SPARTAN-KILLER. About a year before Esther married Xerxes, king of the Persian Empire, he was in Greece, killing all 300 Spartans who blocked his trail on a narrow beachfront in the Battle of Thermopylae. Some Bible’s identify Xerxes by the Hebrew version of his name, Ahasuerus.
ESTHER’S STORY in the Bible surprised me.
Did you realize who Esther’s husband was? I didn’t.
He wasn’t just the king of the Persian Empire. He was the king depicted as almost a god in the blockbuster movie, “300.” Xerxes the Great.
In the movie, just as the event was reported in history, Xerxes led more than 200,000 warriors to a narrow path on a beach. That was the only trail that would accommodate an army of his size, headed south to Athens, a city he intended to conquer.
This battle took place about one year before he met and married Esther.
Three hundred Spartan warriors stopped his army in its tracks.
The Spartans may not have worn the bulging abs that actors in the movie achieved by pumping weights before the shots, which CGI trickery enhanced. And there was apparently some painting of the actors’ muscles, using lighting and shadows.
300 Spartans vs 200,000 Persians
Spartans not only stalled Xerxes. They killed a lot of his men. When Xerxes eventually returned home to what is now Iran, he had only half an army left.
A local man betrayed the Spartans by leading a detachment of Persians on a roundabout trail that led to the Spartan rear guard. That trapped the 300 between two attacking forces, a steep hill, and the deep, blue sea. The 300 died there. So did several hundred volunteers reinforcing them.
Xerxes went on to capture Athens and return home to celebrate his adventure.
By then, Xerxes claimed an empire that stretched 2,800 miles (4,500 km) from the Indus Valley on India’s border in the distant east, to Egypt, Libya, and to Ethiopia’s border in the southwest. That’s about Bangor, Maine to Los Angeles.
Freshly paraphrased version of Esther
I’ve added a map of Xerxes fighting Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae. You can see a sampling of the maps here and you can read Esther’s story here. It’s one of the Bible’s finest pieces of literature. Engaging and well-written.
Many scholars say it reads more like fiction than history. Take a read of it and see what you think. The average reader can finish the 6,000 words or so in about 30 minutes. Here’s a link to a chart that shows how long it takes to read each book in the Bible.
A Good Friday story
Two Deaths, a Good Friday Reading is story I try to post at this time every year.
It’s a very personal story about how my father’s death changed the way I experience the story of Jesus’ death.
The first Easter season after my dad died, a wave of powerful feelings collided with me as my church family sang. It caught me off guard. As I stood there among the people who were singing about the death and resurrection of Jesus, nearly everything I heard sounded like the story of my dad.
I could barely keep from sobbing.
Peace to you.
New update of the complete collection of Casual English Bible Maps
Every map we’ve ever made, over 800
There are two files:
One optimized for mobile devices and a higher resolution version, too. You get either one or both for the same price.
- Size: 1 GB (hi res) 110 MB (low res optimized for mobile)
- Length: over 840 pages
- Maps: over 800 Bible maps, many in 3-D style
- Updates: Free, as the project continues