order of the kings in Nehemiah and Ezra

QUESTION

What is the order of the kings in Nehemiah and Ezra as it relates to the timing of the start of the 70 weeks?

RESPONSE

It has been some time since I have dealt with this issue, so I cannot say that I have all of the details pertaining to it fresh in my mind or that my memory is not going to be faulty in connection to what I had studied out on it in the past. However the listing that you have set forth, (”Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius the Median, Cyrus, Artaxerxes, Darius and another Artaxerxes”), is the same as my understanding; with the possible exception that the Ahasureus of Ezra 4:6 may need to be added between Cyrus and Artaxerxes. (Since all of the details are not fresh in my mind, I say “possible exception.”)

Just as a side note to this issue, as you undoubtedly know the record of the kings of the Persians contained in Ezra and Nehemiah is often criticized and/or scoffed at by Bible critics, historians, those who do not believe that God has perfectly preserved His word, and others. And this has been the case for a long time. Such critics are often quick to point out that what is recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah does not match up with the discovery of ancient Persian records, with the work and conclusions of historians, and the like. However as with many such criticisms, the critics often assume too much. In particular they assume that man’s record keeping is perfect, that God keeps records the exact same way that man does, and that therefore the two should match. However none of these assumptions are true. Anyway I point this out to simply draw attention to the fact that the kings God makes reference to in Ezra and Nehemiah are the kings that He is concerned about, in view of what He had said about the kings that the people of Israel would encounter and would be affected by during the second installment to the Fifth Course of Punishment.

Keith Blades
Enjoy the Bible Ministries

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