Esther Part Three
What has Daniel 9:1 have to do with understanding history and the Book of Esther? Look at the following graphic illustration. There is much confusion and contradictory statements even in Bible commentaries about rulers in Babylon, Media, Persia and who was what and when was Esther.
Daniel 9:1 states “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” [NASB]
Secularist often refuse to allow for similar names to be distinctly different rulers. If Ahasuerus was a Mede and his son Darius a ruler in Babylon (Chaldeans), where does Esther fit? Assume the larger circle is the Persian-Median Empire. King Herrod of the New Testament was called a king, but he was not the ONLY king within the Roman Empire; only one of four King Herrod.
Here is a brief of the situations at, around or near the time of Esther. Hebrew name: Hadassah.
50,000 plus captives from Judah returned to Jerusalem, Judah under Cyrus II (the Great)
Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, Ezra, Daniel, Esther, Mordecai, all part of the same lifespan
Three kingdoms in one: Persia, Babylon, Media all to eventually fall under Cyrus II of Persia
The Medes and the Persians are the two arms in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s Statue Dream [Daniel 2].
Medes were the weaker group as mentioned by Daniel; the left hand
Medes were actually more of a confederacy of six tribes of people: The six Median tribes resided in Media proper, the triangular area between Rhagae, Aspadana and Ecbatana In present-day Iran, that is the area between Tehran, Isfahan and Hamadan, respectively. Of the Mede tribes, the Magi resided in Rhagae, modern Tehran.
The Three Maji Kings of Christmas celebrity status were from a Tribe of people called Maji, Zoroastrians. Likely from the Tribe of Issachar who were star gazers. It was them to whom the Bethlehem star was revealed.
Hmmm? To an Israelite group the Star of Bethlehem Messiah appeared?
The Two horns of Daniel’s ram vision in Daniel 8 are the Medes and Persians.
Assyria disperses the Kingdom of Israel, the Northern ten Tribes of Israel [722 B.C.]
Assyria defeated by Medes and Babylonians [around 610 B.C.]
Lydians defeated by the Medes (around 547 B.C.]
Babylonians defeated by the Medes and Persians [539 B.C.]
Persians conquered Medes. (the last king of Mede, Astyages, was the grandfather of the Persian king Cyrus II) [549 B.C.]
Cyrus II takes control of former Babylon moving one of Persia’s three capitals to Susa (aka: Shushan) Originally established by a grandson of Shem [Elam]. It became a Persian capital around 539 B.C.
Daniel and Esther’s tombs are claimed to be in Susa.
Daniel is held in great esteem by Jews, Muslims, & Christians just as is Abraham. Order of their origination: Jews – Christians – Islam
ESTHER CHAPTER 1
Esther 1:1 “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia)
1:2 in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel”. Ahasuerus was a bitter enemy of the Greeks for which Persia paid a great price 150 years later when Alexander the Great [337 B.C.] marched on Persia in revenge for the previous attacks by Ahasuerus-Xerxes in Greece/Macedonia. Shushan or Susa is to this very day the legendary tomb sites of Daniel, Esther, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Susa (Shusha) is in the Zagros Mountains. This is where the bible and historians tell us large populations of ten Northern Kingdom of Israelis were exiled by the Assyrian.
JIV NOTE: Babylon was no longer the capital of this territory of former Babylon. It was primarily Shusha/Susa. Ahasuerus fought the Greeks in the Battle at Thermopylae [480 B.C.] The last days of Daniel’s life was in Susa.
Esther 1:3 in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him
This is uncanny in that is precisely how the Medes three years earlier conquered the Babylonians killing co-regent king Belteshazzar…with a great feast, royal wines, and golden goblets. This similarity includes verse 4 when the riches of his kingdom were displayed to all who were present. The difference is obvious in verses 5-8 of Esther. For seven days it included the population, not just the royalty and nobles.
Another difference was Belteshazzar expected his guests to drink heavily. Verse 1:8 says drinking was an option of everyone by rule of Ahasuerus.
ENTER QUEEN VASHTI – Est 1:9 Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
There are controversies over exactly what King Xerxes had ordered Vashti to do. She was to adorn the royal crown of the Queen but here is where things are subject to unfounded translation interpretations and guess work. She was without doubt a beautiful woman. Her origin is not mentioned but guess work makes her of Persian descent. Without listing all the lacking evidence speculations per her appearance, what we do know is she refused to come before the guests of Ahasuerus per his request.
Since she too was holding a banquet for the wives of the king’s royal guests, these too had been drinking something other than river water or sparkling lemonade [humor intended]. Excess drinking can make one unusually bold, sometimes stupid in actions and verbalized opinions. She was with a great multitude of other wives who all share one thing common this time in history. These wives were supposedly subject to their husbands’ wishes. It would not take much imagination to conclude Vashti did not come to a refusal on her own. There had to be many women who did not enjoy being subject to husbands yet alone male domination. Why is this an easy consideration? Look at the 19th and 20 centuries around the world and in America. DIDDO! The word used for Queen Vashti’s feast in Hebrew is mishteh. It means to drink as in festivity.
What could make a bolder revolutionary statement than the Queen of Persia standing up to her husband’s wishes. The wise guys in the other banquet had good reason to fear this disobedience spreading throughout the empire. It did not just occur to them at this juncture. Their home lives behind closed doors likely gave them grounds for fear of a women’s united revolution. We will not discuss the pros and cons of our current century political hot potato. Let the Bible stand on its own merits. Ephesians 5:2 would not be written for another 500 years. We often forget the last four words of Ephesians 5:2…”as unto the Lord.”
Question: How well do men AND women submit unto the Lord today?
Rev. Dr. Jstark