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Assuerus



The name of two different persons in the Bible:

I. In I Esdr., iv, 6, and Esth., i, 17, it corresponds to the Hebrew 'Achashwerosh, and the Sept. Assoueros (in Esth. Artazerxes), and denotes Xerxes I, the King of Persia. It was to him that the Samaritans addressed their complaints against the inhabitants of Jerusalem soon after 485 B.C., i.e. in the beginning of his reign. Intent upon his pleasures and a war with Egypt, the king seems to have disregarded these charges. The report of Herodotus (VII, viii) that Xerxes convoked a council of his nobles, in the third year of his reign to deliberate about the war against Greece agrees with Esth, i, 3, telling of the great feast given by the king to his nobles in the third year of his reign. In the seventh year of his reign, after the return of Xerxes from his war against Greece, Esther was declared queen. In the twelfth year of the king's reign Esther saved the Jews from the national ruin contemplated by Aman.

II. Another Assuerus occurs in the Greek text of Tob., xiv, 15 (Asyeros), in conjunction with Nabuchodonosor; the taking of Ninive is ascribed to these two. In point of fact, Assyria was conquered by Cyaxares I, the king of Media, and Nabopolassar, the King of Babylonia, and father of Nabuchodonosor. Hence the Assuerus of Tob., xiv, 15, is Cyaxares I; his name is coupled with Nabuchodonosor because the latter must have led the troops of his father in the war against Assyria. The same Cyaxares I is probably the Assuerus (Achashwerosh) mentioned in Dan., ix, 1, as the father of Darius the Mede. Most probably Darius the Mede is Cyaxares II, the son of Astyages, the King of Media. The inspired writer of Dan., ix, 1 represents him as a son of Cyaxares I, or Assuerus, instead of Astyages, on account of the glorious name of the former. This could be done without difficulty, since, in genealogies, the name of the grandson was often introduced instead of that of the son.

A.J. MAAS








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