The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 2

Let’s carry on with Old Testament narratives from the time of Daniel.  It would interesting to know if any Persian sources were used for any of this.

5. After him, his son Awīl Marūdakh[1] reigned for twenty-three years.  He released Yahūnākhīm, king of the Israelites, from prison, and put on him the garments of honour, and treated him with every respect, and set free all the prisoners of Israel.  In Egypt the prophet Irimiyah[2] was stoned to death and was buried.  It is said that when Alexander entered Egypt, he brought the body of the prophet Irimiya to Alexandria and buried it there.  Awīl Marūdakh died.

6.  After him, his son Baltāssar reigned for three years and was killed. After he had eaten and drunk with his companions, and having become drunk, he had brought in the gold and silver vessels of the temple that his grandfather Bakhtanassar had taken away from Ūrashalīm[3] and drank from them, ordering his companions to do likewise.  But while he slept in the room, behold he saw the fist of a hand move on the wall, and the fingers of the hand write.  He was greatly frightened, and gathered together the wise men of Bābil, to read the writing and explain it.  But they did not succeed.  They said to the king, “There is here an Israelite named Dāniyāl whom your grandfather Bakhtanassar highly honoured and held in great consideration.  He will read it to you, and explain this to you”.  The king then summoned Dāniyāl.  Dāniyāl read the writing and recited the writing as follows: “Mānī. Thākāl. Fārās”. Then he said: “Mānī means ‘God has made your kingdom perfect and great.’ Thākāl means ‘The kingdom, already perfect, is destined to end’ and Fārās means ‘Your kingdom will be divided between the Medes and the Persians'”.  The king gave a mantle of honour to Dāniyāl and put a gold collar on his neck.  That same night, King Baltāssar was killed.

7. Then Dāriyūsh, son of Asrīr, the Mede, that is, of the house of Mādānī, reigned after him for a single year.  He took Dāniyāl and appointed him chief of his soldiers.  But his generals were jealous, and sought to discredit him in the eyes of the king, saying, “Dāniyāl is marching against the king with the intent of killing him”.  The king then cast Dāniyāl into a pit full of hungry lions.  Then, on his own, the next day he removed Dāniyāl from the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king felt very afraid, and threw in the pit the generals who had slandered him, and they were all devoured by the lions.  The king reconfirmed Dāniyāl as chief of his soldiers, and supreme organizer of his army.

8.  On the death of Dāriyūsh, the kingdom passed into the hands of the Persians.  The first Persian to reign was Kūrish the Persian.[4]  He also appointed Dāniyāl as chief of the army.  There was in Bābil a huge bronze idol called Bīl.[5]  To this idol there was offered daily twelve “makkūk” [6] of flour, forty rams and six divine measures.  Every day the king prostrated himself and worshipped the idol.[7]  But Dāniyāl responded, saying, “The servants of the idol are those who eat what is given to them as a daily ration”.  The king then called the servants, threatened them and confirmed [what Dāniyāl had said to him].  The king then ordered the demolition of the idol and that the servants should be put to death.

There was also, in Bābil, a great snake that the people of the city worshiped.  Dāniyāl said to the king: “Give me permission, and I will kill it.”  Dāniyāl then took some sausage, some pitch, and some hair, kneaded them together and fed them to the serpent.  As soon as the snake ate this, it died. When the inhabitants of Bābil saw what Dāniyāl had done, they were angry and sought to discredit him in the king’s eyes, saying: “Dāniyāl wants to kill you”.  The king was irritated with him, and threw him into a pit full of hungry lions, where he remained for six days.  The lions were given food, daily, of two bulls, and two rams. But during those six days, no meat was given to the lions.  In the land of Judah, in a place called Tiqwa‘, there was the prophet Habaqūq.[8]  He was cooking lentils and prepared a soup in a bowl to feed the harvesters.  But an angel from heaven called to him and said to him, “Habaqūq, bring the food you have with you to Dāniyāl in Bāhil.  He has been in the pit of the lions for six days and has not eaten any food”.  Then the angel of God grabbed the prophet Habaqūq by his hair and brought him to Bābil with the food that he had.  [Habaqūq] appeared at the pit where Dāniyāl was, called to him, and said to him: “Dāniyāl, I am Habaqūq.  God has sent me to you with food for you to eat”.  Dāniyāl came out of the pit, ate and praised God, then went back down into the pit.  The angel then took Habaqūq and brought him back to the land of Judah.  Then the king repented of what he had done to Dāniyāl and ordered them to pull him out of the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king was surprised, and restored to Dāniyāl the post of chief of the army.  The reign of Kūrish the Persian lasted for three years.[9]  Then he died.

9. After him reigned Akhshūwīrus for twelve years.  After him reigned his son Kūrish, known as Dāriyūs, for thirty years.  In the first year of his reign, Dāniyāl the prophet died.  In the second year of his reign he ordered the Israelites to return to Ūrashalīm and to [re]build the city and the temple.  This was because Kūrish the Persian had married an Israelite named Malihāt, sister of Zurūbābil, and made her queen according to the Persian custom.  Kūrish loved her very much and when she asked him to return the Israelites to Ūrashalīm with her brother Zurūbābil, the king agreed.  So Kūrish ordered Zurūbābil to reign at Ūrashalīm.  In his days prophesied Anagua[10] and Zakariya, son of Hağliyah.  He was the Ra’s al-Ğālūth[11] and he was entrusted with the task of [re]building the temple.  There was with him Izra, son of Sirāyā, the priest, and a multitude of the Israelites.  From the captivity of Bābil to the [re]building of the Temple seventy years had passed.  The construction lasted four years.  Zurūbābil, son of Salātiyil, son of Akhiyah, known as Yahūnākhīm, king of Judah, whom Bakhtanassar had deported and put into prison, waited for the construction.  Zurūbābil reigned over the Israelites at Ūrashalīm.  One year after the temple was rebuilt, the priest, `Izrā, died.  He had been a priest before the arrival of Yūsha, son of the priest Yahūsādūq,[12] and seeing the Jews commit many errors against the Torah, he wrote for them the Torah that they currently have.  He reformed the dictates of their law and taught them their religion.  Kūrish-Dāriyūsh, king of Bābil, died.

  1. [1]Or Evil-Merodach, as our bibles memorably label him.
  2. [2]Jeremiah.
  3. [3]Jerusalem
  4. [4]Cyrus.
  5. [5]Baal.
  6. [6]A makkuk is about 55 litres of dry material.
  7. [7]I wonder if something is missing from the text after this sentence – it reads as if someone accused Daniel, who then replies.
  8. [8]The biblical account does not mention that Habakuk lived at Tecoa, modern Khirbet Tiqwa‘.
  9. [9]Much longer in reality; from 559-530 BC.
  10. [10]Haggai.
  11. [11]“27. The wording is obscure and very difficult to interpret.” – Pirone.  It looks like a title, like “Reis” i.e. “overseer”, to me.
  12. [12]The actions of Joshua son of Yozadak are referred to in the books of Esdras and Haggai.

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