Posted by: Brad Beaman | November 1, 2007

Bible Timeline, Persian Kings Period

As I began a study of Nehemiah I realized an overview of the period of the Persion Kings was going to help me put Nehemiah in context. Here were some questions I had and my answers after constructing a timeline:

What is the time overlap of Ezra and Nehemiah?
Ezra was prominent about 12 years before Nehemiah then they worked together.

Did Nehemiah know Queen Esther?
It is possible.

Did Nehemiah ever meet Daniel?
Very unlikely.

What Bible Prophets ministered during Nehemiah’s leadership?
Malachi did, Zechariah and Haggia just preceded Nehemiah


Bible Timeline, Persian Kings Period

607 Captivity begins time of Jehoiakim (Daniel 1:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:6-7)

597 deportation, Time of Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 52:28-30)

586 Babylon invasion, FALL OF JERUSALEM, TEMPLE Destroyed

559-530 Persian King, Cyrus II,

538 Babylon surrenders to Persian King Cyrus

537 Daniel prospers under King Cyrus, Daniel 6:28

537 First exiles return from 70 years Captivity.

535 Altar and Foundation of the TEMPLE begun, Zerubbabel

530-522 Persian King Cambyses

522-486 BC Persian King Darius I 

522 Temple construction stopped by opposition     

520  Prophet Zechariah

520  Prophet Haggai

520 Rebuilding of Temple Resumed    

516 Temple Finished and Dedicated     

486-465 Persian King Xerxes I,

473 Ester is Queen of Persia    

465-425   Persian King Artaxerxes

458 Second exile group returns to Jerusalem, 90 years since 1st group

    Ezra in this return, He reforms Synagogues & Scribes founded 

445 Third exile group returns

    Nehemiah Rebuilds the Walls of Jerusalem   Nehemiah   

440 Book of Ezra written

433 Nehemiah returns and institutes Reforms  

    Prophet Malachi

430 Book of Nehemiah written

430 Book of Malachi written


400 Inter-testamental period begins (intertestamental period


  1. Hi i have a question did Queen Esther have any

    children with Xerxes?

    Thank-you Kristi Selle

  2. Esther could not have been married to Xerxes as Mordecai would have been too old.

    Mordecai returned with Zerubabbel, Ezra 2:2. I have assumed that he returned when he was about 20, but he may well have been older that as he was a prominent Jew, only one of about 10 named. Another was Nehemiah so the same remarks will apply to him. So here is a timeline.

    Jews return including Nehemiah and Mordecai and Joshua, the high priest.
    20 years est age of Mordecai. add
    8 years for the rest of the reign of Cyrus. add
    8 years for the reign of Cambyses son of Cyrus. add
    1 year for the reign of the magi imposter. add
    64 years for the reign of Darius.
    7 years into the reign of Xerxes Es. 3:16 (You have 13 years.) Add that all together and yo u get an age for mordecai of at least 108 and possibly more. Esther would have been about 16 and she was his brother’s daughter.

    Spanners in the works. Josephus said that the king who married Esther was called Cyrus but that the Greeks called him Artaxexes.

    Ezra mentions Ahasuerus in Chap 4 who some say was the king who married Esther and that he was Cambyses the son of Cyrus.

    Another article says that Darius the Mede, Dan 9:1 was the son of Ahasuerus and Esther. I would reject that as during the reign of the Medes we read of the law of the Medes and Persians, but in Esther after the Persians were in power, we read of the law of the Persians and Medes. Esther 1:19. Also see Dan 8:3 referring to the medes and Pesians.

    It could not have been Xerxes. It must have been Cambyses, however if so, she must have been a widow very shortly after.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for giving the all the references in your comment. That is very helpful.

      Brad B

    • a more important point is that the book of esther says Mordechai himself was among the exiles of Israel under Nebuchadnezzar.
      Also Artaxerxes may be a generic name for the persian ruler, like Pharoah or Caesar.

  3. Quick question, I was just reading through Ezra and came to chapter 7. Chapter 7 talks about King Artaxerxes, which from timelines I have to assume is the same king that is talked about in chapter 4, the son of Xerxes. However these appear to be very different people, whereas we see chapter 4 showing king Artaxerxes as calling the Israelites troublemakers and stopping the building of the temple, and chapter 7 depicts him as showing the Israelites, notably Ezra, favor.

    A change of heart is not my question, but rather Chapter 4 verse 24. It suggests that the letter from king Artaxerxes is the reason that the building on the temple stopped until the 2nd year of king Darius. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me since Darius was Artaxerxes’ grandfather. How was Artaxerxes sending a letter as king during the 2nd year of the reign of his grandfather as king?

    If you could shed some light on this, I would appreciate it. I’ve been searching the internet ad can’t find anything that touches the matter.

    • Senica,

      It is important to emphasize here that “Artaxerxes” is a title use to identify at least two different Persian kings in the Scripture. Ezra 4 is sufficient to illustrate this fact. Ezra 4 describes an “Artaxerxes” who stopped construction of the temple sometime between the 1st year of Cyrus and the 2nd year of Darius. This so called “Artaxerxes” was likely Smerdis(also Bardis) the imposter who Darius deposed after only a few months reign. If an imposter was given the title of Persian “Artaxerxes” then surely any legitimate Persian king would also have been know by the title of “Artaxerxes”.

      Ezra 4:23-24 23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. 24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

      The next example of “Artaxerxes” is mention in both Ezra and Nehemiah. This “Artaxerxes” is a Persian king who was a contemporary of both Ezra and Nehemiah. Based upon the contextual evidence it can be reasonably concluded that this Persian king was the same person mentioned in both books.

      So who was the “Artaxerxes” of Ezra 6:14, Ezra 7 and Nehemiah? The answer is actually simpler than it appears. Ezra 6:14 actually gives the answer if the text is read based upon the contextual evidence. The Scripture is simply silent on any additional “Artaxerxes” who gave a commandment before the temple was completed in the 6th year of Darius son of Hystaspes. If a reasonable reading of the text does not allow for another “Artaxerxes” then is it possible for this “Artaxerxes” to be simply a title referring to Darius? Could it really be that simple?

      According to the Theological Workbook of the Old testament (TWOT Hebrew Lexicon) the Hebrew letter waw, when attached to another word is not always used as a conjunction. It is sometimes used as a “hendiadys”. In other words the waw (based on context) could be used to specify two words with one meaning. Since there is no evidence to suggest anther “Artaxerxes” before the completion of the temple by the 6th year of Darius then the “waw” attached to “Artaxerxes” should have been used as a hendiadys. Ezra was simply describing Darius as the “Artaxerxes” of Persia.

      And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, even Artaxerxes king of Persia. – Ezra 6:14

      Not only is this a perfectly legitimate use of waw. It is also the most reasonable usage based upon chronological context of Ezra 1-6. Any other interpretation requires the reader to interrupt the chronological order of Ezra 6, insert a gap between Ezra 6 & 7 and surreptitiously insert another Persian king into the context of Ezra 1-6.

      Just my two cents worth.

      • So

      • No you butchering and altering the bible because of your own foolish ignorance is not ok, or “perfectly legitimate” what a shame people today. You said so yourself it was a generic kings, name and you even named an imposter king before Darius I, yet your solution is to alter the holy scriptures?!

      • “interrupt the chronological order”? Do you have a clue what you are talking about, the bible was summing up all the events relating to the building of the second temple. This is the most common way the bible was written. surreptitiously? The text even tells you that they finished the temple, then goes on to describe how it was done. Can you scholars not understand that? The bible even lists every single one of the decrees in that reference, and its amazing people are still ignorant of that fact, if they would pick up their bibles and study, it would become obvious to them, instead they listen and follow secular sources for their bible interpretation, ignorant of the fact their is an unnatural bias against the bible, even after all it has done for archeology. If you don’t believe the bible is true, then keep your opinions and teachings to yourself.

  4. Queen Esther Time Line
    In year 597 BC Hadassah (Queen Esther) was deported with Mordecai family to Babylon. In year 582 King Nebuchadnezzar II went insane his wife Queen Amytis called on her brother King Ahasuerus (King Astyages of Median Empire) to protect them. King Astyages of Median Empire is the father of Darius of Medes son of Ahasuerus in Daniel stories. King Astyages of Median Empire (nickname was King Ahasuerus).
    During the time when King Nebuchadnezzar II went insane, King Astyages of Median Empire (nickname was King Ahasuerus) ruled both Empire (Median and Babylon Empire).
    Read the book of the “Return of the Medes” for detail stories about the biblical time.

  5. Thanks you. I haven’t read everything in detail, but we are starting to think about our VBS, and wanted to see how chronologically Ezra, Daniel, Nehemiah, and Esther all fit in. We wanted to give the kids a simplified timeline, and this helps.

    • Dear Sir, I also wish to have this question answered and send to me personally if you can.

      i was go on surfing to have one systamatical answer of events took place from th time Israel, Judah, Daniel etc
      till all who returned to Jerusalem and complete the temple, walls and the city rebuilding
      thank you


  6. Nehemiah 10

    “Those who sealed it were: Nehemiah, the governor,….Daniel…..Azariah….Hananiah…”

    What context is this passage in? Past events or current events as Nehemiah recalls them?

  7. @ David. The mordecai said to have returned with Zerubabbel must be another person. Just like a certain Daniel was also mentioned.

  8. By the way, there were many Artexerxes king of Persia, throughout the period of persian world dominance until Alexander the great.

  9. Praise the Lord. Your labours will be rewarded. Kindly furnish all kings and events from the time of jehoachim capture to Malachi in a tabular form and in chronological form with chapter wise scriptural references from all books in the Holy bible.

  10. […] Look at the Persian Kings period timeline: […]


    • Look, I am really interested to study about Daniel. Send me all notes on Daniel book.
      I understood that he was born in 622bc and in 605bc. He was taken in deportation to Babylon. So in Babylon he was selected as one to be nourished in the kings food for the great purpose for which God took him to Babylone. He is the mighty prophet without a doubt!!!!

      • He had many visions and dreams, during the Babylonian empire, then the Medes under Darius the Mede for a short time, and then until the 1st year of Cyrus, after that he left Babylon for Susa in Iran (Persia) and retired there. His last prophecy was as an old man, and was about the coming of Jesus or the second coming, this was in the third year of Cyrus, and the angel instructed him to seal up the vision, for it pertains to many days in the future, and that he would “sleep with his fathers” in other words die, and then be raised to life at in the last day, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      • Thank you Sir, Good day


  12. Wow, really excellent. U simplified my Bible study.thank u

  13. The Assyrians have a story similar to the Esther narrative that has her heroine with child before meeting king Cyrus. Any background on that? Also curious about Daniel the greater and Daniel the lesser and if there were two Daniels if maybe the second one may have been a son of Esther’s?

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