Archaeology news 1: Indirect proof of Esther?
From JPost, an interesting article that might be indirect proof for the story of the Book of Esther:
Just a hundred years ago, they were searching for it desperately. German, French and Italian archaeological expeditions were mounted to comb the lower stretches of Elephantine Island in the Nile River, in southern Egypt, but without success. They had been activated by the publication in 1911, two years earlier, of papyrus documents from the area that contained personal stories of members of a Jewish military colony in the area from the 5th century BCE. According to the document, there had been a temple in their midst of the colony. But where, exactly? Was it real or a myth ? Where was the colony, exactly, and why was it there at all? With the advent of World War I in 1914, the search was called off. It resumed after 1918, but again without success.
The papyrus scrolls were specific. The Jewish colonists lived in peace with their Egyptian neighbors, and they kept the Jewish laws. In fact, the Persian Emperor Darius II had commanded them to keep the Passover feast of unleavened bread in 418 BCE and not to drink beer for seven days after Nissan 14, according to one of the papyri. The area at the time was under Persian control; it had been captured by Cambyses in 525 BCE, and the Jewish colony was under Persian jurisdiction.
They occupied a whole row of mud-brick houses, some of them married Egyptian wives, some did not, and altogether they lived their lives in peace and quiet. Why were they there? They were a military unit serving there to guard Egypt’s southern border. They were on Elephantine Island, opposite Aswan on the mainland, and it was here, at the first cataract of the Nile, that Egypt had always had to defend itself against infiltrators from the south, where the poorer nations were desperate to enter and enjoy the riches of their wealthy neighbors.
Why would Darius II, a Persian king, instruct Jews to keep Passover?
Maybe because many scholars identify Darius II was the son of Queen Esther!