I believe it is the same Darius, do you agree? If not - can you let me know why providing Biblical evidence.

Daniel 11:1, Daniel 6:28, Daniel 9:1 and Ezra 4:5, Ezra 4:24, Ezra 5:5-7, Ezra 6:1, Ezra 6:12-15

  • The book of Daniel is rather notorious for conflating various distinct persons or events into one; one of these conflations is between Darius and Cyrus, as can be glimpsed from its fifth, sixth, and ninth chapters. A more detailed presentation can be found here.
    – Lucian
    Oct 26 '20 at 11:21
  • @Lucian The article you refer to (your own article) does not give sufficient historical and archaelogical substantiation to be reliable.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 27 '20 at 3:43
  • @NigelJ: Have you consulted the encyclopedic articles linked therein ?
    – Lucian
    Oct 27 '20 at 4:49

It is almost certain that there are two different people named "Darius". One of these is well-known historically, and the other is highly debatable.

  • King Darius of Persia, also known as "Darius the Great" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_the_Great) reigned from 522 BC to 486 BC. This is almost certainly the "Darius" mentioned many times in the Book of Ezra.
  • King Darius the Mede, is much more contentious. Whoever he was, he lived at a much earlier time than Darius the Persian (see above) because the only record we have of him is near the beginning of the reign of Cyrus the Great in 538 BC. It appears that he died soon after, so the lives of the two men called Darius never overlapped. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darius_the_Mede

My personal opinion, which is difficult to verify, is that Darius the Mede was probably Astyages, the last king of the Medes and probably father-in-law to Cyrus the Great. After Cyrus conquered Babylon, he was probably placed as titular king of Babylon in the last two or three years of his life. This political marriage was what effectively created the Medo-Persian empire.

However, it must be admitted that all this is quite uncertain.

What is certain is that Daniel's Darius the Mede, and Ezra's Darius the Persian are different people. Here is more detail -

  • Daniel was taken captive in the first campaign of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem (Dan 1:1) in 605 BC. Let us assume he was about 20 years old at that time.
  • Daniel served until shortly before his death in the third year of Cyrus the Great (Dan 1:1, 10:1) about 536 BC - 70 years later when Daniel was about 90 years old.
  • Cyrus reigned from about 539/538 BC to 530 BC. He was followed his son Cambyses who reigned until 522 BC. There followed a brief "false Smerdis" and then came Darius the Great who reigned from 522 BC to 486 BC.

Now, for Daniel to write about Darius the Great would require that he live until the age of about 105 years. Darius was the Persian king discussed in Ezra when the second Temple was begun - a long time AFTER Daniel.

Darius the Great was definitely Persian and lest there be any confusion, the Darius in Daniel is referred to as a "Mede", see Dan 5:31, 6:1, 9:1, 11:1. Further, Daniel 5:31 specifically tells us that following the collapse of the Babylonian kingdom, it was Darius the Mede that took over (as explained above) at the age of 62. This could not have been Darius the Persian who was much later.

  • I don’t trust Wikipedia for the interpretation of scripture (I did see that). Daniel 9 vs 1 specifically calls him out as of Mede descent, which to me could also mean that he could also be regarded Persian. And I wonder how he could have reigned for only 2 years and developed such a close bond with Daniel, appoint him in high office & send him to the lions? Angel Gabriel also in Daniel 11:1 talks about how he rose up to support Darius; this all seems like a big investment for a short space of time. In my view Angel Gabriel was strengthening Darius to further the God’s plans for Israel. Oct 26 '20 at 10:36
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    @LaraOlutunbi - I agree that I would not use Wikipedia to interpret the bible. It is reasonable for history. Darius the Persian could NOT be in Daniel's day because he is far too late!
    – Dottard
    Oct 26 '20 at 10:45
  • I really am looking for scriptural evidence that he is indeed far too late; that Daniel was not an old man during the rebuilding of the temple? I understand from some that Darius may be a generic name used for king/lord or simply 2 men with same name, I just would like to see evidence in scripture to support this. Thanks! Oct 26 '20 at 11:02
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    @LaraOlutunbi Not every historical question has a scriptural answer. In this case there is a bit of ambiguity between the naming of these two individuals but does considering them to be the same person or two different persons significantly change your faith? In matter such as this one, extra-biblical sources can shed some light on their identities without compromising your worldview.
    – jwh20
    Oct 26 '20 at 12:04
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    @LaraOlutunbi - I have provided Bible evidence of the impossibility of Darius the Mede and Darius the Persian being the same person. If you do not accept that, OK, but then I do not know what you want except for someone to simply agree with you which you will not get.
    – Dottard
    Oct 27 '20 at 5:52

Looking at scripture, angel Gabriel came to Daniel during the reign of Cyrus (see Daniel 10:1); it is in that same visitation that he talks to Daniel about how he HAD strengthened and confirmed the appointment of Darius the Mede/of Mede descent - indicating prior to Cyrus.

The entry of Darius was a fulfilment of Jeremiah 51:11 ‘...the Lord has stirred up the kings of the Medes and His plan is to destroy Persia’

Psalm 103:20 ‘Praise The Lord you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey His word’

Ezra 5 & 6 points to the chronological order of Darius the Persian king being after Cyrus the Persian king.


Xerxes was the grandson of Cyrus the Great. Consider the names Xerxes and Cyrus being the same. Only Xerxes however was preceded by a king Darius (Darius I) as in the book of Daniel.

The Darius of Ezra was identified by the Elephantine papyri as Darius II. The papyri date the high priest Johanan also mentioned in the book of Ezra as a contemporary of Darius II.

The names ArtaXerxes and AhaSuerus then are similar as well, being written in different languages.

This suggests the books of Daniel and Ezra without hiatus show the Persian kings from Darius I - Artaxerxes II:

The Darius of the book of Daniel is Darius I, the Cyrus is Xerxes. The Cyrus of the book of Ezra (Ezra 1) again is Xerxes, the first Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus (Ezra 4) both are Artaxerxes I, the Darius (Ezra 6) is Darius II, and the second Artaxerxes (Ezra 7) of the book of Ezra is Artaxerxes II.

The Artaxerxes and Ahasuerus of the books of Nehemiah and Esther also being Artaxerxes I.

Some details

As for the title of the Persian kings, it changed with Xerxes to king of the Persians and Medes. Before it was king of the Babylonians (or Chaldeans, which is the same). This shift also is visible in the book of Daniel. Which confirms the Darius of the book of Daniel is Darius I. At the start of his reign the destruction of the temple was about 62 years away.

The 120 satraps appointed in Daniel 6:1-2 also can be translated as 20 tax owing satraps (since 100 as well can mean tax). This is similar to the reign of Darius I, who also divided his kingdom into 20 tax owing satrapies.

Similar to the comments about Daniel in Daniel 6:28 and 10:1 Heidemarie Koch in her book "Es kundet Dareios der Konig" mentions Darius I's highest official (who's position had been vacant for three years) from Darius' 28th year on remained in office until the third year of Xerxes.

The above proves the books of Daniel and Ezra fit the historical events.

A mistake of the later editor

However in the book of Daniel there are several indications the Daniel of Daniel 6 is a different person than the Daniel of Daniel 1-5:

Daniel 6:28 omits Nebuchadnezzar in: "Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian". Furthermore the Daniel of chapters 1-5 is a clergyman, while the Daniel of chapter 6 is a ruler.

Amazing distances

When you with the above analysis calculate distances, something amazing happens. The distance between the start of the exile (Daniel 1:1) until the end is 120 years. The distance between the destruction of the first temple and the consecration of the altar of the second temple is 100 years. From this point to the birth of Jesus is 480 years (1 Kings 6:1).

  • I would suggest this board to remove the option to negatively vote anonymously. Those who want to do this should do it openly.
    – Evert
    Mar 15 '21 at 21:08

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