« Ahab Ahasuerus Ahaus, Heinrich von »


AHASUERUS, ɑ-haz´yu-î´rus: A name given in the Old Testament to two kings. 1. The father of Darius the Mede (Dan. ix. 1). Since Darius is mentioned before Cyrus, he can be no other than Astyages, and Ahasuerus would then be Cyaxares. Phonetically the name is just as little connected as Cyaxares with the name which that king has in the Persian cuneiform inscriptions, and which must probably be read Huvakhshtra. It is also often found that the Median and Persian kings are differently named in the sources, a difference which is to be explained by the fact that after their accession to the throne they took new names. In Tob. xiv. 15 “Asueros” is Astyages, since he is mentioned as the conqueror of Nineveh beside Nebuchadnezzar.

2. A king mentioned in the book of Esther, the Khshayarsha of the Persian inscriptions and the Xerxes of the Greeks, who ruled from 485 to 465 B.C., and was the son of Darius Hystaspes. This is indicated by the identity of the name and the agreement in character as that is given by Herodotus. With this agrees also the mention of Shushan (Susa) as his residence, and the statement in Esther i. that the kingdom extended from India, to Ethiopia—a statement which is confirmed by the enumeration of the provinces of the Persian empire in the epitaph of Darius at Nakshi Rustem, which, however, would not suit the time before Darius. With Xerxes, not with Cambyses, the Ahasuerus of Ezra iv. 6 is no doubt identical, to whom the Samaritans presented a bill of indictment against the exiles who returned to Jerusalem.

(B. Lindner.)

Bibliography: T. Benfey, Die persischen Keilinschriften, Leipsic, 1847; F. Spiegel, Eranische Alterthumskunde, 3 vols., ib. 1871-78; Schrader, KAT; A. H. Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp. 543 sqq., London, 1894; W. St. C. Boscawen, The Bible and the Monuments, ib, 1895.

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