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The Tomb of Daniel in Shushan overlooking the River U’lai


Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat

A Prophetic Study in the Globalist Final Battle for World Domination

Chapter Eight

By Robert Mock MD

September 2005


 Part One

Daniel, the Babylonian Palace at Shushan and the Tomb of Daniel




In the days of King Belshaz’zar

The Scroll of Daniel

 Shushan, the capital in the Province of Elam and the River U’lai

Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerses are the same King of the Medes and the Persians according to the Seder Olam Rabbah

The Palace at Shushan

The Tomb of Daniel




The eighth chapter of Daniel is one of the pivotal chapters of all prophecies.  It appears to be the link with the ancient empires that affected the Nations of Israel and Judah prior to and during the days of Daniel and the future imperial forces that will affect their descendants at the time of the end.  Lest we forget, even before we start, the angel Gabriel said to Daniel the prophet,


Daniel 8:17 - “Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.”


At this time we are going to take a journey into the days of Daniel the prophet, immerse ourselves in his life and culture with the hope that the God of Israel will unfold to us a new drama about the time of the end.  There is one thesis with BibleSearchers: every shadow-picture given in the Bible will be replayed as part of the final act of the Drama of the Ages at the time of the endEvery prophecy has layers of interpretations that are not exclusive but inclusive to other prophetic interpretations.  The purpose of prophecy given by the Lord of hosts is to prepare His people living at the final age to be able to “watch and be ready.” 


Hundreds of books have been written on the prophecy of the ram and the he-goat.  Did not the Lord of hosts suggest that the interpretation is certain, for did not Gabriel give Daniel the interpretation?  What if this interpretation given by the archangel Gabriel is a code for a different interpretation of this same prophecy as it is replayed for the last time at the time of the end?  What if the two-horned Ram, the Persians, is a code name for a global force in the days before the coming of the Maschiach of Yisra’el (Messiah of Israel) that will have the characteristics of the ancient Persian Empire?  What if the one-horned he-Goat is a code name also for another opposing and superior global force that will arise in the days before the coming of the Messiah?


With this in mind, in this commentary of the eighth chapter of Daniel, we are not going to appeal to the centuries of Christian scholarship but we will appeal to centuries of commentaries by the sages of Israel, the learned rabbis.  It is they who also have left us with extensive commentaries.  Was it not their people and their ancestors who lived in the era when ‘their’ prophet and their prime minister, Daniel, guided the destiny of their people, the Jews, during the seventy years of exile in Babylon and Persia?  


We will not only appeal to the rabbinic understanding of the prophecy of Daniel but we will also examine this prophecy using the rabbinic calendar of the Lord that has been running in linear time since the creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden.  This rabbinic calendar, used in the time of Jesus (Yahshua), was finally written down in a chronological text by Rabbi Yose b. Halafta in the Sedar Olam Rabbah (The Great Order of the World) within one generation after Yahshua’s death.   


Another thesis of BibleSearchers is that the prophecies of the Scroll (Book) of Daniel were given to this royal Jewish prophet to be given specifically for the Jewish people.  Did not Gabriel also say to Daniel in the next chapter,


Daniel 9:24 – “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city?”


The God of prophecy has truly kept the honor of His word and His Holy Name by restoring the Jewish people, the people of Daniel by putting them back as the principle actors in the final act of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.  This time let us study with prayer and diligence as the God of Israel reveals to us the prophecies that He gave to His people, the Jews, by their prophet, Daniel, through their calendar, the Rabbinic Jewish calendar.  By watching this drama unfold with the principle actors of the “Final Drama”, may it be revealed to us what will happen in those final days before the coming of the Maschiach of Yisra’el. 


In the Days of King Belshaz’zar


Daniel 8:1 – “In the third year of the reign of king Belshaz'zar

a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel,

after that which appeared unto me at the first.”


The eighth chapter of Daniel begins at the end of one era and moves the reader into a new and different historical era when the people of God, the Jews, were about to experience what it is like to be redeemed and restored by to favor with their God, the God of Israel.  Here Belteshazzar (Daniel), possibly now the semi-retired prime minister of the now deceased king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in the winter royal Babylonian palace outside the capital city of Babylon while Belshaz’zar, the last ruler of Babylon was living in the capital city of Babylon. 


Trying to understand this era of history at the time of the end for the Babylonian Empire has been elusive for centuries until the shovel of the archeologist began to uncover the ancient treasures of the Middle East.  What we now know is that within six years of the death of Nebuchadnezzar, one of the governors and a seasoned warriors, Nabonidus (559-Cylinder of Nabonidus536 BCE), assumed the kingship of Babylon in a coup d’etat. By taking control of the government, he eliminated the two prior successors to Nebuchadnezzar.  Archeologists now feel that Nabonidus’ mother, the Queen Mother was part of the harem of Nebuchadnezzar’s court and as such, King Nabonidus was recognized as a step-son of king Nebuchadnezzar


The Cylinder of Nabonidus


What is interesting is that Nabonidus did not really like being king.  His real interests in life were as a historian, archeologist and archival restorationist.  He loved history and the restoration of the shrines of the god’s he worshipped.  He did not believe in the gods of his step-father, Nebuchadnezzar. Rather he disassociated himself with the national god of Babylon, Marduk, to the shock and anger of the powerful Babylonian priesthood.  Nabonidus then announced his allegiance to the Sumerian moon-god Sin and the sun-god Shamash.  He spent almost the rest of his life in the reconstruction of the ancient temple at Harran (Harrânu in Akkadian and Carrhae in Latin) and the temple at Sippar.  


On the clay tablet called the Cylinder of Nabonidus that was discovered in the Temple of Shamash at Sippar, Nabonidus records his restoration and reconstruction of the temple to the moon-god Sin in Harran and to the sun-god Shamash and goddess Anunitum at Sippar.  This archeological restoration is highlighted by the fact that Daniel, the ex-official prime minister of Babylon was no doubt receiving diplomatic messages about the restoration project being done by King Nabonidus. 


Almost fifteen hundred years prior, this very temple was built and dedicated to the moon-god Sin at Harran by Daniel’s ancestor, Abraham’s father, Terah, who was the oracular priest in the Sumerian religious hierarchy in the dynasty of Nimrod. 


The Book of Jasher, quoted from in Joshua 10:3 which said, “Is not this written in the Book of Jasher”, wrote about Terah;


Jasher 9:7 – “And the king (Nimrod) and all his servants, and Terah with all his household were then the first that served gods of wood and stone.  And Terah had twelve gods of large size, made of wood and stone, after the twelve months of the year, and he served each one monthly, and every month Terah would bring his meat offering and drink offering to his gods; thus did Terah all the days. 


And all that generation were wicked in the sight of the Lord, and they thus made every man his god, but they forsook the Lord who had created them.  And there was not a man found in those days in the whole earth, who knew the Lord (for they served each man his own God) except Noah and his household, and all those who were under his counsel knew the Lord in those days. And Abram the son of Terah was waxing great in those days in the house of Noah, and no man knew it, and the Lord was with him.” 


In the ancient Jewish archives and now with modern archeology we now understand that the temple at Harran that was built Tell Harran was a replica or mirror image to the central Sumerian religious complex at Nannar/Sin in Ur.  According to the ancient texts, Terah was a former priest of Ur (Uratu) and as such was a worshipper of the Sumerian moon god Sin.


The consort to the moon-god Sin was the goddess Nikkal.  In Syriac, the language of the Assyrians called Armenian, this goddess was called Atargatis.  In Arabic, this goddess was called Allat.


This leads to a very fascinating link in the Jewish and Islamic relationships of Isaac and Ishmael.  Can the origin of the Allah be found in the lunar Sumerian temple of the Sumerian god Sin?  Did the name of the God of Islam, Allah, come from the Arabic name for Sumerian goddess, called Allat? 


Since Ishmael, the father of the Arabians, was the eldest son of Abram, is it possible that Ishmael and his descendants continued on with the worship to the moon god Sin that was practiced by Ishmael’s grandfather, Terah, the oracular high priest in the temple of Harran?  What the Jewish historians and the Bible does record, Abram chose to “Come out of her my people” and to follow a different deity, the God of his forefather Noah and Shem, and the God of Adam? 


According to the Biblical story, the book of Genesis states;


Genesis 11:32 – “And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.” 


The Jewish Book of Jasher, which may have been quoted from in Joshua 10:3, “Is not this written in the Book of Jasher”, gives the account this way:


Book of Jasher 12:70 – “And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, the wife of his son Abram, and al the souls of his household and went with them from Ur Casdim to go to the land of Canaan. And when they came as far as the land of Haran they remained there, for it was exceedingly good land for pasture and of sufficient extent for those who accompanied them.”


Merging archeological history with Biblical history does point to this fact.  The Ishmaelites did continue to worship the pagan moon god of the Sumerians that the father of Abraham, Terah, was worshipping.   Abram did choose to leave and worship the God of his ancestors, now known to us as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 


Today in the archives of the British Museum, there is the basalt Stela called the Stela of Nabonidus.  Though its origin is not known, this Stela shows a figure appearing to represent King Nabonidus in the traditional royal dress of the Babylonians, holding Stela of Nabonidusthe royal standard used in religious ceremonies.  The divine symbols of the moon-god, Sin, the planet Venus or Ishtar and the winged disc of the sun-god Shamash, are to the right of the standard.


The basalt Stela of Nabonidus - British Museum


Here he celebrates the return of the showering rain and the anticipation of a time of plenty after a drought. Gone were the evocations to the god of Marduk, the revered god of the Babylonians.  It was Marduk, whom the Babylonians thought gave them the right for universal imperial rule. Yearly during the annual New Years spring festival of Akitu, the king of Babylon presided. 


Now the god Marduk was no longer honored by King Nabonidus and the festival of Akitu was abandoned, because it demanded the presence of the king.  Was this an omen to the citizens of Babylon?   Here in these tablets, the once assumed mythical picture of King Belshazzar in

Babylon has now been revealed in archeology. Babylonia was administered by Nabonidus’ son as co-regent, Bel-shar-user, whom we know today as King Belshazzar.

Tablet with part of the Nabonidus Chronicle (556-530s BC)

With the ruler of Babylonia, Nabonidus, living in Harran and later in the Arabian oasis city of Teima away from the political wrath and religious machinations of the Babylonian priesthood, the crown prince, the son of Nabonidus, the step grand-son of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar was truly the co-regent ruler and king of Babylon. 


The Tablet with part of the Nabonidus Chronicle (556-530 BCE) - British Museum


The mystery of the “mythical” Biblical king of Babylon, Belshazzar, was not known until the discovery of the series of tablets called the Nabonidus Chronicles, today in the British Museum.  Here in this collection of tablets were the records of the key events in each year of the life of the Babylonian king Nabonidus while he lived for ten years at his royal headquarters in the rich Arabic city of Teima.  Here in the tablets of the Nabonidus Chronicle (556-530 BCE), the once assumed mythical picture of King Belshazzar was non other than the son of Nabonidus, Bel-shar-user.


The Scroll of Daniel


The writing in the Scroll of Daniel begins (Daniel 1:1) in the Hebrew language.  The Hebrew script continues until the text reads, “the Chaldean spoke to the king in Aramaic” and there the script in the Book of Daniel changes to Aramaic. (Daniel 2:4).  


We must remember that the Book of Daniel in our Bible was not a book.  It was written on a long parchment manuscript and rolled up into a scroll.  From the fourth verse of the second chapter to the end of the seventh chapter the text within the scroll was written in Syriac or the ancient Aramaic language.  Even the sixth chapter which describes events taken during the rule of the Medes was written in Aramaic as Aramaic was the official language of the Babylonians, the Medes and the Persians.  (Ezra 4:19-22 and 7:12-16) What is even more fascinating is fact that chapter seven which includes the vision of the four beasts of Daniel was also written in Aramaic.


With this in mind, it may suggest that prophetic section written in Aramaic may refer to the empires of the world that affected the Jewish people in the ancient days.  It also suggests that the prophetic sections of Daniel that were written in Hebrew may refer to imperial powers that affect the Jewish people today at the time of the end.  The modern imperial powers today that surround the Land of Israel today may be affected by the shadow pictures of those ancient empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome as seen in the Great Statue of Nebuchadnezzar


According to Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel (9:2), the minister of finance for King Ferdinand’s Spanish government prior to the expulsion of the Jews at the 9th of Av 5252 in the year 1492, the revelation in chapter 8, which occurred in the last year of Belshazzar’s reign (3rd year), was heard in Hebrew to symbolize the downfall of Babylon.”  (Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Daniel / a new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources, Mesorah Publication, Ltd, 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11232 1979…1998, page 214)


The prophecy of the “Ram and the He-Goat” was specifically written in Hebrew and not in the languages of the Babylonians, the Medes and the Persians because it was a prophecy for the Jewish people.  The prophecy of the ram and the he-goat was a prophecy not only for the Jewish people talking about their redemption to their God but was also about the restoration to their home in Jerusalem during the days of the Persians.  It was also written to be a prophecy for the Jewish people at the end of the ages for as one of the “holy ones” expressed to Daniel, “Understand, O son of man; for at the time of the end shall be the vision.” (Daniel 8:17)


This was to be the era which was designated as the “last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end (of the ages) shall be.”  (Daniel 8:19)  At this time, at the end of the ages, there will be a “king of fierce countenance” who understands “dark sentences” and stands up in the arena of this earth’s history.  It also was stated by that Holy One that it will be in the latter time of their kingdom


The question we must ask, was this a prophecy of the ram and the he-goat for the Jewish people living in a world that was changing between two ancient empires?  Both of these two ancient empires were oriental empires


To the Jewish prophets, Jerusalem was the center of the Land of Israel and Israel was the center of the world.  From the Biblical perspective, Jerusalem is the solar rex capital of the God of Israel on this planet earth.  Whenever any prophetic images are portrayed to the north, south, east and west, these are in reference to the city of Jerusalem. 


Who then were the oriental powers?  The oriental powers that affected the nation of Israel were those global forces that lay to the east of Jerusalem.  It is of interest that all native languages of nations that lay to the east of Jerusalem wrote their words  like Hebrew from the right to the left, from the east towards Jerusalem.


As we shall see later in this chapter, there will be global powers that are to the west of Jerusalem.  These national or global forces are called the occidental power.  It is amazing that the national languages of these nations are written from left to right, or from the west towards Jerusalem.


The Jews were accustomed to living under the influence of the oriental empires of Babylonian totalitarianism.  Now they must get use to the influence of the Persian despot called Cyrus, Darius or Artaxerses who was seeking to creating a benevolent one world order?  When you add Haman to this one world order, we see a shadow picture of the anti-Semitism that is so conspicuous in oriental Russian and Islamic Middle Eastern politics today.   


We then must ask the question was this a prophecy for the Jewish people at the end of the ages when they would again be living in a world that would then be dominated by “democratic” globalist powers that are influenced by the ancient occidental world of the Macedonian Greeks?   Was this vision of the ram and the he-goat was given by the Lord of hosts to represent both eras, the oriental and the occidental, the ancient and the modern, the former a shadow-picture of today, the time of the end?


Shushan, the capital in the Province of Elam and the River U’lai


Daniel 8:2 – “And I observed the vision. As I watched, I was in Shushan,

the capital which is in the province of Elam. 

And I saw in the vision that I was at the U’lai River.


handwritingonwall1.jpgThe former prime minister of Babylonian, Belteshazzar (Daniel) apparently was not a political advisor or a close confidant of the crown prince, Belshazzar.  While the ruling elite was living in the royal city of Babylon, Daniel was living in the winter vacation palace at Shushan in the province of the ancient land of Elam. 


The Feast of Belshazzar


Within a few months, this estranged relationship between Belshazzar and Belteshazzar (Daniel), his step grand father, Nebuchadnezzar’s prime minister would be more fully revealed.  At the last banquet at the capital at Babylon, Belshazzar was feasting with his close advisors and friends when he brought out the sacred vessels of the temple of Solomon and desecrated them in revelry to their god Marduk.  There the inter-dimensional finger began writing an inscription upon the walls of the banquet hall.  Daniel was not consulted until the Queen Mother recommended that he be so. (Daniel 5:10-12)

This royal city of Shushan was also called Susa, Sousan or Sousa.  It was the former capital of the kingdom of Elam or Susiana, whose ancient roots were during the days of Terah and Abraham in the days of King Nimrod, over fifteen centuries prior.  It was earlier destroyed by the Assyrian king Aššurbanipal in 647 BCE.  Under the Persians it later rose to great prominence and prosperity. 


Yet, though not mentioned by many historians, the city of Shushan apparently had been rebuilt earlier by the Babylonian royalty as a winter residence for the royal family.  This is why Daniel was living here before the arrival of Cyrus the Great and the fall of the city of Babylon and continued to live here afterwards. 


It was also here where Daniel was living, after Cyrus (Darius I the Great) conquered Babylon, in the palace of the kings that was built overlooking the river of U’lai (Daniel 8:2).  It was on the banks of this river which Pliny called the Eulaeus (Pliny, “Natural History”, VI, 27), Daniel would soon have his eyes opened to the geo-political conflicts that would surround his people, the Jews, at the time of the end.


The fortified town of Susa was in the northern portion of the modern province of Khuzistan in the southwestern corner of Iran.  About twenty miles north of the city proper, two rivers flowed by, the Karua in the east and the Karkheh in the west.  The royal fortress was built to the west along a tributary of the Karkheh called the Shaur, called in other historical accounts as the Eulaeus. 


As the vision begins, we can imagine Daniel strolling out over the countryside or possibly standing on a balcony of the citadel or fortress palace of the king of Persia overlooking an embankment of the river where the division of the two streams of the divided river is described by Daniel as standing “between the banks of U’lai”. (Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Daniel / a new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources, Mesorah Publication, Ltd, 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11232 1979…1998, page 216)


Even the suggestion of ‘waters’, such as rivers and streams is important to the Jewish rabbis in the midst of a prophetic message.  Why?  According to Rabbi Avraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra of Toledo Spain (Jewish years 4849-4924 or 1089-1164 CE) in his short commentary on Daniel called the Perush HaKatzer (publ. 1897) and Abarbanel in their interpretations of Daniel, it was pointed out that in the Mechilta to Exodus 12:1 that Daniel, being on a river bank, meant that God was revealing Himself to Daniel only at a “pure place” such as near running water which purifies


In 933 CE as recorded in the “Travels of Benjamin of Tudelo”, Rabbi Benjamin was traveling from the kingdom of Navarre in Spain to the Middle East and later rendered his report upon return to the king of Castille. Concerning Shushan he wrote.


Travels of Benjamin of Tudelo – “Four miles from thence begins Khuzistan, the Elam of Scripture, a large province, which, however, is but partially inhabited, a portion of it lying in ruins. Among the latter are the remains of Shushan, the metropolis and palace of King Ahasuerus, which still contains very large and handsome buildings of ancient date. It has seven thousand Jewish inhabitants, with fourteen synagogues; in front of one of which is the sepulcher of Daniel, who rests in peace. The river U'lai divides the city into two parts, which are connected by a bridge; that portion of it which is inhabited by the Jews contains the markets, to which all trade is confined, and there all the rich dwell; on the other side of the river they are poor, because they are deprived of the above-named advantages, and have even no gardens or orchards.”


This castle or acropolis had been destroyed by the Assyrians and most scholars only recognize that it was rebuilt in the time of the Persians.  Here, though, we see Daniel at the winter residential palace of King Nabonidus in Shushan.  Because this palace fortress was built separately and distinct from the city proper,  it later may resulted in the difference between the habitants who lived on the two sides of the river E'lai; the Jewish people and the royal citadel on one side of the river and the city proper of Shushan on the other. 


According to Rabbi Meir Leibush Malbion (Jewish years 5569-5639 or 1809-1879 CE), who wrote the commentary on Daniel called Yefe-ach LaKetz, the word “capital” was used because:


Rebbi Meir Leibush Malbion - “Daniel foresaw that Shushan would become the capital, an event which occurred only after the fall of Babylon. Seeing the ram in the ‘capital’ Shushan foretold the downfall of the Babylonian empire even though Darius had his seat of government in Babylon…” (Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Daniel / a new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources, Mesorah Publication, Ltd, 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11232 1979…1998, page 216)


Four or five years later, Babylon had fallen and this came fortress citadel was now the palace of the Persian kings.  Here we observe a great feast being held by King Ahasuerus (Artaxerses).  This sets the stage for the story of Esther who will become the Queen of Persia, living in the capital city and the royal citadel at Shushan. 


Esther 1:1-4 – “Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty seven provinces from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants  - the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him – when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.                         


It would be only another fifteen years later that we see Nehemiah also living at the royal palace of the Persian kings in Shushan.  Here he obtained permission from King Artaxerses to return to Judea and repair the walls of Jerusalem.


Nehemiah 2:1 – “And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerses, when wine was before him that I took the wine and gave it to the king.


Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerses are the same

King of the Medes and the Persians according to the Seder Olam Rabbah


The first question we have to ask, who was this Persian king Ahasuerus?  Or for that matter, who was Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerses?  Most prophetic scholars when reading and interpreting the prophecies of the Jewish people by the Jewish prophets of old use the conventional Christian Biblical dating of Persian history.  Understand full well that the conventional chronology of the world uses an artificial dating method whose focal point of history is the birth of Jesus.  According to the Catholic monks, the date of Jesus’ birth was zero, between 1 BCE and 1 BC. Unfortunately that date was wrong as the birth of Yahshua ben Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) has now been dated to between 6-4 BCE. 


The history of the Persians is the most confusing and controversial portion of the history of the ancient empires since the days of Kings David and Solomon.  Most of the Persian history was calculated and written in the mid ages by the Roman Catholic monks in their effort to understand the prophecies of Daniel.  Being almost 1000 years away from the historical time, having virtually no primary source material that gave such date and their religious ideology, we find that one of the purposes of the quest of the monks were to connect the prophecies of Daniel with the life ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. 


Yet the Jewish people are the only national people who lived and died through every one of these eras.  Today they are hear to tell us stories about those Biblical empires and lands that that their forefathers lived. Would not their chronology and history of the world be worthy to read and understand? 


According to the rabbinic chronology the history of the world began at the creation of Adam and has been calculated every year since that day.  On this year 2005, the Jewish year since the Creation of man is 5765 years. 


Tomb of Rabbi Akiva at Tiberias at Galilee


The Seder Olam Rabbah (The Great Order of the World) was first put into a chronological text by Tanna Rebbi Yose b. Halafta.  He was the most authoritative of the students of Rebbi Akiva.  We do know that the literary source for the Jewish chronology of the world goes back at least to the days of Rabbi Akiva who was born about ten years before the death of Yahshua and lived to the age of 120.  He was murdered by the Romans on the day before Rosh Hashanah for his authoritative involvement in the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE against the Romans.   


Bible Searchers have recognized that the dating of the Persian Empire was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic monk historians in the Middle Ages.  As there were no linear calendars in the Persian Empire the regencies of the various emperors have been in question for centuries.


Yet the Jewish calendar has been kept as a progressive and linear calendar for over 5760 years and depicts the Persian Empire as lasting a much shorter time period than classical conventional history.  In Daniel 5:31 it states that Darius the Mede took Babylon, yet Cyrus was the king of Medo-Persia and according to the Nabonidus Chronicle, it was Cyrus’ general, Gobryas, a Guti from the tribe of Gad that actually commandeered the troops through the river gates under the walls of Babylon during.  There the troops under Gobryas, the general for Cyrus stopped that fated feast in the banquet hall of Babylonians and Belshazzar the king of Babylon was slain. 


What we now know by the Jewish chronology is that Cyrus and Darius was the same ruler, as Cyrus was a title “king”, while Darius was his real name.


Tiberius overlooking Galilee, the resting place of many of Judaism greatest Rabbis


According to the Seder Olam concerning the identity of Cyrus, Darius, Xerses and Ahasuerus we read:


Seder Olam – “It seems that Ahasuerus, whose Biblical title is that of “king of Media and Persia,” is counted as king of Media.  Most European manuscripts have three kings of Media in their list; including Ahasuerus...The passage about the identification of the three kings is more complete in the Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 3b:


Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 3b: “Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerses are one and the same person.  He was called Cyrus (Kores) because he was a good (kaser) king; Artaxerses was the name of his kingdom, Darius his proper name.”  (Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Hersh Goldwurm, Daniel / a new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources, Mesorah Publication, Ltd, 4401 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11232 1979…1998, page 256)


The Biblical reason for the rabbinic identification is Ezra 6:14:


Ezra 6:14 – “So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerses king of Persia. Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.”


We have to assume that no longer exists today a people that lived during the history of the Persian Empire than the Jewish people.  It is true that there is no national entity in the world today that has existed as a national people during the ancient days that have been preserved from the beginnings of antiquity.  The Jewish people live today with their genealogy, culture, literature, language and religious culture that stretch back to the beginning of historical time.  The Jewish people are the only people in which their history was written before they existed. That was the role of the prophets of old and the Jewish people are still here to tell us about it.


Using archeological records only and not the opinions or calculations of the medieval monks who truly had a religious agenda to craft a historical chronology, it might be well to give the rabbinic chronology serious study.  Using the dating system established by the 2nd century BCE Sadducees which was very similar to the 2nd century BCE Sadducean “Book of Jubilees”, we get the hint that chronology to the Jewish people is no less important to the rabbis as they study the history of their ancestors than it was to Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) when he wrote all the chronologies in the Pentateuch.  Let us look at the difference between the dating of the conventional chronology of the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish Rabbinic calendar.  


Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple of Solomon in the Jewish year of 421 BCE as compared to the conventional chronology of 586 BCE.  Cyrus (Koresh) the Great conquered Babylon in the Jewish Year of 368 BCE which is compared to the conventional calendar of 539 BCE.  Two years later, according to the rabbabim, Xerses (Ahashverosh / Ahasuerus) ruled over Persia between 366 - 352 BCE with Esther as his queen, while conventional chronology gives the reign of Xerses as 486-465 BCE.  The temple of Zerubabbel was completed and dedicated in the Jewish year 351 BCE as compared to the conventional chronology of 520 BCE. 


Here is a brief summary of the differences between the Jewish Rabbinic Chronology and the conventional Biblical chronology as understood by Christian today.


Rabbinic Chronology           Event               Conventional Chronology


420 BCE                      Solomon’s Temple Destroyed                       586 BCE


368 – 352 BCE           Cyrus (Koresh) begins the Persian rule        539 -530 BCE


367 BCE                     The Decree to return to Jerusalem                538 BCE


366 - 352 BCE            Reign of Xerses - Ahasuerus                        86 -465 BCE


352 – 317 BCE           Reign of Darius II son of Ahasuerus and Esther       


350 BCE                     Temple building completed                             520 BCE


317 BCE                      End of Persian Reign (Darius II Nothus)       423-404 BCE 


  70 CE                        Second Temple destroyed                              70 CE


The Acropolis of Shushan

The Palace at Shushan


The opulence of the palace of Ahasuerus (Xerses, Darius and Cyrus) was worthy of any potentate in the orient. As described in the BibleSearchers manuscript called The Feast of Esther:


“How else could one image the palatial splendor of the citadel at Shushan, one of the three capitals of the Persian empire, shared with Ecbatana and Persapolis?  Here we read about the Great Feast of Ahasuerus (Xerses), hosted on the third year of the emperor’s reign, sometime between April 14, 483 and April 2, 482 BC. 


The Castle of Palace at Shush


Esther 1:5-7 - “The king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.  There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble.  And they were served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance.” 


Here are word pictures which vividly capture the imagination of any playwright or movie mogul.” 


Once a magnificent city, the city of Shushan is today a mass of ruins.  The city proper lay to the east of the Tigris River about 150 miles and north of the head of the Persian Gulf.  In the same citadel or fortress palace, Daniel, Esther, Mordecai and Nehemiah all made their names in the annals of history.  According to the Easton Bible Dictionary:


Easton Bible Dictionary - “The great hall of the palace where the Great Feast was held consisted of several magnificent groups of columns, together with a frontage of 343 feet 9 inches, and a depth of 244 feet.  These groups were arranged into a central phalanx of thirty-six columns (six rows of six each), flanked on the west, north, and east by an equal number, disposed in double rows of six each, and distant from them 64 feet and 2 inches.” (Easton Bible Dictionary)


The Tomb of Daniel at Shushan


The surrounding landscape today is a desolate plain beside a meandering river with a central hilltop where the armed fortress palace or citadel once stood in all its glory. 


This is in agreement with both Rabbi Saadiah (ben Yosef) Gaon (Jewish years 4652-4702 or 892-942 CE), author of the Tafsir Daniel, the Arabic translation of the Hebrew Bible, and Rabbi Shmuel bin Nissim Masnuth (Jewish years 4950-5000 or 1190-1240 CE), who wrote the commentary on Daniel printed in Jerusalem (1968) as the Midrash Daniel.  They both state that Shushan built was on a ‘plain of the U’lai.’  Flavius Josephus (Antiquities X: 20, 7), the Jewish historian at the destruction of Jerusalem at 70 CE also agrees that the “plain of Susa” was the site of the vision.


Known as the capital of Elam, it was not until the middle of the 19th century did we understand that Shushan was only one of several diplomatic and religious centers in that ancient land.  The two other centers were: Anshan and Choga Mish.


Ziggurat Chogha Zanbil Temple (Shush)


At the site of Choga Mish are found ruins going back into the midst of prehistory.  During the era of the British imperial rule, the area of Susa was explored and extensively excavated.  In 1850-1852, officers of the Turko-Persian Boundary Commission, W. K. Loftus (1820-1858) who along with Colonel Williams made these remarks. 


Explorers Loftus and Williams - “Shush, we say, abounds in lions, wolves, lynxes, jackals, boars, etc.  During nine months of the year the country is burnt up by the most intense heat, though exceedingly rich and beautiful in the rainy season. His excavations in the great mound                                                                                                                                     disclosed the ruins of a vast palace, commenced apparently by Darius, carried on by Xerxes, and finished by Artaxerses Mnemon. It is altogether probably that this was the scene of the festival described in Esther 1:1-22.  The ‘pillars of marble” may perhaps be even now traced in the ruined colonnade forming a great central court; the huge columns were fluted and highly ornamented, and one of the capital measure was twenty-eight feet high. (ATS Bible Dictionary, “Susa”)


Explorer Loftus would later make his lasting fame for excavations at Warka, Nimrud and Nineveh. 


This land that Loftus explored did not look like the land around the city of Shushan at the time of Daniel.  The Persians when they arrived, this land was so beautiful that they made this city into their winter royal capital.  Planted between two rivers, overlooking a beautiful verdant plain, the inhabitants daily looked upon the snow-clad mountains in the distance.


The largest mound in these ruins is over a mile in circumference.  The hilltop fortress in on a mound that is over one hundred feet in height.  The ground are scattered with clay, pieces of tile, brick and mortar sometimes up to five to six feet in thickness.  Scattered also are large blocks of marble covered with hieroglyphics and at the foot of the most elevated of the pyramidal ruins stands the Tomb of Daniel a conical tower which contains the remains of that ancient prophet Daniel.    


The Tomb of Daniel at Susa


The circumference of Shushan during its prime years was about six to seven miles.  The fortified palace or castle was built on a steep hilltop.  To the right of the bank of the U’lai an observatory temple was erected whose ruins are now called today Tell-I Sulaiman (“Hill of Solomon”).   


The palace itself which was initially excavated by Loftus and Williams and later by the husband and wife team named Dieulafoy, extended about 300 acres over three separate platforms.  The remains of the “Hall of Audience” or the “Throne Room,” was to the north across a ravine.  The semi-circular citadel lay to the southwest.  To the east, is a long terrace where the site of the palace and the quarters of the harem were located


This palace, now the residence of Daniel, was soon to became the future home of the Persian king Ahasuerus, Queen Esther, Prime Minister Haman the Agagite and Esther’s uncle, Mordecai.  In this same city, a large segment of the Jewish exiles lived in the days of Queen Esther.  It was to them, the “people” of Daniel, that this prophecy was written. 


The Jewish population was prosperous and content as they gradually became assimilated into the Babylonian-Persian culture. Unbeknownst to them this Babylonian culture had effectively beguiled them into a spiritual slumber.  This would rapidly change as they emerged into the New World Order by the Persian rulers.


Two streams of prophetic imagery cascaded across Daniel’s visionary landscape.  The first global stream was well known to this architect of Babylonian diplomatic relations.  His expertise was in foreign policy and geo-political relationships.  In the midst of the destructive implosion of Jewish social life when the temple of Solomon and the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, Daniel and his three chief Jewish governmental ministers, Hananiah, Mishael and Azaraiah created a new social culture for God’s chosen ones living in exile in Babylon. 


There in Babylon they built and imbedded within this pagan culture, schools of Torah instruction called yeshivas.  Here the “chosen ones of Israel” were instructed in the ways of Torah and how in an era without the temple and the sacrifices which were part of the 613 commands of the God of Israel at Sinai, they could still live a life of a “spiritual Israelite” and remain Torah observant. 


The Tomb of Daniel in the mid 19th century


So skillful had Daniel and his three worthies recreated this matrix of social reengineering that soon the Babylonian citizens found the Jewish people imbedded and woven into their social fabric in a way that was not threatening to their imperial identity.  The Jewish people appeared to be assimilated into the Babylonian culture but many would never become part of that culture.  It appeared that they were awaiting that “whistle” or signal from the Lord of hosts to “come out of her My people.” 


As Daniel’s eyes penetrated the horizon of the prophetic future, he saw two apocalyptic creatures.   True to the imagery of the mystic sages, the creatures of the apocalypse bore with them images that would define time, place and person.  Even more, these images would envelop a political and sociological matrix that would provide a rich and literal tapestry of the Jewish people at the time of the end.   .


The Tomb of Daniel


It is one of the ironies of history that in Islam, one of the most revered sites of the Middle East is the Tomb of Daniel.  Near the base of the hilltop fortress of that once beautiful palace, the tomb of the first prime minister of Persia, a Jewish prince of the House of Hezekiah, stands today in solitude and grandeur.  It was the thirteen centuries ago that the Caliph Omar gave orders to reverently maintain the tomb of Daniel near the site where his memorable vision “by the river of U’lai” was experienced. 


The tomb and the sepulcher of the prophet Daniel was, during the reign of the great king of Arabia, the Sultan Phars Al-Chabir, suspended in a great glass case with chains of iron over the middle of the river.  This account was written in the travel accounts of the Rabbi Benjamin of Tudelo.


Travels of Benjamin of Tudelo - The river Tigris runs through this city, over which there is a bridge.  All the Jews on one side of the river are very rich, having well filled shops, and carry on great trade, while those on the other side are very poor, having neither market, shops, gardens, or orchards. This caused them once to make an insurrection, from a notion that the glory and riches of those on the other side of the river was occasioned by their having the sepulcher of the prophet Daniel on their side. The insurgents, therefore, demanded to have his tomb transferred to their side, which was vehemently opposed by the others, and war ensued between them: But both parties growing weary of the war, it was agreed that the coffin of Daniel should remain one year on one side of the river, and next year on the other.


The Code of Hammurabi


This treaty was observed for some time, but was cancelled in the sequel by Sanigar-Shah, son to the great shah of Persia, who rules over forty-five princes. This great king is called in Arabic Sultan Phars Al-Chabir. His empire extends from the river Samoura to Samarcand, the river Gozan, the province of Gisbor, including the cities of the Medes, the mountains of Haphton, and to the province of Thibet, in the forests of which country are found the animals which produce musk; and the empire is four months and four days journey in length.



Sangiar being at Elam, saw the elders of the people transporting the coffin of Daniel from one side of the river to the other, attended by an immense crowd of Jews and Ismaelites; and, being informed of the cause, gave orders that the coffin should be suspended in a glass case, by chains of iron, from the middle of the bridge, and that a spacious synagogue should be erected in the same place, open to all, whether Jews or Gentiles, who might incline to pray there; and he commanded, from reverence for Daniel, that no fish should be taken in the river for a mile above or below the bridge.”


Today, of all the archeological remains that have survived over the centuries in the city of Shushan, the most famous is the diorite stele with the Laws of the Code of Hammurabi (about 1792-1750 BCE).  It was brought to the city of Shushan when the Elamites captured it and removed it from the city of Babylon to their capital city of Susa.  On the “Code of Hammurabi”, it shows a carving of Hammurabi praying to Šamaš, the sun god over the engraved record of the Babylonian code of law. 



Part One - Daniel, the Palace at Shushan and the Tomb of Daniel

Go to Part Two - The Two-horned Ram, the Shaggy Unicorn he-Goat and the Rise of the Little Horn

Go to Part Three - The Rabbinic Interpretation of the 2300 Day Prophecy



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