Photo Credit: Ggia (CC BY-SA 3.0) Wikimedia Commons
Post 28 – In modern Iran is a remarkable ancient site. Carved into the face of a mountain near the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, are the tombs of 4 ancient kings. These kings once ruled the Medo-Persian empire. These 4 kings are mentioned in the Bible. From the left side:
- Darius II – He appears to be the “Darius” referred to at Nehemiah 12:22
- Artaxerxes I – Also know as Artaxerxes Longimanus, he was the son of Xerxes I.He is referred to in the Bible at Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2. He granted permission to Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild its walls and city gates.
- Darius I – Also known as Darius the Great. He primarily comes into the Bible record in relation to the rebuilding of the Temple. Although the foundation of the Temple had been laid, opposers succeeded in banning the reconstruction work (Ezra chapter 4). An inquiry was launched and the original declaration of Cyrus the Great authorizing the reconstruction was found. Darius then gave permission for the reconstruction work to continue and even contributed funds and necessary supplies (Ezra chapter 6). Darius I later tried to invade Greece but was defeated in the Battle of Marathon. He was succeeded by his son Xerxes I.
- Xerxes I – He is most likely King Ahasuerus of the book of Esther. He was husband of Queen Esther who along with her cousin Mordecai (see Post #27) helped to foil the genocidal plot of Haman the Agagite to exterminate the Jews. Xerxes later tried to finish what his father had started by invading Greece. This military campaign included the famous Battle of Thermopylae with the 300 Spartans. Ultimately the military campaign was a disaster from which the Persian empire would never fully recover.
Like the tomb of Cyrus the Great (Post 21), all of these tombs were looted by Alexander the Great. Nowhere else in the world can you find the tombs of so many ancient kings mentioned in the Bible in such a wonderful state of preservation! If you would like to see a larger version of the above picture, please click here.