While Jerusalem was threatened by Babylon for a number of years the false prophets proclaimed that Jerusalem would not fall, and the Lord’s temple would continue to stand. A good many years later, when Cyrus was king over the Medes and Persians, those inhabitants of Jerusalem and the surrounding area of Judah who desired to go back to their home land was given permission. Cyrus was a king of a different sort, historians tell us. This we can see even in the biblical text when we read “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus” (1:1). The benevolence the Persian king had shown to the Israelites was also an act of generosity he had shown to all those of his empire that he recently conquered.
Application: Yamauchi said about the Persian kings: “We know that the Persian kings paid close heed to prophecies…” Interesting, isn’t it? Heathen kings, such as Cyrus, paid closer attention to what Jeremiah (Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel) said than the nation to whom these prophets were sent.
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