Ahasuerus

🏷  Bible name Esther Persian pun · name   —   by Gerry · Jul 2019 · 399 words

The name of king Ahasuerus from the Book of Esther puns with Persian & Semitic ḥš-rš for “perceived ruler” and “inactive ruler”. The legal ruler would be Mordecai

The Persian king in the Book of Esther is named Ahasuerus, spelled אחשורוש ˀḥšwrwš. This is often cheaply equated to “Xerxes”, but that looks & feels simply false. Instead, the root consonants are identical to the Semitic & Persian compound term חש-רש ḥš-rš which means “perceived ruler” or “inactive ruler”. We can get confirmation by the fact that the name Mordecai from the same story means “legally entitled ruler”. The 2 are one opposing pair of many in the Bible.

(Note: ḥš-rš also means “secret ruler”, but that’s unlikely to be meant here, since Ahasuerus is a very visible ruler in the story.)

We know that in our cryptocracy, the “perceived ruler” is typically not the actual ruler. Many clownish US presidents come to mind as proof. But even the kings & emperors of old were not the singular lone genius rulers they were sold as. Rather, then as now, all big decisions have always been made many people. We can probably imagine them as commitees of bankster-type overlords in secret backroom meetings. The “perceived ruler”, their clownish relative on the throne, was probably just the best-looking of the bunch, or simply the least intelligent cousin, who wasn’t of much use in the actual decisionmaking.

Note: The same

אחשורוש ˀḥšwrwš : Ahasuerus, king of Persia — Old Hebrew (Strong)

Hebrew, Arabic, Persian ḥš = sense, perception, perceived

חש ḥš : to sense, to feel; to have a sense, to experience a sensation — Hebrew (Wikt)

חוש ḥwš : feel; felt, perceived, sensed; anxious, worried — Hebrew (Klein)

حَسَّ ḥassa : to feel; to have sensation, perceive by the senses; to listen; to notice, know, understand; to know for certain — Arabic (Wikt)

حس ḥess : sense, feeling — Arabic (Wikt)

احساس iḥsās : feeling, perceiving, understanding, perception — Persian (Steingass)

Hebrew ḥš = still, inactive, secret

חשה ḥšh : to be silent, be inactive — Hebrew (Klein)

חשאי ḥšˀy : stillness, quiet, secret — Hebrew (Klein)

Hebrew, Arabic, Persian = head, boss

ראש rosh : head, best, bodyguard, captain, chief, company, finest, first, leader, master, summit, top, topmost — Old Hebrew (Strong)

رَأَسَ raˀasa : to be at the head, to be chairman, to chair, to be in charge, to preside; to head, to lead, to direct, to manage, to run — Arabic (Wikt)

رئیس raˀis : president; chief; head; boss — Persian (Wikt)

🏷  Bible name Esther Persian pun · name