In the last few posts I have been hinting that Alexander the Great appears in the Bible. In the Book of Daniel it lists four great empires and one of these is the empire of the Greeks which was began under Alexander when he defeated the Persians in 331 BC. Another mention of Alexander is in 1 Maccabees 1 where he is mentioned in the historical account leading up to the Maccabean revolt (167 to 160 BC). Here is what the Bible says about him, his conquest, and the aftermath.
This history begins when Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedonia, marched from Macedonia and attacked Darius, king of Persia and Media. Alexander enlarged the Greek Empire by defeating Darius and seizing his throne. 2 He fought many battles, captured fortified cities, and put the kings of the region to death. 3 As he advanced to the ends of the earth, he plundered many nations; and when he had conquered the world, he became proud and arrogant. 4 By building up a strong army, he dominated whole nations and their rulers, and forced everyone to pay him taxes.
5-7 When Alexander had been emperor for twelve years, he fell ill and realized that he was about to die. He called together his generals, noblemen who had been brought up with him since his early childhood, and he divided his empire, giving a part to each of them. 8 After his death, the generals took control, 9 and each had himself crowned king of his own territory. The descendants of these kings ruled for many generations and brought a great deal of misery on the world. GNT- Good News Translation
Alexander also appears in Daniel 11:3 – “Then a heroic king will appear. He will rule over a huge empire and do whatever he wants. 4 But at the height of his power his empire will break up and be divided into four parts. Kings not descended from him will rule in his place, but they will not have the power that he had.“ And in Daniel 7, as a beast like a leopard with four wings and four heads.
As far as archeological evidence for Alexander there was an inscription found in the Temple of Athena in Priene Turkey (located in the British museum). Also there is a cuneiform tablet from Babylonia that records his death.
Alexander conquered all the way to the ends of the earth, and as he did he visited and founded some great cities. Here is an extensive map of those places.
- Pella – Alexander’s birthplace in 356 BC: The word Pella means stone or stone fence like those used be shepherds to keep the flock together. It was the capital of the kingdom of Macedon in northern Greece.
- Asia Minor – He passed through a number of cities there on his way to fight Persia including some places we’ve mentioned before: Halicarnassus and Rhodes. He also went to Sardis which was one of seven cities of the book of Revelation.
- Levant and Syria – Here he conquered the King of Kings, Darius III who was king of Persia, Babylon and Pharaoh of Egypt. He also went to Tyre and defeated the island nation by building an kilometer long causeway so his troops could cross from the mainland. Tyre is mentioned in the Bible in Ezekiel 26-28 which foretold of its destruction.
- Jerusalem – According to ancient historian Josephus, Alexander visited Jerusalem, and when he arrived was told that he was mentioned in the Hebrew bible. [Josephus Jewish Antiquities 11.337, translated in livius.org].
- Egypt Wilderness– After the defeat of Tyre (an Egyptian trading partner), Egypt basically surrendered to Alexander. But what comes next is really strange. Alexander travels through the desert wilderness to the Oracle of Siwa oasis where he was pronounced a son of the god Amun. Henceforth Alexander became son of Zeus-Ammon (a combination of the Greek and Egyptian high gods). On currency at the time Alexander was shown crowned with rams horns, a symbol of divinity.
- Egypt Alexandria – Alexander founded his namesake city in Egypt where the famous Great Library of Alexandria was established around 300 BC. This was a very important event as it lead to the Greek version of the Hebrew bible.
- Lost City of Heracleion – The ancient city of Heracleion was found in our century (in 2000 to be precise) by underwater explorer and archeologist Franck Goddio about 150 feet down off the coast of Alexandria. You can see some of the objects found there in the traveling exhibition. The next exhibition stop is St. Louis (click here for info). For a great video on Heracleion please watch this from Youtube. It’s thought the city sunk under water due to earthquakes and soil liquefaction.
©Copyright 2018 Doug Bollman