In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. 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. (Daniel 8:1-2)
In Daniel’s vision, the Prophet sees himself at “Shushan in the Palace” in Elam, by the river Ulai.
This is interesting in itself, because the vision tales place while Daniel was yet a minister of Babylon. Shushan at that time was on the very eastern edge of the Babylonian Empire, but would soon become the capitol of the Medo Persian Empire which Daniel had predicted would overtake Babylon.
At Shushan the Medo Persian ruler Darius had built a palace, the ruins of which remain to this day. The Palace features prominently in the book of Esther, as the home of Xerxes,(Ahasuerus) and his bride Esther. All of the drama with Haman, Esther, Mordechai and the King took place at Shushan and around and in that Palace.
Darius left a written record of this palace, on an inscribed tablet found in the vicinity of Shushan,
“This palace which I built at Susa, from afar its ornamentation was brought. Darius the King says: At Susa a very excellent work was ordered, a very excellent work was brought to completion.”
Nehemiah also served the Persian King as cupbearer in the very same palace, at Shushan,
Nehemiah 1:1 And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace (Nehemiah 1:1)
The throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace(Esther 1:2)
When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. (Esther 2:8)
But all of that came after Daniel’s vision, and would come about as a result of the Persian Empire succeeding Babylon, exactly as Daniel had earlier prophesied in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7.
Tradition says that Daniel is buried in Shushan, and there is an ancient mausoleum there that is revered as being Daniel’s resting place.
The vision also takes place in Elam, which was an eastern province of the Babylonian Empire. Elam is now a province of Iran, in fact Elam is the place where the modern Iranian Nuclear program is located.Elamites are considered to be Persians.
Jeremiah predicted that Elam’s military prowess would be broken by the hand of God himself in the last days, but that He will then “restore the fortunes” of Elam.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go. I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger,”declares the Lord. “I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,” declares the Lord. “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,” declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 49:35-39
Isaiah predicted also that Elamites and Medes together would bring judgment upon what we now know of as Saudi Arabia.(Isaiah 21).
The Medes are an ancient people, usually associated with the Persians, which have survived to this day. They are currently known as the Kurds and Yazidis. Numbering at 30 million, they are the world’s largest people group denied a homeland. In the aftermath of World War 1 the victorious allies neglected to give the Kurds a homeland, dividing them between Syria,Turkey,Iran and Iraq.
Daniel’s vision is of the future, at the time of it, there was no dominant Medo Persian Empire, Shushan was part of Babylon, and there was no Royal Palace(Citadel) at Shushan, Darius was yet to build it.
But the vision of Daniel 8 is seen from that Palace, for in the vision Daniel is there.