In Chullin 139b, the Gemara asks about hints in the Torah for several of the figures in the Megillah, and provides answers:

"Where is {Haman, Esther, Mordechai} hinted at in the Torah?" (המן\אסתר\מרדכי מן התורה מנין?‏)

Why doesn't it ask about Achashverosh as well? He's certainly as major a character in the story as any of them. (And in fact, while by name he's mentioned only about half as many times as each of them - 29, as compared to 50+ for each of the other three - his title המלך appears by itself some 160 times.)


1 Answer 1


I see where Maharsha explains this Gemara in a way that apparently answers the question indirectly.

He says that each of the four personages mentioned in the Gemara there (it starts with Moshe) is known by other names as well. Moshe had a bunch; the others are also called, respectively, Memuchan, Hadassah and Pesachyah. Furthermore, the common names for all four of them come from other languages: Moshe from Egyptian, the other three from Persian (whereas the secondary names are all Hebrew).

So the point of the question, he says, is: from where do we see that these foreign names are truly significant from the Torah's point of view? And so for each one, the verse that the Gemara cites indicates an underlying connection between their accomplishments (or, in Haman's case, his character flaws) and common name.

Which, then, presumably answers the question why Achashverosh isn't listed: there aren't any other names for him in the Megillah.

  • I have a vague recollection that his name is given somewhere as "Daryavesh". (Besides, of course, Koresh and Daryavesh, whose respective names are also given somewhere as "Daryavesh".) Is this the case?
    – msh210
    Mar 5, 2012 at 5:48
  • 1
    @msh210: you might be thinking of Rosh Hashanah 3b, where Koresh, Daryavesh and Artachshasta are identified as the same person. But Artachshasta != Achashverosh, as seen from Ezra 4:6-7.
    – Alex
    Mar 5, 2012 at 5:52
  • Yeah, I was likely just confused.
    – msh210
    Mar 5, 2012 at 5:57
  • @Alex If Koresh, Daryavesh and Artachshasta can all be the same person, then I don't think that proof from Ezra is very convincing.
    – Double AA
    Mar 5, 2012 at 6:26
  • The Artscroll Tanach on Ezra 4:7 interprets the Talmud (Rosh Hashana 3B) to mean that Artachshasta is a generic name for king, like "Pharaoh".
    – Menachem
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:06

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