Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/52

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gan his reign before the middle of March, 521 B.C.[1] Toward the end of this year occurred the first revolt in Babylon, which probably occupied him until the summer of 520 B.C.,[2] when he went to Media to finish the subjugation of that and the adjoining provinces. The second revolt of the Babylonians, which seems to have been the latest of these protests against the authority of Darius, was probably not suppressed before 519 B.C.[3]

If Cambyses died in the summer of 522 B.C. and Gomates was overthrown before the end of the year, the first full year of the reign of Darius began with Nisan (March–April) 521 B.C., and the second with the same month in 520, before he had taken Babylon the first time. Now, "the second year of Darius the king," "the sixth month," and "the first day of the month," or about the middle of August, is the date on which Haggai approached Zerubbabel and Joshua, the then leaders in Jerusalem, with a message from Yahweh requiring them to rebuild the temple, and it was only a few days later that the work was actually begun. Cf. Hg. 11. 15. In other words, the movement among the Jews to rebuild the temple took place just when the latest news from the East seemed to warrant them in expecting the speedy collapse of the Persian empire. This can hardly have been a mere coincidence. It means that, whatever may have been the policy of Cyrus, that of his successor had been more or less repressive, and that the Jews, who, having one of their own race for governor, had now begun to think of autonomy, took the first favourable opportunity to provide a rallying-point for patriotic sentiment in the growing community.

There is no intimation in the prophecies of Haggai or Zechariah that the project they were urging met with any opposition from the Persian government. The Chronicler does not claim that anything was done to hinder it, but he says that the Jews had

  1. This statement is based on a tablet dated the twenty-second of Adar (February–March) in "the beginning" of his reign. KB., iv, 302 f.
  2. According to Herodotus (iii, 152), the siege of the city lasted a year and seven months.
  3. So Meyer, GA., i, 613 ff. Duncker, following Herodotus, prolongs the first Babylonian revolt until the autumn of 519 B.C., making it necessary to suppose that the second was not suppressed until 517 B.C. Cf. HA., vi, 239 ff., 249 ff., 270 ff.