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The Rest of the Story
by Ed Costanza
Esther, the beautiful Jewish wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus and her cousin Mordecai persuade the king to retract an order for the general annihilation of Jews throughout the empire. The massacre had been plotted by the king's chief minister, Haman, and the date decided by casting lots.8
But the work of God goes much deeper and farther than the book of Esther records. The book of Esther is just the beginning of the history of God's chosen nation. It begins with the prophecy of Isaiah (41:1-2; 44:24-28; 45:1-13) to send his people back to Israel to restore the temple and settle the land after the 70 years of captivity for the punishment of Israel's sins and to give the land her rest (seven year land rest). Hidden in the books of the bible and revealed through the various prophets God reveals the means He used to raise up Cyrus.
Cyrus is the grandson of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther. Cambyses, Cyrus' father dies when he is 12 years old. His grandparents (King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther) summon him and his mother (Mandane) to come live with them at the palace. Cyrus is taught by Esther and the King about the laws of God and the prophecies written 150 years before by God through the prophets about him (Cyrus). When the time comes Cyrus king of Persia issues the edict for the Jews to return to Israel: "Isa 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid." Below is the Genealogy of Cyrus the Great, king of Persia and Darius King of the Medes complete with notes and references.
Genealogy of Cyrus the Great and Darius King of the Medes
|(Astyages) King Ahasuerus3||Esther|
|Cyaxares (Darius the Mede)6|
There is a problem following the various date setters in history. They do not all agree on their timelines. I prefer to put the history of God's people into a biblical perspective without trying to assign a date in history.
For example, we know by the various books of the bible that Daniel, Esther, and Mordecai were carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar along with Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah. We can call this year one of the 70 years of captivity.
Esther is a young girl, the cousin of Mordecai. She would be in her teens when carried away captive and early 20's by the time she is married to King Ahasuerus.
Cyrus is King of Persia and Darius is King of Media when Cyrus makes the proclamation to send those Jews who want to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. This is 70 years later (after the captivity). It is estimated that Cyrus is in his 50's when this takes place. Daniel records that Darius is having trouble with the idea of King Cyrus' proclamation to send the Jews back (Daniel 11:1). Remember that both Cyrus and Darius are co-rulers during this time. One in Persia and one in Media.
The following is an estimate of the age of the characters in our timeline at the time of King Cyrus' proclamation (70 years later):
King Jeconiah 95-100
Esther 83- 90
King Darius 63- 70
King Cyrus 45- 50
This shows that Cyrus and Darius has to be younger and not older than Esther. So the proposed timeline that you emailed to me cannot fit the bible time.
I hope this helps to put the timelines into perspective. I have pasted several scriptures below (in no particular order) that I use to help understand the order of these things:
Dan 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
The Proclamation of Cyrus
2Ch 36:22-23 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, (23) Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
Dan_1:21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
Dan_6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Dan_10:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
Est 2:5-7 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; (6) Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. (7) And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.
Jer 28:4-5 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. (5) Then the prophet Jeremiah said unto the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests, and in the presence of all the people that stood in the house of the LORD,
1Ch_3:16 And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.
1Ch_3:17 And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son,
Jer_24:1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
Jer_27:20 Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took not, when he carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah from Jerusalem to Babylon, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem;
Jer_28:4 And I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the LORD: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles
Jer 29:1-2 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)
Jer 29:4-7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; (5) Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; (6) Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. (7) And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
Jer 29:14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.