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Bible Study King Xerxes- Part 1

Carly Mac

Member
Today we begin our series, “Esther: The Story of Purim”, and our first thread will be about the King of Persia. There’s not a lot of information about him. What I have extrapolated from the Scriptures is what is presented here at FoundedontheBible.com . The question we will address is, what kind of man was King Xerxes?

Xerxes:

In the first sentence of the first chapter of Esther, we are introduced to Xerxes, King of Persia. Xerxes is not a name, but in fact, a title meaning “Warrior” and “Lion King” (1). Warrior indicates that he was a war time king that led and won battles. Lions are known for power, glory, courage, and strength. At this specific time in history, Persia was the greatest empire in the world and ruled from India to Ethiopia, exactly 127 provinces.

The number 127:

Numbers in the Hebrew culture are very significant. Let's take a look at the number 127.

100 = maturity, full count or measure (2)

20 = redemption, divine completion for spiritual perfection (2)

7 = completeness, wholeness, spiritual perfection (2)

Spiritual perfection means wholeness in every area of life and this is emphasized in both the numbers 20 and 7. Salvation is spiritual perfection and it means complete wholeness in every area of life, both physically and spiritually. Everything is functioning in fullness or 100, and nothing is missing or broken.

Picture these 127 provinces with an excellent governing system with a prosperous economy, living peacefully with each other, and filled with healthy, educated, law abiding citizens. An amazing achievement any time in world history!

Persia and Susa, the capital:

The empire that Xerxes rules over is Persia which is defined as “pure” or “splendid” (3). The capital, Susa, is defined as “lily” (4). Interestingly, the Persian lily is also known as the “hundred tongues lily” which is a metaphor for “those who have tongues but keep secrets” (5).

The third year of Xerxes reign:

The number three symbolizes union, approval, entirety, divine perfection, the Trinity: perfect witness & testimony (2). We can interpret that Xerxes intends to make the third year of his reign a testimony of unity among all of the leaders of his provinces.

Xerxes concern:

Xerxes understands the complexity of the size of his empire and the number of leaders of diverse nationalities and customs under his authority. He was deeply concerned about keeping this vast kingdom cohesive. There were too many provinces to visit individually, and it was imperative that he knew the status of each province and the leaders in charge.

Realizing there was only one king and many provinces, it would be impossible for him to individually visit each leader and become informed of all the issues they were facing. But, he could bring all of the leaders to him!

Answer to his problem:

Did Xerxes enjoy a good party? Yes! But, what were his intentions? It is believed that in wine, truth is spoken. Xerxes was very savvy. The best way to find out what was going on behind the scenes in each of his provinces was to wine and dine his leaders. But, first they must learn to trust him. What better way to connect with the leadership than to invite them to his home for a 6 month free vacation!

So, the King decides to throw a party in the third year of his reign. 180 days of dining, drinking, and entertainment were set aside for all of his officials, nobles, governors of Media and Persia.

Mellow from drinking too much wine, these men unreservedly loosened their tongues and unabashedly spilled their secrets. All the while, Xerxes was investigating and collecting data which he seemed to be in the habit of recording.

180 days:

Again, the numbers are important. 100 = maturity, full count or measure and 80, interestingly enough, is the number for mouth and speech (2). It is certain that there was a lot of talking going on at this party.

Vs 5-6

5 When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa. It lasted for seven days and was held in the courtyard of the palace garden. 6 The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones.


Party in Susa:


When this party is over, the King decides to invite the people of Susa and the citadel, the area of the city where the military soldiers of the city live to a banquet. The feast takes place at the court of the garden of the King’s palace and it lasts seven days, the number of completeness, wholeness, and spiritual perfection (2).

With the same Modus Operandi, Xerxes served wine to all of his subjects in Susa. But, this time, people from every socioeconomic class were invited, including the servants as well as all of the women. Being invited to the King’s garden was a great honor and made the people feel valued and welcomed. Susa was the example of how all of the other cities in the kingdom were to be modeled. And with the same listening ear, he would collect data from all of the people, from every angle, and from every station of life.

Why did the king collect data?

Kings base their decisions on the data presented before them. Xerxes took his position seriously and relied on accurate facts to avoid potential disastrous mistakes and make well informed decisions. Also, he knew when he was being lied to and who was faithful to him.

Decor signified wealth:

Nothing was overlooked. Even the decor was recorded and held significance to the story. As the people gazed at all of the marble, gold, silver, and precious stones, they were actually allowed to take a peek at the King’s bank statement. Everyone noted, including the wealthiest leaders of the provinces, that Persia was the most affluent nation in the world and Susa was dripping in wealth. Wealth was equated with power. Xerxes planted a seed in the minds of his leaders that if they stay connected with him, they too, would be as prosperous and as powerful.

Presenting King Xerxes:

King Xerxes was the powerful and mighty Lion King of the superpower of the world. His kingdom was vast and Persia was the most prosperous nation of all his empire. He was a natural born leader, warrior, strategist, and social networker who governed by facts and logic. He imparted inspiration to the leaders under his authority. He was a shrewd man who knew how to uncover secrets under the guise of familiarity.

Let’s Pray,

Father,

As I read and study the Book of Esther, I ask that You open up the eyes of my understanding. Give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation so I may know You better. Give me the grace never to abuse others through any form of deceit. By your grace, I am sincere in all I do and my motive is to bring You glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

References:

  1. https://namemeaningsdictionary.com/search.php?q=xerxes&cat=names&search=
  2. Dream Encounter Symbols, Barbie Breathitt Ministries, www.breathofthespiritministries.com
  3. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6539&t=NLT
  4. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7800&t=NLT
  5. Ahmad Aryavand and Bahram Grami, "LILY," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/lily (accessed on 29 June 2015).
 
Thank you for your very kind words. I look forward to interacting on this forum.
I just checked out your website. It’s really good! Great video! You can link those videos here too, if you want.

I like how you brought in the culture. All around, very well done.
 
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