The kingdom of King Artaxerxes (Esth 1:1-1:4)

“It was after this that the following things happened in the days of King Artaxerxes, the same Artaxerxes who ruled over one hundred twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. In those days, when King Artaxerxes was enthroned in the capital city of Susa, in the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his friends and other persons of various nations, the Persians and the Median nobles, as well as the governors of the provinces. After this, he had displayed to them the wealth of his kingdom and the splendor of his bountiful celebration during the course of one hundred eighty days.”

Now we begin the story of Esther with the Hebrew text. This was the great King Artaxerxes (465-424 BCE) with a huge empire from India to Ethiopia. This Persian king, which is now Iran, had over 127 provinces. So that when we read about Samaria in the Province Beyond the River Euphrates in Nehemiah and Ezra, it was only 1 of 127 provinces. This was the 3rd year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, about 462 BCE. The capital city was Susa, a town that dates back to about 5,000 BCE, about 7, 000 years old. Susa was a major Persian city that went out of favor when it was captured by the Greek Alexander the Great in 331 BCE. King Artaxerxes had invited most of the 127 governors, nobles, and especially the Persian and Median nobles to see the wealth and splendor of his kingdom for about 6 months, 180 days. Persia and Media were old friendly neighboring countries.