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Esther, Queen of Persia

Setting:  Esther’s story occurs during the rule of the Persian Empire (559 BC-330 BC) approximately:

  • 50 years after the decree of Cyrus in 538 BC announcing that exiled Jews could return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1);
  • 40 years after the temple was rebuilt; and
  • 30 years before the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, which is detailed in the book of Nehemiah.  [See Halley’s Bible Handbook.]
Der Wiederaufbau des Tempels zu Jerusalem unte...

Der Wiederaufbau des Tempels zu Jerusalem unter Esra und Nehemia. Feder in Schwarz über Spuren von Bleistift auf Velin. 14,8 x 14,3 cm. In brauner Feder monogrammiert “JSC” und mit schwarzer Feder datiert “d. 3 Apr. 47”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is helpful to read Ezra, Esther, and Nehemiah
as a unit to get the feel for the unfolding of momentous historical events during this period of time.

Timeline (Archaeological Study Bible, Esther, p 714):

586 BC  Fall of Jerusalem

539 BC  Persia’s conquest of Babylon

538 BC  First return of exiles to Jerusalem

486-465 BC  Xerxes’ reign in Persia

479 BC  Esther’s reign in Persia

458 BC  Ezra to Jerusalem

445 BC  Nehemiah to Jerusalem

445 BC  Jerusalem’s wall rebuilt

Map showing extent of Achaemenid Empire 559 - ...

Map showing extent of Achaemenid Empire 559 – 330 (BC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About womenfromthebook

Mine is a life-long interest in the women of the Bible, and I enjoy exploring the world in which they lived, and discovering the challenges that they faced. I have enough curiosity about them to last the rest of my life.

2 responses

  1. Thanks for the information. I think it would have also been interesting and helpful to really understand what was going on by having even more info. included in the timeline for easy reference. Like when was the reign of Xerxes ended and how many years it took for all the recorded events to happen in the book of Esther. ie. virgins taken 1 st and 2nd. time, the one year beauty prep, being made queen until Haman came along, the time it took for Haman and Modecai to go back and forth, the fasting, the banquets, the day the event of killing the Jews, what next after that, all the way to the kings assasination.

  2. karen - Touch for Life

    Thank you for this information. I was searching for more information about the women of the Harem for a class I am giving on body preparations and beauty practices of that period and I found this most interesting.

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