Ahasuerus part 2

by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Xerxes part 2
Xerxes was known for his drinking, lavish banquets, strong temper, and enormous harem – the main wing of the harem building in Persepolis was excavated by a team from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in the early 1930s. Royal intrigue with the King was also well documented, as he unsuccessfully pursued his brother's wife, then fought an insurrection by his brother whom he killed, and then turned his attention to his niece.
The names of Xerxes' main wives are known, said Bloch, and there is none recorded thought to be Esther, though, of course, he added, one such name could have been among his secondary wives.
"Xerxes is particularly famous as an example of arrogance," said Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor of Jewish history Daniel Schwartz. "When people want to tell a story of an arrogant ruler, they talk about Xerxes."
These are typical stories of Asian despots tyrants that people like to tell and which Greeks liked to tell about Persians.
On his way to fight the Greeks, Xerxes had his forces build a bridge at Hellespont Strait between Greece and Turkey, today known as the Strait of Gallipoli, and when the sea destroyed it in a storm, he had the ocean whipped. Later, he had his men dig a canal through the base of the Mount Athos Peninsula in Greece as he made his way to battle, noted Schwartz. Though the canal has been covered up over time, its contours are still visible today.
Despite having won some battles, Xerxes failed in the end to conquer Greece, and in 479 BCE, after his governor, Mardonius, was defeated at the Battle of Plataea, his forces returned home.
In a podcast with the Jewish People Policy Institute promoting her 2020 book, Esther Unmasked, Dr. Thamar Eilam Gindin, a researcher at the University of Haifa's Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, noted that though the story of Esther is only documented in the Bible, a similar story is documented of the succession to the throne of Xerxes' father, King Darius, including the danger of an imposter king wielding power.
In Ezra 4:6, Ahasuerus is mentioned as a king of Persia, to whom the enemies of the Jews sent representatives opposing the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. He thus occupies a place in a chronological series of those Persian rulers who were directly concerned with Jewish history events. In Daniel 9:1, Ahasuerus is presented as the father of "Darius the Mede," who is said to have become King over Babylonia upon the death of Belshazzar. However, the name seems impossible here and may result from some accident in the literary transmission. No other name resembling Ahasuerus, nor any name like Darius, is found in the list of Median kings. Moreover, it is known that the immediate successor of Nabonidus and Belshazzar as ruler of Babylonia was Cyrus II.
Ahasuerus appears most prominently in the Book of Esther, and the intrigues of the King's court provide the biblical origin of the festival of cPurim. The Jews of the Persian empire were threatened with destruction due to the machinations of Haman, the chief minister to Ahasuerus. Queen Esther uses her influence with the King to thwart the plot; however, the Jews were instead given royal sanction to attack their enemies. The mention of Ahasuerus in Tobit 14:15 in some Greek manuscripts is likely the result of a copyist's error.
c Purim (/ˈpʊərɪm/; Hebrew: פּוּרִים Pūrīm, lit. ' is a
A holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman, an official of the Achaemenid Empire who was planning to have all of Persia's Jewish subjects killed, as recounted in the Book of Esther (usually dated to the 5th century BCE).
The name Ahasuerus was revived in 1602 in the German pamphlet Kurze Beschreibung und Erzählung von einem Juden mit namen Ahasverus (“A Brief Description and Narration Regarding a Jew Named Ahasuerus”). In this tale, Ahasuerus is the name given to the Wandering Jew, a character of Christian Legend doomed to roam the Earth until the Second Coming because he taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion.
Ahasuerus is a royal Persian name occurring throughout the Old Testament. Immediately preceding Artaxerxes I in the line of Persian kings, Ahasuerus is evidently to be identified with Xerxes.
In Ezra 4:6, Ahasuerus is mentioned as a king of Persia, to whom the enemies of the Jews sent representatives opposing the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. He thus occupies a place in a chronological series of those Persian rulers who were directly concerned with Jewish history events. In Daniel 9:1, Ahasuerus is presented as the father of "Darius the Mede," who is said to have become King over Babylonia upon the death of Belshazzar. However, the name seems impossible here and may result from some accident in the literary transmission. No other name resembling Ahasuerus, nor any name like Darius, is found in the list of Median kings. Moreover, it is known that the immediate successor of Nabonidus and Belshazzar as ruler of Babylonia was Cyrus II.
Ahasuerus appears most prominently in the Book of Esther, and the intrigues of the King's court provide the biblical origin of the festival of Purim. The Jews of the Persian empire were threatened with destruction due to the machinations of Haman, the chief minister to Ahasuerus. Queen Esther uses her influence with the King to thwart the plot; however, the Jews were instead given royal sanction to attack their enemies. The mention of Ahasuerus in Tobit 14:15 in some Greek manuscripts is likely the result of a copyist's error.
The name Ahasuerus was revived in 1602 in the German pamphlet Kurze Beschreibung und Erzählung von einem Juden mit namen Ahasverus (“A Brief Description and Narration Regarding a Jew Named Ahasuerus”). In this tale, Ahasuerus is the name given to the Wandering Jew, a character of Christian Legend doomed to roam the Earth until the Second Coming because he taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion

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