Here we read about an astonishing event that occurred around the 700 BC, where the prophet Isaiah calls by name the future ruler of Babylon and the one who combined the rules of the Medes and the Persians, one Cyrus, who 150 years later became the ruler of the Kingdom of Babylon and authorized the restoration and return of the Jews to their homeland and the permission to rebuild the temple of God Almighty.
Josephus, the Jewish historian during the reign of the Romans, stated that the Jews in Babylonian captivity showed Cyrus the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures which contain his name and described his role in the scheme of God. The historian says that it was this circumstance that motivated the ruler “to fulfill what was written” (Antiquities of the Jews 11.1.2), and thus to issue his edict permitting Israel’s return to her homeland.
Many scholars simply refuse to acknowledge this miraculous prophetic event and so assume that there must have been multiple writers for the book of Isaiah. At the end of the day it’s up to each of us to either believe or reject the words of the book of Isaiah the prophet.
of the truly astounding prophecies of the Bible is found in the last verse of Isaiah 44, together with 45:1ff, (an unfortunate chapter break). It has to do with Cyrus, king of Persia. According to the historian Herodotus (The Histories i.46), Cyrus was the son of Cambyses I. He came to the Persian throne in 559 B.C. Nine years later he conquered the Medes, thus unifying the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians.
Cyrus is mentioned some twenty-three times in the literature of the Old Testament. Isaiah refers to Cyrus as Jehovah’s “shepherd,” the Lord’s “anointed,” who was providentially appointed to facilitate the divine plan. God would lead this monarch to “subdue nations” and “open doors” (an allusion to the Jews’ release from Babylonian captivity). He would make “rough places smooth,” i.e., accommodate the Hebrews’ return to their Palestinean homeland. He would ultimately be responsible for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the reconstruction of the temple.
Amazingly, the king would accomplish these noble tasks even though he did not “know” Jehovah (45:4, 5). In other words, though he was a pagan in sentiment and practice, yet, as an unconscious tool in the hands of the Lord, he would contribute mightily to the Jewish cause, and so, indirectly, to the coming of God’s greater Anointed, Jesus of Nazareth.
The fulfillment of these plain and specific predictions is set forth in 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23 and Ezra 1:1-4, 7, 8; 3:7; 4:3. The Encyclopedia Britannica, an unlikely source, acknowledges that “in 538 [B.C.] Cyrus granted to the Jews, whom Nebuchadressar had transported to Babylonia, the return to Palestine and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple” (1958, 940).