EZRA 1:1 ~ During the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia, the Lord encouraged Cyrus to make an announcement. Cyrus put that announcement in writing and had it read every place in his kingdom. = عزرا الفصل 1

1  وَفِي السَّنَةِ الأُولَى لِكُورَشَ مَلِكِ فَارِسَ عِنْدَ تَمَامِ كَلاَمِ الرَّبِّ بِفَمِ إِرْمِيَا نَبَّهَ الرَّبُّ رُوحَ كُورَشَ مَلِكِ فَارِسَ فَأَطْلَقَ نِدَاءً فِي كُلِّ مَمْلَكَتِهِ وَبِالْكِتَابَةِ أَيْضاً قَائِلاً:

Cyrus conquered Babylon in 536 BC, then made Persia a world empire.  It covered the Middle East, half of Asia, much of Europe and some of Russia.  He reigned from 538 to 529 BC and died in battle.  He respected the customs and religions of each land he conquered and allowed the people to continue living as they had been.  His political and military methods were humane and successful, and his policies of human rights renown.  His palace was in today’s Iran.  After he conquered Babylon (one of his early conquests), the people there hailed him as their liberator.  People in the lands he conquered loved Cyrus.

Below is an urn in the Louvre Museum in Paris depicting Cyrus and Croesus, King of Lydia. Croesus whose sumptuous gifts honored Delphi and Ephesus, was conquered in 547 BC by the Persian Cyrus. Forced to accept his defeat, he mounted a pyre to serve his punishment, but rain sent by Apollo extinguished the flames. Thus, Croesus was pardoned and became chief adviser to Cyrus. This historical episode, told by Pindar, Bacchylides and Herodotus, and illustrated by Myson, is unique in Attic pottery.

Cyrus and Croesus, in Louvre

Cyrus & Subject

EZRA 1:2-4 ~ “From Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, gave all the kingdoms on earth to me. And the Lord chose me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in the country of Judah. The Lord is the God of Israel, the God that is in Jerusalem. If any of God’s people are living among you, then I pray God will bless them. You must let them go to Jerusalem in the country of Judah.You must let them go build the Lord’s temple. And so in any place where there might be survivors of Israel, the men in that place must support those survivors. Give those people silver, gold, cows, and other things. Give them gifts for God’s temple in Jerusalem.” =  عزرا الفصل 1

2  [هَكَذَا قَالَ كُورَشُ مَلِكُ فَارِسَ: جَمِيعُ مَمَالِكِ الأَرْضِ دَفَعَهَا لِي الرَّبُّ إِلَهُ السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ أَوْصَانِي أَنْ أَبْنِيَ لَهُ بَيْتاً فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ الَّتِي فِي يَهُوذَا.
3  مَنْ مِنْكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ شَعْبِهِ لِيَكُنْ إِلَهُهُ مَعَهُ وَيَصْعَدْ إِلَى أُورُشَلِيمَ الَّتِي فِي يَهُوذَا فَيَبْنِيَ بَيْتَ الرَّبِّ إِلَهِ إِسْرَائِيلَ. هُوَ الإِلَهُ الَّذِي فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ.
4  وَكُلُّ مَنْ بَقِيَ فِي أَحَدِ الأَمَاكِنِ حَيْثُ هُوَ مُتَغَرِّبٌ فَلْيُنْجِدْهُ أَهْلُ مَكَانِهِ بِفِضَّةٍ وَبِذَهَبٍ وَبِأَمْتِعَةٍ وَبِبَهَائِمَ مَعَ التَّبَرُّعِ لِبَيْتِ الرَّبِّ الَّذِي فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ].

The “Cyrus Cylinder” is considered one of the, if not the, greatest statements of human rights in the history of the world.  Among his statements of human and religious rights, he said this:

Negareh Cyrus Cylinder British Museum

Cyrus the Great of Persia’s Human Rights Cylinder

“As to the inhabitants of Babylon who against the will of the gods were enslaved, I abolished the corvee which was against their social standing.”

Regarding other kingdoms he had conquered, he said this about their religion:

“I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled...unharmed, in their former chapels, the places which make them happy….May all the gods whom I have placed within their sanctuaries and resettled in their sacred cities, address a daily prayer in my favor.”

The Cyrus Cylinder is on display at the British Museum in London.

EZRA 4:5, 24 ~ This continued the whole time that Cyrus was the king of Persia until Darius became the king of Persia….So the work stopped on God’s temple in Jerusalem. The work did not continue until Darius’ second year as king of Persia. = عزرا الفصل 4

5  وَاسْتَأْجَرُوا ضِدَّهُمْ مُشِيرِينَ لِيُبْطِلُوا مَشُورَتَهُمْ كُلَّ أَيَّامِ كُورَشَ مَلِكِ فَارِسَ وَحَتَّى مُلْكِ دَارِيُوسَ مَلِكِ فَارِسَ.

24 حِينَئِذٍ تَوَقَّفَ عَمَلُ بَيْتِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ وَكَانَ مُتَوَقِّفاً إِلَى السَّنَةِ الثَّانِيَةِ مِنْ مُلْكِ دَارِيُوسَ مَلِكِ فَارِسَ.


Image result for DARIUS' inscription on Mt. Behistun

DARIUS’ relief on Mount Behistun

Cambyses II, Cyrus’ son, was king of Persia for only 7 years.  Then Darius became king in 522 BC.  Rather than engrave his victories on walls of a palace, he had them engraved on the great Behistun Mountain in today’s Iran.  It begins with his ancestry, proceeds to rebellions following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses, and then gives his version of events and victories he enjoyed.  He reigned until 476 BC ~ 46 years.
Darius Relief

Darius Relief up close

The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a later form of Akkadian).  It is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone was to hieroglyphics.  Darius’ son, Xerxes, succeeded him.

EZRA 5:17; 6:1-3 ~ Now, if it pleases the king, please search the official records of the king. See if it is true that King Cyrus gave an order to build again God’s temple in Jerusalem. And then, sir, please send us a letter to let us know what you have decided to do about this. So King Darius gave an order to search the writings of the kings before him. Those writings were kept in Babylon in the same place the money was kept. A scroll was found in the fortress of Ecbatana. Ecbatana is in the province of Media. This is what was written on that scroll: Official Note: During Cyrus’ first year as king, Cyrus gave an order about the temple of God in Jerusalem. The order said…. = عزرا الفصل 5 – عزرا الفصل 6

17 وَالآنَ إِذَا حَسُنَ عِنْدَ الْمَلِكِ فَلْيُفَتَّشْ فِي بَيْتِ خَزَائِنِ الْمَلِكِ الَّذِي هُوَ هُنَاكَ فِي بَابِلَ هَلْ كَانَ قَدْ صَدَرَ أَمْرٌ مِنْ كُورَشَ الْمَلِكِ بِبِنَاءِ بَيْتِ اللَّهِ هَذَا فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ وَلْيُرْسِلِ الْمَلِكُ إِلَيْنَا مُرَادَهُ فِي ذَلِكَ].

1  حِينَئِذٍ أَمَرَ دَارِيُوسُ الْمَلِكُ فَفَتَّشُوا فِي بَيْتِ الأَسْفَارِ حَيْثُ كَانَتِ الْخَزَائِنُ مَوْضُوعَةً فِي بَابِلَ
2  فَوُجِدَ فِي أَحْمَثَا فِي الْقَصْرِ الَّذِي فِي بِلاَدِ مَادِي دَرْجٌ مَكْتُوبٌ فِيهِ هَكَذَا: [تِذْكَارٌ.
3  فِي السَّنَةِ الأُولَى لِكُورَشَ الْمَلِكِ أَمَرَ كُورَشُ الْمَلِكُ مِنْ جِهَةِ بَيْتِ اللَّهِ فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ: لِيُبْنَ الْبَيْتُ الْمَكَانُ الَّذِي يَذْبَحُونَ فِيهِ ذَبَائِحَ وَلْتُوضَعْ أُسُسُهُ ارْتِفَاعُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعاً وَعَرْضُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعاً.

In October 539 BC, Persian King Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Babylon was the ancient world’s capital of scholarship and science.The “Chronicle of Nabonidus” covers history of Babylon from 556 BC to 539 BC.  It is on display at the British Museum in London.  It explains that in the 6th year of the reign of King Nabonidus of Babylon….

chronicles of Nabonidus

Chronicles of Nabo-Nidas of Ectabana in British Museum

“King Astyages called up his troops and marched against Cyrus, king of Ansan [Persia], in order to meet him in battle. The army of Astyages revolted against him and in fetters they delivered him to Cyrus. Cyrus marched against the country Ecbatana; the royal residence he seized; silver, gold, other valuables of the country Ecbatana he took as booty and brought to Ansan [Persia].”

Ecbatana is part of today’s city of Hegmataneh.

EZRA 4:6 ~ Those enemies even wrote letters to the king of Persia trying to stop the Jews. They wrote a letter the year that Xerxes became the king of Persia. = عزرا الفصل 4

6  وَفِي مُلْكِ أَحْشَوِيرُوشَ فِي ابْتِدَاءِ مُلْكِهِ كَتَبُوا شَكْوَى عَلَى سُكَّانِ يَهُوذَا وَأُورُشَلِيمَ.

The image of father Darius and son Xerxes is of the stone relief from the Treasury, which was part of the marvelous palace complex in Persepolis, Iran. The relief is about 20 feet high and now on display at the Archaeological Museum in Tehran. (Image copyright Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago)

Darius with Son Xerxes behind him

Darius with son, Xerxes, behind him.  From the north stairs of the palace at Persepolis now in British Museum

The relief of Xerxes remains on the grounds of his palace in Persepolis in today’s Iran.

Darius stabbling lion

The relief of Darius stabbing a lion is a relief on the southwest side of his palace in Persepolis and now in the British Museum, London.  

EZRA 4:7;  7:1a, 7-8 ~ And later, at the time Artaxerxes became the new king of Persia, some of those men wrote another letter complaining about the Jews….After these things, during the rule of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra came to Jerusalem from Babylon….Those people of Israel arrived in Jerusalem during the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year that Artaxerxes was king. = عزرا الفصل 4 – عزرا الفصل 7

7  وَفِي أَيَّامِ أَرْتَحْشَسْتَا كَتَبَ بِشْلاَمُ وَمِثْرَدَاثُ وَطَبْئِيلُ وَسَائِرُ رُفَقَائِهِمْ إِلَى أَرْتَحْشَسْتَا مَلِكِ فَارِسَ. وَكِتَابَةُ الرِّسَالَةِ مَكْتُوبَةٌ بِالأَرَامِيَّةِ وَمُتَرْجَمَةٌ بِالأَرَامِيَّةِ.

1  وَبَعْدَ هَذِهِ الأُمُورِ فِي مُلْكِ أَرْتَحْشَسْتَا مَلِكِ فَارِسَ عَزْرَا بْنُ سَِرَايَا بْنِ عَزَرْيَا بْنِ حِلْقِيَّا

7  وَصَعِدَ مَعَهُ مِنْ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَالْكَهَنَةِ وَاللاَّوِيِّينَ وَالْمُغَنِّينَ وَالْبَوَّابِينَ وَالنَّثِينِيمِ إِلَى أُورُشَلِيمَ فِي السَّنَةِ السَّابِعَةِ لأَرْتَحْشَسْتَا الْمَلِكِ.
8  وَجَاءَ إِلَى أُورُشَلِيمَ فِي الشَّهْرِ الْخَامِسِ فِي السَّنَةِ السَّابِعَةِ لِلْمَلِكِ.

Artaxerxes I was king of the Persian Empire from 465 BC to 424 BC. He was the son of Xerxes I of Persia.  His father, Xerxes, had been killed by an official who then accused Xerxes’ oldest son of the murder.  The oldest son was then murdered.  Artaxerxes I was made king and executed the usurper and murder of his father and brother.  


Xerxes I from Palace at Persepolis, Iran

The greatest period of the empire was during the time of his grandfather, Darius.  It began a slight decline later in the reign of his father, Xerxes.  Artaxerxes I was known more for his gentleness than his prowess as a warrior. He was described as handsome, brave and kind.

Tombs of Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, Darius II,

Tombs of beloved Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, Darius II at Naqsh-e Rostam, Iran, not far from the palace at Persepolis.

EZRA 7:1b ~ Ezra was the son of Seraiah. Seraiah was the son of Azariah. Azariah was the son of Hilkiah. = عزرا الفصل 7
1  وَبَعْدَ هَذِهِ الأُمُورِ فِي مُلْكِ أَرْتَحْشَسْتَا مَلِكِ فَارِسَ عَزْرَا بْنُ سَِرَايَا بْنِ عَزَرْيَا بْنِ حِلْقِيَّا

Ezra was a priest.  His grandfather was Hilkiah, the high priest at the time Nebuchadnezzar took the people of Judea captive to Babylon and destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.  A seal has been discovered among many other seals in Jerusalem that belonged to Hilkiah.  (See reference to this above in Chronicles.)

EZRA 9:9 ~ “Yes, we were slaves, but you would not let us be slaves forever. You were kind to us. You made the kings of Persia be kind to us. Your temple was ruined. But you gave us new life so we can build your temple again and fix it like new. God, you helped us build a wall to protect Judah and Jerusalem.” = عزرا الفصل 9


9  لأَنَّنَا عَبِيدٌ نَحْنُ وَفِي عُبُودِيَّتِنَا لَمْ يَتْرُكْنَا إِلَهُنَا بَلْ بَسَطَ عَلَيْنَا رَحْمَةً أَمَامَ مُلُوكِ فَارِسَ لِيُعْطِيَنَا حَيَاةً لِنَرْفَعَ بَيْتَ إِلَهِنَا وَنُقِيمَ خَرَائِبَهُ وَلْيُعْطِيَنَا حَائِطاً فِي يَهُوذَا وَفِي أُورُشَلِيمَ.


Through the years beginning with King Cyrus of Persia who conquered Babylon, successive kings were kind to the Jews ~ Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes.  Several times during their reigns, Jews were allowed to return to their homeland.


NEHEMIAH 1:1 ~ These are the words of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the son of Hacaliah: I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa in  the month of Kislev. This was in the 20th year {that Artaxerxes was king}. = نحميا الفصل 1

1  كَلاَمُ نَحَمْيَا بْنِ حَكَلْيَا: حَدَثَ فِي شَهْرِ كَسْلُو فِي السَّنَةِ الْعِشْرِينَ بَيْنَمَا كُنْتُ فِي شُوشَنَ الْقَصْرِ

Darius the Great built his winter palace in Susa.  He explained, “This palace which I built at Susa, from afar its ornamentation was brought. Downward the earth was dug, until I reached rock in the earth. When the excavation had been made, then rubble was packed down, some 40 cubits in depth, another part 20 cubits in depth. On that rubble the palace was constructed.” This inscription is on display at the British Museum in London.

Darius expl how he built Susa palace

Darius’ explanation how he built his Susa Palace

Susa was also known as Shushan, and is near the modern city of Shush.  It was taken from the Assyrians by King Cyrus in 540 BC and made one of his capitals. Susa continued as a winter capital and residence for the Persian kings after Darius the Great ~ Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, etc.

NEHEMIAH 2:10; 19; 4:1-2, 7; 6:1, 7 ~ Sanballat...very upset and angry that someone had come to help the people of Israel.  Sanballat was from Horon ….But Sanballat from Horon…heard that we were building again. They made fun of us in a very ugly way. They said, “What are you doing? Are you turning against the king?”…Sanballat … became very angry and upset. He started making fun of the Jews. Sanballat talked with his friends and the army at Samaria….But Sanballat…very angry…. heard that the people continued…fixing the holes in the wall….Then Sanballat...and our other enemies heard
that I had built the wall….But we had not yet put the doors in the gates….“Now I warn you, Nehemiah, 
King Artaxerxes will hear about this,” [said Sanballat]. = نحميا الفصل 2 – نحميا الفصل 4 – نحميا الفصل 6

10  وَلَمَّا سَمِعَ سَنْبَلَّطُ الْحُورُونِيُّ وَطُوبِيَّا الْعَبْدُ الْعَمُّونِيُّ سَاءَهُمَا مَسَاءَةً عَظِيمَةً لأَنَّهُ جَاءَ رَجُلٌ يَطْلُبُ خَيْراً لِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ.

19 وَلَمَّا سَمِعَ سَنْبَلَّطُ الْحُورُونِيُّ وَطُوبِيَّا الْعَبْدُ الْعَمُّونِيُّ وَجَشَمٌ الْعَرَبِيُّ هَزَأُوا بِنَا وَاحْتَقَرُونَا وَقَالُوا: [مَا هَذَا الأَمْرُ الَّذِي أَنْتُمْ عَامِلُونَ؟ أَعَلَى الْمَلِكِ تَتَمَرَّدُونَ؟].

1  وَلَمَّا سَمِعَ سَنْبَلَّطُ أَنَّنَا آخِذُونَ فِي بِنَاءِ السُّورِ غَضِبَ وَاغْتَاظَ كَثِيراً وَهَزَأَ بِالْيَهُودِ
2  وَقَالَ أَمَامَ إِخْوَتِهِ وَجَيْشِ السَّامِرَةِ: [مَاذَا يَعْمَلُ الْيَهُودُ الضُّعَفَاءُ؟ هَلْ يَتْرُكُونَهُمْ؟ هَلْ يَذْبَحُونَ؟ هَلْ يُكْمِلُونَ فِي يَوْمٍ؟ هَلْ يُحْيُونَ الْحِجَارَةَ مِنْ كُوَمِ التُّرَابِ وَهِيَ مُحْرَقَةٌ؟]

7  وَلَمَّا سَمِعَ سَنْبَلَّطُ وَطُوبِيَّا وَالْعَرَبُ وَالْعَمُّونِيُّونَ وَالأَشْدُودِيُّونَ أَنَّ أَسْوَارَ أُورُشَلِيمَ قَدْ رُمِّمَتْ وَالثُّغَرَ ابْتَدَأَتْ تُسَدُّ غَضِبُوا جِدّاً.

1  وَلَمَّا سَمِعَ سَنْبَلَّطُ وَطُوبِيَّا وَجَشَمٌ الْعَرَبِيُّ وَبَقِيَّةُ أَعْدَائِنَا أَنِّي قَدْ بَنَيْتُ السُّورَ وَلَمْ تَبْقَ فِيهِ ثُغْرَةٌ (عَلَى أَنِّي لَمْ أَكُنْ إِلَى ذَلِكَ الْوَقْتِ قَدْ أَقَمْتُ مَصَارِيعَ لِلأَبْوَابِ)

7  وَقَدْ أَقَمْتَ أَيْضاً أَنْبِيَاءَ لِيُنَادُوا بِكَ فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ قَائِلِينَ: فِي يَهُوذَا مَلِكٌ. وَالآنَ يُخْبَرُ الْمَلِكُ بِهَذَا الْكَلاَمِ. فَهَلُمَّ الآنَ نَتَشَاوَرُ مَعاً].


Sanballat mentioned in this letter

Elephantine papyrus referring to SANBALLAT and sons on display in Berlin museum.

An Elephantine Papyrus dated to about 407 BC, mentiond Sanballat. The letter was found in the ancient city of Elephantine and was written by the priests who lived there requesting authorization to rebuild a Jewish temple in the city.  

On the reverse side at the very end it mentions another letter that had been sent to the sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria: “We have also set forth the whole matter in a letter in our name to Delaiah and Shelemiah, the sons of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria. Furthermore, Arsames (the Persian satrap) knew nothing of all that was perpetrated on us. On the twentieth of Marheshwan, the seventeenth year of Darius the King.”

NEHEMIAH 2:13-14 ~ While it was dark I went out through the Valley Gate. I rode toward the Dragon Well and the Gate of the Ash Piles….Then I rode on toward the Fountain Gate  and the King’s Pool. –  نحميا الفصل 2

13  وَخَرَجْتُ مِنْ بَابِ الْوَادِي لَيْلاً أَمَامَ عَيْنِ التِّنِّينِ إِلَى بَابِ الدِّمْنِ وَصِرْتُ أَتَفَرَّسُ فِي أَسْوَارِ أُورُشَلِيمَ الْمُنْهَدِمَةِ وَأَبْوَابِهَا الَّتِي أَكَلَتْهَا النَّارُ.
14  وَعَبَرْتُ إِلَى بَابِ الْعَيْنِ وَإِلَى بِرْكَةِ الْمَلِكِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ مَكَانٌ لِعُبُورِ الْبَهِيمَةِ الَّتِي تَحْتِي.


Jerusalem's Dung Gate 1940

Dung Gate in 1940.

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Restoration of Pool of Siloam whose water poured into the  KING’S POOL.

At the bottom of Ophel is the back part of Gihon Spring.  Then a subterraneous passage begins, through which the water flows. It is 1708 feet long, 16 feet high at the entrance, but only 16 inches at its narrowest.  It enters a small rock-cut chamber which forms the opening of Siloam Pool, about five or six feet broad. To this you descend by a few steps, under which the water pours itself into the main pool of Siloam. This pool is oblong, about 52 feet long, 18 feet broad and 19 feet deep; but it is never filled, the water either passing directly through or being maintained at a depth of three or four feet. This pool poured its waters into a second pool to water the royal gardens, and this second was 

the Kings’ Pool.

NEHEMIAH 3:1-3, 8, 10, 13, 15a, 26-29, 31   ~ The name of the high priest was Eliashib. Eliashib and his brothers the priests went to work and built the Sheep Gate.…The sons of a man named Hassenaah built the Fish Gate.…Those men built and fixed Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall….Shallun also fixed the wall of the Pool of Siloam that is next to the King’s Garden….The temple servants lived on Ophel Hill. They fixed the next section all the way to the east side of the Water Gate and the tower near it.  The men from Tekoa fixed the rest of that section from the big tower all the way to the Ophel wall….Shemaiah was the guard of the East Gate….That is across from the Inspection Gate. = نحميا الفصل 3

1  وَقَامَ أَلْيَاشِيبُ الْكَاهِنُ الْعَظِيمُ وَإِخْوَتُهُ الْكَهَنَةُ وَبَنُوا بَابَ الضَّأْنِ. هُمْ قَدَّسُوهُ وَأَقَامُوا مَصَارِيعَهُ وَقَدَّسُوهُ إِلَى بُرْجِ الْمِئَةِ إِلَى بُرْجِ حَنَنْئِيلَ.
2  وَبِجَانِبِهِ بَنَى رِجَالُ أَرِيحَا وَبِجَانِبِهِمْ بَنَى زَكُّورُ بْنُ إِمْرِي.
3  وَبَابُ السَّمَكِ بَنَاهُ بَنُو هَسْنَاءَةَ. هُمْ سَقَفُوهُ وَأَوْقَفُوا مَصَارِيعَهُ وَأَقْفَالَهُ وَعَوَارِضَهُ.

10  وَبِجَانِبِهِمْ رَمَّمَ يَدَايَا بْنُ حَرُومَافَ وَمُقَابَِلَ بَيْتِهِ. وَبِجَانِبِهِ رَمَّمَ حَطُّوشُ بْنُ حَشَبْنِيَا.

13  بَابُ الْوَادِي رَمَّمَهُ حَانُونُ وَسُكَّانُ زَانُوحَ هُمْ بَنَوْهُ وَأَقَامُوا مَصَارِيعَهُ وَأَقْفَالَهُ وَعَوَارِضَهُ وَأَلْفَ ذِرَاعٍ عَلَى السُّورِ إِلَى بَابِ الدِّمْنِ.

15  وَبَابُ الْعَيْنِ رَمَّمَهُ شَلُّونُ بْنُ كَلْحُوزَةَ رَئِيسُ دَائِرَةِ الْمِصْفَاةِ. هُوَ بَنَاهُ وَسَقَفَهُ وَأَقَامَ مَصَارِيعَهُ وَأَقْفَالَهُ وَعَوَارِضَهُ وَسُورَ بِرْكَةِ سِلُوَامٍ عِنْدَ جُنَيْنَةِ الْمَلِكِ إِلَى الدَّرَجِ النَّازِلِ مِنْ مَدِينَةِ دَاوُدَ.

26 وَكَانَ النَّثِينِيمُ سَاكِنِينَ فِي الأَكَمَةِ إِلَى مُقَابِلِ بَابِ الْمَاءِ لِجِهَةِ الشَّرْقِ وَالْبُرْجِ الْخَارِجِيِّ.
27 وَبَعْدَهُمْ رَمَّمَ التَّقُوعِيُّونَ قِسْماً ثَانِياً مِنْ مُقَابِلِ الْبُرْجِ الْكَبِيرِ الْخَارِجِيِّ إِلَى سُورِ الأَكَمَةِ.
28 وَمَا فَوْقَ بَابِ الْخَيْلِ رَمَّمَهُ الْكَهَنَةُ كُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مُقَابِلَ بَيْتِهِ.
29 وَبَعْدَهُمْ رَمَّمَ صَادُوقُ بْنُ إِمِّيرَ مُقَابِلَ بَيْتِهِ. وَبَعْدَهُ رَمَّمَ شَمَعْيَا بْنُ شَكَنْيَا حَارِسُ بَابِ الشَّرْقِ.

31 وَبَعْدَهُ رَمَّمَ مَلْكِيَّا ابْنُ الصَّائِغِ إِلَى بَيْتِ النَّثِينِيمِ وَالتُّجَّارِ مُقَابِلَ بَابِ الْعَدِّ إِلَى مَصْعَدِ الْعَطْفَةِ.

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Pool of Bethesda by the Sheep Gate


SHEEP GATE:  The Pool of Bethsada was next to the Sheep Gate.  This pool has been excavated.


Jerusalem's Sheep Gate now called the Lion's Gate

The Sheep Gate is now called the Lion’s Gate

FISH GATE: Is still there and is now called the Jaffa Gate.

Jerusalem's Fish Gate (Now Jaffa Gate)

Fish Gate, now called the Jaffa Gate

BROAD WALL:  Also known as the wall Hezekiah built.  See Chronicles for a picture & explanation.

WALL OF POOL OF SILOAM:  (See Nehemiah 2 above)

Related image

Water Gate Excavation

WATER GATE & TOWER:  Hezekiah’s broad wall is at the center right of the picture and the Warren Shaft down to Gihon Springs (Dragon Well) is at top left.  The water tower rises up at upper right.

OPHEL WALL Ophel means raised area such as a tower or fortress.  The City of David was sometimes called the Ophel.  Sometimes the place where he built his house is called the Ophel. Excavations are ongoing.  

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OPHEL wall

EAST GATE:  This is also known as the Golden Gate  Although blocked up, it still exists today.
Jerusalem's Valley Gate
Today’s East Gate facing Kidron Valley. 

NEHEMIAH 3:15b, 25-26; 12:37 ~ He fixed the wall all the way to the steps that go down from the City of David.  The temple servants lived on Ophel Hill. They fixed the next section all the way to the east side of the Water Gate and the tower near it….They went to the Fountain Gate. They walked up the stairs all the way to the City of David. = نحميا الفصل 3 – نحميا الفصل 12

15  وَبَابُ الْعَيْنِ رَمَّمَهُ شَلُّونُ بْنُ كَلْحُوزَةَ رَئِيسُ دَائِرَةِ الْمِصْفَاةِ. هُوَ بَنَاهُ وَسَقَفَهُ وَأَقَامَ مَصَارِيعَهُ وَأَقْفَالَهُ

25 وَفَالاَلُ بْنُ أُوزَايَ مِنْ مُقَابَِلِ الزَّاوِيَةِ وَالْبُرْجِ الَّذِي هُوَ خَارِجَ بَيْتِ الْمَلِكِ الأَعْلَى الَّذِي لِدَارِ السِّجْنِ. وَبَعْدَهُ فَدَايَا بْنُ فَرْعُوشَ.
26 وَكَانَ النَّثِينِيمُ سَاكِنِينَ فِي الأَكَمَةِ إِلَى مُقَابِلِ بَابِ الْمَاءِ لِجِهَةِ الشَّرْقِ وَالْبُرْجِ الْخَارِجِيِّ.

37 وَعِنْدَ بَابِ الْعَيْنِ الَّذِي مُقَابَِلَهُمْ صَعِدُوا عَلَى دَرَجِ مَدِينَةِ دَاوُدَ عِنْدَ مَصْعَدِ السُّورِ فَوْقَ بَيْتِ دَاوُدَ إِلَى بَابِ الْمَاءِ شَرْقاً.

The large stairway just to the south of the Double Gate was excavated in 1967.  This stairway of 30 steps is 215 feet wide, paved with smoothly trimmed stones, and its foundation steps are cut into the bedrock.  They go from a wide plaza below on the south…and up 22-1/2 feet to the upper street [the rampart/platform] in front of the Double Gate”

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CITY OF DAVID on right, the Jerusalem before expansion.  It was on a high hill.

NEHEMIAH 12:31 -42 ~ I told the leaders of Judah to go up and stand on top of the wall. I also chose two large singing groups to give thanks to God. One group was to start going up on top of the wall on the right side, toward the Ash Pile Gate. Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah followed those singers...And some of the priests with trumpets also followed them up to the wall. Also Zechariah followed them….Ezra the teacher led the group of people that were there to dedicate the wall….They walked up the stairs all the way to the City of David. They were on top of the city wall.They walked over the house of David and went toward the Water Gate.  The second group of singers started out in the other direction, to the left. I followed them as they went up to the top of the
wall. = نحميا الفصل 12

31 وَأَصْعَدْتُ رُؤَسَاءَ يَهُوذَا عَلَى السُّورِ وَأَقَمْتُ فِرْقَتَيْنِ عَظِيمَتَيْنِ مِنَ الْحَمَّادِينَ وَسَارَتِ الْوَاحِدَةُ يَمِيناً عَلَى السُّورِ نَحْوَ بَابِ الدِّمْنِ
32 وَسَارَ وَرَاءَهُمْ هُوشَعْيَا وَنِصْفُ رُؤَسَاءِ يَهُوذَا
33 وَعَزَرْيَا وَعَزْرَا وَمَشُلاَّمُ
34 وَيَهُوذَا وَبِنْيَامِينُ وَشَمَعْيَا وَيِرْمِيَا
35 وَمِنْ بَنِي الْكَهَنَةِ بِالأَبْوَاقِ زَكَرِيَّا بْنُ يُونَاثَانَ بْنِ شَمَعْيَا بْنِ مَتَّنْيَا بْنِ مِيخَايَا بْنِ زَكُّورَ بْنِ آسَافَ
36 وَإِخْوَتُهُ شَمَعْيَا وَعَزَرْئِيلُ وَمِلَلاَيُ وَجِلَلاَيُ وَمَاعَايُ وَنَثَنْئِيلُ وَيَهُوذَا وَحَنَانِي بِآلاَتِ غِنَاءِ دَاوُدَ رَجُلِ اللَّهِ وَعَزْرَا الْكَاتِبُ أَمَامَهُمْ.
37 وَعِنْدَ بَابِ الْعَيْنِ الَّذِي مُقَابَِلَهُمْ صَعِدُوا عَلَى دَرَجِ مَدِينَةِ دَاوُدَ عِنْدَ مَصْعَدِ السُّورِ فَوْقَ بَيْتِ دَاوُدَ إِلَى بَابِ الْمَاءِ شَرْقاً.
38 وَسَارَتِ الْفِرْقَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ مِنَ الْحَمَّادِينَ مُقَابَِلَهُمْ وَأَنَا وَرَاءَهَا وَنِصْفُ الشَّعْبِ عَلَى السُّورِ مِنْ عِنْدِ بُرْجِ التَّنَانِيرِ إِلَى السُّورِ الْعَرِيضِ
39 وَمِنْ فَوْقِ بَابِ أَفْرَايِمَ وَفَوْقَ الْبَابِ الْعَتِيقِ وَفَوْقَ بَابِ السَّمَكِ وَبُرْجِ حَنَنْئِيلَ وَبُرْجِ الْمِئَةِ إِلَى بَابِ الضَّأْنِ وَوَقَفُوا فِي بَابِ السِّجْنِ.
40 فَوَقَفَ الْفِرْقَتَانِ مِنَ الْحَمَّادِينَ فِي بَيْتِ اللَّهِ وَأَنَا وَنِصْفُ الْوُلاَةِ مَعِي
41 وَالْكَهَنَةُ أَلِيَاقِيمُ وَمَعْسِيَّا وَمِنْيَامِينُ وَمِيخَايَا وَأَلْيُوعِينَايُ وَزَكَرِيَّا وَحَنَنْيَا بِالأَبْوَاقِ
42 وَمَعْسِيَّا وَشَمَعْيَا وَأَلْعَازَارُ وَعُزِّي وَيَهُوحَانَانُ وَمَلْكِيَّا وَعِيلاَمُ وعَازَرُ وَغَنَّى الْمُغَنُّونَ وَيِزْرَحْيَا الْوَكِيلُ.


Nehemiah's Wall

A part of Nehemiah’s original wall.

Parts of Nehemiah’s wall still exist.  What is pictured is the top.  Keep in mind that buildings were built on top of the remains of other buildings so that the city has built up at least twenty feet since the wall was built.

Through the centuries, Jerusalem’s walls have been “modernized” ~ much during the Middle Ages by the Crusaders, and much since the UN gave Jerusalem its independence in 1948.


ESTHER 1:1 ~ 1This is what happened during the time that Xerxes was king. Xerxes ruled over the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. King Xerxes ruled from his throne in the capital city of Susa. – أستير الفصل 1
1  وَحَدَثَ فِي أَيَّامِ أَحْشَوِيرُوشَ. (هُوَ أَحْشَوِيرُوشُ الَّذِي مَلَكَ مِنَ الْهِنْدِ إِلَى كُوشٍ عَلَى مِئَةٍ وَسَبْعٍ وَعِشْرِينَ كُورَةً)

Xerxes' Empire

Extent of the Persian Empire in Xerxes’ time.

The Persian empire is said to have spanned five million square miles.  Shushan/Susa  was 200 miles east of Babylon.  It was the winter residence of Persian kings.  Its site was identified by Aracheologist Loftus who found an inscription of Artaxerxes II (405-358 BC):  “My ancestor Darius built this palace in former times.  In the reign of my grandfather [Artaxerxes I) it was burned. I have restored it.”  Darius was Xerxes’ father.

ESTHER 1:3 ~ In the third year of Xerxes’ rule, he gave a party for his officers and leaders. The army leaders and important leaders from all of Persia and Media were there. = أستير الفصل 1

3  فِي السَّنَةِ الثَّالِثَةِ مِنْ مُلْكِهِ عَمِلَ وَلِيمَةً لِجَمِيعِ رُؤَسَائِهِ وَعَبِيدِهِ جَيْشِ فَارِسَ وَمَادِي وَأَمَامَهُ شُرَفَاءُ الْبُلْدَانِ وَرُؤَسَاؤُهَا

Xerxes was crowned King of the Persian Empire in 486 BC.  Three years later, he began preparing for his famous military expedition to Greece.  He needed his officers for the planning, organizing and mustering of troops.

Susa Palace Interior

From descriptions and artifacts, it is speculated the interior of the Susa Palace looked like this.

ESTHER 1:4, 6 ~ The party continued for 180 days [six months]. All during that time, King Xerxes was showing the great wealth of is kingdom. And he was showing everyone the majestic beauty and wealth of his palace….That inside garden had white and blue linen hangings around the room. Those hangings were held in place with cords of white linen and purple material on silver rings and marble pillars. There were couches made of gold and silver. Those couches were setting on mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other expensive stones. =  أستير الفصل 1

4  حِينَ أَظْهَرَ غِنَى مَجْدِ مُلْكِهِ وَوَقَارَ جَلاَلِ عَظَمَتِهِ أَيَّاماً كَثِيرَةً مِئَةً وَثَمَانِينَ يَوْماً.

6  بِأَنْسِجَةٍ بَيْضَاءَ وَخَضْرَاءَ وَأَسْمَانْجُونِيَّةٍ مُعَلَّقَةٍ بِحِبَالٍ مِنْ بَزٍّ وَأُرْجُوانٍ فِي حَلَقَاتٍ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ وَأَعْمِدَةٍ مِنْ رُخَامٍ وَأَسِرَّةٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَفِضَّةٍ عَلَى مُجَزَّعٍ مِنْ بَهْتٍ وَمَرْمَرٍ وَدُرٍّ وَرُخَامٍ أَسْوَدَ.

Susa Palace Column


Above is a column from the Susa Palace and below a wall frieze made from precious stones.

Susa Panels


ESTHER 1:7 ~ Wine was served in golden cups. And every cup was different! And there was plenty of the king’s wine, because the king was very generous.  The king had given a command to his servants. He told them that each guest must be given as much wine as he wanted. And the wine server obeyed the king. =أستير الفصل 1

7  وَكَانَ السِّقَاءُ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَالآنِيَةُ مُخْتَلِفَةُ الأَشْكَالِ وَالْخَمْرُ الْمَلِكِيُّ بِكَثْرَةٍ حَسَبَ كَرَمِ الْمَلِكِ.

Glazed archers panel from Susa

Gold cup Owner John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 5.5-inch (14-centimetre) high cup to play with when he was a child, back in 1945.  A few years ago he realized its true value and offered it for auction.  It was evaluated to have been from ancient Persia.

Persian Gold Cup

ESTHER 2:17-18 ~ The king loved Esther more than any of the other girls. And she became his favorite. He approved of her more than any of the other girls. So King Xerxes put a crown on Esther’s head and made her the new queen in Vashti’s place. And the king gave a big party for Esther. It was for all his important people and leaders. He announced a holiday in all the provinces. And he sent out gifts to people, because he was a generous king. = أستير الفصل 2

17 فَأَحَبَّ الْمَلِكُ أَسْتِيرَ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ جَمِيعِ النِّسَاءِ وَوَجَدَتْ نِعْمَةً وَإِحْسَاناً قُدَّامَهُ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ جَمِيعِ الْعَذَارَى فَوَضَعَ تَاجَ الْمُلْكِ عَلَى رَأْسِهَا وَمَلَّكَهَا مَكَانَ وَشْتِي.
18 وَعَمِلَ الْمَلِكُ وَلِيمَةً عَظِيمَةً لِجَمِيعِ رُؤَسَائِهِ وَعَبِيدِهِ وَلِيمَةَ أَسْتِيرَ. وَعَمِلَ رَاحَةً لِلْبِلاَدِ وَأَعْطَى عَطَايَا حَسَبَ كَرَمِ الْمَلِكِ.


ESTHER 2:21; 3:2 ~ During the time Mordecai was sitting next to the king’s gate….All of the king’s leaders at the king’s gate would bow down and give honor to Haman. = أستير الفصل  – أستير الفصل 3
21 فِي تِلْكَ الأَيَّامِ بَيْنَمَا كَانَ مُرْدَخَايُ جَالِساً فِي بَابِ الْمَلِكِ غَضِبَ بِغْثَانُ وَتَرَشُ خَصِيَّا الْمَلِكِ حَارِسَا الْبَابِ وَطَلَبَا أَنْ يَمُدَّا أَيْدِيَهُمَا إِلَى الْمَلِكِ أَحْشَوِيرُوشَ.
2  فَكَانَ كُلُّ عَبِيدِ الْمَلِكِ الَّذِينَ بِبَابِ الْمَلِكِ يَجْثُونَ وَيَسْجُدُونَ لِهَامَانَ لأَنَّهُ هَكَذَا أَوْصَى بِهِ الْمَلِكُ. وَأَمَّا مُرْدَخَايُ فَلَمْ يَجْثُ وَلَمْ يَسْجُدْ.

Much of the palace at Susa was destroyed by Alexander the Great.  All that is left today is the base of a gate, but not the main gate. 


A Susa Gate


ESTHER 3:7 ~ In the twelfth year of King Xerxes’ rule, in the first month, the month of Nisan, Haman threw lots to choose a special day and  Adar was chosen. (At that time, the lot was called “pur.”) = أستير الفصل 3

7  فِي الشَّهْرِ الأَوَّلِ (أَيْ شَهْرِ نِيسَانَ) فِي السَّنَةِ الثَّانِيَةِ عَشَرَةَ لِلْمَلِكِ أَحْشَوِيرُوشَ كَانُوا يُلْقُونَ فُوراً (أَيْ قُرْعَةً) أَمَامَ هَامَانَ مِنْ يَوْمٍ إِلَى يَوْمٍ وَمِنْ شَهْرٍ إِلَى شَهْرٍ إِلَى الثَّانِي عَشَرَ (أَيْ شَهْرِ أَذَارَ).

Pur is Persian for “Casting a lot”; Purim is the plural.  Pictured is a reproduction of a Pur belonging to Iahali who was a high official of Shalmanesser III who ruled from 858-823BC.


A Persian Pur

Purim came in many forms in the ancient world ~ pebbles placed in a bag, wooden pieces with names that were placed in a jar, or dice. They were used by many civilizations to invoke an answer from the gods, not as chance but as direction.

Persian Scepter

Darius’ Scepter

ESTHER 5:1-2 ~ On the third day, Esther put on her special robes. Then she stood in the inside area of the king’s palace. That area was in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his throne in the hall. He was sitting facing the place where people enter the throne room. Then the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court. When he saw her, he was very pleased. He held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther went in to the room and went near the king. Then she touched the end of the king’s gold scepter. = أستير الفصل 5

1  وَفِي الْيَوْمِ الثَّالِثِ لَبِسَتْ أَسْتِيرُ ثِيَاباً مَلَكِيَّةً وَوَقَفَتْ فِي دَارِ بَيْتِ الْمَلِكِ الدَّاخِلِيَّةِ مُقَابَِلَ بَيْتِ الْمَلِكِ وَالْمَلِكُ جَالِسٌ عَلَى كُرْسِيِّ مُلْكِهِ فِي بَيْتِ الْمُلْكِ مُقَابَِلَ مَدْخَلِ الْبَيْتِ.
2  فَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمَلِكُ أَسْتِيرَ الْمَلِكَةَ وَاقِفَةً فِي الدَّارِ نَالَتْ نِعْمَةً فِي عَيْنَيْهِ فَمَدَّ الْمَلِكُ لأَسْتِيرَ قَضِيبَ الذَّهَبِ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ فَدَنَتْ أَسْتِيرُ وَلَمَسَتْ رَأْسَ الْقَضِيبِ.


Susa throne room

Archaeologists say this is the floor (minute marble tiles) of the throne room.

This event occurred after the twelth year of Xerxes.  History lists a difference wife of Xerxes as being the mother of the next king ~ Artaxerxes.  He had three children by unknown wives; one of those wives was Esther.  Xerxes was murdered nine years after this event.

NOTE:  Xerxes also had an illustrious palace in Persepolis.  

Image result for persepolis palace

Magnificent ruins of Persopolis

It was under Xerxes’ father, Darius, that the Jews were freed from captivity and allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple  It was under Xerxes’ son, Artaxerxes, that more Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem with financing to rebuild the city and the walls.  These events are covered in Ezra and Nehemiah above.  All is historically accurate.