Ezra and Nehemiah: Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 44:24-28; 45:1-13

Ezra and Nehemiah: Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 44:24-28; 45:1-13


The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great (580-529 BC) defeated the Babylonians in 539 BC. Several hundred years before Cyrus was born, Isaiah prophesied that Cyrus would deliver God’s people from captivity.


Ezra 1:1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing


Isaiah 44:24   “This is what the Lord says-

your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,

who has made all things,

who alone stretched out the heavens,

who spread out the earth by myself,

25   who foils the signs of false prophets

and makes fools of diviners,

who overthrows the learning of the wise

and turns it into nonsense,

26   who carries out the words of his servants

and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’

of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be built,’

and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’

27   who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,

and I will dry up your streams,’

28   who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd

and will accomplish all that I please;

he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”

and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” ‘


Isaiah 45:1 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,

to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of

to subdue nations before him

and to strip kings of their armor,

to open doors before him

so that gates will not be shut:

2     I will go before you

and will level the mountains;

I will break down gates of bronze

and cut through bars of iron.

3     I will give you the treasures of darkness,

riches stored in secret places,

so that you may know that I am the Lord,

the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

4     For the sake of Jacob my servant,

of Israel my chosen,

I summon you by name

and bestow on you a title of honor,

though you do not acknowledge me.

5     I am the Lord, and there is no other;

apart from me there is no God.

I will strengthen you,

though you have not acknowledged me,

6     so that from the rising of the sun

to the place of its setting

men may know there is none besides me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other.

7     I form the light and create darkness,

I bring prosperity and create disaster;

I, the Lord, do all these things.

8     “You heavens above, rain down righteousness;

let the clouds shower it down.

Let the earth open wide,

let salvation spring up,

let righteousness grow with it;

I, the Lord, have created it.

9     “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker,

to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.

Does the clay say to the potter,

‘What are you making?’

Does your work say,

‘He has no hands’?

10   Woe to him who says to his father,

‘What have you begotten?’

or to his mother,

‘What have you brought to birth?’

11   “This is what the Lord says-

the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:

Concerning things to come,

do you question me about my children,

or give me orders about the work of my hands?

12   It is I who made the earth

and created mankind upon it.

My own hands stretched out the heavens;

I marshaled their starry hosts.

13   I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:

I will make all his ways straight.

He will rebuild my city

and set my exiles free,

but not for a price or reward,

says the Lord Almighty.”



Cyrus is called a “shepherd,” “anointed,” and chosen by the Lord for this task. Some see Cyrus as a type of messiah or deliverer of God’s people, pointing ahead to the full deliverance of the Lord’s people by Jesus Christ. Cyrus created the largest empire the world had seen at that time. His reign is considered a great turning point in the history of the ancient world.