- First Reference: Esther 1:19
- Last Reference: Daniel 6:15
- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: Yes
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: No
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: No
- Included in BDB: Yes
An ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.
that cuts or divides; a nail; a gryphon; a horseman
An empire which extended from India to Ethiopia, comprising one hundred and twenty-seven provinces
Esther 1:1; Daniel 6:1
Government of, restricted by constitutional limitations
Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:8-12
Municipal governments in, provided with dual governors
Nehemiah 3:9; Nehemiah 3:12; Nehemiah 3:16-18
The princes advisory in matters of administration
Status of women in:
Queen sat on the throne with the king
Vashti divorced for refusing to appear before the king's courtiers
Esther 1:10-22; Esther 2:4
Israel captive in
2 Chronicles 36:20
Men of, in the Tyrian army
Daniel 5:31; Daniel 27:6; Daniel 9:1
Ezra 15:7; Ezra 16:2; Nehemiah 5:14
2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11; Ezra 3:7; Ezra 4:3; Ezra 5:13-14; Ezra 5:17; Ezra 6:3; Isaiah 41:2-3; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1-4; Isaiah 45:13; Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 48:14-15
System of justice
Isaiah 13:17; Isaiah 21:1-10; Jeremiah 49:34-39; Jeremiah 51:11-64; Ezekiel 32:24-25; Ezekiel 38:5; Daniel 2:31-45; Daniel 5:28; Daniel 27:7; Daniel 11:1-4
(pure, splended), Per'sians. Persia proper was a tract of no very large dimensions on the Persian Gulf, which is still known as Fars or Farsistan , a corruption of the ancient appellation. This tract was bounded on the west by Susiana or Elam, on the north by Media on the south by the Persian Gulf and on the east by Carmania. But the name is more commonly applied, both in Scripture and by profane authors to the entire tract which came by degrees to be included within the limits of the Persian empire. This empire extended at one time from India on the east to Egypt and Thrace on the west, and included. besides portions of Europe and Africa, the whole of western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Caspian and the Jaxartes on the north, the Arabian desert the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean on the south. The only passage in Scripture where Persia designates the tract which has been called above "Persia proper" is (Ezekiel 38:5) Elsewhere the empire is intended. The Persians were of the same race as the Medes, both being branches of the great Aryan stock.
- Character of the nation .
The Persians were a people of lively and impressible minds, brave and impetuous in war, witty, passionate, for Orientals truthful, not without some spirit of generosity: and of more intellectual capacity than the generality of Asiatics. In the times anterior to Cyrus they were noted for the simplicity of their habits, which offered a strong contrast to the luxuriousness of the Medes; but from the late of the Median overthrow this simplicity began to decline. Polygamy was commonly practiced among them. They were fond of the pleasures of the table. In war they fought bravely, but without discipline.
- Religion .
The religion which the Persians brought with there into Persia proper seems to have been of a very simple character, differing from natural religion in little except that it was deeply tainted with Dualism. Like the other Aryans, the Persians worshipped one supreme God. They had few temples, and no altars or images.
- Language .
The Persian language was closely akin to the Sanskrit, or ancient language of India. Modern Persian is its degenerate representative, being largely impregnated with Arabic.
- History .
The history of Persia begins with the revolt from the Medes and the accession of Cyrus the Great, B.C. 558. Cyrus defeated Croesus, and added the Lydian empire to his dominions. This conquest was followed closely by the submission of the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast, and by the reduction of Caria and Lycia The empire was soon afterward extended greatly toward the northeast and east. In B.C. 539 or 538, Babylon was attacked, and after a stout defence fell into the hands of Cyrus. This victory first brought the Persians into contact with the Jews. The conquerors found in Babylon an oppressed race
like themselves, abhorrers of idols, and professors of a religion in which to a great extent they could sympathize. This race Cyrus determined to restore to their own country: which he did by the remarkable edict recorded in the first chapter of Ezra. (Ezra 1:2-4) He was slain in an expedition against the Massaget' or the Derbices, after a reign of twenty-nine years. Under his son and successor, Cambyses, the conquest of Egypt took place, B.C. 525. This prince appears to be the Ahasuerus of (Ezra 4:6) Gomates, Cambyses' successor, reversed the policy of Cyrus with respect to the Jews, and forbade by an edict the further building of the temple. (Ezra 4:17-22) He reigned but seven months, and was succeeded by Darius. Appealed to, in his second year, by the Jews, who wished to resume the construction of their temple, Darius not only granted them this privilege, but assisted the work by grants from his own revenues, whereby the Jews were able to complete the temple as early as his sixth year. (Ezra 6:1-15) Darius was succeeded by Xerxes, probably the Ahasuerus of Esther. Artaxerxes, the son of Xerxes, reigned for forty years after his death and is beyond doubt the king of that name who stood in such a friendly relation toward Ezra, (Ezra 7:11-28) and Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 2:1-9) etc. He is the last of the Persian kings who had any special connection with the Jews, and the last but one mentioned in Scripture. His successors were Xerxes II., Sogdianus Darius Nothus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, Artaxerxes Ochus, and Darius Codomannus, who is probably the "Darius the Persian" of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 12:22) These monarchs reigned from B.C. 424 to B.C. 330. The collapse of the empire under the attack of Alexander the Great took place B.C. 330.