Location Of Esther’s Palace Confirmed -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:1 (Winter 1972)
Article: Location Of Esther’s Palace Confirmed
Author: Anonymous

Location Of Esther’s Palace Confirmed

Darius the Great, third ruler of the Persian Empire (521-486 B.C.), built an exquisite palace at Susa (called Shushan in the K.J.V.) during his reign. Susa, located in Southern Iran, was one of the capital cities of the ruling Persian princes. The palace lasted through his reign, the reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, 486-465 B.C.) and then was burned in the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-423 B.C.). A new palace was subsequently built at Susa by the next ruler, Artaxerxes II.

It was during the reign of Ahasuerus that Esther, the Jew, became queen of the Persian Empire and took up residence in the royal palace (Esther 2: 16, 17). The book of Esther has many references to activities in and about the palace as the intriguing story of how Esther saved her people from destruction is unfolded.

Nehemiah lived in this same palace for a period of time when he served as cupbearer to Artaxerxes I. It was here that he made his request to the king to allow him to return to Jerusalem to help in the rebuilding of the Temple (Nehemiah 2: 5–8).

Archaeologists had located the palace of Artaxerxes II at Susa, but were never sure where the earlier palace built by Darius was located. They assumed that it was located beneath the palace of Artaxerxes II, for it was the usual practice to rebuild on the existing foundations of a previous building. However, the possibility remained that Darius had built elsewhere since there was no documentary proof of the exact location of his palace.

Evidence of the location of Darius’ palace has now come forth in the form of two tablets. They were excavated at Susa in 1970 by a team of French archaeologists directed by Professor Jean Perrot of the French archaeological mission. The tablets, one inscribed in Elamitic and the other in Babylonian, have been identified as the first complete examples of the “foundation charter” of the palace of Darius.

The two tablets were found on the opposite side of an entrance to the southern part of the palace of Artexerxes II and thus provide proof that Darius’ palace stood on the same site. After singing the praises of the god Ahuramazda, the Elamitic text details the work that went into the building and records how materials and craftsmen were assembled from different parts of the empire. The Babylonian text opens with a declaration of Darius’ power and then lists all the nations that contributed materials and labor.

Through this disco...

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