MORDECAI and ESTHER — HOW OLD?
(Investigator 185, 2019 March)
My conclusion (Investigator 177) that Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther is King Darius required that Mordecai be 60 years older than his cousin Esther.
My article is the only one near the top Google search results (when searching on Ahasuerus, Esther and Mordecai) that identifies Darius (instead of Xerxes or Artaxerxes) as Ahasuerus.
Esther 2 suggests that
Mordecai was "Taken captive with Jeconiah..." to Babylon, which
happened in 597 BCE. (II Chronicles 36; II Kings 23-24)
The reign of Darius commenced in 522 BCE.
If we assume Mordecai went to Babylon as a newborn baby, it makes his age:
• 75 When the reign of Darius started in 522 BCE
• 78 When Esther won the beauty contest that made her a candidate for queen
• 82 When Esther became queen in Darius' seventh year (Esther 2:16-17)
• 87 When chief minister Haman plotted genocide (3:7)
How could Esther be young enough to win a beauty contest when her cousin was 78 years old?
The following is hypothetical but socially and biologically plausible:
We'll start with Mordecai's grandparents and assume they had two sons
born 20 years apart. This is possible if grandmother produced one son
when she was say 16 and the second son when she was 36.
Assume that the older son at the age of 25 becomes Mordecai's father in
597 BCE, when the younger son is aged 5 (therefore born in 602 BCE).
Next assume that the younger son got married late in life, say at age 65 in 537 BCE, to a wife young enough to conceive.
Assume Esther is born that same year, 537 BCE.
This makes Esther 60 years younger than her cousin Mordecai.
Esther would then be aged18 when she wins the beauty contest, 22 when
she becomes queen (Esther 2:16-17), and 27 when she helps to defeat
Haman's genocide scheme.
We can adjust the hypothetical ages and birth dates of Mordecai, Esther
and their parents by a few years and still keep it plausible for the
reign of Darius.
But if we advance the events in Esther by 25 years to locate them in the reign of Xerxes, the ages of the Jewish actors become implausible.
See also: Esther, Ahasuerus and Mordecai: Is the Story True?