Who was Darius in the Bible?

The name of two Persian kings mentioned in the Old Testament

Hebrew name: דָּרְיָוֶשׁ (doryawesh)

Name meaning: Likely Persian, of uncertain meaning

Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:31 ff.)

Darius is a significant figure mentioned in the Bible, particularly in the book of Daniel. Darius was an emperor who ruled immediately after the fall of Babylon. He is mentioned in several passages in the book of Daniel, specifically in Daniel 5:31, Daniel 6:1, Daniel 6:6, Daniel 6:9, Daniel 6:25, and Daniel 6:28 In Daniel 5:31, Darius is mentioned in the context of the fall of Babylon and the transition of power to the Medes and Persians. This event marks a significant shift in the geopolitical landscape of the ancient Near East. In Daniel 6, the narrative focuses on Darius’s reign and his interactions with Daniel. The famous story of Daniel in the lions’ den occurs during Darius’s rule. The biblical account of Darius portrays him as a sympathetic ruler who had a positive relationship with the prophet Daniel.

Darius “the Persian” (Nehemiah 12:22)

There were a number of kings named Darius who ruled Persia at various times, making the precise identification of this individual uncertain. However, a Persian ruler known as Darius II Nothus (424-404 B.C.) fits the timeline of Nehemiah most closely.1.


  1. “Darius the Persian.” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

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