Daniel and Esther - who was first?

(Sanchia_J) #1

Please help clear up some confusion for me.

According to the Bible, Daniel was alive during the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and Esther was around the time of King Xerxes. Which meant that Daniel, served under King Nebuchadnezzar, his son - Balthazar, then the persian King Darius, who, according to Daniel 9 is the son of Xerxes. This seems to indicate that the Jews were first captured by the Medes and Persians? and then again by the Babylonians?

I know its possible for the two empires to exist simultaneously, and then later one over powering the other - but it just seems there is a bit of overlap regarding the capturing of the Jews.

I also visited a few online sites which stated that the Bible has made huge errors with regards to Daniel and Esther, which of course if a whole other kettle of fish. Can someone offer some clarification on this please.

(christopher van zyl) #2

Hi there! Could you please clarify why you say it indicates that it was first medo Persian rule and then Babylonian rule?
I love this topic but just want to clarify your position and question first to make sure I understand.

Because from my understanding the book of Daniel is clear that they were under Babylonian exile, which was then succeeded by medo-Persian rule. Followed by (from what we see from his prophecy as well as historically) Greek rule and then Roman rule.

Can’t wait to discuss!

(Sanchia_J) #3

Hi there!
No problem, my understanding is that Esther became Queen to Xerxes (King/Leader of Persians and Medes) - Book of Esther. Daniel served King Darius, which is said to be the son of Xerxes (Daniel 9:1). I’m really confused about this timeline. Maybe there were two Darius? or two Xerxes?

(christopher van zyl) #4

This is interesting, and I’m searching for an answer too!

(Jimmy Sellers) #5

Here are two short excerpts from a couple of resources that I have. Hope this helps.

AHASUERUS (PERSON) [Heb ʾăhašwērôš (אֲהַשְׁוֵרֹושׁ); Gk asyēros (ἀσυηρος)].

  1. The Persian king who chose Esther to be his queen (Esth 1:1; 2:16–17; cf. also Ezra 4:6). See ESTHER. He is to be identified with the famous XERXES (485–465 B.C.), but was mistakenly identified in Jewish Midrash with Artaxerxes. Hoschander (1923) argued that Ahasuerus was to be identified with Artaxerxes II (403–359 B.C.). But extrabiblical evidence leaves little doubt that Ahasuerus was Xerxes, the son of Darius I. Shea (1976: 228) is able to list the spelling of both Xerxes and Artaxerxes in seven languages: Greek, Old Persian, Elamite, Aramaic, Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian (there is always a t in the spelling of the latter name).
    Apart from Esther, this Ahasuerus is mentioned only in Ezra 4:6 in relation to an accusation which was lodged against the Jews in his reign. Morgenstern (1956, 1957, 1960, 1966) postulated a destruction of Jerusalem in 485 B.C. in the reign of Xerxes as the immediate background of Ezra and Nehemiah, but most scholars regard such a thesis as highly improbable.
    Herodotus, in addition to depicting Xerxes’ role in the invasion of Greece in 480 B.C., presents an unflattering portrait of the king as an impatient, hot-tempered monarch with a wandering eye for women. According to Herodotus (9.108–13), Xerxes (Gk assouēros) not only tried to have an affair with his brother’s wife, but also did have an affair with her daughter.
    According to Barucq (1961: 3), the role which Ahasuerus holds in Esther “conforms perfectly to Xerxes” as we know him from Herodotus. Moore (1975: 69) agrees: “Much of what the author of Esther says about King Xerxes corresponds fairly well with what the classical writers had to say about such things, for example, … his nasty and at times irrational temper (1:12; 7:7–8) …”
    Ahasuerus is prominently portrayed on his throne in a fresco of the famous Dura Europos synagogue (Levit-Tawil 1983).
  2. The father of Darius the Mede (Dan 9:1). See DARIUS THE MEDE.
  3. The ruler who helped Nebuchadnezzar destroy the city of Nineveh (Tob 14:15). However, given the romantic and unhistorical nature of this apocryphal book, the identity of this character is in doubt. The author’s chronological sequence seems to be so skewed (cf. Tob 1:4, which condenses events two centuries apart into one generation) that it is impossible to determine which ancient ruler he had in mind. He may have regarded this as the same Ahasuerus mentioned in Esth 1:1 and Ezra 4:6 (i.e., the Persian Xerxes; see 1. above), who came to the throne about 75 years after Nebuchadnezzar died. Other ancient sources confirm that Nineveh was actually destroyed in 612 B.C. by a coalition led by Nebuchadnezzar’s father Nabopolassar and Cyaxares (Uvaxšatra) the Mede.

Yamauchi, E. M. (1992). Ahasuerus (Person). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 1, p. 105). New York: Doubleday.

ARTAXERXES ăr-tə-zûrkʹsēz [Heb. and Aram ’artaḥ-šastā’, with vowel variants; Gk. Artaxerxēs].

  1. Artaxerxes I Longimanus (464–424 B.C.), son of Xerxes I, who subdued revolts in Egypt between 460 and 445 B.C. He permitted Ezra to visit Jerusalem as Commissioner for Jewish Affairs (Ezr. 7:7–26; Neh. 2:1; etc.) in 458 B.C. He also authorized the mission of Nehemiah twelve years later (Neh. 1:2, etc.).
  2. The LXX reads Artaxerxes for Ahasuerus throughout Esther; and some scholars have thought that Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404–359 B.C.) was being envisaged, son of Darius I and grandson of Artaxerxes I, who defeated his brother Cyrus at the battle of Cunaxa in 401 B.C. More probably, however, the reference is to Xerxes I (486–485 B.C.)

Harrison, R. K. (1979–1988). Artaxerxes. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 1, p. 306). Wm. B. Eerdmans.

(christopher van zyl) #6

@ClairDeLune @Jimmy_Sellers have you found anything else on the topic?

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(Sanchia_J) #7

Aaaah ok, thanks for this.
So it seems that there were two Xerxes:

  1. Artaxerxes I - Darius father - who helped Nebuchadnezzar over throw Ninevah and assisted Ezra.
  2. Artaxerxes II - The Persian ruler who married Esther.

This does clear things up for me :slight_smile: