Cylinder of Cyrus

The Prophecy

Isaiah 44:28 Who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, you shall be built; and to the temple, your foundation shall be laid.

Verse 28: Who says of Cyrus: The record of the decree to rebuild the Temple can be found in 2 Chron. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1, 2 with several other references in Ezra. The precision of the prediction made by Isaiah about 720 BC concerning events following 536 B.C., more than 184 years later is illustrated here and by the subsequent history. Cyrus reversed the policy of moving and resettling captive nations in unfamiliar places to keep them submissive, which policy had been started by the Assyrians and improved on by the Chaldeans. Ending this period, Cyrus declared the policy of restoring the captive nations to their homelands where possible.

There is a well preserved cylinder seal in the Yale University Library from Cyrus which contains his commands to resettle the captive nations. Cyrus died within 5 years of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and thus he served YHWH exactly as the prophecy says. Cyrus commanded the return and rebuilding and that the Temple be "founded." He did not live to see the Temple built nor the structure to rise above the foundations. So precise is the prophecy!

A translation of a portion of the Stele follows.

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