“palace-fortress.” The word we translate as palace-fortress is biyrah (#01002 בִּירָה), which is not originally a Hebrew word but is a loanword from the Persians that means palace, castle, citadel, fortress. Scholars and archaeologists agree that in Esther it means the fortified part of the city that contained the residence of the king, and thus was a citadel, acropolis, or kind of palace-fortress. Just before the time of Christ, Herod the Great built a huge and very well-fortified palace complex in West Jerusalem. The towers were so huge and grand that when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD, they left them intact so visitors could see the tremendous feat the Romans accomplished in conquering the city. The word occurs ten times in Esther (Est. 1:2, 5; 2:3, 5, 8; 3:15; 8:14; 9:6, 11, 12).