That saith of Cyrus, he is my shepherd
Or Coresh, as his name in the Hebrew language is; and in the Persian tongue signifies the "sun"; from whence he had his name, as Ctesias F17 and Plutarch F18 say; to which the Hebrew word "cheres", which signifies the "sun", has some affinity; though Joseph Scaliger F19 would have the name of Cyrus to signify "food" in the Persian language, and which answers to his character as a shepherd. The father of this illustrious person was Cambyses, king of Persia; his mother's name was Mandane, daughter of Astyages, king of Media F20. This prophecy, concerning him, was nearly two hundred years before he was born. Josephus says F21, that Cyrus read this prophecy himself, which Isaiah had delivered out two hundred and ten years before; and which is a proof both of God's prescience of future contingencies, and of the truth of divine revelation. The Lord honours him with the title and character of his "shepherd", who was to lead his flock, the people of Israel, out of the Babylonish captivity, and guide them into their own land. It is very usual, both in sacred and profane writings, for kings to be called shepherds; and if Cyrus signifies "food", as before observed, his name and office agree. Justin
F23 says, he had this name given him, while he was among the shepherds, by whom he was brought up, having been exposed in his infancy. Cyrus himself compares a king to a shepherd, and observes a likeness between them F24: and shall perform all my pleasure;
concerning the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, and the encouragement of them to go up to their own land, and rebuild their city and temple; and many other things which he did, agreeably to the secret will of God, though he knew it not; and what he did he did not do in obedience to his will, but as overruled by the power and providence of God: even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built;
these are not the words of the Lord, as before, but of Cyrus, giving orders that Jerusalem should be built: and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid;
with great propriety this is said, since only the foundation was laid in his time; the Jews being discouraged and hindered by their enemies from going on with the building in his reign, until the times of Darius, king of Persia. See ( Ezra 1:1-3 ) ( 3:10 ) ( 4:1-5 ) .
F17 Excerpta, p. 648. Ed. Gronov.
F18 In Vita Artaxerxis,
F19 Emendat. Temp. I. 6.
F20 Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 1. sect. 1.
F21 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 1. sect. 2.
F23 Hist. ex Trogo l. 1. c. 5.
F24 Xenophon, Cyropaedia, l. 8. sect. 18.