Book of Esther - Introduction

Esther (1:1)

English Standard Version
Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the citadel, in the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his officials and servants.

Persion Rulers

559 - 530 Cyrus the Great
530 - 522 Cambyses, son of Cyrus
521 - 486 Darius the Great
  • Supported Jews rebuilding Second Temple
  • Attended by prophet Daniel
  • Defeated by Greeks at Marathon
484 - 465 Xerxes the Great
  • Second invasion of Greece
  • Defeated by Greeks at Thermopylae
  • Assassinated
464 - 424 Artaxerxes I
  • Third son of Xerxes (?)


587 Nebuchadnezzar II Sacks Jerusalem, Judah becomes province of Babylon
586 Exile of Judah (and Benjamin) to Babylon
559 Cyrus the Great rebels against Medes and founds the Persian Empire
539 Cyrus conquers Babylonia, allows Jews to return to Judah (still a Persian Province)
530 Cyrus dies in Battle, succeeded by his son, Cambyses
530 Jews begin reconstruction of second temple
522 Darius (the Great) becomes king of Persia
490 Persians (under Darius) defeated by Greeks at Marathon
484 Xerxes becomes king of Persia
480 - 79 Persians under Xerxes defeated at Thermopylae and Salamis
333 Alexander (the Great) enters Jerusalem
2xx Men of the Great Assembly establish the Jewish Canon
2xx 72 Jewish Scholars called by Ptolemy to translate Torah to Greek (Septuagint, also called LXX)
2xx - 1xx Deuterocanonical writings added to LXX
167 Maccabees revolt against Seluicids
150 Rise of the Pharisees
4 Birth of Jesus
0 - 200 Tannaim memorized and taught oral Torah
33 Crucifixion of Jesus
70 Second Temple destroyed by Romans
100 Council of Jamnia excluded Christians from Synagogue
212 Mishnah created by Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi
325 First Councile of Nicea - Nicene Crede, Date of Easter, settled Arian Controversy
367 Pope Athanasius 39th Festal Letter lists 27 books of N.T. Canon
382 Council of Rome included Deuterocanonical writings into Bible
382 Jerome created Vulgate (Latin Bible) using mostly LXX
700 - 1000 Masoretic Texts copied and distributed - Authoritative texts of TaNaKh
1517 Martin Luthur posts 95 Theses - beginning of Reformation
1532 Council of Trent affirms Vulgate as Canon; beginning of Counter Reformation

Some Historically Relevant Figures

Source Material

Canonical Status