Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/55

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to drag. At any rate, Zechariah, in 46 f. of his prophecies, pictures the task before Zerubbabel and his associates as a "mountain." If they finally received any assistance from the government, it must have been delayed many months, as such grants are apt to be, for, according to the Chronicler (Ezr. 615), the temple was not completed until the third of Adar in the sixth year of Darius, or February, 515 B.C.

For some time after the suppression of the great uprising in the East Darius was employed in strengthening his hold on his vast dominions. To this end he removed ambitious satraps, like Oroetes, occupied strategic points in India and Asia Minor and thoroughly reorganised the empire. In the course of these activities he had to devote some attention to Egypt, where Aryandes, an appointee of Cambyses, was usurping royal functions and provoking disorder. Perhaps he had already sent Uzahor, an official already (p. 15) mentioned, to repair some of the damage done to the country by his predecessor.[1] Finally he himself visited Egypt. There is no direct evidence bearing on the date of this visit, but Wiedemann,[2] by combining an inscription recording the death of an Apis with a notice by Polyænus[3] of a reward offered by the king for the discovery of another, has made it appear that it was, or began, in his fourth year, that is 517 B.C.[4] His first act was to depose and execute the satrap. Then he proceeded to restore order, institute necessary reforms, and otherwise display his wisdom and efficiency as a ruler. The greatest of his undertakings was the canal by which he planned to connect the Nile with the Red Sea, and thus open communication by water between Persia and the Mediterranean.[5]

The presence of Darius in the West was a boon, not only to Egypt, but to Palestine. He may have visited Jerusalem as he passed through the country and, having personally inspected the rising temple, made further provision for its completion. At any

  1. The country from which Darius sent Uzahor on this mission, according to Petrie (HE., iii, 362), was Aram, Syria, but, according to Brugsch (Hist., ii, 305), Elam.
  2. GÄ., 236 f.
  3. vii, 11, 7.
  4. So also Nöldeke, APG., 41.
  5. Wiedemann, GÄ., 241 f. The project was abandoned because Darius's engineers told him that the level of the Red Sea was higher than that of Egypt and that, therefore, if the canal were opened the country would be flooded.