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rhæus king of the Derbicians, a nation (as the rest) of Scythia; whom though he overcame, yet he then received the wound of his death, which he suffered three days after.
i Strabo also affirmeth that he was buried in his own city of Pasagardes, which himself had built, and where his epitaph was to be read in his time; which is said to have been this: 0 vir, quicunque es, et undecunque advenis, neque enim te adventurum ignoravi ; ego sum Cyrus qui Persis imperium constitui, pusillum hoc terræ quo meum tegitur corpus mihi ne invidias ; “O thou man, whosoever thou “ art, or whencesoever thou comest; for I was not ignorant “ that thou shouldest come: I am Cyrus, that founded the “ Persian empire; do not envy unto me this little earth with “ which my body is covered."
This tomb was opened by Alexander, as Quintus Curtius, 1. 1. reporteth, either upon hope of treasure supposed to have been buried with him, (or upon desire to honour his dead body with certain ceremonies,) in which there was found an old rotten target, two Scythian bows, and a sword. The coffin wherein his body lay, Alexander caused to be covered with his own garment, and a crown of gold to be set upon it. These things well considered, as they give credit to the reports of k Xenophon and Zonaras, so they derogate much from Herodotus, who leaves his body in the hands of Tomyris.
And surely had Cyrus lost the army of Persia in Scythia, it is not likely that his son would so soon have transported all his remaining forces into Egypt, so far off from that quarter; the Scythian nation then victorious, and bordering Media: neither had Cambyses been able in such haste to have undertaken and performed so great a conquest. Wherefore I rather believe Xenophon, saying, that Cyrus died aged, and in peace: and that finding in himself that he could not long enjoy the world, he called unto him his nobility, with his two sons Cambyses and Smerdis, or, after Xenophon, Tanaoxares; and, after a long oration, wherein he assured himself, and taught others, of the imStrab. 1. 15
k Xen. Pæd. 8. Zon. l. 1. c. 20.
mortality of the soul, and of the punishments and rewards following the good and ill deserving of every man in this life; he exhorted his sons by the strongest arguments he had, to a perpetual concord and agreement. Many other things he uttered, which make it probable that he received the knowledge of the true God from Daniel, when he governed Susa and Persia, and that Cyrus himself had read the prophecy of Isaiah, wherein he was expressly named, and by God (for the delivery of his people) preordained. Which act of delivering the Jews from their captivity, and of restoring the holy temple and city of Jerusalem, was in true consideration the noblest work that ever Cyrus performed. For in other actions he was an instrument of God's power, used for the chastising of many nations, and the establishing of a government in those parts of the world, which was not long to continue. But herein he had the grace to be an instrument of God's goodness, and a willing advancer of his kingdom upon earth, which must last for ever, though heaven and earth shall perish.
SECT. VII. Of Cyrus's decree for building the temple of God in Jerusalem.
HAVING therefore spoken of his great victories, mentioned by sundry historians, the glory of all which was as a reward of this his service done unto him that was Author of them and of all goodness; I hold it meet at length to speak of the decree made in the first of his reign, being perhaps the first that ever he made after his possession of the Babylonian empire: that the captive Jews should return again into their own territory, and rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem, having now endured and finished seventy years captivity, by the prophets foretold. For the accomplishing whereof, he gave order to his treasurers to furnish them with all things necessary and wanting. He also restored unto them five thousand four hundred and sixty-nine vessels of gold and silver, whereof Nabuchodonosor, the grandfather of Balthasar, had formerly robbed the temple.
The number of the Jews which returned out of Chaldea
under their leader 1 Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and nephew to king Jeconias, and Jesus, or Josua, the son of Josadak, were about fifty thousand; where, as soon as they arrived, they built an altar to the living God, and sacrificed thereon, according to their own law, and afterwards bethought themselves how to prepare materials for the mrebuilding of the temple.
But no sooner did the Jews begin to lay any one stone, than the Samaritans, and other idolatrous nations adjoining, gave all the impediment they could. So did the governors of those provinces under Cyrus altogether countenance the disturbers, and in no sort favoured the Jews, nor the labours and purposes they had in hand. And not only those which were but provincial lieutenants, and other officers of less place, but Cambyses himself; who having the charge of the whole empire, while Cyrus was busied otherwise, countermanded the building begun. And whereas some authors make doubt, that whatsoever Cambyses did when himself had obtained the empire, yet during the life of Cyrus there was no such impediment or prohibition; they may herein resolve themselves out of Esdras, that by the conspiracies of the neighbouring nations, the building was hindered all the time of king Cyrus's life, &c. And therefore it is true what the Jews themselves affirm, as it is written in the second of John, that the temple was forty-six years in setting up, having received so many hinderances from the first foundation to the second of Darius.
And if we seek the natural and politic courses which moved Cambyses to withstand his father's decree, as well while he governed under him, as when himself became sole and sovereign monarch, we shall find them in that epistle remembered by Esdras, written by Belemus, Mithridates, and the rest, presidents and counsellors in Phænicia, wherein they complain that the Jews were evermore rebellious, and troublers of kings; that their city being once built, they would then refuse to pay tribute, and fall from the obedience of the empire, as they had formerly done in the times of other kings.
11 Esd, ü. 2 Esd. vii. Phil. in bre. m Esd. iii. 3. Esd. v. Esd. iv.
and v. Jos. Ant. 11. i Esd. ii. 16. 1 Esd. v. 33. 1 Esd. iv. 3. i Esd. ii.
But that which for that present seemed the most forcible impediment was, that Cambyses having it in his resolution to invade Egypt, and that it was a common opinion that the Jews were descended of those nations, because they issued thence under Moses, when they conquered Judæa; their city being once repaired and fortified, they might return to their old vomit, and give the same disturbance to Cambyses' conquest, which they did to Sennacherib, Nabuchodonosor, and other kings of Babylon. For, as it is written in Ezekiel, n Egypt was the confidence of the house
But it is to be understood, as Codoman and others have observed, that Artaxerxes, to whom the counsellors and go vernors of Phænicia complained against the Jews, did not precede, but succeed Darius Hystaspes, as in the sixth and seventh chapters of Esdras it is made plain : and also that those governors (whose epistle sheweth as much) did not withstand the building of the temple, but the fortifying and enclosing of the city, as by the reasons given in the said epistle, and by the king's answer, it is evident.
Also in the sixth of Ezra, the fourteenth verse, the kings are named in order as they governed, and Artaxerxes written after Darius ; as, And they built and finished it (to wit the temple) by the appointment of the God of Israel, and by the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artahshaste king of Persia. Lastly, in the seventh of Ezra it is written, Now after these things, in the reign of Artahshaste king of Persia: which was as much to say as after the finishing of the temple in David's time. And therefore Artaxerxes in the second of Esdras is there named by anticipation, not in his own time and place.
And thus much concerning the rebuilding of the city and temple of Jerusalem. Which action, though prospered by the hand of God, was very slowly pursued by the men whom it most concerned, but first set on foot by Cyrus.
» Ezek. xxix.
The other ordinances of Cyrus, with his form and manner of government, are to be found in Xenophon. At his death, he bequeathed the empire unto his eldest son Cambyses, appointing Smerdis, or Tanaoxares, his younger son, to be satrapa, or lieutenant of Media, Armenia, and Cadusia; and then died, after he had reigned (saith Herodotus) thirty-one years, or (according to Justin) but thirty.
SECT. VIII. of Cyrus's issue : and whether Atossa were his daughter, or (as
some think) were the same with queen Esther. CYRUS had issue two sons, Cambyses and Smerdis, with three daughters, Atossa, Meroe, and Artystona; Ctesias addeth to these Amytis. Atossa and Meroe their brother Cambyses married ; Artystona, Darius Hystaspes obtained ; so did he Atossa, Cambyses being dead; who (as some writers have supposed) inflamed both her husband Darius, and Xerxes after him, to invade Greece, to be avenged of the whole nation for the cruel intent that Aman (whom the old translation calleth a Macedonian) had against the Jews; though the opinion of Josephus be more probable, who finds Aman to be an Amalekite. But it is hard to be understood how Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, should have been Esther, whose history seems rather to appertain to the time of Artaxerxes Longimanus, than of Darius the son of Hystaspes or of Xerxes. The desire of Atossa to have Greece brought under the yoke of Persia was partly grounded upon the honour which thereby she thought her husband might obtain, partly upon a feminine humour of getting many brave dames, Corinthians, Athenians, and others of that nation, to be her bondwomen. Wherefore I cannot give assent to the opinion of Codoman, who upon
the near sound of the two names Atossa and Hadassa (by the latter of which Esther was also called) makes them to have been one person. For though it be true that Esther, concerning her parentage, a while might be taken for a great lady; yet Codoman's inference is nothing probable, that she should therefore, and for the great