Tobit on Daniel

How did Jews living under the rule of the Persians look upon the Medes?  Did they see Media as separate from Persia –  a distinct empire or did they see the Medes and the Persians as essentially the same?

“But as a careful family man, Tobit also works out the practical consequences of these prophecies; he enjoins his son to leave Nineveh for Media because Media will have “real peace” until the appointed time. Thus, for the author, the fall of the Persian Empire will be followed by the establishment of the Kingdom of God.  It is obvious therefore, that the book must have been written before Alexander’s conquest and the fall of the Fourth Monarchy.  (Bickermann 1988, 57)

A 4th century BC Jew living in Ninevah did not distinguish between Media and Persia.  Neither did the Greeks,

“The word ‘medism’ was used to condemn an opponent as having pro-Persian, often aristocratic, sympathies…”  (Freeman 1996, 165)

It is highly improbable that Media and Persia are two empires represented separately in the statue of Daniel 2 and the beasts of Daniel 7.


Bickerman, E. J. and Jewish Theological Seminary of America. (1988). The Jews in the Greek Age. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.
Freeman, C. (1996). Egypt, Greece, and Rome : civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean. Oxford ; New York ;, Oxford University Press.



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