Elsewhere on this site, avi cited sources to the effect that, contrary to the Bavli (M'gila), the events recounted in the book of Ester took place after the second bes hamikdash was built. Do any rishonim (or earlier Judaism sources) say as much, thus lending credibility to the claim? (A number of rishonim, in their commentaries on Nach, did not hesitate to argue with the Bavli's reading of Nach.) I seek not sources who merely could be interpreted as implying as much (after all, one could say the p'sukim themselves imply as much), but sources who actually say so.

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    Why do rishonim affect believability here? They were working with less than we have to determine the history.
    – Double AA
    Dec 29, 2013 at 1:04
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    @DoubleAA Rishonim had a better m'sora than we do about what took place when: they were closer to the events. Also, they were holier than we, so I trust their reading of Tanach more than I trust later persons' reading of it, especially where such contradicts the (holier yet) Bavli.
    – msh210
    Dec 29, 2013 at 2:10
  • ... To be honest, I wouldn't mind early acharonim as answers to the question, but I figured "rishonim" is a (slightly) easier-to-define category than "rishonim and early acharonim", so I left it at that.
    – msh210
    Dec 29, 2013 at 2:16
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    Holiness is a pretty unfit tool for determining history. How does it help? Were they receiving prophecy? Do you have any evidence for that? I trust that given a history they could derive better messages from the stories, I guess. I'm not sure what mesora you are talking about here. I'm not aware of any such mesora nor do I know of any evidence for it. Do you think there were details about the Persian kings passed down secretly and not recorded till late rishonim? What evidence do you have for that claim? What's the incentive for them to do that?
    – Double AA
    Dec 29, 2013 at 2:19
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    Holiness is a pretty fit tool for interpreting Tanach, and I don't think it's unlikely that rishonim had a m'sora, when they learned Ester, that "this took place before|after the binyan bayis sheni" (nothing necessarily to do with Persian kings directly).
    – msh210
    Dec 29, 2013 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


The most commonly held opinion is that the story of Esther took place after the foundation of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash was built, but before the building was completed. (See Artscroll on Ezra, among others; Medrash Esther Rabba; etc.) The building process was halted by royal edict in the middle of the construction. The exact timeline is discussed in depth by the commentaries on Ezra, where the text itself gives many details of the sequence of events.

Therefore, one could correctly say that the story of Purim took place after the [start of the] building of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash, before the [end of the] building of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash, or during the building of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash. It's just a matter of semantics.

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    "The accepted opinion" What does that even mean?
    – Double AA
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:23
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    -1 avi's first source by Rabbi Chaim (Howard) Jachter states "even though the events of Megillat Ester occurred in 482 B.C.E., 478 B.C.E., and 473 B.C.E., long after Cyrus permitted Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael (539 B.C.E.) and the Beit Hamikdash was completed (515 B.C.E.)."
    – Double AA
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:46
  • @DoubleAA Thank you for the correction. I removed the incorrect section.
    – LN6595
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:48
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    @LN6595, one score-two answer on Meta is not the same as the community agreeing on something.
    – MTL
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:58
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    Please see isaac's answer there then please edit your post to indicate how it "at least provide[s] information that could be helpful toward getting an answer to the question". Right now i dont see how this qualifies.
    – Double AA
    Feb 2, 2015 at 19:27

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