Ezra 7:8 says it was "the seventh year of Artaxerxes." What year was that?
NKJV - 8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
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According to some of the websites that I have looked at regarding the Persian kings and how they line up in the Bible, this particular Artaxerxes we are referring to goes by the Persian name Ardeshier Deraz Dast. He ruled between 464-423 B.C. So, seven years into his reign would have been about 457 B.C. Hope this helps.
The answer to what year was “the seventh year of Artaxerxes,” can only be approximately determined. The reason is that Persian records are extremely scarce, especially the last century of that era. Those that exist are very unreliable. However, the Bible helps in discovering some of the history. The king in Ezra 7:8 is likely the fourth king of Persia, Daniel 11:2. The first king was Cyrus, also known as Darius the Mede, Daniel 5:30, 9:1, 11:1. His decree in his first year permitted the Jews to return and rebuild the temple, Ezra 1:1-4. After his death, three kings reigned, Daniel 11:1-2. Cambyses, the oldest son of Cyrus, succeeded him, but the identities of the other two are vague. They may have been usurpers to the throne. Then, the fourth king, Darius the Persian arose to power. Many are confused because he is found with different names, so that many think there were different kings. In fact, the following names from both history and the Bible belong to him: Darius the Persian, Darius Hystaspis, Longimanus (“long-hand”), Ahasuerus, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. The names reflect different things about him. The king’s new title of Artaxerxes, king of kings, Ezra 7:12, was in recognition of his ruling, not just 120 provinces, Daniel 6:1, but 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, Esther 1:1. From history, it is known that he reigned for 36 years. The Bible supports this by the recorded numbered years of his reign given as follows: YEAR 2 – The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, by the Word of the Lord, call the people to build the temple, Haggai 1:1, 15, 2:10, Zechariah 1:1, 7. YEAR 2 – After the temple building was suspended, the work resumes, Ezra 4:24. YEAR 3 – King Ahasuerus deposes Queen Vashti, Esther 1:3. YEAR 4 – Zechariah, by the Word of the Lord, speaks about no longer weeping and fasting, Zechariah 7:1. YEAR 6 – The temple is completed, Ezra 6:15. YEAR 7 – Ezra and others arrive in Jerusalem, Ezra 7:7-8. YEAR 7 – Esther is brought to the king, Esther 2:16-17. YEAR 12 – Haman plots against the Jews, Esther 3:7. YEAR 20 – Nehemiah, cupbearer to the king, becomes governor of Judea for 12 years, Nehemiah 1:1, 5:14. He likely sees Esther, Nehemiah 2:6. YEAR 32 – Nehemiah returns to the king, Nehemiah 13:6, after which he goes back to Jerusalem. In figuring dates, one has to start where history is more certain. One can start with the prophecy of Daniel 9:25 that links two events: 1. Messiah’s baptism and beginning of ministry, AD 27 2. Command to rebuild, first year of Cyrus, 483 years (69 weeks/sevens of years) earlier, 457 BC With these dates and length of reigns from historical records, the following dates are determined: Cyrus reigned 21 years, 457-436 BC Cambyses reigned 8 years, 436-428 BC Two unknown kings, likely usurpers, 428 BC Darius the Persian reigned 36 years, 428-392 BC If these dates are correct, then the seventh year of Darius the Persian or Artaxerxes is about 421 BC.
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