The Persian Empire
The Persian Empire was the "chest and arms of silver" of the giant statue in Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, whose supremacy in history came about after the fall of the Babylonian Empire fell. The Persian empire extended from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia.
Cyrus II, king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.
The Persians were unique in Israeli history in that they were the only empire that permitted the return of the people of Judah, seventy years after they were exiled by King Nebuchadnezzar. Under the instructions of Cyrus, the Israelites began the rebuilding of the Temple.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: " 'The LORD , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you-may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD , the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:1-3)