Ahasuerus, King

Ahasuerus, King
   A transferred name which is used by Jane to Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Jane asks him to gratify her curiosity about something, now that they are to be Married. Rochester says: ‘I wish that instead of a mere inquiry into, perhaps, a secret, it was a wish for half my estate.’ Jane replies: ‘Now, King Ahasuerus! What do I want with half your estate? Do you think I am a Jew usurer, seeking good investment in land?
   Jane is referring to the Book of Esther, in the Old Testament, where Ahasuerus (otherwise Xerxes, the Greek form of his name) marries Esther, a Jewess, after dismissing his wife Vashti. Esther manages to save her people from the plotting of Haman, because the king says to her: ‘What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom it shall be fulfilled.’ Esther asks instead that her people should be protected. Nineteenth-century readers were expected to pick up these biblical references, steeped as they were in bible stories and characters. Miss Brontë’s reference to this particular incident, however, is somewhat marred by the sentence that follows, with its talk of ‘Jew usurer’, totally irrelevant in this context. It must have been especially offensive to her Jewish readers, who would all have recognized the name of Ahasuerus and understood the allusion. The victory of Esther and her uncle Mordecai over Haman is celebrated yearly in the feast of Purim.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Ahasuerus — (Hebrew Name|אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ|Aḥašveroš|ʾĂḥašwērôš, Latin: Xerxes , Persian: Khashayarshah , commonly transliterated Achashverosh) is a name used several times in the Hebrew Bible, as well as related legends and apocrypha.Equivalence of the names… …   Wikipedia

  • AHASUERUS-XERXES — (Heb. אחשורש; Aram. Papyri חשי(א)רש; Dura Synagogue חשורש; Old Persian Xšayāršā; Gr. Ξερξης). If one ignores the vowels, the biblical consonantal text is a close approximation of the king s name. The Persian king known to the Greeks as Xerxes I… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • AHASUERUS — (Heb. אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ), king of Persia, who according to the Book of Esther ruled from India to Ethiopia (see Book of esther ; artaxerxes ). In the Aggadah Ahasuerus generally is portrayed as vacillating, lacking in character, and easily swayed.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Ahasuerus and Haman at the feast of Esther — The painting Ahasveros and Haman to the feast of Esther is one of the few works of Rembrandt van Rijn of which all owners are known. The origin of the painting can be traced back to 1662, two years after its completion.ubjectThe subject is an… …   Wikipedia

  • Ahasuerus —    There are three kings designated by this name in Scripture.    1) The father of Darius the Mede, mentioned in Dan. 9:1. This was probably the Cyaxares I. known by this name in profane history, the king of Media and the conqueror of Nineveh.… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Ahasuerus — /euh haz yooh ear euhs, euh has , euh hazh ooh /; Seph. Heb. /ah khahsh ve rddawsh /; Ashk. Heb. /ah kheuhsh vay rddeuhsh/, n. a king of ancient Persia, known to the Greeks as Xerxes: husband of the Biblical Esther. * * * …   Universalium

  • Ahasuerus — noun a) A king of Persia, later identified with Xerxes. b) A name given to the Wandering Jew …   Wiktionary

  • Ahasuerus — n. ancient Persian King that is said to have tried to kill all of the Jews in his land after Haman incited him but reconsidered following Esther s advice (in the Book of Esther) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Ahasuerus — A•has•u•e•rus [[t]əˌhæz yuˈɪər əs, əˌhæs [/t]] n. bib jud a king of ancient Persia, usu. identified as Xerxes I: husband of Esther …   From formal English to slang

  • Ahasuerus — /əhæzjʊˈɪərəs/ (say uhhazyoo earruhs) noun Bible a king of Persia (known by the Greeks as Xerxes), husband of Esther. Book of Esther; Ezra 4:6 …  

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