The Quest for the Historical Esther

March 22 2016

After establishing the identity—agreed upon by the majority of scholars—between King Ahasuerus in the book of Esther and the Persian ruler known to the Greeks as Xerxes (both variants of the original Persian Khshayarsha), Mitchell First seeks extra-biblical evidence of the book’s other characters:

The Greek historians Herodotus and Ctesias refer to Xerxes’ wife as Amestris. Although some slight linguistic connection between the name Amestris and the name Vashti . . . seems possible, a stronger connection exists between the Greek Amestris and the Hebrew Esther.

The -is at the end [of Amestris] is just a Greek suffix added to turn the foreign name into a proper Greek [feminine noun]. The name . . . is based around the consonants m, s t, and r; the name as recorded in the Megillah is based around the consonants s, t, and r. Very likely, this is not coincidence; perhaps her Persian name was composed of the consonants m, s t, and r and the m was not preserved in the Hebrew. . . .

[Both] Herodotus and Ctesias depict Amestris as cruel. It should be noted, however, that many scholars today doubt the stories told by the Greek historians about their enemies, the Persians; those concerning royal Persian women are particularly suspect.

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Read more at theTorah.com

More about: Ancient Persia, Esther, Hebrew Bible, Mordecai, Religion & Holidays, Xerxes

Europe Must Stop Tolerating Iranian Operations on Its Soil

March 31 2023

Established in 2012 and maintaining branches in Europe, North America, and Iran, the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Network claims its goal is merely to show “solidarity” for imprisoned Palestinians. The organization’s leader, however, has admitted to being a representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a notorious terrorist group whose most recent accomplishments include murdering a seventeen-year-old girl. As Arsen Ostrovsky and Patricia Teitelbaum point out, Samidoun is just one example of how the European Union allows Iran-backed terrorists to operate in its midst:

The PFLP is a proxy of the Iranian regime, which provides the terror group with money, training, and weapons. Samidoun . . . has a branch in Tehran. It has even held events there, under the pretext of “cultural activity,” to elicit support for operations in Europe. Its leader, Khaled Barakat, is a regular on Iran’s state [channel] PressTV, calling for violence and lauding Iran’s involvement in the region. It is utterly incomprehensible, therefore, that the EU has not yet designated Samidoun a terror group.

According to the Council of the European Union, groups and/or individuals can be added to the EU terror list on the basis of “proposals submitted by member states based on a decision by a competent authority of a member state or a third country.” In this regard, there is already a standing designation by Israel of Samidoun as a terror group and a decision of a German court finding Barakat to be a senior PFLP operative.

Given the irrefutable axis-of-terror between Samidoun, PFLP, and the Iranian regime, the EU has a duty to put Samidoun and senior Samidoun leaders on the EU terror list. It should do this not as some favor to Israel, but because otherwise it continues to turn a blind eye to a group that presents a clear and present security threat to the European Union and EU citizens.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: European Union, Iran, Palestinian terror, PFLP