Explain how Daniel says Darius asked people to pray to him when we know from other sources that the rulers of Persian and Media were Zoroastrians and would never have allowed themselves to be worshipped
1) The Medes became Zoroastrian before the Persians
2)Daniel 6;9 has King Darius signing a decree that no
prayer should be directed to anyone except the king. This would be
unthinkable for a Zoroastrian and therefore the account cannot be
3) The word for king is totally separate from the word for
governor (see Strong’s concordance), therefore when Daniel says king it
means king and king only. It is ergo impossible for Darius to be other
than a ruler of the whole of the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians.
4) Given the above, you are presented with the
difficulty of reconciling the rulers known from extra-Biblical sources
with the account in Daniel.
5) The accounts in Kings and Chronicles seem to be
reasonably accurate although not entirely so. A good site detailing
contemporary Egyptian and Babylonian sources as well as Biblical, is
I looked at the site you mentioned. It is absolutely consistent with
Daniel chapter one. It is possible that the submission and sending of
tribute happened in 604 BC, not 605 BC, according to this author, but it
is perfectly reasonable to imagine the submission being offered willingly
one year earlier. No mistake there.
On the other thing, you are arguing based on lack of evidence, not based
on evidence. This is certainly not a strong argument. We know that the
empire of Persia/Media was a dual one, and it is absolutely reasonable to
think that the formal co-ruler could have been called king. In fact, it
would have been extremely surprising if the Median prince would have
settled for anything less than that title in his own territory. Do you
offer some sort of positive evidence that the Median rulers in the
alliance stopped using the title king? King Herod certainly used the
title long after he was in fact king. I could list hundreds of examples
if I had the time and the inclination, of rulers who were no longer in
fact king being allowed to continue using the title king after losing
control of their kingdom. The fact is that the wording in Daniel is
absolutely consistent with the reality, which is that this Darius was
ruler, not of the entire empire, but of the provinceof Babylon. We have
evidence in the Nabonidus Chronicles that a fellow Gubaru ruled “Chaldea”
under Cyrus, consistent with Daniel. Your argument, if you have one, is
that you do not have direct evidence that this person was called king.
Appealing to a dictionary does not settle this question.
Daniel has shown itself to be consistent with the biblical accounts which
you yourself acknowledge to be relatively accurate. Daniel includes very
precise historical details that a writer in 150 BC is extremely unlikely
to be privy to, such as the fact that Belshazzar was king, yet was 2nd in
the kingdom, the fact that Nebuchadnezzar?s chief accomplishments were
building projects in Babylon(archaeologists have found that 90% of the
labeled bricks in Babylonbear the mark of Nebuchadnezzar). Daniel is
consistent with the external evidence for some sort of prolonged great
illness of Nebuchadnezzar during his reign, and so forth. Therefore, when
it also mentions captives being in Babylon in 605 (or perhaps 604 BC),
consistent with what we know from outside Daniel, but not specifically
mentioned elsewhere, a good historian will give the benefit of the doubt
to the otherwise accurate account.
I do not consider it proven by you at all that Darius the Mede was not a
prideful ruler whose personal arrogance and foolishness allowed him to
accept a sort of limited “worship” by his conquered people, the
Babylonians. We have a provably accurate account of events and your
simply stating that this certainly would not happen is not convincing to
me at all. Again, I could scan ancient history and find parallels.
Alexander allowed himself to be considered a God. He was motivated at
least in part by his example from the Persians he conquered. The
precedent of taking on god-like status was acquired by the Greeks from
their eastern counterparts, not vice versa. Again, you cannot prove from
lack of evidence that an event recorded in an otherwise accurate record is
in fact false. You could similarly argue (if we had not known that
Alexander accepted god-like adulation) that a Greek king would never
accept such title because none before him did, and you would certainly
have been wrong.
Now, let us look at the text. You claim that Darius took on the status of
a god. That is certainly not true, at least if we can trust Daniel. Let
me quote. “the king should issue an edict and enforce this decree that
anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to
you, O king, shall be thrown into the lion?s den?.” The context clearly
has Darius being prayed to “as a man.” Now, you are going to say that
anyone who is being prayed to is obviously claiming to be a god, but that
is circular reasoning. Darius was being prayed to (whatever exactly that
means in a Median/Persian context) as a man. Is this pushing it a bit for
a Zoroastrian? I am not sure, but to say that Daniel absolutely
contradicts what we know about the Persians and Medes is simply not true.
Thanks for helping me to solidify my confidence in Daniel.