The British Museum has an important archaeological clay cylinder that furnishes us a vivid secular picture of Cyrus the Great.
“I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world, son of Cambyses, the great king, king of the city of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, the great king, king of the city of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, the great king, king of Anshan, the perpetual seed of kingship, whose reign Bel and Nabu love, and with whose kingship, to their joy, they concern themselves.”
Cyrus is mentioned in the Bible more than 30 times.
He is the man who fulfilled God’s judgment (the handwriting on the wall) on King Belshazzar as recorded in Daniel 5. Secular history shows that Belshazzar was ruling with his father Nabonidus (this mean that Belshazzar was a grandson to Nebuchadnezzar. However, the culture of the day did not distinguish sons from grandsons. That is why the Bible refers to Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar).
He is the chap who is predicted by the Prophet Isaiah to free the Jews from Captivity (after 70 years as prophesied by Yirmia). In Isaiah, God calls Him his anointed king (Isaiah 45:4).
He is the fellow who helped in rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. Historians and theologians believe that this marked the beginning of Judaism.
Cyrus was a pagan king, and the quotes from the clay cylinder attest to this. Nonetheless, God used him to fulfil his purposes. God has a way of using kings to accomplish His decrees. He can use the boisterous, the dumb, the proud and the arrogant to work out His plans. He can even use donkeys. However, this does not necessarily mean God approves his/her actions wholistically.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Proverbs 21:9 (KJV).