WHY DID ARTAXERXES HAVE A HEART FOR JERUSALEM?

The Bible records that the first wife of Xerxes, Vashti, fell from the king's grace for moral reasons, because she was unwilling to perform a dance in public to entertain the court and her royal husband. She was banished, but had to leave their young son, as heir to the throne.

Esther, a young and beautiful Jewish lady, was the cousin of Mordechai the gatekeeper of Xerxes. She kept her Jewish heritage and relation to Mordechai a secret and became the queen of Persia in 479BC. Esther managed to defend her community and 80,000 Persians were slaughtered, when they approached the Jews to kill them. The Jews commemorate this event to this day with the feast of Purim.

She was Artaxerxes step mother and taught him about the Holy City, Jerusalem. In 465 Xerxes was assassinated and Artaxerxes became King. He commissioned Ezra, a Jewish priest-scribe, by means of a letter of decree, to take charge of the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the Jewish nation. A copy of this decree may be found in (Ezra 7:13-28). Ezra thereby left Babylon in the first month of the seventh year (~ 457 BC) of Artaxerxes' reign, at the head of a company of Jews that included priests and Levites. The rebuilding of the Jewish community in Jerusalem had begun under Cyrus the Great, who had permitted Jews held captive in Babylon, to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple of Solomon. A number of Jews had consequently returned back to Jerusalem in 537 B.C.

THEN: on the 5th of  March 445BC, because he had a heart for Jerusalem, he issued the decree granting the Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem. This is the event in Daniel’s dream, 100+  years before, probably around 575BC.   

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