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Artaxerxes of Persia

Artaxerxes I of Persia was the fifth king of the Achaemenid Dynasty. His father was the former King Xerxes and he ruled the Persian Empire from 465 B.C. to 425 B.C. which is where he appears on the Biblical Timeline Chart.  King Xerxes was murdered shortly before King Artaxerxes ascended the throne. The assassin who killed the former king claimed that King Artaxerxes oldest brother Darius told him to eliminate the king. King Artaxerxes then killed his brother and took over the throne.

Most of King Artaxerxes rule was problem free and he didn’t make any major changes to the empire. The current system that was established by the former King Darius proved to be effective for governing the land. The people enjoyed prosperity and peace during his reign because he was able to keep control of the lands of Persia. Since he kept the system of government in place that was started by King Darius I, he was able to keep a vast network of trade and tribute flowing throughout the empire. He used the Phoenicians to control overseas trade routes to foreign lands, all of the provinces inside of the Persian Empire had to pay him an annual tribute and he established vast markets that covered the empire.

The religion of Zoroastrianism was popular in Persia and it still remained a viable worship system during the reign of King Artaxerxes. Other Persian gods were worshipped as well. One thing that all Persian kings did when they conquered a kingdom or empire is allowed the people to continue to worship their gods and King Artaxerxes continued this practice. He was also influenced by the gods of other nations including the god of the Jewish people. King Artaxerxes acknowledged God in the Bible though he might not have fully worshipped him.

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Artaxerxes I of Persia
Artaxerxes I of Persia

King Artaxerxes also had another name known as Longimanus because his right hand was longer than his left one. He had a wife named Stateira who was popular among the people. King Artaxerxes was considered an extremely kind and good hearted ruler. He always appeared to be fair and just. The king could also deal effectively with his enemies such as Artabanus who conspired to take his throne. King Artaxerxes defeated this military commander in a personal duel in front of everybody.

One way his kindness was shown was through the decree that he made for the people of Jerusalem. He allowed them to go back to their kingdom and assisted them with their journey and the rebuilding of the temple. King Artaxerxes personally knew of Ezra and Nehemiah. He also returned the treasures that taken from the temple under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

Some historians trace the demise of the Persian Empire beginning with his reign. A few provinces within his empire tried to rebel, but they did not succeed. They state that the uprisings that he experienced during his time in power had planted seeds for future revolts and rebellions and it didn’t matter if he put an end to them. Greece was a kingdom that revolted against Persia during his reign and they would come back to defeat the Persians at a future date. The Greeks also encouraged the Egyptians to revolt as well. On the outer fringes of the Persian Empire, the people were conspiring to rid themselves of Persian domination. Once again King Artaxerxes kept control of the rebellious regions but he didn’t completely or wasn’t able to stop the people from conspiring against Persia. King Artaxerxes died in 425 B.C.

Biblical References:
Ezra 7 King Artaxerxes gives the decree for the Jewish people to return home and he also informs the rest of his empire to accommodate Jews with their return journey and the rebuilding of the temple.

12 thoughts on “Artaxerxes of Persia

  1. Thanks in support of sharing such a good opinion, paragraph is nice, thats why
    i have read it fully

  2. Hi, I thought it was King Darius who told the Jewish people to rebuild their city. Wasn’t it finish in the six year of the reign in Darius?

    1. Yes it was completed in the sixth year of the reign of king Darius. If you read Ezra 6:14 it mentions all the kings who decreed for the temple to be rebuilt: Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes. In Ezra 6:15, then it mentions the temple was completed in the sixth year of king Darius. Even then the temple wasn’t fully complete even though the building itself was fully erected. The temple needed the articles taken from Babylon and an Official Priest – in Chapter 7 the temple was fully completed when Ezra was released to return to Jerusalem with the articles of the temple that were taken by Babylon. This last portion of completion was decreed by king Artaxerxes. God Bless You.

    2. He gave the decree to build the wall not the city.

  3. Thank you! This has been truly a Blessing to me! Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through JESUS CHRIST!

  4. King Cyrus was the Persian Kind who issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, Ezra 1:1-2, true to the words of Prophet Isaiah c80 years even before Cyrus was born.

  5. About 80 years before Cyrus was born, Prophet Isaiah prophesied that King Cyrus would issue a decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the foundations of its temple laid (Isaiah 44:28). King Cyrus was born, and conquered Babylon in 539 BC. That year, King Cyrus issued his decree to rebuild Jerusalem and have the Jewish captives return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4).

  6. Hello, please explain the timeline of Xerxers, Darius and Artaxerxers further. From your article above Darius killed his father and ascended the throne. For how long please? Then Artaxerxers killed his brother and became king. Ezra 4:24 explains that the work was stopped by Artaxerxers and it remained so until the reign of King Darius. So am getting confused because it seems Darius came after the reign of Artaxerxers. Thank you.

    1. Exactly the question I have. It appears to me that there were two Artexerxeses, one before and the other after Darius?

  7. Would you tell me where Esther fit into the timeline and which Xerxes was king. Was he a good king

    1. Hi Ginny, please see the article When Is Esther On the Bible Timeline. You can also check which has a search function where you can search for articles on Xerxes or any other topic you wish. Thank you!

  8. Nehemiah , in the 20th year of Artaxexes was given the permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild her walls. That date marked the beginning of the 70 week prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 that stated the “leader” that would come…Jesus…would come after 69 weeks. In prophecy a day stand for a year of actual time and true enough. 69 weeks (483 years later) in the year 29 CE, Jesus was baptized and anointed as the Christ. At the half of the 70th week (after a 3 1/2 year ministry) he caused sacrifice ( animal) to cease by fulfilling their pattern in his own sacrificial death….and 37 years later the Romans “brought the city to ruin”.

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