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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Artaxerx´es, Artachshast. The word, which is supposed to mean great king, is the title under which more than one Persian king is mentioned in the Old Testament.

The first Artachshast is mentioned in Ezra 4:7-24, as the Persian king who, at the instigation of the adversaries of the Jews, obstructed the rebuilding of the Temple, from his time to that of Darius, king of Persia. According to the arguments adduced in the article Ahasuerus this king is the immediate predecessor of Darius Hystaspis, and can be no other than the Magi an impostor, Smerdis, who seized on the throne B.C. 521, and was murdered after a usurpation of less than eight months (Herod. iii. 61-78).

As to the second Artachshast in the seventh year of whose reign Ezra led a second colony of the Jewish exiles back to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:1, sq.), the opinions are divided between Xerxes and his son Artaxerxes Longimanus, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at any certain conclusion on the subject.

The third Artachshast is the Persian king who, in the twentieth year of his reign, considerately allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem for the furtherance of purely national objects, invested him with the government of his own people, and allowed him to remain there for twelve years (Nehemiah 2:1, sq.; 5:14). It is almost unanimously agreed that the king here intended is Artaxerxes Longimanus, who reigned from the year 464 to 425 B.C.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Artaxerxes'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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