The Cyrus Cylinder

Ancient Near East

angry that henote had brought them to Babylon. Marduk, the exalted, the lord of the gods, turned towards all the habitations that were abandoned and all the people of Sumer and Akkad, who had become corpses. He was reconciled and had mercy upon them. He examined and checked all the entirety of the lands, all of them, he searched everywhere and then he took a righteous king, his favorite, by the hand, he called out his name: Cyrus, king of Anšan; he pronounced his name to be king all over the world. He made the land of Gutium and all the Umman-mandanote bow in submission at his feet. And Cyrus shepherded with justice and righteousness all the black-headed people, over whom henote had given him victory. Marduk, the great lord, guardian of his people, looked with gladness upon his good deeds and upright heart.

Isaiah 45:1

Hebrew Bible

1This is what the Lord says to his chosen one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold in order to subdue nations before him, and disarm kings, to open doors before him so gates remain unclosed: 2 ‘I will go before you and level mountains. Bronze doors I will shatter and iron bars I will hack through. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stashed away in secret places, so you may recognize that I am the Lord, the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel. 4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, Israel, my chosen one, I call you by name and give you a title of respect, even though you do not submit to me.

 Notes and References

"... An examination of the undisputed Cyrus songs in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 41:1-4; 41:25, 26; 44:24-28; 45:1-8, 9-13; 46:8-11; 48:14-16a) reveals that like Udjahorresnet in Egypt and the priests of Marduk in Babylon, Deutero-Isaiah handed over to Cyrus the royal Judean title of "YHWH's anointed," as well as the entire royal Judean court theology associated with it. The Davidic themes of victory for the anointed king, of nations falling under his feet, are now applied to Cyrus. Instead of the Davidic monarch as in Psalms 2, 18, and 20, it is Cyrus, the newly anointed king (Isaiah 45:1-3), who subdues nations.68 The following Cyrus songs illustrate the application of the Davidic theology to Cyrus ..."

Fried, Lisbeth S. Cyrus the Messiah? The Historical Background to Isaiah 45:1 (pp. 373-393) The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 95, No. 4, 2002

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