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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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or AHASUERUS, a king of Persia, the husband of Esther, who, in the opinion of the learned Usher and Calmet, was the Darius of profane authors. See AHASUERUS .

2. ARTAXERES LONGIMANUS is supposed by Dr. Prideaux to be the Ahasuerus of Esther. He was the son of Xerxes, and grandson of Darius Hystaspes, and reigned in Persia from the year of the world 3531 to 3579. He permitted Ezra, with all those inclined to follow him, to return into Judea, in the year of the world 3537, Ezra 7:8 . Afterward, Nehemiah also obtained leave to return, and to build the walls and gates of Jerusalem, in the year of the world 3550, Nehemiah 1:11 . From this year, chronologers reckon the beginning of Daniel's seventy weeks, Daniel 11:29 . These are weeks of years, and make four hundred and ninety years. Dr. Prideaux, who discourses very copiously, and with great learning, on this prophecy, maintains that the decree mentioned in it for the restoring and rebuilding of Jerusalem, cannot be understood of that granted to Nehemiah, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes; but of that granted to Ezra, by the same Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign. From that time to the death of Christ, are exactly four hundred and ninety years, to a month:

for in the month Nisan the decree was granted to Ezra; and in the middle of the same month Nisan, Christ suffered, just four hundred and ninety years afterward.

The easterns think that the surname of Longimanus was given to Artaxerxes by reason of the extent of his dominions; as it is commonly said that princes have long hands: but the Greeks maintain that this prince had really longer hands or arms than usual; and that, when he stood upright, he could touch his knees. He is said to have been the handsomest man of his time. The eastern people call him Bahaman, and give him the surname of Ardschir-diraz-dest, or the long-handed. He was the son of Asfendiar, sixth king of the second dynasty of the Persians. After having extinguished the family of Rostam, which was formidable to him on account of the great men who composed it, he carried his arms into the western provinces, Mesopotamia and Syria, which formed part of his empire. He took Babylon from Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar; and he put in his place Kiresch, who by us is called Cyrus. Some Persian historians assert that the mother of Artaxerxes was a Jewess, of the tribe of Benjamin, and family of Saul; and that the most beloved of his wives was of the tribe of Judah, and race of Solomon, by Rehoboam, king of Judah. If this be true, we need not wonder that he should recommend to Cyrus to favour the Jewish nation. This Cyrus performed, by sending back the people into their own country, and permitting them to rebuild their temple. But the truth of this story is doubtful; and were it true, the interference of the special providence of God must still be acknowledged. Artaxerxes reigned forty-seven years, and died in the year of the world 3579, and before Jesus Christ 425.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Artaxerxes'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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