(See table below and the 478 BC date of Esther chapter 2 and other dates and details.)
The “many young women” where more than candidates trying out for Vashti’s abandoned position as wife and queen. Once these girls were taken they were all considered “wives” of King Xerxes and would not be going back home. Indeed, one of these girls would be chosen from among all the “wives” to be the queen, but the rest would remain in the king’s harem and were legally his concubines. When Esther went to sleep with the king she was legally already his “wife” or “concubine” trying out for the royal office of queen.
Hegai, the administrator of the harem, was pleased with Esther and showed her favor before Xerxes began to call for his wives (maybe, even before Xerxes had physically arrived back to Susa from his failure on the battlefields in Greece, since it would have been months of battle followed by months of travel to return.)
Besides extra beauty treatments and special food overseen by Hegai himself, Esther was given seven female attendants hand-picked and taken from Xerxes palace. These attendants would have not only been the most skilled with the most training and experience, but they also would have personal insight into the Xerxes’ personality and preferences.
Esther and her entourage were moved into the most superlatively equip luxury apartment in the harem. And, surely, there, was a nice view looking over the city of Susa from Esther’s harem window there in the citadel. (See details/photos/images on Susa HERE and HERE. See a drawing the the Susa citadel with the palace and administrative buildings HERE.)
- Xerxes begins to reign.
- Samaritans take this chance to file a complaint. (Ezra 4:6)
||Xerxes displays his vast wealth and military power at a banquet in preparation for his invasion of Greece as seen in Esther 1
Xerxes goes to war against Greece. Persia fights the battles of:
- Thermopylae – This battle is the basis of the movie “300” that features the Spartan king Leonidas and his 300 men who fight the invading King Xerxes and his Persian troops.
- Salamis – Persians occupy Athens and burn the temple.
The Persians move their ships into a strait through a bottle neck thinking the beached Greek trireme ships are trapped. Xerxes watches from his ivory throne placed on a hill in disbelief as his ships are rammed, congested and unable to maneuver while Persians ships continue to sail into the bottle neck. Xerxes heads back to Persia, leaving behind 1/3 of his troops which then burn Athens to the ground.
- Plataea – In what looked like a rout of the Greeks, the Persians fail to stay organized and are driven from Greece.
These Greek battles fulfill Daniel 11:2: “a fourth Persian king, who will be far richer. . .will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.”
This sets the stage for the rise of Alexander the Great who will seek deliverance and revenge for the burning of Athens in 336 BC.
||Esther goes to Xerxes and becomes Queen in Dec/Jan in Esther 2
• Esther’s fifth year as queen.
• April 17 is the date set to meet to determine fate of Jews.
- Esther 3:7 - "In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on[a] the twelfth month, the month of Adar."
||• According to Haman’s plans and Xerxes order, the Jews are to be killed in Persia on March 7
• March 7, the Jews defend themselves. The Jews kill 500 men in Susa and 10 of Haman’s sons.
• Xerxes is inside his bedchamber when he is assassinated by 3 conspirators. They convince Artaxerxes, Xerxes’s son, to slay his older brother. They then try to kill Artaxerxes who is only wounded but kills his attacker.
• Artaxerxes becomes Persian Emperor and will reign for 41 years.
• Esther would be about 38 years old if she became queen when she was 25.
||• Artaxerxes orders the rebuilding of the rebellious city, Jerusalem, to stop.
• Samaritans send a letter to Artaxerxes to say Jerusalem is a rebellious city. (Ezra 4:7)
• Artaxerxes replies: “this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.”
||• In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
• Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in
Jerusalem on August.
• December 19 the people assemble and the investigation of
• The 70 weeks (or, 490 years) of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:25 begins with Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC. The decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26. The 70 weeks (490 years) are interrupted after 69 weeks (483 years) with the coming of the Messiah. 458 BC minus 483 years equals 25/26 AD which is when John the Baptists will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation.
Decree to Rebuild
Ezra 7: 8-9
||Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr (Ezra 10:17)
||Nov/Dec, Nehemiah is in Susa and hears a report from a Jew from Jerusalem that the walls of Jerusalem have not been rebuilt
- Artaxerxes 20th year
- Mar/Apr, Nehemiah, Artaxerxes cup bearer, speaks to
Artaxerxes about Jerusalem’s ruined wall system. (Neh. 2:1)
- August 10, Nehemiah begins to rebuild the walls of
- Opposition to building the walls. (Neh. 4, 6)
- October 2, The walls of Jerusalem are completed in 52 days.
- October 8, Ezra reads the law to public for first time in
thirteen years. (8:2)
- October 9, the people of Jerusalem celebrate the Feast of
- October 30, Israel confesses their sin. (Neh. 9)
- If Esther were 25 when she married Xerxes she is now 58
Esther is 58