X is for Xerxes

Jerusalem PalmWhat does the Babylonian King Xerxes, husband of Esther, have to do with first-century historical novellas?

The kings, or wise men, who visited Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus were from the East. Resources say that at least one of them was from Babylon. If you remember the story of Esther then you know that she saved the Jewish remnant of her people who remained in Babylon after some of them had been allowed to return to Palestine during Darius’ reign.

Another connection with Judaism is that the Jewish scribes in Babylon wrote down the Torah for the first time. Prior to that time, Torah was passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. The priests had taught the young boys by repetition, word for word, until they could recite the entire Torah from memory. In Jesus’ day the priests and rabbis read from Torah scrolls which were probably copied from those same original written works from Babylon.

Centuries later the Torah would  become the first five books of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. The  stories in its content are as familiar today as they were to the first-century Jewish society that I write about in my books. They are a foundation for the research of the social and religious make-up of the people in my Women of the Bible series.

Without the development of the written Torah in Babylon and the tolerance of Xerxes for Esther’s people, we can only speculate about how long it might have taken for a written version to inform the works of those who wrote the Christian bible.

It is an over-simplification, in my opinion, to treat the Christian Bible as a work separate from the Torah. The Christian Bible continues a story that the Torah began.


3 thoughts on “X is for Xerxes

  1. Hi Dianne,
    Me again. How do I find all the posts in your A to Z Challenge? I only seem to be able to get to the later ones.

  2. Hi, Shirley. I’m perplexed by your not being able to access the earlier posts. The best I can do is give you this link: http://diannegsagan.com/. When I start here I can see all of the posts in the A to Z challenge. If you go to this site and you still can find all of them, let me know and I’ll try something else. Thanks for visiting my blog, and God bless you.

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