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Ancient city in the East, the capital of Elam, and which afterward became the metropolis of Persia. Its first mention chronologically is in Daniel 8:22And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. (Daniel 8:2). Objections have been raised as to Daniel being at Shushan in the reign of Belshazzar; but the prophecy does not say definitely that he was there. It reads, “I saw in a vision; and it came to pass when I saw, that I was at Shushan.” He may have been there in a vision, or he may have gone there on the business of the king.
Esther was queen of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Persia, and resided at Shushan, and the various descriptions given in the book of Esther show that it was a place of wealth and luxury, and was of large extent. At a later date Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king at Shushan (Neh. 1:11The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, (Nehemiah 1:1)).
Daniel speaks of the palace or fortress as being in the province of Elam, and he was by the river of Ulai. This agrees with the modern Susa, on the river Shapur, in Persia, where there are extensive ruins, embracing those of a magnificent palace, about 32° 10' N, 48° 26' E. Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, after which Shushan declined. The place is frequently mentioned in the Book of Esther, and is once called SUSA (this being the Greek form of the name) in Esther 11:3 of its apocryphal additions.
The ruins extend to a circumference of about seven miles. An inscription states that the palace there was founded by Darius and completed by Artaxerxes. It may have been the one occupied in the days of Esther.
The great feast that was held by Ahasuerus with his nobles and princes for seven days was not apparently held in any of the halls inside the palace, but in the open air, “in the court of the garden of the king’s palace,” surrounded by “white, green and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble.”