The Book of Esther is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Esther or the Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of Purim. Its full text is read aloud twice during the celebration, in the evening and again the following morning.
The biblical Book of Esther is set in the third year of Ahasuerus, a king of Persia. The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes, both deriving from the Persian Khashayarsha, thus Ahasuerus is usually identified as Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), though Ahasuerus is identified as Artaxerxes in the later Greek version of Esther (as well as by Josephus, the Jewish commentary Esther Rabbah, the Ethiopic translation and the Christian theologian Bar-Hebraeus who identified him more precisely as Artaxerxes II). The Book of Esther tells a story of palace intrigue and genocide thwarted by a Jewish queen of Persia.