[b-hebrew] Daniel

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Sep 4 06:23:22 EDT 2006

Dear Shoshanna,

> From my sources (Artscroll, Judaica Press, Rashi, etc.)
>The beginning of Achashverosh's reign was 3393.
>Achashverosh was the successor to Cyrus, toward the end of the 70 
>years of the Babylonian Exile (4 Century BCE) - Rashi.

HH: The Babylonian Captivity started in 587 B.C, so it did not end in 
the 4th century BCE. That is too late.

>Ibn Ezra also says that Achashverosh reigned after Cyrus during the 
>time of the Second Temple, but the Temple was still not built during 
>his reign, as is related in the book of Ezra (4:6).  Ibn Ezra 
>identifies Achashverosh with Artaxerxes, during whose reign the 
>construction of the Temple was suspended.  This follows the view of 
>the Sages, that this Achashverosh was the second monarch over the 
>united Persian Empire (ie; from the time that Persia united with 
>Media, which is from the death of Darius the Mede, who also reigned 
>over the Babylonian Empire).  According to them, the first king was 
>Cyrus, who sanctioned the rebuilding of the Second Temple, and he was 
>succeeded by this Achashverosh, who suspended its construction.
>Ibn Ezra also conjectures that there was another Achashverosh among 
>the ancient kings of Persia who also reigned over Persia and Media. 
>However, he did not reign over other countries as did Achashverosh 
>II, the main character of the Book of Esther.  Therefore Scripture 
>states:  He was the Achashverosh who reigned, etc., one hundred 
>twenty-seven provinces.
>The dates I have are from the creation of the world, year 1.  We are 
>now in the year 5766, so you can subtract.

HH: Subtracting 3393 from 5766 gives a difference of 2373 years ago, 
which is only 367 B.C. Unless I counted wrong, that seems too late. 
Here's part of a Wikipedia article:

Ahasuerus (Hebrew אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, Standard Hebrew Aḥašveroš, Tiberian Hebrew 
ʾĂḫašwērôš, commonly transliterated Achashverosh) is a name used several 
times in the Hebrew Bible and related legends and apocrypha. The name is 
generally thought to be equivalent to Xerxes, both being derived from 
the original Persian Khashayar-sha.
▪ The name of the king of Persia in the Book of Esther[1]. He is 
generally identified with Xerxes I[2] of Persia although several 
alternative identifications have been proposed. The Greek version of the 
Book of Esther refers to him as Artaxerxes and Josephus relates that 
this was the name by which he was known to the Greeks[3]. Similarly the 
Midrash of Esther Rabba, I, 3 identifies him as Artaxerxes.

HH: Here's something on Xerxes I:

Xerxes I (Persian: خشایارشاه, 'Khashâyâr Shâh'), was a Persian Emperor 
(Shahanshah) (reigned 485–465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. "Xerxēs" is 
the Greek transliteration of the Persian throne name Khashayarsha or 
Khashayar-shah, meaning "King of heroes". In the Book of Ezra and in 
Book of Esther, the Persian king Axašweroš (אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ) (Ahasuerus) 
probably corresponds to Xerxes I.

Harold Holmyard

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