How old was Esther?

This week we have two posts from Di Warren, that help us build a picture of who Esther was and how she came to be where we find her in the book of Esther.

How old was Esther?

When I read about Esther, I can’t help wondering how old she was. In particular, how old was she when she first became Queen? And what was the age gap between her and King Xerxes?

Now obviously it doesn’t matter, as the text doesn’t give us the answer. But I think there are a few clues we can get.

We can work out how old Xerxes was, from history books (like the Greek historian Herodotus) as well as the internal evidence in Esther.

  • He was born in 518BC.
  • He became King of Persia in 485BC at the age of 33.
  • He deposed Queen Vashti in 483/482BC when he was 36 (Esther 1:3).
  • He had a war against Greece in 480-470BC, when he was 39-49.
  • He married Esther in 479BC (Esther 2:16), when he was 40.
  • He killed Haman in 473BC, when he was 45 (Esther 3:7).
  • He was assassinated in 465 BC, when he was 53.

  • So what is clear, is that Esther was married to a rich, middle aged man!

    But based on Middle Eastern practises, I suspect Esther was a teenager when she married Xerxes (which would make sense of why she submits to Mordecai in 2:10 and 2:20). So just say she was 15, then she had to deal with Haman’s plot when she was about 20.

    Esther is very courageous in Chapter 4. But when you think that she is probably very young, it’s even more amazing.