Ahasuerus (Hebrew Name|אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ|Aḥašveroš|ʾĂḥašwērôš, Latin:"Xerxes", Persian: "Khashayarshah", commonly transliterated Achashverosh) is a name used several times in the Hebrew Bible, as well as related legends and apocrypha.

Equivalence of the names Ahasuerus and Xerxes

The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes, both deriving from the Persian "Khashayarshah". The form Xerxes has not traditionally appeared in English bibles, [KJV, NASB, Amplified Bible, ESV, 21st Century KJV, ASV, Young's Literal Translation, Darby Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, etc. ] but has rather appeared as Ahasuerus. Many other translations and paraphrases [NIV, The Message, NLT, CEV, NCV, NIRV, Today's NIV, etc.] have used the name Xerxes. This name or title (i.e. Ahasuerus) applied in the Hebrew Scriptures to three different rulers. The same name (or title) is also applied uncertainly to a Babylonian official noted at the Apocryphal book of Tobit.

The name Xerxes comes to us directly from the Greek Ξέρξης. The English name Ahasuerus is derived from the Latin transliteration of the Hebrew Áchashwerosh (אחשורוש). This in turn is the Hebrew equivalent of the Babylonian Achshiyarshu: both this and the Greek Ξέρξης are transliterations from the Old Persian Xšayāršā (also spelt Khsayârshâ). [Nichol, F.D., "Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary", "Volume 3", Review and Herald Publishing Association, (Washington, D.C., 1954 edition), p.459, "Historical Setting"] Thus this literary change was created as the name moved across each of the language groups in a westerly direction from Persia until it entered English translations of the Bible.

In the Bible

Book of Esther

Ahasuerus is given as the name of the King of Persia in the Book of Esther [bibleref|Esther|1] . 19th century Bible commentaries generally identified him with Xerxes I of Persia, [ [http://www.bibletexts.com/glossary/xerxes.htm Ahasuerus/Xerxes] at BibleTexts.com] , although this assumption is now rejected by other scholars. ["The Religious Policy of Xerxes and the "Book of Esther", Littman, Robert J., The Jewish Quarterly Review, 65.3, Jan 1975, p.145-148. [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0021-6682%28197501%292%3A65%3A3%3C145%3ATRPOXA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9] ] The Greek version of the Book of Esther refers to him as Artaxerxes, and the historian Josephus relates that this was the name by which he was known to the Greeks. [ [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=967&letter=A Ahasuerus] at the JewishEncyclopedia.com] Similarly, the Midrash of "Esther Rabba, I, 3" identifies the King as Artaxerxes. The Ethiopic text calls him "Arťeksis", usually the Ethiopic equivalent of "Artaxerxes". Bar-Hebraeus identified him as Artaxerxes II, a view strongly supported by the 20th century scholar Jacob Hoschander. Jacob Hoschander, "The Book of Esther in the Light of History", Oxford University Press, 1923] . An inscription from the time of Ataxerxes II records that he was also known as "Arshu" understood to be a shortening of the Babylonian form "Achshiyarshu" derived from the Persian "Khshayarsha". (Xerxes). The Greek historians Ctesias and Deinon noted that Artaxerxes II was also called "Arsicas" or "Oarses" respectively similarly understood to be derived from "Khshayarsha", the former as the shortened form together with the Persian suffix "-ke" applied to such shortened names.

Book of Ezra

Ahasuerus is also given as the name of a King of Persia in the Book of Ezra. [bibleref|Ezra|4:5-7] Jewish tradition regards him as the same Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther; the Ethiopic text calls him "Arťeksis", as it does the above figure in Esther. 19th century Bible scholars suggested that he might be Cambyses II.Fact|date=March 2008

Book of Tobit

In some versions of the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, Ahasuerus is given as the name of an associate of Nebuchadnezzar, who together with him, destroyed Niniveh just before Tobit's death. [Book of Tobit, 14:15.] A traditional Catholic view is that he is identical to the Ahasuerus of Daniel 9:1 [In the Ethiopic text, the verse in question (Tobit 14:15) actually names "Silmanisor" (Shalmaneser), in place of "Ahasuerus". In fact the only appearance of the name "Ahasuerus" ("Ahishawiros") in the entire Ethiopian canon is the one at Dan. 9:1, the other places in Ezra and Esther having instead "Arťeksis" (Artaxerxes)] In the Codex Sinaiticus Greek (LXX) edition, the two names in this verse appear instead as one name, Ahikar (also the name of another character in the story of Tobit). Other Septuagint texts have the name "Achiachar". Western scholars have proposed that "Achiachar" is a variant form of the name "Cyaxares I of Media", who historically did destroy Nineveh, in 612 BC.

Book of Daniel

Ahasuerus is given as the name of the father of Darius the Mede in the Book of Daniel. [bibleref|Daniel|9:1] Josephus names Astyages as the father of Darius the Mede, and the description of the latter as uncle and father-in-law of Cyrus by mediaeval Jewish commentators matches that of Cyaxares II, who is said to be the son of Astyages by Xenophon. Thus this Ahasuerus is commonly identified with Astyages. He is alternatively identified, together with the Ahasuerus of the Book of Tobit, as Cyaxares I, said to be the father of Astyages. Views differ on how to reconcile the sources in this case. One view is that the description of Ahasuerus as the "father" of Darius the Mede should be understood in the broader sense of "forebear" of "ancestor." Another view notes that on the Behistun Inscription, "Cyaxares" is a family name, and thus considers the description as literal, viewing Astyages as an intermediate ruler wrongly placed in the family line in the Greek sources.

In legend

In some versions of the legend of the Wandering Jew, his true name is held to be "Ahasuerus." [Andrei Oişteanu, cite web|url=http://www.unibuc.ro/eBooks/filologie/hebra/2-5.htm|title="The legend of the wandering Jew in Europe and Romania."|accessdate=2008-03-12 Studia Hebraica.]

ee also

* Wandering Jew


External links

* [http://www.commonplacebook.com/fiction/myths/ch01/ The Wandering Jew] "Curious Myths of the Middle Ages" by Sabine Baring-Gould, M.A.

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  • AHASUERUS — (Heb. אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ), king of Persia, who according to the Book of Esther ruled from India to Ethiopia (see Book of esther ; artaxerxes ). In the Aggadah Ahasuerus generally is portrayed as vacillating, lacking in character, and easily swayed.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ahasuerus — [ə haz΄yo͞o ir′əs, əhas΄yo͞o ir′əs] n. [Heb < OPers Xxayars̆an] Bible either of two kings of the Medes and Persians, esp. the one (often identified as Xerxes I) who was married to Esther: Esth. 1; Ezra 4:6 …   English World dictionary

  • Ahasuerus — Ahasveros (altpersisch Chšayāŗšā, hebräisch אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ Achashverosh, aramäisch Aḫšeweruš, griechisch Ασυηρος, lateinisch Ahasuerus, Ahasverus) ist ein Name altpersischen Ursprungs. Er wird meist als Transliteration des persischen خشیارش… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ahasuerus —    There are three kings designated by this name in Scripture.    1) The father of Darius the Mede, mentioned in Dan. 9:1. This was probably the Cyaxares I. known by this name in profane history, the king of Media and the conqueror of Nineveh.… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Ahasuerus — Probably to be identified with Xerxes Ⅰ (486–465 BCE), who is mentioned by the Greek historian Herodotus. As portrayed in the book of Esther, Ahasuerus oscillated between threatening a holocaust at the instigation of Haman, followed by protection …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • AHASUERUS-XERXES — (Heb. אחשורש; Aram. Papyri חשי(א)רש; Dura Synagogue חשורש; Old Persian Xšayāršā; Gr. Ξερξης). If one ignores the vowels, the biblical consonantal text is a close approximation of the king s name. The Persian king known to the Greeks as Xerxes I… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ahasuerus and Haman at the feast of Esther — The painting Ahasveros and Haman to the feast of Esther is one of the few works of Rembrandt van Rijn of which all owners are known. The origin of the painting can be traced back to 1662, two years after its completion.ubjectThe subject is an… …   Wikipedia

  • Ahasuerus, King —    A transferred name which is used by Jane to Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Jane asks him to gratify her curiosity about something, now that they are to be Married. Rochester says: ‘I wish that instead of a mere inquiry into,… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • Ahasuerus — /euh haz yooh ear euhs, euh has , euh hazh ooh /; Seph. Heb. /ah khahsh ve rddawsh /; Ashk. Heb. /ah kheuhsh vay rddeuhsh/, n. a king of ancient Persia, known to the Greeks as Xerxes: husband of the Biblical Esther. * * * …   Universalium

  • Ahasuerus — noun a) A king of Persia, later identified with Xerxes. b) A name given to the Wandering Jew …   Wiktionary

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