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  • Writer's pictureSharon


Updated: Dec 12, 2022


In Daniel 8:2, Daniel covertly introduces us to the overarching theme of the two visions of Daniel 8. The mighty kingdoms, or powers, which should concern God’s people are symbolized by a Ram, followed by the He-goat, then the Four Winds, the Little Horn Power and finally the Mighty Warrior. Daniel sees himself standing in Shushan the palace, in the province of Elam by the river Ulai, translated “River of the Mighties”.

Daniel 8:2 And 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.

The vision takes place during the time of the world empire Babylon in the third year of king Belshazzar. However, in this vision, God introduced Daniel to what would soon be the next world kingdom of Medo-Persia and future kingdoms following.

The future capital of Medo-Persia was to be Shushan. In Esther 1, we are given a detailed description of Shushan’s palace during a time when it was the capital of Medo-Persia.

Esther 1:5 And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace;

6 Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble.

The Hebrew words for Shushan and Elam have the following meanings from the Strong’s Concordance:

H7800 Shushan

שׁוּשַׁן Shûwshan, shoo-shan'; the same as H7799; Shushan, a place in Persia:—Shushan.

H7799 Shushan

שׁוּשׁ shûwshan, shoo-shan'; or שׁוֹשָׁן shôwshân; or שֹׁשָׁן shôshân; and (feminine) שׁוֹשַׁנָּה shôwshannâh; from H7797; a lily (from its whiteness), as a flower of architectural ornament; also a (straight) trumpet (from the tubular shape):—lily, Shoshannim.

עֵילָם ʻÊylâm, ay-lawm'; or עוֹלָם ʻÔwlâm; (Ezra 10:2; Jeremiah 49:36), probably from H5956; hidden, i.e. distant; Elam, a son of Shem and his descendants, with their country; also of six Israelites:—Elam.

The name Shushan translated into English means “eternal lily”. This meaning is significant. In Daniel 8, we will soon understand everything regarding the kings of the Medes and the Persians can also remind us of what Christ did for us. The kings of the Medes and Persians is represented in Daniel 8 by the Ram, which is also the Lamb of God. The Bible metaphorically speaks of the love of Christ for His church in the beautiful book “Song of Solomon” comparing Him to the Lily of the Valley. God’s love for His people is an eternal lily or flower. However, we little understand it. Just as the word for Elam means “hidden”, His love is as a hidden mystery that must be revealed to His people.

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

The Hebrew word for the river “Ulai” means river of my leaders or the mighties.

H195 Ulai:

אוּלַי ʼÛwlay, oo-lah'ee; of Persian derivation; the Ulai (or Eulaeus), a river of Persia:—Ulai.

The River Ulai = "my leaders (mighties)"; river of Elam

It is very fitting that this vision takes place at the river Ulai since in its meaning "my mighties" we find the major theme of the entire chapter.

In Daniel 8 we are introduced to oncoming mighty leaders or world powers including: a Ram (Medo-Persia), a He Goat (Greece), the Four Winds (four generals of Alexander), a Little Horn Power (Papacy) and the Mighty Warrior or Prince of Princes (Christ). But we will have to take some time to discover this verse by verse.

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