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  • Writer's pictureGene Benjamin II

Persian History Discrepancy



Martin Anstey, a great scholar and Scripture chronologist, was the first man, as far as I know, to discover a discrepancy between late ancient Persian history and the Scriptures. He details his discovery in his magnificent work known as the Romance of Bible Chronology, published in 1913 CE, and available here:

Unfortunately, Mr. Anstey placed the initial year of Daniel’s 70 weeks, the first 69 weeks that would lead up to Messiah the Prince, from Daniel 9:25, in the year 457 BCE, calling that year the 1st year of Cyrus, king of Persia. Unfortunately, Cyrus’ decree did not fulfill all the requirements of Daniel 9:25, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (69 prophetic weeks of years); the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.” History and chronology researcher, Eugene Faulstich, made a strong argument in his books, History, Harmony, and Daniel, and in History, Harmony, the Exile and Return, for Cyrus’ first year in 551 BCE, way too early to fulfill Daniel 9:25. King Cyrus’ decree in 551 BCE did allow some Jews (including Nehemiah and Mordecai, as you’ll see later) to return about 550 BCE to Judah and Jerusalem and build an altar and begin sacrifices again to worship Yahweh.

Mr. Faulstich, coming scientifically, and astronomically, from creation forward shows that the Artaxerxes of Nehemiah 2, which declares the decree that fulfills Daniel 9:25, was Darius I Hystaspes of Persia, whose 20th year was in 502 BCE. That year was 96 years after Nehemiah was taken captive with Ezekiel, King Jehoiachin, Mordecai and Esther, in the spring of 598 BCE. 502 BCE fits Nehemiah’s age and life experiences. Nehemiah would have been at least 143 years old in 457 BCE. It is highly unlikely that Nehemiah would still have been working for the King of Persia at that age, in 457 BCE!!

Dr. Gavin Finley, in his good chronology work on the website, makes a strong astronomical argument that “proves” that Yeshua made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Nisan 10, 32 CE. That Nisan 10 was a very late in the year Nisan, thus providing enough day-space in time to tie to the 20th year of an Artaxerxes in Nisan 1, 445 BCE. Mr. Finley believes the Artaxerxes of Nehemiah 2 was Artaxerxes I Longimanus, whose 20th year was supposedly in 445 BCE. Prophetically, the 69 weeks of Daniel equal exactly 69 X 7 = 483 prophetic years of exactly 360 days each, or 173,880 days. 173,880 / 365.2422 days = 476 solar years + about 25 days. An early Nisan 1, in 445 BCE, to the late Nisan 10, in 32 CE, is the ONLY year combination that fits the Daniel 9:25 criterion. Dr. Finley makes a rather long-winded, but good, argument for his case. Unfortunately, Nehemiah would have been at least 155 years old in 445 BCE! It is highly doubtful that he was still working for the King of Persia at that age!! And then to think that Nehemiah would make the long journey to Jerusalem at over 155 years of age to be governor of Judah, perform a great construction project for 12 years, then return to Persia at over the age of 166, then return to Judah again at over 167 or 168 years of age, to take a 2nd term as Judah’s governor, is just too much to believe for one old man.

Nehemiah 7:6-7 shows that both Nehemiah and Mordecai returned from Babylon/Persia to Judea in about 550 BCE with Zerubbabel, as a result of King Cyrus’ decree in 551 BCE, “These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city. 7Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai,” 550 BCE was the 49th year of Nehemiah’s captivity, a reasonal age for a man to journey back to Judea, then return again later to Babylon/Persia, because of the Magi revolt, to become the king’s cupbearer in 522 BCE, in his 77th year of captivity, at the accession of Darius I Hystaspes to the throne of Persia. Do you see it? Nehemiah’s 1st year as cupbearer was in 522 BCE, as an aged man, thus his 20th year as cupbearer was in 503 BCE, per Nehemiah 1:1-3, “The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev (9th month in Hebrew year), in the twentieth year (as cupbearer to the king of Persia), as I was in Shushan the citadel, 2that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. 3And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”” Nehemiah was in distress (Neh. 2:2) from the month of Chislev, in the winter of 503 BCE, until he approached King Artaxerxes on Nisan 1, 502 BCE, the king’s 20th year, Nehemiah 2:1, “And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before.” 502 BCE was the 97th year of Nehemiah’s captivity. He was now an old man, but apparently still able-bodied enough to be the king’s cupbearer and go to Jerusalem to become Judea’s governor. Now think about this, AFTER 12 years as governor of Judea, and having completed an 11 year 52 day building project in Jerusalem, Nehemiah returned to the king of Persia, in his 109th year of captivity, 490 BCE!! Nehemiah 5:14, “Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions.” and Nehemiah 13:6, “But during all this I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Then after certain days I obtained leave from the king,”

What the research of all these fine sacred chronology researchers shows us, is that there is a serious discrepancy between Holy Scripture and ancient Persian history. I firmly believe in the inerrancy of Holy Scripture. If there is a discrepancy in human history, we take the Scriptures at face value as historical fact and adjust secular human history to conform to the Scriptures. What I’m saying is that the events of 502 BCE, the Decree of the Persian King Darius I Hystaspes, Artaxerxes, to restore and build Jerusalem, including the streets and the Wall of Nehemiah 2, MUST BE REDATED TO 445 BCE, IN ORDER FOR DANIEL’S 70 WEEKS PROPHECY TO FLOW PROPERLY TO 32 BCE, AND YESHUA’S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY ON NISAN 10 THAT YEAR!!! To leave secular history as is, and push Nehemiah down in time another 57 years, to make him over 155 years old when he became governor of Judea, is simply ludicrous. The problem is with Persian history, not biblical history. For Nehemiah to receive the decree from Artaxerxes in his 97th year of captivity is reasonable, in his 155th year of captivity is not reasonable.

As I stated before, the problem is with Persian history, not biblical history, BUT, if we chop 57 years out of Persian history, who in this modern secular humanist world would believe our work? Which scholar would be willing to remove 57 years from Persian history or from Ptolemy’s canon? Where has myth become legend become historical fact? Daniel’s 70-week prophecy in 9:24-27 is the ONLY reliable historical record that ties ancient Hebrew and Persian history to the Roman history of Jesus’ day. It’s a fairly simple thing for me to eliminate 57 lines, or years, from my 6,000-line Scripture chronology spreadsheet. But who in all of Christendom would believe that the Temple of Solomon was destroyed in 531 BCE, when all of Christendom believes it was destroyed in 587/588 BCE? If I told Dr. Gavin Finley that Artaxerxes I Longimanus never existed in real life, he was just a myth, would he believe me, or just get a good laugh out of my statement? I would be laughed to scorn today, but probably vindicated when Yeshua returns. I may just make such a spreadsheet in the future, just to show Yeshua and ask Him how close I came to actual factual historical truth. I stand with these great Christian men, and many others, and their wonderous work on chronology, Martin Anstey, Eugene Faulstich, Rodger C. Young, and Dr. Gavin Finley. I can’t wait to meet you all in the Kingdom and discuss these matters to satisfaction. Yahweh bless you all.

There are still a few mysteries in this world to be solved, Persian history is certainly one of them.

Gene Benjamin II

March 24, 2012 CE

Abib 1, 6012

Nisan 1, 5772 Jewish

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