Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia,.... Of whom, and this edict of his, Isaiah prophesied two hundred years before he was born, Isaiah 44:28
the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; many he had conquered before he took Babylon, and then the whole Babylonian monarchy fell into his hands. HerodotusF12Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 130. So Sallust, Bell. Catalin. p. 2. says, he ruled over all Asia; XenophonF13Cyropaedia, l. 1. in principio. reckons up many nations that were under his government, Medes and Hyrcanians, Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the Phrygians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, Sacae or Scythians, Paphlagonians, Megadinians, and many other nations, the Greeks inhabiting Asia, and the Cyprians, and Egyptians; and elsewhere he saysF14L. 8. c. 48. , the borders of his kingdom were, to the east the Red sea, to the north the Euxine Pontus, to the west Cyprus and Egypt, and to the south Ethiopia. And the possession of these kingdoms Cyrus ascribes, not to his own martial courage and skill, but to the providence and disposal of the God of heaven, which he seems to have had some notion of:
and he hath charged me to build an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah; in the prophecy of Isaiah, which, according to JosephusF15Antiqu. l. 11. c. 1. sect. 1, 2. , he had seen and read, and believed it to be a charge upon him, and a command unto him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem; however, to give leave for the rebuilding of it, and to encourage to it, and assist in it; an Arabic writer saysF16Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 5. p. 82. , that Cyrus married a sister of Zerubbabel, and that it was at her request that the Jews had leave to return; which is merely fabulous.