The three brothers, since the death of Nebuchadnezzar, had seen best to retire from public life. In Babylon they were greatly beloved, and considered as the peculiarly favored of the gods, and over whom no mortal had control.
Nerriglisser, immediately on his accession to the throne, made great preparations for war against the Medes, which preparations lasted for three years. Cyaxeres, king of the Medes, seeing the hostile attitude of the Babylonians, sent to Persia, imploring the help of his young nephew, Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, king of Persia, who had married his sister Mandana. Now Cyrus was beautiful in person, and still more lovely in the qualities of his mind; was of sweet disposition, full of good nature and humanity, and always had a great desire to learn and a noble ardor for glory. He was never afraid of danger nor discouraged by any hardship or difficulty. He was brought up according to the laws and customs of the Persians, which were excellent in those days with respect to education. With the consent of his father, he readily complied with the wish of his uncle, and, at the head of 30,000 well-trained Persians, he marched into Media and thence to Assyria, to meet the forces of Nerriglisser, king of Babylon, and the forces of Croesus, king of the Lydians. The armies met. The Chaldeans were routed. Croesus fled, and Nerriglisser, the king of Babylon, was slain in the action. His son, Loboros-barchod, succeeded to the throne.
This was a very wicked prince. Being naturally of the most vicious inclinations, he now indulged them without restraint, as if he had been invested with sovereign power only to have the privilege of committing with impunity the most infamous and barbarous actions. He reigned but five months; his own subjects, conspiring against him, put him to death, and Belshazzar, the son of Evil-Merodach, reigned in his place.
Since the death of Evil-Merodach, and during the reign of his two successors, Daniel had retired to private life, and was but little spoken of at public places. This king, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, led a life of dissipation and profligacy.
In the meantime, the fame of the Persian prince was spreading far and wide. His armies proved victorious on every shore; and, to the faithful Hebrews, who discerned the signs of the times, his conquests were hailed with inward joy. Cyrus for some years had tarried in Asia Minor, and had reduced all the nations that inhabited it to subjection, from the AEgean Sea to the River Euphrates. Then he proceeded to Syria and Arabia, which he also subdued.
The fortifications of Babylon, since the death of Nebuchadnezzar, had been strengthened, and now the work of fortifying was carried on with great vigor. Belshazzar, if from no other motive than fear, gave all encouragement to this kind of improvement, and during his reign prodigious works of this nature were completed. He was well aware that the famous Persian had his eye upon him, and that the besieging of the city was but a question of time. He therefore made all preparations for a formidable attack. Provisions of all kinds, from all parts of the country, were stored within the city in great abundance, and everything was put in readiness to withstand a protracted siege.