How did Achashverosh get to be king? He married Vashti who is a descendent of the Babylonian king, but it's Persia and Media who ruled then. Why wasn't the son of Cyrus the next king?

  • I think the gemara says he bought his way in.
    – pcoz
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 22:11
  • Great question. The problem is identifying Achashverosh and understanding Persian history in general. Neither is a simple task because we have so little information on the Persian empire. I'll try to bring some different views later today.
    – Harel13
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 7:01

1 Answer 1


Quite simply he used wealth to get himself into power.

The Gemara in Megillah 11a writes as follows:

הַמּוֹלֵךְ אָמַר רַב שֶׁמָּלַךְ מֵעַצְמוֹ אָמְרִי לַהּ לְשֶׁבַח וְאָמְרִי לַהּ לִגְנַאי אָמְרִי לַהּ לְשֶׁבַח דְּלָא הֲוָה אִינִישׁ דַּחֲשִׁיב לְמַלְכָּא כְּווֹתֵיהּ וְאָמְרִי לַהּ לִגְנַאי דְּלָא הֲוָה חֲזֵי לְמַלְכוּתָא וּמָמוֹנָא יַתִּירָא הוּא דִּיהַב וְקָם

The next term in the opening verse: “Who reigned” (Esther 1:1), is now interpreted. Rav said: This comes to teach that he reigned on his own, without having inherited the throne. Some say this to his credit, and some say it to his disgrace. The Gemara explains: Some say this to his credit, that there was no other man as fit as him to be king. And some say it to his disgrace, that he was not fit to be king, but he distributed large amounts of money, and in that way rose to the throne. (Sefaria translation and notation)

Also refer to the Yalkut Shimoni 1045 for the same point.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .