Esther 1:1

1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)

Esther 1:1 Meaning and Commentary

Esther 1:1

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus
Who he was is not easy to say; almost all the kings of Persia are so named by one or another writer. He cannot be the Ahasuerus in ( Daniel 9:1 ) , he was Astyages, the father of Cyaxares or Darius the Mede; but this must be one who had his royal palace in Shushan, which was never the royal city of the Medes, but of the Persians only; nor does he seem to be the Ahasuerus in ( Ezra 4:6 ) , who is thought to be Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus; since, according to the canon of Ptolemy, he reigned but eight years, whereas this Ahasuerus at least reigned twelve, ( Esther 3:7 ) , though indeed some account for it by his reigning in his father's lifetime; besides, Cambyses was always an enemy to the Jews, as this was not; and yet this way go many of the Jewish writers


F14 and so a very learned man, Nicolaus Abram F15; according to Bishop Usher F16, this was Darius Hystaspis, who certainly was a friend to the Jewish nation; but he is rather the Artaxerxes of Ezra and Nehemiah; and so says the Midrash F17. Dr. Prideaux F18 thinks Ahasuerus was Artaxerxes Longimanus, which is the sense of Josephus {s}, and who is thought by many to be the Artaxerxes in the foresaid books. Capellus F20 is of opinion, that Darius Ochus is meant, to which Bishop Patrick inclines; but I rather think, with Vitringa F21 and others F23, that Xerxes is the Ahasuerus that was the husband of Esther here spoken of; so the Arabic writers F24; and as he was the son and successor of Darius Hystaspis, if he is meant by Artaxerxes in the preceding books, the history of which is carried to the thirty second year of his reign, ( Nehemiah 13:6 ) and who reigned but four years more; this book of Esther stands in right order of time to carry on the history of the Jewish affairs in the Persian monarchy; and Mr. Broughton F25 owns, that the name of Xerxes, in Greek, agrees with Achasuerus in Hebrew; and in ( Esther 10:1 ) his name is Achashresh, which, with the Greeks, is Axeres or Xerxes F26:

this is Ahasuerus, which reigned from India even unto Ethiopia;
properly so called; the Ethiopians had been subdued by Cambyses the son and successor of Cyrus F1, and the Indians by Darius Hystaspis the father of Xerxes F2; and both, with other great nations, were retained in subjection to him F3; and many of both, as well as of other nations, were with him in his expedition into Greece F4:

over an hundred and twenty and seven provinces;
there were now seven provinces more under his jurisdiction than were in the times of Darius the Mede, ( Daniel 6:1 ) .

F14 Targum & Jarchi in loc. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 29. Zuta, p. 108.
F15 Pharus Vet. Test. l. 11. c. 12. p. 305.
F16 Annal. Vet. Test. p. 160. so Broughton, Works, p. 38, 259, 581.
F17 Midrash Esther, fol. 86. 2.
F18 Connection par. 1. B. 4. p. 252, &c.
F19 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 6. sect. 1. and so Suidas in voce (esyhr) .
F20 Chronolog. Sacr. p. 294.
F21 Hypotypos. Hist. Sacr. p. 110.
F23 Schichart. de Festo Purim. Rainold. Praelect. 144. p. 231. Alsted. Chronolog. p. 126, 181.
F24 In Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 87.
F25 Ut supra. (Broughton, Works, p. 38, 259, 581.)
F26 Vid. Hiller. Arcan. Keri & Ketib, p. 87. & Onomastic. Sacr. p. 639.
F1 Herodot. Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 97.
F2 lb. Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 44.
F3 lb. Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 9.
F4 lb. c. 65, 69, 70.

Esther 1:1 In-Context

1 Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)
2 That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
3 In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:
4 When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days.
5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;
The King James Version is in the public domain.