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Volume 6 - Page 118 of 151 Index | Zoom | |
Sidelights on the Scripture.
Cyrus, Darius, etc.,
pp. 13 - 15
Passing from the interesting relics of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, we notice in
the same Table Case G a portions of an inscribed cylinder of Cyrus (No. 90,920).
Prof. Sayce tells us that the inscriptions of Cyrus are more Hebraic than any other of the
cuneiform texts known to us, and that it seems in some way or other that Cyrus had come
under the influence of Jewish ideas. The cylinder before us tells of the taking of
Babylon. It tells us that Marduk "sought out a righteous prince, a man after his own
heart." The description of the taking of Babylon is very similar to the Scriptural account.
"Without battle and without fighting Marduk made him enter into his city of Babylon; he
spared Babylon tribulation." The last sentence quoted shows what a great difference
there must have been between Cyrus and the Kings of Assyria. These inscriptions seem
full of bloodshed and cruelty. So far as our present knowledge enables us to say, we hear
for the first time such records words of compassion and pity. Prisoners are freed, exiles
restored, gods replaced in their ancient temples (see The New Biblical Guide, Urquhart).
This was the man who restored the Jews to their land, and, in harmony with the records
of his character, gave them perfect freedom regarding their religion. Isa. 45: speaks of
Cyrus, and Ezra tells of his decree of restoration. Ezra's account gives a little more than
does II Chron. 36: 23, and we particularly note the words, "The Lord God of Israel
(HE IS THE GOD)." Had Cyrus learned to acknowledge the living God like
Nebuchadnezzar before him? See Daniel 4: It seems so; truly great is the grace of our
In Table Case D will be found another connection with Babylon. In the lower Case
will be found a collection of seals and their impressions on white plaster. No. 89,132
(top row near the centre) is a seal of Darius, with his name and titles in the Persian,
Scythic, and Babylonian languages. Some such seal would have been used by the Darius
of Dan. 6: 17. Seal No. 89,326 shows a man and woman seated on either side of a tree,
with a serpent standing behind the woman. This has been identified as the Babylonian
equivalent to the temptation of Eve as recorded in Genesis. A very ancient name for
Babylon in the Sumerian language is Tin-Tir-Ke, which means "The place of the tree of
life." A tablet speaking of the temptation and fall says:--
"In sin one with another in compact joins,
The command was established in the garden of God.
The Ansan-tree they ate, they broke in two,
Its stalk they destroyed.
The secret juice which injures the body.
Great is their sin. Themselves they exalted.
To Merodach their Redeemer he (the god Sar) appointed their fate."
Two other seals (Nos. 89,349 and 89,771), give representations of Tsir-napishtim, the
Babylonian Noah, in an ark, being steered over the waters of the flood. In Table Case E