Esther & Chronology

A quick read through the book of Esther might leave the impression that all of the events in the book transpired within six months. However, there are three references in the book to specific dates in the reign of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I).

The first banquet took place in the third year of his reign, 483 BC (Est 1:3).

Esther became queen in the seventh year of his reign, 478 BC (Est 2:16).

Haman hatched his plot to destroy the Jews in the 12th year of Ahasuerus. Because this happened in the first month of the year, it was likely less than five full years after Esther had become queen, probably early in 474 BC (Est 3:7).

Finally, when Haman cast the lot to determine the date for the extermination of the Jews, it came up as the twelfth month of that year. Because their calendar began the New Year in March/April, the twelfth month would have been the equivalent of early 473 BC. Of course, this turned out to be the deliverance of the Jews, not their extermination.

A timeline that shows these events as well as the broader historical setting is available here.


    1. Thank you so much for this timeline chart!! It’s so helpful and opened my mind to understanding the times in a way I never realized I needed to!

      • Thank You so very much! I never knew there was such a gap between each separate set of political circumstances. God richly bless you!

      • Avatar for Kris Udd PHILLIP KAPLER : February 1, 2023 at 10:05 am

        Its helpful, but confusing as well. The broader timeline is shifted relative to the detailed events. The “combined” chart makes it visually appear that they are synchronous, but the dates do not line up. That will confuse people who want precise alignment and pairing of events.

    2. Thank you for the timeline! Very helpful in me understanding it!

    3. Avatar for Kris Udd Duane Stephenson : June 19, 2024 at 10:44 am

      Can I have permission to use these charts for my teaching at church? I appreciate your consideration. If so, please email the permission to me.

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