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
Persiain the Book of Esther[bibleref|Esther|1] . 19th century Bible commentaries generally identified him with Xerxes Iof 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 Estherrefers to him as Artaxerxes, and the historian Josephusrelates 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 Midrashof "Esther Rabba, I, 3" identifies the King as Artaxerxes. The Ethiopic text calls him "Arťeksis", usually the Ethiopic equivalent of "Artaxerxes". Bar-Hebraeusidentified 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 Ctesiasand Deinonnoted 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 Persiain 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 Ninivehjust before Tobit's death. [Book of Tobit, 14:15.] A traditional Catholicview 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 SinaiticusGreek ( 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 612BC.
Book of Daniel
Ahasuerus is given as the name of the father of
Darius the Medein the Book of Daniel. [bibleref|Daniel|9:1] Josephus names Astyagesas the father of Darius the Mede, and the description of the latter as uncle and father-in-law of Cyrusby 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 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.]
* [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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Look at other dictionaries:
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 — /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
Ahasuerus — n. ancient Persian King that is said to have tried to kill all of the Jews in his land after Haman incited him but reconsidered following Esther s advice (in the Book of Esther) … English contemporary dictionary
Ahasuerus — A•has•u•e•rus [[t]əˌhæz yuˈɪər əs, əˌhæs [/t]] n. bib jud a king of ancient Persia, usu. identified as Xerxes I: husband of Esther … From formal English to slang
Ahasuerus — /əhæzjʊˈɪərəs/ (say uhhazyoo earruhs) noun Bible a king of Persia (known by the Greeks as Xerxes), husband of Esther. Book of Esther; Ezra 4:6 … Australian English dictionary