Xerxes, 300, Esther, Artaxerxes, Ezra, Nehemiah (480 BC – 445 BC)

Headline: Xerxes I, Battle of Thermopylae, Esther, Artaxerxes Decree, Ezra, Nehemiah, Delian League (480 BC – 445 BC).

Image: Xerxes I

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV7wIvdomvQ

Date Range: 480 BC – 445 BC

People: Artaxerxes, Cimon, Esther / Hadassah, Ezra, Inaros II, Leonidas, Nehemiah, Pericles, Xerxes I, Zerubbabel

Xerxes I ascended to the throne in 486 BC after the death of his father Darius I. The famous Battle of Thermopylae occurred in 480 BC between King Xerxes I of the Achaemenid Empire and King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans. Most of the events described in the Book of Esther occurred after this Battle (479 BC – 473 BC). In 465 BC, Xerxes I was murdered, and Artaxerxes ascended to the throne. The Wars of the Delian League (477 BC – 449 BC) are a series of military campaigns between Greek (Pericles, Cimon) and Persian forces. The Battle of Papremis (460 BC) had the allied forces of Greece and Egypt (Inaros II) defeat the Persians. An important decree by Artaxerxes to allow the Israelites to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem occurred on Nisan 1 (March 14), 445 BC. On Nisan 17, 445 BC, the walls were inspected as described in Nehemiah 2.

Bible Verses: Ezra 4, Ezra 6:14, 7:1-8, 7:21, Nehemiah 2, Esther 1:1-5, Esther 9

Achaemenid Empire
Artaxerxes I
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Thermopylae
Bisitun Inscription
Bull Head from Persepolis
Chronology of Esther
First Fruits and Nisan 17
Harem Inscription
Inaros II
Thermopylae and the Book of Esther
Wars of the Delian League
Xerxes: An Archaeological Biography
Xerxes I
Xerxes (King Ahasuerus) Video

The events described in the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther occurred during the reigns of Xerxes I and Artaxerxes. This was a time of significant conflict between the Greeks and the Persians as seen in the Battle of Thermopylae and the Wars of the Delian League. There is a significant amount of historical material from this time period.

Timeline and Chronology
445 BC, Nisan 17: Inspection of Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 2).
445 BC, Nisan 1 / March 14: Artaxerxes I authorization to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls.
460 BC: Battle of Papremis.
465 BC: Artaxerxes I became king of Achaemenid Empire.
473 BC, Adar 14: First Feast of Purim celebrated (Esther 9).
480 BC: Battle of Thermopylae.
486 BC: Xerxes I became king of Achaemenid Empire.
489 BC: Leonidas I became king of Sparta.

Cyrus II, End of Captivity (539 BC)

Headline: Cyrus II, End of Hebrew Captivity, and the Fall of Babylon

Image: Cyrus II

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTAgTCXja4Q

Date Range: 539-530 BC

People: Belshazzar, Cambyses II, Cyrus II (Kurash), Nabonidus

In 539 BC, Cyrus II defeated Nabonidus in the Battle of Opis. Shortly after, he captures the city of Babylon. The Cyrus Decree, recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder, describes how he governed the new empire. There is a significant amount of crossover here between Biblical accounts and historical data. Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the Great, rose to power in 530 BC, and the monument to Cyrus II is located at Pasargadae.

Bible Verses: 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1, Isaiah 44:28, Isaiah 45:1-3, Daniel 1, 5, 6:28, 10:1

Battle of Opis
Cambyses II
Cyrus Cylinder
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great: Digging for Truth Episode 148
Nabonidus Chronicle
When Was Daniel Written?
Who Wrote Isaiah?

539 BC was a significant year in the history of the world. Cyrus the Great defeated and captured Babylon. By his edict recorded in the Cyrus Cylinder in his first year, he developed and implemented a different way to govern. As a result, the Israelites were freed to return to their land. This was foretold in Isaiah 45.

Timeline and Chronology:
530 BC: Cambyses II succeeds Cyrus
539 BC, October 12: Cyrus captures Babylon. Cyrus proclamation
539 BC, September: Battle of Opis
550 BC: Cyrus defeats the Median Empire
553 BC: Nabonidus starts self-imposed exile from Babylon. Belshazzar rules.
556 BC, May 25: Beginning of reign of Nabonidus