Ahura-Mazda

AHURA-MAZDA ə hōōr ə măz’ də (Old Pers. A[h]-ura-mazda[h], “wise lord”), the great overseeing principle of good, the divine spirit in the teachings of the Pers. sage, Zarathustra (Zoroaster). He is worshiped as the creator of the cosmos and the archenemy and totally other of the evil spirit, Ahriman (q.v.). In the royal inscrs. of the Achaemenid dynasty which brought Persia to its height as an archaicreligious state, beginning with the reign of Cyrus (2 Chron 36:22; Isa 44:28, et al., frequently in Ezra). The formulas of the Old Pers. inscrs. are often taken from the SumeroAkkad. royal inscrs. However, the success and prestige of each king is attributed to Ahuramazda, “By the favor of Ahura-mazda I am king in this land” (cf. R. G. Kent, Old Persian [1950] 116-157.) Of special interest is the inscr. of Darius which mentions other gods, as though Ahura-mazda was the head of a complex pantheon. The antagonism of the Persians to idolatry was certainly a factor in the positive verdict upon Cyrus and his successors given by the OT (Ezra 7:12-20).