Lessons From The Book Of Daniel
The people of Babylon were unhappy with the co-reigning kings Nabonidus and Belshazzar. Nabonidus had more or less repudiated the chief god Marduk in favor of the moon god Sin and had abandoned the capital city. Belshazzar seems to have been a man given to carnal pleasures and wickedness. Cyrus viewed himself as a liberator and, if the account of the people placing green branches down for him is to be believed, the citizens of Babylon viewed him as a liberator. When the Lord foretold, through the prophet Isaiah, that a man named Cyrus would release the captives from Judah, He said He would "open doors before him so that gates will not be shut". (Isaiah 45:1) There are a couple of legendary accounts of the gates of Babylon being open. One states that they were "mysteriously" left open, as if there was a conspiracy against Belshazzar to allow the army in. Another account states that when Belshazzar heard a tumult outside the city he ordered that the gates be opened to see what was happening and the army of Cyrus rushed in.
We may never know the identity of Darius or the precise details of how the army of Cyrus captured the city. Today's study has not been especially spiritual but I felt we needed to get the best historical grasp of it that we could before we study Daniel's dealings with Darius. I believe the word of God is completely without error and if Daniel says a man named Darius the Mede ruled in Babylon, we can accept it as fact. Archaeology may yet give us the answers as it has in so many other cases. People and places mentioned in the Bible were once thought never to have existed, but as usual archaeology backs up the Bible. It does not refute it. Daniel, faithful servant of God, can be trusted to accurately tell us what happened in the Babylon of his day.