Ahasuerus

Ahasuerus is translated as Xerxes in more modern versions of the Bible such as the NIV.  Ahasuerus and Xerxes I are the same person.  For more about Xerxes, see here.

Xerxes

There are multiple kings with the name of Xerxes in the Bible.  Keeping them straight is a bit of a puzzle.  The most prominent Xerxes is Xerxes I who was king during the book of Esther.  While some translations use the name Xerxes, other translations – the King James Version being the most notable – use the Persion version of the name, Ahasuerus.  To further confuse the matter, this name when translated into Greek is Artaxerxes.  But this is not to confuse Xerxes with Artaxerxes who are two different kings.

Suffice it to say, when Xerxes is mentioned it is likely in reference to the King of Persia who married Esther.  In some translations his name is Ahasuerus.  References to Artaxerxes are most likely to Xerxes’ son who followed him on the throne.

Not only is Xerxes a prominent figure in the book of Esther, but part of the book of Ezra takes place during this same time frame so he also is referenced in that book as well.

Vashti

Vashti is a queen of the Persian Empire, married to King Xerxes I (called Ahasuerus in the Bible.)  Her story is what sets the stage for the book of Esther.  During a drunken party she is called out to dance for the king.  When she refuses, the king, with some coercion from his guests, decides that it is time to find another queen.

It is speculated that Vashti is not just fighting for women’s rights in her refusal of the king.  It is thought that she might have been asked to dance naked for the party guests to show off her beauty.  She refused to be humiliated in this way, which is the real force behind going against the king’s wishes.

Vashti ends up being banished from the king’s presence and a search for a new queen was launched.  Esther would end up becoming queen at Vashti’s loss.  Although one might expect that Vashti was executed for her refusal of the king, this doesn’t happen.

Uz

Little is known about the location of Uz.  We are told that Job is from the land of Uz, but we are not certain where that actually is.  There is some evidence to suggest that Job lives in Syria, but other evidence suggests that Uz is in Jordan or even southern Israel.  The best indication we are given as to its location is that there is an attack by Chaldean raiders, Chaldea being where modern day Iraq is located.  This might give reason to believe that Uz is near or borders the area of Iraq but no one is certain.

Uriah

Uriah is forever infamously associated with King David and he is a victim of David’s greatest sin.  Uriah had the misfortune of being married to Bathsheba.  When David saw Bathsheba bathing on a rooftop he lusted after her and slept with her.  Uriah was away at battle at the time.

When Bathsheba later reveals to King David that she is pregnant, he tries to cover up his misdeeds.  He calls Uriah home under the pretense of asking for a battle report.  He then tries to get Uriah to return home and to sleep with his wife so that the sin may not be discovered.  Uriah righteously states that he won’t return home to his wife while the other men are out in the field.  David feels that he is left with no other alternative to hide his sin than to have Uriah killed.

David ordered that Uriah be placed at the front of the battle line and have the other men withdraw from him.  While David is not the one to personally do the killing, he is no less a murderer as he is to blame for Uriah’s death.