Persia in the Bible | God's World News
Persia in the Bible
Time Machine
Posted: July 01, 2024
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    Queen Esther lived in Persia. (Getty Images)
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    This map shows the Persian Empire at its biggest. It also shows the size of Iran today. (stock)
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    Traffic goes around a toppled statue of the Shah in Tehran, Iran, in January 1979. (AP/Bob Dear)
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    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rules Iran. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
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    People shop at the old main bazaar in Tehran, Iran, in April 2024. (AP/Vahid Salemi)
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Does the word “Persia” ring a bell for you? Persia, or ancient Iran, has a long, long history. It’s so long you may have read about it in the Bible. The Bible describes Persia as a pagan empire. For the most part, the people there didn’t worship God or follow His ways.

But God used Persia in the lives of His people too. Ever heard of Darius? Cyrus? They were Persians. Queen Esther lived in Persia as the wife of King Ahasuerus. She stopped a plot to wipe out the Jews. Cyrus sent out the Edict of Cyrus, which allowed God’s people to return to their homeland. Daniel lived in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Persia took over Babylon around that time.

From Persia to the Islamic Republic of Iran

Now we know the area that was Persia as “The Islamic Republic of Iran.” But this wasn’t always the case.

Long ago, Persia was a mighty empire circled by mountains. Arabs, Turks, and Mongols invaded it. In the 1900s, oil was discovered there. Everybody wanted a bit of that treasure. England and Russia chopped up present-day Iran so each could get oil. In 1953, the United States and Great Britain helped overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to power. He made decisions that favored Western countries such as the United States. Culture in Iran became more like the West. Iranians enjoyed political freedom. Girls and women could go to school and hold jobs.

Muslim leaders were dismayed by this change. In 1979, the Islamic revolution dethroned the Shah. Iran became an Islamic republic. Many freedoms were lost.

Today’s Iranian schools are controlled by Islamic leaders. Students must share Islamic beliefs to be educated. Many gifted teachers and professionals escaped Iran when it became an Islamic republic. Few remained to pass their skills to others.

Even so, Persian art tells an old, old story—and most Iranians know it well.

For more about the history of Persia, see Bright Star: The Story of Esther by Holly Mackle in our Recommended Reading.