on Daniel 8 :2
I saw in a vision - Daniel was at this time in Shushan, which appears to have been a strong place, where the kings of Persia had their summer residence. It was the capital of the province of Elam or the Elymais; which province was most probably added to the Chaldean territories by Nebuchadnezzar; see Jeremiah 49:34, Jeremiah 49:35. Here was Daniel's ordinary residence; and though here at this time, he, in vision, saw himself on the banks of the river Ulai. This is the same as the river Euleus, which divided Shushan or Susiana from Elymais.
on Daniel 8 :2
And I saw in a vision - I looked as the vision appeared to me; or I saw certain things represented to me in a vision. On the word vision, see the notes at Daniel 1:17. The meaning here would seem to be that a vision appeared to Daniel, and that he contemplated it with earnestness, to understand what it meant.
That I was at Shushan - As remarked in the introduction to this chapter, this might mean that he seemed to be there, or that the vision was represented to him as being there; but the most natural construction is to suppose that Daniel was actually there himself. Why he was there he has not informed us directly - whether he was on public business, or on his own. From Daniel 8:27, however - "Afterward I rose up, and did the king's business" - it would seem most probable that he was then in the service of the king. This supposition will not conflict with the statement in Daniel 5:10-11, in which the queen-mother, when the handwriting appeared on the wall of the palace informs Belshazzar that there was "a man in his kingdom in whom was the spirit of the holy gods, etc." - from which it might be objected that Daniel was at that time unknown to the king, and could not have been in his employ, for it might have been a fact that he was in the employ of the king as an officer of the government, and yet it may have been forgotten that he had this power of disclosing the meaning of visions.
He may have been employed in the public service, but his services to the father of the king, and his extraordinary skill in interpreting dreams and visions may not at once have occurred to the affrighted monarch and his courtiers. Shushan, or Susa, the chief town of Susiana, was the capital of Persia after the time of Cyrus, in which the kings of Persia had their principal residence, Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:2-5. It was situated on the Eulaeus or Choaspes, probably on the spot now occupied by the village Shus. - Rennel, Geog. of Herodotus; Kinneir, Mem. Pers. Emp.; K. Porter's Travels, ii. 4, 11; Ritter, Erdkunde, Asien, 9: 294; Pict. Bib. in loc. At Shus there are extensive ruins, stretching perhaps twelve miles from one extremity to the other, and consisting, like the other ruins in that country, of hillocks of earth, and rubbish, covered with broken, pieces of brick and colored tile. At the foot of these mounds is the so-called tomb of Daniel, a small building erected on the spot where the remains of Daniel are believed in that region to rest.
It is apparently modern, but nothing but the belief that this was the site of the prophet's sepulchre could have led to its being built in the place where it stands - Malcolm, Hist. of Persia, i. 255, 256. The city of Shus is now a gloomy wilderness, inhabited by lions, hyenas, and other beasts of prey. - Kitto's Cyclo., art. "Shushan." Sir John Kinneir says that the dread of these animals compelled Mr. Monteith and himself to take shelter for the night within the walls that encompass Daniel's tomb. Of that tomb Sir John Malcolm says, "It is a small building, but sufficient to shelter some dervishes who watch the remains of the prophet, and are supported by the alms of pious pilgrims, who visit the holy sepulchre. The dervishes are now the only inhabitants of Susa; and every species of wild beast roams at large over the spot on which some of the proudest palaces ever raised by human art once stood." - Vol. i. pp. 255, 256. For a description of the ruins of Susa, see Pict. Bib. in loc. This city was about 450 Roman miles from Seleucia, and was built, according to Pliny, 6; 27, in a square of about 120 stadia. It was the summer residence of the Persian kings (Cyrop. 8, 6, 10), as they passed the spring in Ecbatana, and the autumn and winter in Babylon. See Lengerke, in loc. It was in this city that Alexander the Great married Stateira, daughter of Darius Codomanus. The name means a lily, and was probably given to it on account of its beauty - Lengerke. Rosenmuller supposes that the vision here is represented to have appeared to Daniel in this city because it would be the future capital of Persia, and because so much of the vision pertained to Persia. See Maurer, in loc.
In the palace - This word (בירה bı̂yrâh) means a fortress, a castle, a fortified palace. - Gesenius. See Nehemiah 1:1; Esther 1:5; Esther 2:5; Esther 8:14; Esther 9:6, Esther 9:11-12. It would seem to have been given to the city because it was a fortified place. The word applied not only to the palace proper, a royal residence, but to the whole adjacent city. It is not necessary to suppose that Daniel was in the palace proper, but only that he was in the city to which the name was given.
Which is in the province of Elam - See the notes at Isaiah 11:11. This province was bounded on the east by Persia Proper, on the west by Babylonia, on the north by Media, and on the south by the Persian Gulf. It was about half as large as Persia, and not quite as large as England. - Kitto's Cyclo. It was probably conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and in the time of Belshazzar was subject to the Babylonian dominion, Shushan had been doubtless the capital of the kingdom of Elam while it continued a separate kingdom, and remained the capital of the province while it was under the Babylonian yoke, and until it was subdued as a part of the empire by Cyrus. It was then made one of the capitals of the united Medo-Persian empire. It was when it was the capital of a province that it was visited by Daniel, and that he saw the vision there. Possibly he may have dwelt there subsequently, and died there.
And I was by the river of Ulai - This river flowed by the city of Shushan, or Susa, and fell into the united stream of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It is called by Pliny (Nat. Hist. vi. 81) Eulaeus; but it is described by Greek writers generally under the name of Choaspes. - Herod. v. 49; Strabo, xv. p. 728. It is now known by the name Kerah, called by the Turks Karasu. It passes on the west of the ruins of Shus (Susa), and enters the Shat-ul-Arab about twenty miles below Korna. - Kinneir, Geog. Mem. of the Persian Empire, pp. 96, 97. See Kitto's Cyclo., art. "Ulai"
on Daniel 8 :2
8:2 The river of Ulai - Which ran round the city.