That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God
Such as will be acceptable to him, ( Genesis 8:21 )
and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons;
prayer being wont to be made at the time of the morning and evening incense; and the Jews used to pray for other people besides themselves, and especially when desired, and particularly for kings and civil magistrates, to whom they were subject, see ( Jeremiah 29:7 ) ( 1 Timothy 2:1 1 Timothy 2:2 ) , the sons of Darius Hystaspis, for whose life, as well as his own, he would have prayer made, were, according to Herodotus F4, three by his first wife, the daughter of Gobryas, before he began to reign, the eldest of which was Artobazanes; which sons must be here meant, since this was towards the beginning of his reign; he had afterwards four more by Atossa the daughter of Cyrus, the eldest of which was Xerxes, who succeeded him: many of the Heathens had an high opinion of the God of the Jews, and of their prayers to him for them; even the Emperor Julian F5 styles him the best of all the gods, and desired the Jews to pray to him for the welfare of his kingdom; nor need it seem strange that Darius should desire the same, since he was a devout prince; his father Hystaspes is supposed by some to be the same that was one of the most famous among the Persian Magi, or ministers in sacred things; and Darius himself had so great a veneration for the men of that sacred order, that he commanded that it should be put upon his sepulchral monument, that he was master of the Magi F6; and by his familiarity with the priests of Egypt, and learning their divinity, had the honour, while alive, to have deity ascribed to him F7.
F4 Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 2.
F5 Opera, par. 2. ep. 25. p. 153.
F6 Porphyr. de abstinentia, l. 4, c. 16.
F7 Diodor. Sic. l. 1. p. 85.