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That it was Yahweh who provided the impulse is attested to in the Old Testament by both the Chronicler (2 Chron. Thus the various Jewish governors could carry their case directly to the satrap in times of difficulty.

The first of these governors was Sheshbazzar, leader of the first return from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:5-11; ).

However this may be true of the postexilic prophets, it does not account for the absence of such data in earlier prophetic writing.

As men of God, they desired to share a word from God that would address the exigencies of a remnant community that was struggling to reestablish itself on the holy soil of Palestine against what must have appeared to be insuperable obstacles.

He then conquered Persia (in southwest Iran) placing Cambyses over it as governor.

Upon the death of Cyaxares, his son Astyages (585-550) succeeded him.

Haggai dates his first recorded revelation to the first day of the sixth month of the second year of the Persian king Darius Hystaspes (522-486 B. This is the month Elul, equivalent to Ulu of the Babylonian/Persian calendar and corresponding in the Julian calendar to August-September.

Less than four decades after the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.

It was the latter, as the Bible clearly intimates (Dan.

5:1-31), who fell to Cyrus when Babylon finally capitulated to the Persians on October 12, 539 B. Beginning in 555, the year Cyrus defeated his Median grandfather, he had incorporated Media, Lydia, and Babylonia into his rapidly expanding Persian empire. Its surrender to Cyrus was a foregone conclusion since, according to the so-called “Verse Account of Nabonidus” and other texts, Nabonidus had so offended Marduk, chief deity of Babylon, by his impious devotion to Sin that Marduk had determined to turn his estate over to a “shepherd” who would better tend it. The biblical version of the rise of Cyrus is quite different, for it is Yahweh, not Marduk, who raised him up (Isa.

He next refers to the response of Zerubbabel and Joshua to the message of Yahweh, dating that to the twenty-fourth day of the same month, or September 21, (Hag. The prophet then assigns his second oracle to the twenty-first day of the seventh month (i.e., Tishri), or October 17, (Hag. Finally, he cites the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev), December 18, (, 20). Zechariah provides one more date, however, the fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev) of the fourth year of Darius, December 7, 518 B. This marked the occasion of his interview with Sharezer, Regem-melek, and other leaders from Bethel (Zech. The strict attention to matters of chronology exhibited by Haggai and Zechariah is characteristic of the annalistic style of history writing employed in Neo-Babylonian and Persian times.

Zechariah dates his first vision to the eighth month (Marcheshwan) of Darius’ second year, that is, October-November 520 B. The famous “Babylonian Chronicles” with its insistence on documenting every royal achievement to the month and day is a case in point.Nabonidus (556-539), whose north Mesopotamian roots and devotion to the moon god Sin were to alienate him from his Babylonian subjects, then took over.

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