Tag Archives: Iran

New Resource on Persia from BiblePlaces.com

Persia is the only major country in the Bible Lands that I have not been able to visit. I was delighted when I learned that Todd Bolen, of BiblePlaces.com, had made such a trip.

In his usual thorough way, Bolen has included all the sites one might need in teaching about Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, the return from Exile, and more!

There are 1600 high-resolution images of historical sites and scenery in modern Iran.


Persia – Volume 19 – in the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

BiblePlaces.com is offering this Volume 19 of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands for the introductory price of $25.00. You will have immediate download and also receive the DVD. In addition to ordering a copy for yourself, this is a wonderful gift to consider for some minister or Bible teacher. Even if they already have the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, this is a new volume.

Time is running out on this introductory price of $25.00. Go here for secure ordering info.

I suggest you subscribe to the BiblePlaces Newsletter. Here is a link to the most recent issue which also includes more of the Persia photos. At the bottom of the page you will learn how to subscribe.

Following the news in the Bible World

Beginning with the Six Day War (June 5-10, 1967) I have tried to keep alert to the situation in the countries that are often called the Bible lands or the Bible World. This phrase is given to the countries of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Greece, et al. where the events of the Bible transpired. Over the past 47 years I have traveled in all of these countries, some extensively, except Iran.

The current news coming out of Egypt is not good, and it is sad to see the conditions there. I wish for peace and justice for the people of Egypt, and the other countries mentioned above. I wish it also for those who would like to travel to these ancient lands to better learn the history, both secular and biblical.

A scene on the Nile River in Upper Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A scene on the Nile River in Upper Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo above was made from the Nile River in Upper Egypt, near the ancient town of Edfu. When I look at it I am reminded of the Genesis account of the seven lean cows and seven plump cows that Joseph saw coming up out of the Nile (Genesis 41).

Neil MacGregor: 2600 years of history in one object

A friend just forwarded a link to a fascinating talk by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, about the Cyrus Cylinder. MacGregor took the Cyrus Cylinder from the British Museum to Iran when it was loan to the museum in Tehran.

What I learned was the use made of the Cyrus Cylinder by the Jews at the time of the Balfour Declaration, and the use made of it by the Shah of Iran.

MacGregor speaks of the Cyrus Cylinder as a “major player in the politics of the Middle East.”

Follow this link. The film is about 20 minutes old.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:  “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.'” (2 Chronicles 36:22-23 ESV)

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Check some of our previous links to the Cyrus Cylinder here and here. Use the search box to locate others.

Cyrus Cylinder loaned to Iran

The Cyrus Cylinder came from ancient Persia. Now the British Museum, where it has been housed for many years, is loaning the artifact to the museum in Tehran, Iran.

Todd Bolen calls attention the the agreement, the historical significance of the Cyrus Cylinder, and the biblical reference (Ezra 1:1-4) to one of the events mentioned in the Cylinder.

The the account at the Bible Places Blog here, and be sure to follow the link to his list of the British Museum: Top 10, yeah 15.

If you plan to visit London, and you are interested in Bible study, be sure to download my short list of “Some Biblically Related Artifacts in the British Museum” here.

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Persian background of Iran

The August, 2008, issue of National Geographic has a good article on the Ancient Soul of Iran. The emphasis is on the rich Persian history of the area. The article is online at ngm.com. The article includes many of those fabulous NG photographs. Most of them were shot in low light to evoke the past glory of Iran. There are more photos at the website than in the magazine. You might be able to buy a copy of the magazine at your local bookseller.

Iran is the only major area of the Bible world that I have been unable to visit. Maybe that will change within the next few years. Marguerite Del Giudice says,

In fact, the first thing people said when I asked what they wanted the world to know about them was, “We are not Arabs!” (followed closely by, “We are not terrorists!”

The article features the people of Iran, and not the government. There are some interesting comments on the influence of Zoroastrianism’s teaching.

Many of the great museums of the world have ancient Persian artifacts. This is especially true of the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Here is a photo from the Louvre of one of the Persian archers.

Archer from the Palace of Darius in the Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Archer from the Palace of Darius in the Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Persians played a significant role in the Restoration of the Judeans to their land after the Babylonian Exile. Here are a few highlights.

  • Cyrus, who conquered Babylon, allowed the Jews to return to their land in 536 B.C. See 2 Chronicles 36, and compare the Cyrus Cylinder (in the British Museum).
  • Darius I allowed the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (520-516 B.C.; Ezra 6:1-5).
  • Xerxes is the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther.
  • During the reign of Artaxerxes I, the second group of Jews return under the leadership of Ezra (458 B.C.). Nehemiah returned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (444 B.C.).