The Tomb of Cyrus the Great
An inscription on the tomb of the great Persian monarch read: “O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come–I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body.” – Cyrus”. Is it true that Isaiah the Hebrew prophet mention Cyrus by name almost 200 years before he was born?
“O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come–I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body.” – Cyrus
The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae
This tomb of the great Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500 years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base, also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance and double doors leading to a room with no windows which once contained the “golden sarcophagus” of Cyrus, it is now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof, which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by Plutarch in AD 90.
Parsagard “camp of the Persians” was the capital of Persia when Cyrus was ruling. After Cyrus had died Darius abandoned Pasargadae and made his capital 45 miles northeast at a place which came to be called Persepolis, “the city of the Persians” and the sacred heart of the Persian Empire. The ancient capital called Pasargadae by Cyrus was in his day a magnificent place, and many discoveries have been found including the four-winged genius, but it was nothing in comparison to the renowned Persepolis.
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II, the Great was the founder and ruler of the vast Persian Empire from 539 B.C. until his death in 530 B.C. Once Cyrus had defeated the Median king, Astyages and took Ecbatana he expanded his kingdom defeating Croesus, king of Lydia in 546 BC, and then conquered Babylon in 539 BC, and the Persian Empire was formed. He was a generous ruler allowing various captives to return to their homelands, as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder. Xenophon, Nabonidus and many others gave Cyrus praise for his generous leadership.
The Decree of Cyrus
Judea had remained a Persian province for the next two hundred years until the time that the Bible records “the decree of Cyrus” giving permission to the Hebrew captives to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23):
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 23 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up!”
Cyrus also restored the vessels of the House of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon, and provided the funds to bring cedar trees from Lebanon (Ezra 1:7-11):
“King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.”
Cyrus the Chosen Instrument of the Lord
There is no doubt that the Lord had a special purpose for Cyrus and that he would play a big part in the Lord’s promise to His Jewish people that He would allow the Jews to return from captivity and rebuild their Temple. The Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah about Cyrus almost 200 years before he was born (Isaiah 44:28):
“Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”
Some Biblical Passages
Isa 41:25; 44:28; 45:1-13; Ezra 1:1-8; 4:3-5; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Dan 1:21; 10:1.
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