How Do You Pronounce Artaxerxes in the Bible?
His strategy of weakening the Athenians
Artaxerxes II was the Persian emperor who ruled from 404 to 358 B.C.E. He took advantage of the Greeks’ exhaustion and pushed to conquer the Ionian city-states. This was a successful strategy, but it was also one that led to a lot of conflict.
Artaxerxes II intervened in the affairs of Greece during the Corinthian War, which was between the city-states of Athens and Sparta. Sparta’s aggressive policies had alarmed other Greek cities, and Artaxerxes helped his allies fight Sparta. In 387/386 BCE, the opposing forces asked Artaxerxes to mediate a peace treaty, which became known as the King’s Peace.
Artaxerxes’ strategy involved weakening the Athenians from all sides. He made the Athenian front equal in length to the Median, making it the weakest part of the line. He also arranged for an Athenian garrison in the rear, which made it more difficult for Lacedaemon to mount a successful siege against them.
His kindness to the Jews
In addition to providing assistance with the construction of the wall, Artaxerxes allowed the Jews to return to the city of Jerusalem and help them with the journey back. He also reconstructed the temple. He knew the men who worked on the work, such as Ezra and Nehemiah, and allowed them to return the treasures that had been stolen by Nebuchadnezzar.
The seventh-year decree of Artaxerxes’s reign incorporated the reforms of Ezra, who had returned the city to God’s precepts through Moses. This decree also included officials to enforce obedience. This is a significant detail because no other Achaemenid king had ever issued a decree of this type.
The promise made by the Jews to Artaxerxes to the Jews included a covenant not to intermarry with pagans, to maintain the Sabbath day, and to observe the sabbatical year. In addition, the Jews also committed to financially support the temple service. In addition, they committed to give their firstfruits (including their firstborn sons) to the temple, and to pay the basic tithe tax. This commitment showed that worship was the primary concern for the people.
His relationship with Zoroastrianism
The Achaemenid Empire lasted from about 405 BCE to 359 CE. During his reign, Artaxerxes II promoted the worship of yazatas, divine beings associated with rivers and water. They were also associated with childbirth and fertility.
Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that lacks anthropomorphic iconography, but it does revere fire. This religion was established sometime between the final third of the third millennium BCE and the first century CE. It was established in the Achaemenid capital of Persepolis. Its symbol is the fravashi, which is related to the Christian cross, but is different. It represents the higher, celestial self.
Zoroastrianism was an early monotheistic religion that developed in ancient Iran. Its sacred writings were four times as long as the Bible, and they were over 2,000 years old. Zoroastrianism was an ethical monotheism based on good words, thoughts, and deeds.