Now in the first year - This is word for word with the two last verses of the preceding book; which stand here in their proper place and connection, but there are entirely destitute of chronological connection and reference.
Cyrus - This prince, so eminent in antiquity, is said to have been the son of Cambyses king of Persia, and Mandane, daughter of Astyages king of the Medes; and was born about six hundred years before Christ. Josephus accounts for his partiality to the Jews from this circumstance; that he was shown the places in Isaiah the prophet where he is mentioned by name, and his exploits and conquests foretold: see Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1, etc. Finding himself thus distinguished by the God of the Jews, he was anxious to give him proofs of his gratitude in return; and so made the decree in favor of the Jews, restored their sacred vessels, gave them liberty to return to their own land, and encouraged them to rebuild the temple of Jehovah, etc.
It is very probable that when Cyrus took Babylon he found Daniel there, who had been long famed as one of the wisest ministers of state in all the East; and it is most likely that it was this person who pointed out to him the prophecy of Isaiah, and gave him those farther intimations relative to the Divine will which were revealed to himself. Of his death there are contradictory accounts. Herodotus says, that having turned his arms against the Massagetes, and killed the son of Tomyris their queen, the mother, impatient to avenge the death of her son, sent him a defiance; promised to glut him with blood; and, having attacked him, pretended to be worsted and to fly; and thus she drew him and his army into an ambuscade, where he was routed and slain, and a considerable part of his army destroyed. The enraged queen having found his body, cut off his head, and threw it into a vessel full of human blood, with this most bitter sarcasm: -
Ευ μεν, εμευ ζωσης τε και νικωσης ες μαχην,π
απωλεσας παιδα τον εμον, ἑλων δολῳ· σε δ ' εγω,π
καταπερ ηπειλησα, αἱματος κορεσω .
- Herod. Clio, c. 214.
"Although living and victorious, thou hast destroyed me in slaying my son, whom thou hast overcome by deceit; but, as I have threatened, I will now slake thy thirst with blood."
Cyrus, thy thirst was blood, now drink thy fill.
By - Jeremiah - This prophet, Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:11, had foretold that the Babylonish captivity should last only seventy years: these were now ended; Cyrus had given the Jews permission and encouragement to return to Judea, and rebuild the temple of the Lord; and thus the prediction of Jeremiah was fulfilled.