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The Bible and Archaeology

Why is the Cyrus Cylinder important to biblical studies?

The cylinder records the Israelites’ return to Israel after the Babylonian captivity. Included in the cylinder’s catalog of conquests is the seizure of the seemingly indomitable Babylonian Empire in 538 B.C.E.

Isaiah, a prophet active between 740 and 700 B.C.E., foretold the Babylonian Empire’s demise in the so-called “Cyrus Oracle”:

The Cyrus Cylinder, like the prophet Ezra, chronicles what happened after Persia conquered the Babylonian Empire. King Cyrus decreed that the Israelites be allowed to go back to their homes. In addition, Cyrus granted the Israelites permission to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. The Cyrus Cylinder is part of the British Museum collection.


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