As punishment for the Southern Kingdom’s (Judah – the people of God) sins, they were exiled to Babylon (as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah) and would be there for 70 years (see Jeremiah 29:10). During their time in Babylon, they were under the rule of king Nebuchadnezzar and king Belshazzar until Darius and Cyrus the Great took siege of the kingdom. Cyrus’ reign overlapped with the prophecy of the 70 year timeline that Judah (God’s chosen people) would be able to return to their homeland. AMAZINGLY, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 44 and 45) 200 years before the birth of Cyrus and called him BY NAME and said that he would be the one to send them back to their homeland and rebuild the temple. According to biblical and secular sources, that’s exactly what happened! It’s amazing to dig through the intricacies of the Word of God and encounter things that would be humanly IMPOSSIBLE but speak to the foreknowledge, sovereignty, and majesty of the God whom we serve! He is worthy to be praised!
“…who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’” (Isaiah 44:28)
“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45:1-7)