A Persian King Follows The Lord

As predicted by the prophet Jeremiah, the captivity of God’s people would only last for 70 years.  Recall that it was the people of Judah who were under the Persian captivity, not those who were part of the divided nation of Israel.

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 to put it in writing:

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

“‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.  Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.  And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’”  — Ezra 1:1-4

History shows that Cyrus was losing his grip on the territories that his predecessors had gained.  In most cases such as this, a leader would take the opportunity to strengthen and consolidate his power.  But it did not happen in this case.  Isn’t it strange how Cyrus, a non-Israelite king, was moved by the same God as that of the Israelites?  How strange that a king holding people in captivity would volunteer to send those captives to build a temple to honor their God!  Was Cyrus a true follower of God?  He seems to know the Lord, as evidenced by his words.  And another of the prophetic predictions comes to pass.


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