Summary: Here begins the predictions of the man of God via the Spirit of God, every one of which has, or will, come to pass. The Persian and Greek Empires are here seen, along with that which flowed from Greece's demise, which the Holy Spirit wants us to see!
2: Persia, Alexander and the Successors 11:2b– 11:4
11:2b “Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia”
In fact seven kings will rule in Persia, but the angel is asking Daniel to focus on the next three kings so as to pay special attention to the fourth.
In 530 [all dates are BC], in battle with the Massagetae, a tribal people north of the Caspian Sea, Cyrus the Great, the ruler under whom Daniel has lived and served, is killed. He leaves behind an Empire that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to what we call North Pakistan today, from the Gulf of Oman to the Aral Sea.
His son Cambyses becomes Emperor #1 in the fulfilling of this first prophecy. His is a strange, some say mad, reign, reminding us of Nero and Caligula and mad monarchs of all times. He was sick from birth, with the “sacred sickness” as it is called, epilepsy. Sacred only in that self-styled gods and dictators like Julius Caesar have often experienced its ravages. Known by those who have seen it up close and personal as demonic.
Among his first actions is the struggle for Egypt. He attempts a political solution by offering his wonderful self to be the groom of Egypt’s princess. Crafty King Amasis sends an- other girl altogether unrelated, to spare his daughter this horror. Cambyses is furious and wages war with Egypt. There follows a campaign against the Carthaginians and the Ethiopians.
It is not only foreign powers that must flee the madness of the new Emperor. His own family is fair game also. He kills one of his sisters. For another, a worse fate is awaiting: marriage to the madman. First he must get the “approval” of the elders of Persia. They wisely in- form him that marriage to a sister is a bit of a bending of the rules, but on the other hand, they say, Persian Emperors are permitted to do what they want. The marriage proceeds.
At war on the Egyptian front the King notices that his brother Smerdis has physical prowess with which he himself has not been endowed. In jealousy, he sends Smerdis home to Persia. But alas, a dream informs him that “Smerdis” will one day sit on the throne. This will never do. He sends trusted friend Prexaspes to kill him. The deed is done.
Or is it?
Cambyses has left the palace under the care of Patizeithes, called a “Magian” by He- rodotus. The Magians were a Median tribe of magicians and interpreters of dreams. This priest sees the evil in Persia and decides to do something about it. He puts forward his own brother, called by Herodotus “Smerdis” , by chance the name of Cambyses’ fallen brother! Others call him Guamata, but the fact that matters is that Cambyses has been deposed, the throne has once more reverted to the Medians, though Media is unaware of what is happening. He is passed off as the real “Smerdis” by the Magians, and in a world not besieged by “modern media”, cameras, reporters and the like, who is to deny that Cambyses’ real brother is not king? How many know he is really dead?
The announcement of a new Emperor is made. Cambyses finally hears it and believes he has been betrayed by his friend, and that his brother rules the land, according to his vision. Prexaspes denies it, proves he is telling the truth, and Cambyses jumps on his fastest horse in a hurry, to get back to Persia and make things right. Too much of a hurry, again according to Herodotus: by accident he runs a sword up his thigh, and dies soon after.
During the year 522 , the false “Smerdis” actually gets away with his false reign for seven months, and in doing so becomes Emperor #2 in the prophecy. It is interesting to note that quick summaries of the Kings of Persia leave this false ruler out, giving the impression that there were only TWO kings between Cyrus and Xerxes.
One of Pseudo-Smerdis’s discoverers is Darius, son, not of Cambyses, but of one Hystapses , an important man in the Kingdom. Darius Hystapses is the third Emperor.
Darius too is an expansionist and a dreamer of glory for Persia, and for Darius. He dreams of a bridge from Asia to Europe, and a decisive victory over the troublesome Greeks. He shall have neither, but his son shall.
It is during the days of Darius that the Temple in Jerusalem is completed, (516) under the supervision of Zerubbabel and the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.
Though Darius is supportive of these Jewish matters, his heart is in Europe. His antagonizing of the Greeks there draws a revolt from the Ionians who nearly score an early victory, but they are crushed by Persian forces. It is now 500 BC