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The Daric

A daric (also sometimes translated as dram) was a Persian gold coin with the image of an armed Persian king (i.e. daric is probably derived from Persian King Darius I, see also Darius The Mede) on its face. The coin was known to the Jews at the time of their return from the Babylonian captivity (see Why Babylon?, Ancient Empires - Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar) when the Babylonians themselves had been conquered by the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia, also Daniel's Statue) i.e. the people of Judah found themselves with new political masters who permitted (God actually brought it about, as He said He would i.e. Jeremiah 25:11-12, Ezra 1:1-4) their return to Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. The daric is one of the oldest-known coins, and the first to be specifically mentioned in the Scriptures. Prior to the use of coins with a fixed value, money took the form of weight of silver or gold, which could become cumbersome.

The Daric

Daric God saw to it that the conquered people of Judah had the financial means to rebuild Jerusalem upon their return:

"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of The Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, 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 [see Temples and "My Father's House"], which is in Judah [see also Judea]. Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of The Lord, the God of Israel - He is the God who is in Jerusalem; and let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-4 RSV)

Exactly as God stated would happen 70 years earlier (Jeremiah 25:11-12, Ezra 1:1-4), the people of Judah returned to Jerusalem:

"Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia; they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town ... The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their menservants and maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred male and female singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules were two hundred and forty-five, their camels were four hundred and thirty-five, and their asses were six thousand seven hundred and twenty. Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of The Lord which is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site; according to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work sixty-one thousand darics of gold, five thousand minas of silver" (Ezra 2:1,64-69 RSV)

Fact Finder: Which Persian king had the prophet Daniel thrown into the lion's den?
See Daniel In The Lion's Den


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