Bible Chronology Timeline

Chronologies of the Mysteries of God

Genesis 5:1
“This is the book of the generations of
Adam. In the day that God created man,
in the likeness of God made he him”
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King Cyrus in Isaiah’s Prophecy

Isaiah prophesied that King Cyrus would enact the foremost decree for rebuilding the Jewish temple. The prophet began his message by honoring God for creating the heavens, then he praises God’s providence for bringing to life His servant Cyrus whom the Lord preordained hundreds of years in advance (Isaiah 44:24). Moreover, Isaiah confirmed that the prophecy would be fulfilled through Cyrus: that Jerusalem shall be re-inhabited and the cities of Judah shall be built (Isaiah 44:26). Having delineated the ministry of God’s servant, Isaiah proceeded to identify the servant by his rightful name Cyrus. Thus, God honoured Cyrus above the monarchs on earth because he would proclaim the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish temple. Therefore, Isaiah stated that it is the Lord:

“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” (Isaiah 44:28).

From a prophetical viewpoint it is clear that the royal decree issued by Cyrus is the foremost of all the three decrees regarding Jerusalem’s temple. If that were not so then why would Cyrus be in the prophecy of Isaiah? You see, Isaiah does not mention any other monarch but Cyrus, who would command the laying of the foundation stone for the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. The day when the temple’s foundation stone was to be laid, which Isaiah prophesied and that was fulfilled with Cyrus, Daniel was told to mark it as the starting point for yet another time prophecy. It was Cyrus who issued “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25); in the chronological year 3700. (This will be explained in detail later). Now, from a chronological standpoint, Cyrus’ decree takes on added importance. Bear in mind that when Jeremiah’s prophecy of the 70 years desolation ended, the next time prophecy of 2300 years set off. This transition from prophetic time to prophetic time made it possible for the biblical chronology to remain uninterrupted. But we will review this later.

Going back in time more than two centuries prior to Cyrus’ birth, a prophecy was given about the laying of the temple foundation stone by Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). The Lord called Cyrus His anointed “whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him” (Isaiah 45:1). Then, for Israel’s sake, the Lord declared about Cyrus “…I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me” (Isaiah 45:4). And then the Lord revealed about the good pleasure that Cyrus would accomplish in favor of Jerusalem and of God’s children:

“I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 45:13).

Biography of Cyrus in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel

Bear in mind that the biblical chronology was preserved, in Daniel’s time, by linking the chronology of the children of Israel with the chronology of the Babylonians. Also remember that the decree to liberate Israel granting them special permission to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple was issued by three Persian Kings: Cyrus, Artaxerxes and Darius.

But it was King Cyrus whom God honored, as it is written in another context: “Them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30). It is amazing that of all the good foreign kings, Cyrus is mentioned in the Chronicles of the kings of Israel. You will not find the name of Artaxerxes in the Chronicles of the Hebrew people. Yet Israel’s sacred history of its monarchy contains the magnificent history of God’s decree by the hand of King Cyrus of Persia of whom it was prophesied by both Isaiah and Jeremiah. Therefore, the Chronicles of the kings of Israel are very emphatic that the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled by the enactment of King Cyrus’ decree; that is, Cyrus was the king to set Israel at liberty to return home to rebuild and restore Jerusalem after its ravaging seventy year desolations. The prophecy reads:

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10).

The writing of Cyrus’ decree in 3700 was for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy given by God to his prophet Jeremiah. But let the Word of God in the Chronicles of the kings of Israel present it:

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up” (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).

What is God telling us by repeating Cyrus’ magnificent event? Notice that to emphasize the fact that it was King Cyrus who fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy, and also for corroborating Israel’s sacred chronological history, a comprehensive and precise transcript of the wording of the prophetic decree of King Cyrus’ is repeated in Ezra 1:1-3.

With the reiteration of God’s sacred historical facts we can better understand the level of importance of Jeremiah’s prophecy, which was fulfilled in its appointed time. God also saw fit to repeat in writing the decree of King Cyrus. This had been memorized and repeated verbatim by the exiled Hebrews who were encouraged to search the Scriptures and know that God had appointed Cyrus to fulfill this prophecy.

Another important fact is that Ezra wrote of the Babylonian monarch who destroyed the Jewish temple and of the Persian king who commanded to rebuild it. Notice that the writing of Ezra does not commend Artaxerxes but rather Cyrus for building what Nebuchadnezzar had utterly destroyed, he wrote:

“But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God” (Ezra 5:12-13).

Chart Concerning Cyrus in the Prophecies





He is my shepherd YES - ISAIAH 44:28
He shall perform all my pleasure YES - ISAIAH 44:28
Saying to Jerusalem, Thou shall be built YES - ISAIAH 44:28
And to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. YES - ISAIAH 44:28
Thus saith the LORD to his anointed YES - ISAIAH 45:1
I have raised him up in righteousness YES - ISAIAH 45:13
I will direct all his ways YES - ISAIAH 45:13
He shall build my city YES - ISAIAH 45:13
He shall let go my captives YES - ISAIAH 45:13
HE FUFILLED GOD’S PROPHECY AND SAID ABOUT GOD: “He hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem” “He made a decree to build this house of God” YES - ISAIAH 44:28 ISAIAH 45:132 CHRONICLES 36:23 EZRA 1:3 EZRA 5:13

Daniel Confirms Fulfillment of the Prophecy

Daniel received God’s revelation that the time had come for the fulfillment of the prophecy written by Isaiah pertaining King Cyrus. Daniel understood by the books that King Cyrus’ would shortly fulfill the prophecy by his enactment of the decree for the liberation of many Jews from Babylonian captivity. Notice that Isaiah’s prophecy coincides with that of Jeremiah. Remember that Jeremiah prophesied that the land of Judah would undergo desolation and serve the King of Babylon for the period of 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11). Jeremiah had also foretold that when those 70 years would pass God would punish the king of Babylon, for their iniquity (Jeremiah 25:12). The time when God punished the King of Babylon concurs with the time when Cyrus performed God’s pleasure (Isaiah 44:28) in letting God’s captives free. God had anticipated and given to Daniel this important information before it happened.

In the first year of the Babylonian King Belshazzar Daniel had a dream and visions that opened his understanding in regards to the succession of the world empires (Daniel 7:1). In that occasion Daniel saw four beasts coming out of the sea (Daniel 7:3), which represented four kings that would have dominion on the earth (Daniel 7:17). Daniel became very concerned about the vision, yet he kept it undisclosed (Daniel 7:28). But in the third year of Belshazzar, Daniel saw another vision that helped him understand his previous vision he had two years earlier (Daniel 8:1). He wrote:

“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last” (Daniel 8:3).

To Daniel it was revealed that beasts are symbols to portray kingdoms (Daniel 7:17). In this case the ram is a portrayal of the Medo-Persian Empire. To Daniel it was revealed that the ram’s two horns are the kings of Media and Persia (Daniel 8:20). Therefore, Daniel foreknew about Cyrus and Darius conquering Babylon. Daniel also knew that the weaker horn Darius the Mede would sit on the throne as the conquering king. To Daniel was also revealed that the stronger horn Cyrus would shortly afterwards be crowned king instead of Darius his ally. Consequently, Cyrus took the Medo-Persian Empire from the rule of Darius in the very year of the Babylonian conquest.

With the vision of the ram Daniel was assured that the prophecies given to Isaiah and Jeremiah would certainly be fulfilled in the life of Cyrus, the man appointed by God. But now there was another concern in Daniel’s mind. Although he knew the prophecies concerning the desolations of Jerusalem, he was puzzled by yet another time-prophecy of 2300 years (Daniel 8:14), which God reminded him: “The vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days” (Daniel 8:26).

The knowledge of the vision (Daniel 8:14, 26) overwhelmed Daniel and he fell sick (Daniel 8:27). Although Daniel had been assured that Isaiah’s prophecy would certainly be fulfilled by Cyrus, Daniel was concerned about the exact chronology for the fulfillment of prophecy. Daniel wanted to corroborate that Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Cyrus would be fulfilled according to the chronological data given by Jeremiah. Therefore, in the first year of Darius the Mede (Daniel 9:1), says the prophet: “I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:2).

The Desolations of the Sanctuary

It was more painful for a righteous Hebrew to know that the temple of God remains in ruins than to see his children of the promise under captivity. In like manner it was more sorrowful for Eli to hear that the Ark of the Covenant had been taken than to hear that his two children had been killed (1 Sam. 4:17, 18).

Likewise Daniel when he made confession he pleaded with God for the restoration of Jerusalem. But Daniel’s intercessory prayer is not merely to attain their material restitution of Jerusalem’s former glory, but also the spiritual restitution of Israel’s faithfulness to God’s Commandments (Daniel 9:10, 11). Therefore, Daniel pleaded with God to grant them forgiveness for their sins, as he confessed that because of their iniquities they were a reproach to their neighboring nations. The prophet beseeched God to turn away His anger from Jerusalem, His holy mountain (Daniel 9:16, 20). Daniel’s request was not more a physical blessing than a spiritual one, his prayer therefore is comparable to the command King David gave to his son Solomon when he told him to seek the Lord his God, to build the sanctuary of the Lord, to bring the Ark of the Covenant and holy vessels to that sanctuary (1 Chronicles 22:19).

Now, you may ask, what qualifies Jerusalem as God’s holy mountain? The answer to that question is the Sanctuary of the Lord. Notice that the greatest reproach to the Hebrews was the destruction and desolation of the temple, Daniel prays: “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake” (Daniel 9:17). Therefore, when the prophet speaks of the desolations of Jerusalem, his main concern is the temple in ruins.

Once again Daniel corroborated Jeremiah’s prophecy that the Lord would accomplish 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2). Ezra’s prayer adds extra information to the fact that this is a reference to the temple that was left desolate:

“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 9:9).

The Laying of the Temple’s Foundation Stone

Daniel followed the principle that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) and he searched the writings of Isaiah and Jeremiah to discern the fulfillment of prophecy. Through the writings of these three great prophets we also understand the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of God’s anointed shepherd: the Persian King Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28).

The laying of the temple’s foundation stone was a prophecy fulfilled by the enactment of Cyrus’ decree, that act also marked the beginning of yet another time-prophecy. The date of Cyrus’ decree is the landmark to begin counting the 2300 year prophecy, and to fully understand this, we need to review Isaiah’s prophecy of what the decree would accomplish. Of Cyrus it was prophesied to be the monarch: “saying to Jerusalem, thou shall be built and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” (Isaiah 44:28). Daniel knew perfectly well, that the prophecy regarding the decree to lay the foundation of the house of God in Jerusalem would be fulfilled by Cyrus. He also understood that before Cyrus’ enactment of this decree, the temple would have been in desolation for 70 years, as prophesied by his antecessor Jeremiah (Daniel 9:2). Now when this prophecy was fulfilled it was confirmed that the temple had been in desolation for seventy years since the time when it was burned down (2 Chronicles 36:21-23).

Prior to the fulfillment of Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecy, in the life of Cyrus, God directed Daniel to pay attention to the date of the decree “to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25). That is because the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 would set off in that very year. Therefore, the chronology in the Word of God should be studied carefully in order to understand the prophecies. The reason for that is because the chronology and the prophecies go hand in hand in bringing the key of knowledge regarding the coming of the Savior of this world.

The Going Forth of the Commandment





HE FULFILLED THE PROPHECY By saying: “To the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid” YES - ISAIAH 44:28
HE DECREED - “Let the house of God be built in his place” YES - EZRA 5:15
HE COMMANDED –“Let the foundations be strongly laid” YES - EZRA 6:3
HIS GOVERNOR - “Sheshbazzar, laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem” YES - EZRA 5:14
HE FULFILLED THE PROPHECY By “saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built YES - ISAIAH 44:28
HE DECREED -“the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” YES - DANIEL 9:25

Although Daniel had understood Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the restoration of Jerusalem and the laying of the foundation of the temple’s stone by Cyrus, he had been anxious about the 2300 year time prophecy of Daniel 8:14. He had not yet understood the meaning to the longest time prophecy. Yet he knew the symbolic language regarding the cleansing of the Sanctuary. It is a language pertaining to the atonement for the sins of God’s people. Daniel was told that this prophecy was for the time of the end (Daniel 8:17). That prophecy was given in the last year of the Babylonian King Belshazzar (Dan 8:1) and its interpretation was revealed in the first year of the Median King Darius (Daniel 9:1). To Daniel it was explained:

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” (Daniel 9:25).

The “going forth” of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem was the first of the three decrees that the Persian kings enacted: Cyrus’s decree. The phrase used in the Hebrew is מוֹצָא מוֹצָא môtsâ' môtsâ'. A going forth, that is, (the act) an egress, or (the place) an exit (Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries). This expression appears only four times in the Bible and it always conveys the idea of dawning, rising or budding, therefore, the beginning of something.

For instance: The Lord speaks of His going forth prepared as the morning (Hosea 6:3). Psalms 19:6 contains the same expression “mowtsa” referring to the rising of the sun. In Daniel 9:25 it should be understood according to its original meaning but also according to the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah who had prophesied of King Cyrus. Therefore, the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem represents the first decree, the one that ushered in the dawning of the temple restoration. Consequently, Cyrus’ enactment is the foremost decree, the beginning of the decrees.

To Restore and to Build

Daniel understood that the restoration and building of Jerusalem was not solely a physical matter but also a spiritual one. This restoration would begin to take place from the moment God gives repentance to Israel and it would be concrete until Cyrus enacted his decree to restore to Jerusalem that which was taken from her.

Notice that the verb “to restore” as used in Daniel 9:25, is the Hebrew word shuwb (shoob) שׁוּב (to turn back, carry again back, recover, render again... etc.)., That verb is used in Genesis 20:7 when God told Abimelech to restore the wife of Abraham. Joseph also commanded “to restore” every one of his brothers’ money (Genesis 42:25). David promised Mephibosheth “to restore” all the land, his rightful inheritance that had been taken from him (2 Sam. 9:7). Shuwb is used to restore the kingdom (2 Sam. 16:3), the goods (Job 20:10), lands, houses and money (Nehemiah 5:11). It is also used to restore the joy of salvation in Psalms 51:12. Notice that Shuwb is used in Isaiah 1:26 when God told Jerusalem that He will restore its judges and counselors as at the beginning in order for Jerusalem to be called “the city of righteousness the faithful city”. Isaiah’s message is not referring to the physical restoration of a judicial system but to the spiritual restoration of faithfulness and righteousness because the city has become a spiritual harlot (Isaiah 1:21). Regarding this restoration Jeremiah had prophesied:

“Yea, thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the LORD, and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem. They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place” (Jeremiah 27:21-22).

Now what was it that Cyrus would restore to Jerusalem apart from building the city and the temple? God had told Jeremiah that the sacred vessels used for the temple service were to be carried to Babylon and remain there until the Lord’s would again demonstrate His pleasure for Jerusalem (Jeremiah 27:22). But now notice how the verb Shuwb “to restore” is used in this prophecy when God said concerning His sacred vessels: “Then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place” (Jeremiah 27:22). You see this is a vivid example that God is primarily interested in the spiritual restoration of His people. Bear in mind that faithfulness and righteousness could only be restored if the children of Israel pledged their allegiance to keep God’s Commandments.

King Cyrus fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy and put an end to the 70 year desolations of the temple in Jerusalem. He also fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy regarding the restoration of the vessels dedicated to the house of God. God was faithful to His word in the mouth of Jeremiah when He stirred King Cyrus heart to issue the prophetic decree as he commanded: “Let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God… be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, everyone to his place, and place them in the house of God” (Ezra 6:5).

Why does God emphasize the fulfillment of His prophecy regarding Cyrus restoring the holy vessels? Notice how Ezra highlights Jeremiah’s prophecy in the edict of King Cyrus: “Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods” (Ezra 1:7; 5:14).

Notice that Cyrus was expecting to fulfill God’s prophecy as proclaimed by Isaiah. And Daniel was expecting both Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies to be fulfilled in the life of King Cyrus. Notice that Daniel uses the same verb Shuwb “to restore” Daniel 9:25 as in the above mentioned letter of Ezra.





PROPHECY ABOUT THE VESSELS: “They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD; then will I bring them up, and restore them to this place” YES - JEREMIAH 27:21-22
“Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD” YES - EZRA 1:3 EZRA 5:14
THE DECREE TO RESTORE“Let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God… be restored, and brought again unto the temple…” YES - EZRA 6:5
THE DECREE TO RESTORE: “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem…” YES - DANIEL 9:25

Jeremiah’s prophecy was not about the reestablishment of the political and legislative system in Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s prophecy envisioned the act of restoring the temple vessels and the ending of Jerusalem’s desolations. On the other hand Isaiah’s prophecy foretold the act of laying the foundation stone to the temple and the act of re-building Jerusalem. Both prophecies were to be fulfilled by the command of Cyrus. Daniel was attentive to Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecies and in accordance to those prophecies God directed him to understand the 2300 year prophecies of Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 9:25-27.

King Cyrus Knew About the Importance of Chronology

Long before it happened, it had been prophesied by God’s prophets that the Persian King Cyrus would conquer Babylon, and it was fulfilled exactly as prophesied (Isaiah 45:1, 2). But more importantly, this prophecy was fulfilled in the year 3700, exactly 70 years after the desolations of Jerusalem, which began in 3630 with the destruction and desolation of the temple. Therefore, when King Cyrus enacted the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem he stated that it was in order to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy (2 Chronicles 36:22). Now, why did Cyrus omit mentioning Isaiah as well? Was not Isaiah’s prophecy also fulfilled on the day Cyrus enacted his decree? It appears that he understood the importance of chronology in the fulfillment of prophecies. Therefore he used Jeremiah to let his readers know that the prophecies were fulfilled by God’s providence, in its exact chronological time. Bear in mind that Jeremiah used extensive chronological data when he wrote the prophecies.

Artaxerxes’ Decree

Like Cyrus, Artaxerxes also decreed in favor of Jerusalem (Ezra 7:7), namely; that Hebrew exiles go up to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:13). But when he enacted his decree, the temple building was well advanced. At that time the Hebrews were given great amounts of silver and gold offerings which Artaxerxes had freely given to God, “whose habitation is in Jerusalem,” as he expressed (Ezra 7:15). That money was intended for embellishing the Jewish temple. Artaxerxes’ letter clearly delineates that these Jews were given the green light to take all the silver and gold that they could find in the province of Babylon together with the offerings of people and priests. Such money commanded by Artaxerxes, was to be used solely to beautify the house of their God in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:16).

Notice that the decree is continually directed toward the finishing of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. The Jews were also encouraged to set apart offerings for purchasing bullocks, rams, and lambs to be sacrificed on the altar. Artaxerxes ordered: “offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:17). You see, the temple was already reared up. Artaxerxes also commanded saying:

“The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:19).

Those vessels spoken of by Artaxerxes were a free-will gift from him to be used in the temple. But also remember that according to Jeremiah’s prophecy and as Ezra wrote in his book; the holy vessels taken from the Jewish temple by Nebuchadnezzar were restored by the Persian King Cyrus when he enacted the most important decree, it is written:

“And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king, take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor” (Ezra 5:14).

Summing up Artaxerxes decree we conclude that it was intended to further enhance the temple structure, which, since the edict of King Cyrus, had been in building for many years and was already reared up. The money offered by Artaxerxes was for the purpose of putting the finishing touches to the building. That is the reason expressed in Ezra’s prayer of gratitude to God; he prays:

“Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:27).





He made a decree, allowing the people of Israel, priests and Levites, to go up to Jerusalem - YES EZRA 7:13
He gave money for bullocks, rams, lambs to be offered in the temple - YES EZRA 7:17
He gave vessels for the service of the house of God in Jerusalem - YES EZRA 7:19
He made the priests, Levites, and singers exempt from paying toll, tribute, or custom - YES EZRA 7:24
He ordered Ezra to set magistrates and judges in Jerusalem - YES EZRA 7:25
God put in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD - YES EZRA 7:27
By force and power. He decreed that the city of Jerusalem cease to be built. - YES EZRA 4:21-23

Nehemiah Travels to Jerusalem

In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, Nehemiah who was at the palace, in Shushan (Nehemiah 1:1) received a visit from Hanani who gave him the bad news that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down and its gates had been burned (Nehemiah1:2-3). When Nehemiah received this bad news he began fasting for several days and prayed before God (Nehemiah 1:7)

Having prayed to God, Nehemiah presented his concerns before Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 2:1). In those days Nehemiah’s countenance was sad, so the king asked him to give an explanation as to why he looked so depressed (Nehemiah 2:2). Nehemiah requested the king to let him return to Jerusalem and repair the city’s gates that had been burned (Nehemiah 2:5-6). The time he requested was 12 years, from the 20th year to the 32nd of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 5:14).

When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he found Sanballat and Tobiah, two foes who had been battling against the work of rebuilding Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:10). But Nehemiah was not discouraged by the schemes of their enemies, although he acknowledged the distress that their enemies had caused them. He urged his countrymen: “come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach” (Nehemiah 2:17). When those foes heard that the walls of Jerusalem had no breach that had not been repaired, they tried to kill Nehemiah by inviting him to a private meeting with them (Nehemiah 6:1-2). But Nehemiah declined their invitation. As Tobiah could not do any physical harm to Nehemiah, he proceeded to write a letter in which he accused the Jews and Nehemiah of rebellion. He invented a report saying that Nehemiah was building the walls with the purpose of setting himself up as king (Nehemiah 6:6).

Artaxerxes Annuls His Own Decree

Unlike King Cyrus whose decree remained valid all the days of his reign, Artaxerxes nullified his decree that would have continued to favor the building of Jerusalem.

King Artaxerxes had granted Nehemiah’s request to go and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its gates which had been consumed with fire (Nehemiah 2:3). Because he was pressured by his own people, Artaxerxes canceled the validity of his letter written to Nehemiah and nullified his own decree extended to Ezra.

According to the will of God, and through Ezra’s request (Ezra 7:6), King Artaxerxes enacted his decree in the 7th year of his reign (Ezra 7:7). Remember that the purpose of Artaxerxes’ decree was to complete the work of the house of the Lord, that is to beautify the temple (Ezra 7:27). Ezra was accompanied by other priests and Levites (Ezra 7:7), indicating that they were consecrated to go and minister for the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.

On the other hand the letter written to Nehemiah was intended for the work of building and repairing the walls of Jerusalem. The letter Nehemiah requested from the king and his appointment as governor of Judah happened in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 5:14) So, the temple work was under the supervision of Priest Ezra, Jerusalem’s gates and its walls were repaired under the supervision of Governor Nehemiah.

But King Artaxerxes nullified his own decree. He did not remain faithful to his word. Under his command the rebuilding of the temple was forcefully stopped. It happened when Jerusalem’s walls had been repaired. This happened when Israel’s fierce enemies Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter to Artaxerxes, in which they spoke against Jerusalem (Ezra 4:8).

After having received the accusative letter, Artaxerxes commanded that search be made in the palace’s files for previous trouble from Judah, then he wrote back to Rehum a royal letter in which he acceded to their schemes and annulled his original decree. He treated the matter hastily and unreasonably. He told them that in the records it is found that Jerusalem had been guilty of insurrection, rebellion and sedition (Ezra 4:19). Then Artaxerxes proceeded to abolish his own decree and commanded “to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me” (Ezra 4:21). Thus, he commanded that work on the temple cease immediately. Artaxerxes died but he never lifted up his sanctions against Jerusalem.

Bear in mind that the temple began to be built long before the breaches on the walls of Jerusalem were repaired. Moreover, that the decree to rebuild the temple should be vetoed had been prophesied two hundred and seventy five years earlier by the prophet Micah (Micah 1:1). So when Artaxerxes nullified his own decree, the prophecy of Micah was fulfilled, as he wrote:

“In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the decree be far removed” (Micah 7:11).

The verb removed is in its original Hebrew form: “râchaq רחק , a primitive root; to widen (in any direction), that is, (intransitively) recede or (transitively) remove (literally or figuratively, of place or relation” (Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries).

Chronologies of the Mysteries of God - Page 8