding of the temple until seventy years after the destruction of the temple had also elapsed.

[End of quote]

Or this Jewish version (in connection with Daniel 9), according to which article there were actually “three different prophesies concerning 70 years” (“Daniel 9 – A True Biblical Interpretation”) https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/answers/jewish-polemics/texts/daniel-9-a-true-biblical-interpretation/

Chapter 9 begins as follow:

“I Daniel considered (or contemplated) in the books the number of the years which the word (דבר ~ Devar) of G-d came to Jeremiah the Prophet that would accomplish to the destruction of Jerusalem” Daniel 9:2

Here Daniel uses the word (דבר ~ Devar) when pondering the numbers of years that Jeremiah had spoken about. Jeremiah had twice prophesied concerning a 70 year period.

Once Jeremiah said:

“and these nation shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years and it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished that I will punish the King of Babylon and that nation … and make it everlasting desolation” Jeremiah 25: 11-12

This prophesy states that Babylon would dominate Israel for a total of 70 years.

Jeremiah also says:

“After 70 years are accomplished to Babylon I will take heed of you and perform My good word towards you in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:l0

This prophesy states, that after the 70 years, in addition to the end of Babylonian domination, the Jews would also return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile.

There are two Jeremiah prophesies concerning: 1) subjugation, and 2) return to Jerusalem.

Jeremiah’s 70 years start from the initial subjugation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This took place 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, as demonstrated by the following passages,

We know that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. As it says:

“In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief executioner was in service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem… and destroyed the Temple of God” Jeremiah 52:12-13

The 19th year means that 18 full years had already been completed.

Nebuchadnezzar started to subjugate Jerusalem in his first year of his rule; this can be derived from the following verses;

“in King Yehoyakim’s third year (three completed years) Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem” Daniel 1:1

“in the fourth year (three completed years) of Yehoyakim which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar” Jeremiah 25:1

These verses demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar started to besiege Jerusalem in his first year and the destruction of Jerusalem took place in his “19th” year. Therefore, 18 complete years had passed from the beginning of the siege until the destruction of Jerusalem. During these 18 years Jerusalem was laid siege and completely surrounded.

Scriptures also indicate that the 70 years of Jeremiah were completed with the advent of Cyrus the King of the Persian Empire. As it says:

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” Ezra 1:1-3

“Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, where they became slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign. This was the fulfillment of the word of God to Jeremiah, until the land would be appeased of its Sabbatical years, all the years of its desolation it rested, to the completion of 70 years. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, upon the expiration of God’s prophesy spoken by Jeremiah. God aroused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he issues a proclamation… to build God a Temple in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 36:20-23

In addition to the Babylonian rule ended in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Cyrus also gave permission, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:l0, to the Jews to return to Jerusalem, as it says;

“Whoever is among you all his people, let his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord G-d of Israel.” Ezra 1:4

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

This plays an essential role in understanding Daniel 9. Daniel yearned not only for the Babylonian Empire to cease 70 years after the subjugation of Jerusalem; he yearned to see the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.

When Daniel begins speaking in chapter 9 it is in the first year of Darius the Median.

…. Daniel was confused because although he now witnessed that, with the advent of Darius the 70 years to the Babylonian subjugation were over in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel had not yet seen the fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:10 that promised that after the 70 years the Jewish exiles would return and rebuild Jerusalem. He did not foresee that very shortly Cyrus world rule and fulfill this promise.

Daniel thought that perhaps, due to the sins of Israel the date had been delayed. This is why Daniel confesses for the sins of the people in verse 4-20 and says.

“Now I was still speaking and praying and confessing my sins and the sins of my people Israel and casting my supplications before the Lord My God about the holy mountain (the Sanctuary as seen in Isaiah 56:7) of my God.” Daniel 9:20

This explains why at the beginning of chapter 9 Daniel contemplated the number of years to the destruction of Jerusalem and not to the subjugation, as it says.

“I Daniel contemplated the calculations, the number of years about that which the word of God came to the prophet Jeremiah, to complete the 70 years to the destruction (לחרבות ~ L’Charvot) of Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:2

Daniel saw that the subjugation was over but he [not] only wanted to see the return to Jerusalem he wanted to know when the destruction would end with the building of the second Temple.

In fact, after one year of rule by Darius, King Cyrus took power and fulfilled Jeremiah 29 and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. But Daniel’s desire to understand the years of Jeremiah to the destruction of Jerusalem, result in the revelation of a new and additional understanding of Jeremiah:

There are now three different prophesies concerning 70 years.

1. 70 years of subjugation (Jeremiah 25)

2. 70 years till they return to the Jerusalem (Jeremiah 29)

3. 70 years of the destruction of Jerusalem (Daniel 9).

[End of quote]

The length of time occupied by the Neo-Babylonian empire according to my revised list of kings, from Nabopolassar to Belshazzar, was:

Nabopolassar 21 (virtually all lists seem to agree with this number);

Labashi-Marduk 1

Nebuchednezzar II 43

Beshazzar 3-4

Totalling up these numbers: 21 + 1 + 43 + 3-4, we get: 68-69. That is very close to the number 70, which is perhaps a round number, anyway, according to what we read above: “It seems to be an approximate number as one would expect by a round number of seventy”.

It could be argued that it was only during the reign of Nebuchednezzar II, and not during the two decades of rule of his father, Nabopolassar, that Judah came under the direct influence, and servitude, of Babylon. This, however, appears to be a scriptural way of putting things, like in the case of Moses’ (Exodus 12:40): “Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years”. The apparent discrepancies with the latter case are well explained at:


and summarised as follows: “As Hoehner wrote: “In conclusion, the 430 years went from Abraham’s call to the Exodus. The first 215 years was their sojourn in Palestine and the last 215 years in Egypt. The 400 years was from the weaning of Isaac to the time of the Exodus” (1969, 126:309)”.

For those 430 years, the Hebrews lived within the Egyptian realm; just as for Jeremiah’s 70 years, they lived within the Babylonian realm.

Terminus a quo

The count of the “seventy years” begins with the call of Jeremiah in the 13th year of King Josiah of Judah, which date must coincide very nearly with the beginning of the rule of Nabopolassar, the beginnings of Babylon. By the time that Jeremiah specifically refers to the “seventy years”, in a text that is heavily cross-dated:

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.

“twenty-three” of those “seventy years” have already elapsed, leaving approximately 47 years.

These latter are filled up by the 40+ years of Nebuchednezzar and the 3-4 years of his son, Belshazzar.

Terminus ad quem

Ezra 1:1 tells us what is this point in time: “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing …”.

And, in that very same year, “the first year of Darius the Mede” (Daniel 9:1) – he being Cyrus – Daniel knew that the time had come to completion: “… in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years”.

Now, thanks to the providential intervention of king (Darius =) Cyrus:

Cyrus as ‘Darius the Mede’ who Succeeded Belshazzar. Part One: King Belshazzar


that seemingly interminable “desolation of Jerusalem” had at last reached its terminus ad quem.

Part Two:

Zechariah and the “Seventy Years”

Not only do the testimonies of the prophets Jeremiah and Daniel necessitate a streamlining of the conventional Neo-Babylonian sequence of kings, as was argued in Part One, but also now, as we shall find, the “seventy years” of Jeremiah further point to the need for a revision of the Medo-Persian succession, even beyond the recognition of “Darius the Mede” as king Cyrus.

The life of the prophet Jeremiah did not end
with a supposed martyrdom in Egypt.

As I argued in:

Complete Jeremiah


Jeremiah re-emerges in post-exilic times, in the guise of various prophetic alter egos all designated by his office of “the prophet” (הַנָּבִיא): “This title (han-nâbî) is applied only to Habakkuk, Haggai, and Zechariah” (Ellicott’s Commentary).

Accordingly, I tentatively identified the post-exilic Jeremiah with (of interest here) Zechariah.

This identification, if correct, has some potent ramifications.

Let me briefly re-visit some of the pros and cons – as pointed out in that article – arising from an identification of Jeremiah with Zechariah:

In Favour

To identify Jeremiah with Zechariah would immediately solve this most vexed of scriptural problems: https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=658

Who was Matthew Quoting?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


After reporting in his gospel account about Judas’ suicide and the purchase of the potter’s field, Matthew quoted from the prophets as he had done many times prior to chapter 27. He wrote: “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me’ ” (27:9-10). For centuries, these two verses have been contemplated by Christians and criticized by skeptics. The alleged problem with this passage, as one modern-day critic noted, is that “this is not a quote from Jeremiah, but a misquote of Zechariah” (Wells, 2001). Skeptics purport that Matthew misused Zechariah 11:12-13, and then mistakenly attributed the quotation to Jeremiah. Sadly, even some Christians have advocated this idea (see Cukrowski, et al., 2002, p. 40). What can be said of the matter?

“What can be said of the matter” is that Matthew was quoting Jeremiah, but in the latter’s post-exilic guise as Zechariah.

And it would also serve to fill out the duration of the ministry of the prophet Haggai, which, according to estimates based upon the Book of Haggai alone, “was short, lasting only four months”


However, the prophet was old at this stage, anyway, by my estimations, so his post-exilic ministry must of necessity have been rather brief.


Ezra 5:1 would now read as connected with a waw (וּ): “Now Haggai the prophet even Zechariah the prophet …”.

And so my explanation would enable for the integration of Haggai 1:1: “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai …”, with Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah …”. Etc.

The same prophet, operating in the very same regnal year!

It might also explain why Haggai (= Habakkuk) is accorded no genealogy, since Zechariah (1:1) will go on to supply that lack, “… Zechariah, son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo …”.


To identify Jeremiah with Zechariah would mean having to cope with an additional Hebrew name for the prophet. I have already loaded down Jeremiah with the additional names of Habakkuk and Haggai, but Habakkuk is easily explained as a foreign (Akkadian) name given to Jeremiah presumably by the Chaldeans. Haggai I take to be a hypocoristicon of Habakkuk. It was not uncommon, however, for Israelites to acquire a new name at a turning point in their lives – the well-known example of Jacob to Israel, for instance.

Another problem with my reconstruction is that, whilst Jeremiah-as-Habakkuk in the time of king Cyrus is reasonable (I have estimated Jeremiah by now to be in his mid-eighties), to stretch the prophet further to embrace Haggai/Zechariah, presumably in a later Persian phase again, would make him extremely old.

This matter, involving as it does, a fairly substantial renovation of Medo-Persian history, will need to be left to another time.

But what I am very excited about is that Zechariah 1:12, situated as it is still “in the second year of Darius” (v. 7), speaks of the culmination then of Jeremiah’s 70 years: “Then the angel of the LORD said, ‘LORD Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?’”

[End of quotes]

“This matter, involving as it does, a fairly substantial renovation of Medo-Persian history, will need to be left to another time”. Well, I think that that “time” has now come.

The prophet Zechariah (tentatively Jeremiah) we now find referring to the “seventy years” in the context of a Persian king, “Darius”, who is universally considered to have begun to reign some two decades after the first year of Cyrus (c. 539 BC) – which year we have determined to have brought an end to Jeremiah’s “seventy years” of Babylonian servitude:

• 539-530 – Cyrus the Great

• 529-522 – Cambyses (son)

• 522 – Smerdis (Bardiya) (brother)

• 521-486 – Darius I, the Great

Zechariah 1:7-13 reads:

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.

During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.

I asked, ‘What are these, my lord?’

The angel who was talking with me answered, ‘I will show you what they are’.

Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, ‘They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth’.

And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, ‘We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace’.

Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?’ So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

This situation leads me to conclude – albeit tentatively, since it is a big call historically speaking – that this “Darius”, too, must be the same as Daniel’s “Darius the Mede”, who is Cyrus.

The prophet Jeremiah, as Zechariah, is here once again associated with those “seventy years” that had by now just recently been completed.

To identify the “Darius” of Zechariah, of Haggai (1:1), with a presumed Persian king reigning some two decades later than (Darius =) Cyrus necessitates that commentators must look for a separate “seventy years” terminating at that later point.

Next step?

The conventional Medo-Persian succession will need to be – just as was found to be necessary in the case of the Neo-Babylonians – seriously truncated.

Identity of the ‘Daniel’ in Ezekiel 14 and 28


Damien F. Mackey

In scriptural commentaries and Bibles the name “Daniel” has been replaced by “Danel”. And some commentators or translators have no intention of indicating the prophet Daniel by their use of this name, “Danel”.


Speaking as God’s mouthpiece, the prophet Ezekiel says in relation to the kingdom of Judah (14:14):

… When a land sins against Me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out My hand against it, and break its staff of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, says the Lord God ….

Six verses further on, Ezekiel reiterates this point with a slight variation (14:20):

… Or if I send pestilence into that land, and pour out My wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast; even if Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness.

Ezekiel refers again to “Daniel” in chapter 28, when he scorns the proud King of Tyre by unfavourably comparing his purported wisdom with that of “Daniel” (vv. 1-3):

The word of the lord came to me: ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God: Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods …’, yet you are but a man and no god, though you consider yourself as wise as a god – you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; …’.

This being a reference to the young Daniel’s not only having interpreted Nebuchednezzar’s Dream, but actually having revealed its contents as well. Daniel 2.

Traditionally, commentators – including the Church Fathers – have identified Ezekiel’s “Daniel” with the prophet Daniel (after whom a book of the Bible is named); the young Jewish noble whom the Babylonian king, Nebuchednezzar [II], carried off into captivity in the 3rd year of King Jehoiakim of Judah (c. 605 B.C, conventional dating). Fr. Leo Haydock, for instance, in his conservative commentary on Ezekiel 14 accompanying the Douay-Rheims Bible, clearly had the prophet Daniel in mind when he wrote: “Noe [Noah] could not avert the deluge, nor Job the death of his children, neither could Daniel rescue his people from captivity”.
And again, in regard to Ezekiel 28:3 concerning the King of Tyre, Fr. Haydock commented:

Ver. 3 [Wiser than] Daniel; viz., in thy own conceit. The wisdom of Daniel was so much celebrated in his days, that it became a proverb among the Chaldeans, when anyone would express an extraordinary wisdom, to say that he was as wise as Daniel. … – He [i.e. Daniel] was now at court, and had explained the dream of Nabuchodonosor [Nebuchednezzar]. Dan ii. 27.

So far, no problems. The prophet Ezekiel obviously had in mind the famous prophet Daniel, who had become a high official in king Nebuchednezzar’s court.
The Fathers of the Church accepted this interpretation.
And so has the general run of Scriptural scholars ever since – that is, until the modern era. For today we find that the traditional identification of the “Daniel” in the Book of Ezekiel is no longer unanimously accepted amongst commentators. Not only do we discover that in some scriptural commentaries and Bibles the name “Daniel” has been replaced by “Danel” (admittedly not necessarily a cause for panic linguistically speaking, since – loosely transliterated – “Danel” may be accepted as another way of writing “Daniel); but more seriously, that some commentators or translators have no intention of indicating the prophet Daniel by their use of this name, “Danel”. Instead, they intend an entirely different character of ancient history or mythology; namely, a pagan king-hero of Phoenicio-Canaanite mythology (known from texts discovered at Ugarit, which is modern Ras Shamra).
In this article the reader will come to understand why this instrusive “Danel” cannot have been the person intended by the prophet Ezekiel; that the traditional view, that Ezekiel was intending the prophet “Daniel”, is the correct one, and that no other version ought to be admitted.

Some Modern Versions of Ezekiel

(i) The Jerusalem Bible (TJB)

The TJB translators of the Book o Ezekiel have opted for the name, “Danel”, instead of “Daniel”. Thus we read: “… and if in that country there were these three men, Noah Danel and Job, these men would have their lives spared …” (14:14).
And again: “… if Noah and Danel and Job were in the country …” (14:20).
And finally: “… You [the King of Tyre] are wiser now than Danel; there is no sage as wise as you …” (28:3).
Then TJB departs radically from tradition when, in a footnote to Ezekiel 14, it identifies this “Danel” with the pagan king of that name the hero of the Canaanite epic. Thus we are informed: “14a. Danel, famous for his goodness and wisdom, is known to us from the Ras Shamra texts”. By inference, we can assume that the translators of TJB also meant to equate the “Danel” of Ezekiel 38:3 with the same pagan king-hero from the Ras Shamra epic pertaining to this “Danel”.

(ii) The Jerome Biblical Commentary (TJBC)

Whereas, according to TJB the presumed “Danel” in Ezekiel is the same as the hero of the Ras Shamra epic, the TJBC is a little more restrained about its identification, using the word “Probably …”. Unfortunately, nevertheless the TJBC also appears to dismiss the possibility that this “Danel” could have been the same as the Jewish prophet:

Inasmuch as Daniel (Hebr consonants d-n-‘-l, Danel, as in Ugaritic) is placed beside Noah and Job, he is probably a figure from antiquity known through popular tradition and not to be identified with the biblical Daniel. Probably, although not necessarily, the reference is to Danel of ancient Ugarit, known for the effectiveness of his intercession with the gods, for attention to their desires, and as a righteous judge (ANET 150)”.

(iii) Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

Although the English version of the CCC uses the phrase “Noah, Daniel, and Job” in relation to Ezekiel 14:14 (#58, p. 21), the French version – which is the original one – has: “Noe, Danel et Job”. According to the relevant part of the English text: “The Bible venerates several great figures amongst the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchizedek – a figure of Christ – and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”.
The phrase “amongst the Gentiles”, in relation to this “Daniel”, could give the impression that Daniel was a Gentile, and not a Jew. This impression would be reinforced by the French version, viz., “des nations”; especially after considering that it has been coupled with the spelling, “Danel”, rather than “Daniel”. We believe that the French version of the CCC here strongly creates the impression that Ezekiel was intending reference to some non-Israelite figure of antiquity. If so, that could not be the prophet Daniel, who was unquestionably of the kingdom of Judah. (Cf. Daniel 1:3 and 2:25).

The ‘Danel’ of Ras Shamra

The rich epigraphic harvest of the French excavations of 1930-31 at the site of ancient Ugarit (Ras Shamra), a Phoenician coastal town included a fragment belonging to an epic about a youth whose name is spelled ‘a-q-h-t and conventionally vocalised ‘Aqhat. This text was first called the epic of Daniel, or Danel, for ‘Aqhat’s father, but on the one tablet of which the first line (containing the title of the composition to which the tablet belongs) is preserved, it reads “Pertaining to ‘Aqhat”, and closer study reveals that the text really tells about Daniel only what concerns ‘Aqhat. As a gift from the gods, Danel and his wife receive a son, ‘Aqhat. Later the gods give Danel a bow, which he in turn gives to ‘Aqhat, but the war-goddess Anath wants the bow and gets it by slaying ‘Aqhat. The latter’s sister learns how her brother was slain.

Although the rest of the story is lost (at least so far), it may well terminate in keeping with the Tammuz-Adonis agricultural theme, i.e., ‘Aqhat would be restored to life for half of each year (cf. ANET 149-155).
Now here are some of the extracts pertaining to the character, Daniel, or Danel, from the “Tale of ‘Aqhat” (ibid.). The reader will quickly realise that this Ugaritic hero is no sober prophet of Israel, nor any sort of monotheistic God-fearer, but a polytheist and a worshipper of Baal:

… Straightaway Daniel the Raph]a-man, … Gives oblation to the gods to eat, Gives oblation to drink to the holy ones. … But lo, on the seventh day, Baal approaches with his plea: ‘Unhappy is Daniel the Rapha-man, … Who hath no son like his brethren, …. Wilt thou not bless him, O Bull El, my father, Beatify him, O Creator of Creatures? So shall there be a son in his house, A scion in the midst of his palace: Who sets up the stelae of his ancestral spirits, In the holy place the protectors of his clan … Who takes him by the hand when he’s drunk, Carries him when he’s sated with wine’, Consumes his funerary offering in Baal’s house, (Even) his potion in El’s house?’

After ‘Aqhat’s death, the story goes on to recount that: “Daniel goes to his house …. He weeps for Aqhat the Youth, … But after seven years, [Daniel] the Rapha-[man] speaks up, …He] lifts up his voice and cries: … He ta[kes] sacrifice for the gods, Offers up a clan-offering to heaven, the clan-offering of Harnamiyy to the stars!”
And so it goes on. Hardly the kind of fare on which the biblical writers fed!
The whole story is also a far cry from the behaviour demonstrated by the sober and God-fearing prophet Daniel (or any other Old Testament exemplars). Daniel preferred to risk his life rather than to defile himself by eating and drinking “the daily portion of the rich food which the king ate” (Daniel 1:5), and who would rather endure being thrown into the lions’ den (cf. 6:16 and 14:31) than to cease worshipping his God in preference to worshipping the pagan gods of Babylon and Persia.

Why This New Identification of “Daniel”?

There are various reasons, I believe, as to why the prophet Daniel is now rejected by many as being the person whom the prophet Ezekiel intended. Here I shall mention only a few of these, after which I shall comment briefly on them:

– One is the almost obsessive tendency of modern biblical scholars to demythologise the Scriptures, by insisting that the sacred writers had received their information from prevailing tales of pagan mythology. It seems that if a myth can possibly be found to provide a so-called basis for ‘interpreting’ a Scriptural passage, then it will thus be seized upon.

– Two is that, because Daniel is grouped by Ezekiel with Noah and Job – both of whom are thought to have lived many centuries before the prophet Daniel – then Ezekiel must certainly have been intending someone other than the prophet Daniel.

– Three is that commentators consider the prophet Daniel (who was a contemporary of Ezekiel’s) to have been rather too young at the time of Ezekiel’s writing of his chapter 28 against the King of Tyre to have be able to have achieved the kind of world-wide fame that the “Daniel” in this chapter so obviously had achieved.

Regarding One, on the supposed precedence of mythology over the inspired texts, I have now shown in various articles that the conventional arrangement of ancient history is sorely in need of a revision. The faulty chronology that conventional scholars of antiquity and biblical history have inherited leads them into arriving at all sorts of anomalous conclusions. Thus we find that, for example, the account of Noah’s Flood is supposed to have been borrowed from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (also about a hero saved from a flood – every nation seems to have such a folklore in fact); that the story of the child Moses’s being placed in the river in a basket was borrowed from a similar tale about King Sargon of Akkad; and that likewise the Law (Torah) of Mount Sinai was inspired by the Law Code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon.

Regarding Two, Ezekiel may not necessarily have had in mind a common era as his point of departure for grouping together Noah, Daniel and Job. Rather, the common denominator distinguishing these three heroes for him was their righteousness amongst their contemporaries who had all apostatised. One may obtain a clue to Ezekiel’s choice of grouping in this case by comparing it with a similar grouping provided by the prophet Jeremiah, who said: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My heart would not turn toward this people…’” (15:1).
No common era here! Almost 500 years separated the prophet Samuel from his predecessor, Moses! Yet this fact apparently did not perturb Jeremiah whose common denominator was, not era but the fact that both Moses and Samuel were Levites/priests, who had extraordinary powers of intercession before God.
What I am getting at here is that both Jeremiah and Ezekiel had carefully chosen the named, famous characters in their respective groupings. These were not just random selections.
Now, returning to Ezekiel 14, can we find any further commonality amongst Noah, Daniel and Job? It appears that we can. Ezekiel, we recall, was in captivity in a foreign land because of his compatriots’ wickedness. He – like Daniel – had been forced to leave Judah and to live amongst the Gentiles. Noah too, because of the iniquity of the pre-Flood (antediluvian) world, had been forced to flee that world, overrun by water, and to start afresh in a new world (postdiluvian). Job is a most obscure figure, both as to his nationality and to his era. However, I have identified Job him with Tobit’s son, Tobias, in the latter’s old age:

Job’s Life and Times


There are many significant likenesses, as I have shown, between the two. And, most suitably, we find that Tobias also had to leave his homeland of northern Israel (actually Bashan, east of the Jordan), because of its iniquity, and dwell in Assyria. Thus we find a common thread in the life of these three Old Testament characters, Noah, Daniel and Job.

As to Three, the point about Daniel’s being far too young at the time of Ezekiel’s prophesying to have earned a world-wide reputation as being a man of extraordinary wisdom, such a claim would seemingly indicate an ignorance of Scripture. Daniel, when merely a boy or youth, had already made a name for himself amongst his own exiled people, and internationally (i.e., throughout the world-wide Babylonian Empire), owing to two famous incidents:

(a) The Case of Susanna

The incident in Daniel 13 in which Susanna, sentenced to death after having been falsely accused of adultery, was saved by the judicious intervention of young Daniel, is traditionally considered to have been the first great prophetic act by which Daniel acquired his fame, with Daniel being supposedly only about 12 years old at the time. That the incident had made Daniel famous is attested by Daniel 13:6 “… Daniel became great in the sight of the people from that day [when he saved Susanna], and thence forward”.

(b) Nebuchednezzar’s Dream

When Daniel was yet still a youth, having been given by God “learning and skill in all letters and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17), he not only interpreted King Nebuchednezzar’s Dream, but first of all had to recall it for the king. Afterwards, Nebuchednezzar was so amazed with Daniel’s powers that he “… fell upon his face, and did homage to Daniel …. Then the king gave Daniel high honours and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon” (2:46, 48).

We need only to recall in addition that this Nebuchednezzar ‘the Great’ was one of the most famous and potent kings of all antiquity.
The young Daniel is a far more interesting flesh-and-blood prospect than is the mythological ‘Danel’ of the Ugaritic myths.
Thus there appears to be no serious problem whatsoever about the prophet Ezekiel, himself an exile in Babylon, knowing early about Daniel’s fame. Nor should we wonder about his expecting the King of Tyre also to have been aware of Daniel’s wisdom; for Tyre was part of the Babylonian Empire, and Ezekiel’s prophecy against Tyre occurred about sixteen years after Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchednezzar’s Dream.


There are absolutely no obstacles against the traditional view that Ezekiel had intended the prophet Daniel of the Book of Daniel in Ezekiel 14:14, 29 and 28:3.
It would be inconceivable that Ezekiel might have intended to hold up to his contemporaries, as a model of righteousness, an obscure pagan king-hero of the Phoenicio-Canaanites.