Who was Artaxerxes in the Bible?

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    What do you know about king Artaxerxes in the Bible?


    Artaxerxes was a Persian king during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah who though was an unbeliever supported Ezra in the rebuilt of God’s temple.

    Now I, King Artaxerxes, order all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven, may ask of you.

    EZRA 7:21
    Have you ever had someone who displays little interest in godly things ask you to pray about something he or she is facing? It always jolts us a bit to realize that even the most ardent unbelievers, deep down, may have some regard for God, even if their interest in Him is mostly self-serving. This was clearly the case for King.
    Artaxerxes ruled over the vast kingdom of Persia during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.
    Decades earlier, many Jews had been sent into exile under the Babylonians, and then the Persians defeated the Babylonians
    and absorbed their territory into their empire. King Cyrus was the first to decree that Jews were free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Years later, Artaxerxes would make a similar decree and grant Ezra funds to maintain the rebuilt temple and offer sacrifices. His
    reasoning is made clear in his letter to Ezra: “Why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and of his sons?” (Ezra 7:23).
    Artaxerxes may have merely been concerned about stacking the deck
    of divine providence in his favor, but it was regard for the Lord nonetheless. And it also provided generous funds for building up God’s temple in Jerusalem.

    When unbelievers ask us to pray for them, it is tempting to harbor thoughts like, Why should I ask God to do anything for them when they don’t seem to care about following Him at all? But this is not an
    attitude of grace and mercy. At the same time, God may already be working in their hearts to bring about repentance, and their request reveals the true regard they have for Him in their hearts. Instead of harboring resentment, respond with a grace-filled, “Yes, I will certainly pray for you” – and do it!


    Artaxerxes is mentioned several times in the Bible, primarily in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. He was the King of Persia who ruled from 465-424 BC, and is known for issuing decrees that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.

    One of the most significant mentions of Artaxerxes in the Bible is in the Book of Ezra, which records his decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This decree came after the Jews had been in exile in Babylon for many years, and it was seen as a great moment of hope and restoration for the Jewish people.

    In the Book of Nehemiah, Artaxerxes is mentioned several times as well. Nehemiah was a Jewish cupbearer to the king, and it was through his position that he was able to obtain permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah’s request, and he went on to lead the rebuilding efforts in Jerusalem.

    Artaxerxes is also mentioned in the Book of Esther, which tells the story of how the Jewish queen Esther saved her people from being killed by the wicked Haman, who had plotted to exterminate all the Jews in the kingdom. Artaxerxes is portrayed as a wise and just king who listened to Esther’s plea and ultimately issued a decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies.

    Artaxerxes played a significant role in the history of the Jews, and his actions are remembered and celebrated in the Bible as a time of restoration and hope for the Jewish people.


    Bible verses that mention Artaxerxes:

    Ezra 7:11-26:
    “Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord and of His statutes to Israel: Artaxerxes, King of Kings, To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Greetings. And now I have issued a decree that any of the people of Israel and their priests and Levites in my kingdom, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. You are sent by the King and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold which the King and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, and all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, offered willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem. Therefore, you shall do according to your wisdom. Also you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them. Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the King, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.”
    Nehemiah 2:1-8:
    “And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. Therefore the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.” So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?” Then the king said to me, “What do you request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
    Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time. Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.”

    Esther 1:1-3:
    “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him—when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.”

    Esther 9:29-32:
    “Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews, to the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth, to confirm these days of Purim at their appointed time, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had prescribed for them, and as they had decreed for themselves and their descendants concerning matters of their fasting and lamenting. The command of Queen Esther confirmed these matters of Purim, and it was written in the book.”
    Ezra 4:7-10:
    “And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language. Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this fashion: From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions—representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River. (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him.)”

    Ezra 7:1-6:
    “Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest—this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.”

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