Medes (Media)
Dictionary of Bible Names

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Medes (Media)
Bible Meaning: Middle land
Strong's Concordance #H4074, #H4075, #H4076, #G3370

The Bible uses the term Media several times (Esther 1:3, 14, 18, 10:2, Isaiah 21:2, Daniel 8:20). It also utilizes the terms Medes or Mede in many other places (2Kings 17:6, 18:11, Ezra 6:2, Esther 1:19, Isaiah 13:17, etc.).

Media, the home of the Medes, was generally located south and southwest of the Caspian Sea. The inhabitants of the land grew to become a powerful people in the shadow of both the Assyrian and Babylonian empires.

In 559 B.C., Cyrus the Great became king of Persia. Desiring to remove the dominance of Media over the Persians, he attacked and conquered them in 549. The Medes, though conquered, continued to be honored in the new empire and were many times referenced together with the Persians (Esther 1:2 - 3, Daniel 5:28, 6:12, 8:20).

The Medo-Persian Empire, at its height, controlled more than 2.9 million square miles (7.5 million square kilometers) of land. This made them one of the most powerful ancient empire in terms of land controlled!


The empire of Media and Persia is represented by the chest and arms of silver in Nebuchadnezzar's well known prophetic-related vision of a man (Daniel 2:32, 39). This second great world empire, which followed Babylon's rise to power, was also symbolized by a bear (Daniel 7:5) and a ram with two horns (Daniel 8:3 - 4, 20).

Location of Ancient Media (Medes) Map
Location of Media

Persia's conquest of Babylon in 539 brought with it the control of countless Jews held in captivity. It was Cyrus the Great who, fulfilling prophecy (Isaiah 44:28, Jeremiah 29:10, Ezra 1:1 - 2), not only allowed some Jews to return to Jerusalem but also paid for the city and temple to be rebuilt!

New Testament Mention

Inhabitants from Media were in Jerusalem during Pentecost in 30 A.D. to witness God pouring out his Spirit on a large group of people (Acts 2:1 - 9). They became some of the first people converted after the ascension of Christ.

Important Verses

2Kings 17:6
In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes (Media).

Esther 1:2 - 3
. . . when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media . . .

Esther 10:2
And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia?

Daniel 5:25 - 28
And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE: God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES: Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Daniel 6:12
Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree: Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians . . .

Daniel 8:17, 20
So he came near where I (Daniel) stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man . . . The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

Acts 2:9
Parthians, and Medes (Media), and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia . . .

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).