Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/316

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The Fifth Age.

Darius king of the Medes. Darius, son of Astyages, who, with his kinsman Cyrus, destroyed the Babylonian empire, was 62 years old when Babylon was attacked: he was called by the Greeks by another name. He took with him the prophet Daniel into Media, where he was held in high honour. Daniel ix verse 1—2Of this Darius Daniel himself thus makes mention. "In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who ruled over the kingdom of the Medes, I, Daniel, understood from books the number of the years, concerning which the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that 70 years should be fulfilled in the desolation of Jerusalem." Eusebius, in his book of Chronicles, reckons 30 years from the overthrow of Jerusalem to the beginning of the reign of Cyrus king of the Persians; but Julius Africanus reckons 70. Furthermore, Jerome, in his exposition of the prophet Daniel, says as follows: "The Hebrews have a tradition of this sort down to the seventieth year, in which Jeremiah had said that the captivity of the Jewish people should be loosed." Zacharias, too, in the beginning of his book, speaks of the same. Now Belshazzar, thinking the promise of God vain and falsified, in his wantonness made a great feast; Belshazzar's feast at which, in a manner, he derided the hope of the Jews, and profaned the vessels of God's temple. But speedily vengeance overtook him.

A.M. 3423 [4771].

Cyrus, the first king of the Persians, reigned 30 years. Cyrus restores the captive Jews to liberty. [A.M. 3468. B.C. 536.] That the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, he, in the first year of his reign, loosed the captivity of the Hebrews, causing nearly 50,000 of them to return to Judaea, and restoring to them the gold and silver vessels of the temple of the Lord, to the number of 5400. These assembled at Jerusalem and built the altar in the seventh month; and from the first day of the same month they offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord. Moreover, in the second