And now will I show thee the truth
And nothing but the truth; what will most certainly come to pass, and may be depended on, even what is written in the book of God's decrees, "the Scripture of truth", and which would appear in Providence in later times; and this he proposed to deliver to him, not in figurative, dark, and obscure expressions, but clearly and plainly, in language easy to be understood: behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia;
which were Cyrus, who reigned alone after the death of Darius the Mede, his uncle; Cambyses, the son of Cyrus; and Darius Hystaspes. There was another between Cambyses and Darius, called Smerdis the magician, who reigned but seven months, and being an impostor is left out, as he is in Ptolemy's canon; not that these were all the kings of Persia after Darius the Mede; for, according to the above canon, there reigned six more after them; but because these kings had a connection with the Jews, and under them their affairs had different turns and changes, respecting their restoration and settlement, and the building of their city and temple; as also because these kings "stood", and the monarchy under them was strong and flourishing, whereas afterwards it began to decline; and chiefly it is for the sake of the fourth king that these are observed, who laid the foundation of the destruction of the Persian monarchy by the Grecians. And the fourth shall be far richer than they all:
this is Xerxes, who exceeded his predecessors in wealth and riches; enjoying what they by their conquests, or otherwise, had amassed together, to which he greatly added; Cyrus had collected a vast deal of riches from various nations, especially from Babylon: God gave him "the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places", ( Isaiah 14:3 ) , Cambyses increased the store by his victories, and the plunder of temples wherever he came; out of the flames of which were saved three hundred talents of gold, and 2300 talents of silver, which he carried away, together with the famous circle of gold that encompassed the tomb of King Ozymandias F4: and Darius, the father of Xerxes, laid heavy taxes upon the people, and hoarded up his money; hence he was called by the Persians (kaphlov) F5, the huckster or hoarder: and Xerxes came into it all, and so became richer than them all; of whom Justin says F6
``si regem species; divitias, non ducem laudes: quarum tanta copia in regno ejus fuit, ut cum flumina multitudine consumerentur, opes tamen regiae superessent.''And by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the
realm of Grecia;
through his vast riches, which are the sinews of war, he collected a prodigious army out of all provinces, which he raised to make war against the Grecians; being moved to it by Mardonius, a relation of his, who was very ambitious of being at the head of a large army F7; three years were spent in preparing for this expedition, and forces were gathered out of all parts of the then known habitable world; out of all the west, under Hamilcar, general of the Carthaginians, with whom he made a league; and out of all the east, under his own command: his army, according to Justin F8, consisted of 700,000 of his own, and 300,000 auxiliaries; Diodorus Siculus F9 makes it much less, to be about 300,000 men; but Dr. Prideaux F11, from Herodotus and others, computes, that putting all his forces together by sea and land, by the time he came to the straits of Thermopylae the number of them were 2,641,610 men; and Grotius, from the same writer reckons them 5,283,000, to which others add two hundred and twenty F12 with these he marched into Greece, where, after having done much mischief, he was shamefully defeated and obliged to retire, and was murdered by Artabanus the captain of his guards. The words may be rendered F13, "he shall stir up all, even the realm of Grecia"; by the preparation he made, and the vast army he brought into the field, he raised all the cities and states of Greece to combine together to withstand him; and this step of his is what irritated the Grecians, and put them upon later attempts to avenge themselves on the Persians for this attack upon them; and which they never desisted from, till they had ruined the Persian empire, which they did under Alexander; and so he, in his letter to Darius, says F14,
``your ancestors entered into Macedonia, and the other parts of Greece, and did us damage, when they had received no affront from us as the cause of it; and now I, created general of the Grecians, provoked by you, and desirous of avenging the injury done by the Persians, have passed over into Asia.''And it is for the sake of this, the destruction of the Persian empire by Alexander, that this expedition of Xerxes is here hinted at; and to pave the way for the account of Alexander and his successors, in the following part of this prophecy.
F4 See the Universal History, vol. 5. p. 194.
F5 Herodot. l. 3. sive Thalia, c. 89.
F6 E Trogo, l. 2. c. 10.
F7 Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 11. par. 2. p. 3. Ed. Rhodoman.
F8 E Trogo, l. 2. c. 10.
F9 Ut supra, ( Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 11.) par. 2. p. 2.
F11 Connexion part 1. B. 4. p. 233, 234.
F12 See the Universal History, vol. 5. p. 233.
F13 (Nwy twklm ta lkh ryey) "excitabit universos, nempe regnum" Graciae, Michaelis.
F14 Apud Arrian. Exped. Alexand. l. 2.