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Icons of the Bible: The City of Susa - Home to Daniel & Esther

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Icons of the Bible: The City of Susa - Home to Daniel & Esther
Icons of the Bible: The City of Susa - Home to Daniel & Esther

“God is in the midst of the city. It shall not be moved. God will help it when morning dawns.” Psalm 46:5

God has always been at work in all things, all places and all people, from the very first cities and even in all the cities around the world right now. His purposes will not be thwarted. his grace is available to you in all circumstances to help you do and think things you could not do on your own.

You are part of the Body of Christ, you are the church, so be the church no matter where you are. Do good and let your thinking and doing be a witness to the world!! - Andy

Icons of the Bible

Susa was the capital of the Persian Empire and location of the Royal Palace, belonging to Persian kings, most notably King Xerxes.

Susa was an ancient city in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km (160 mi) east of the Tigris, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers in Iran. One of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East, Susa served as the capital of Elam and the Achaemenid Empire, and remained a strategic centre during the Parthian and Sasanian periods.

The site currently consists of three archaeological mounds, covering an area of around one square kilometre.[2] The modern Iranian town of Shush is located on the site of ancient Susa. Shush is identified as Shushan, mentioned in the Book of Esther and other Biblical books.

tomb in Susa
The Tomb of the Prophet Daniel

photo of Daniel
Daniel the Prophet

Susa, The Tomb of Daniel

Susa is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Esther, and it is possible to walk through the remains of the ancient palace and identify locations from this Biblical story. Esther is said to be buried in modern Hamadan. Still, there is a Biblical prophet reportedly buried in Susa: there is a mausoleum of Daniel.

Tomb of Daniel

In the Sasanian age, the city had had a large Christian community, who in the seventh century offered resistance against the Arab invaders (638 CE). Nevertheless, the city was captured and sacked.

When the Arabs had gained control of the town, they discovered in what may have been the Church of Saint Daniel a silver sarcophagus with a mummy that was buried with a seal of a man standing between two lions. This was immediately taken to be a reference to the Biblical prophet Daniel. Although Caliph Umar at first ordered it to be thrown into the river - Daniel is not mentioned in the Quran - he later ordered a more decent reburial.note

The conquerors soon took over the veneration of Daniel in Susa. The sanctuary is still a landmark in Susa, although the ancient mummy and the seal are not visible.

There is another pre-Islamic tomb of Daniel in Samarkand." from the article: Susa, the Tomb of Daniel

Who Was Queen Esther?

photo of queen esther
Queen Esther

Queen Esther is the reluctant heroine of the Purim story. Taken to the palace of King Ahasuerus of Persia, she exposed the plot of the evil Haman, who had convinced the king to allow the annihilation of all the Jews in his extensive empire.

Her Name

Esther is clearly identified as “Esther, who is Hadassah.”

Hadassah is Hebrew for myrtle, and the rabbis teach that Esther’s skin had a yellowish tone. They also see this name as an indication that her actions were as pleasing as the fragrance of myrtle.

Esther, on the other hand, is a Persian name, related to the “morning star.” In Hebrew, it is related to the root word for “hidden,” as G‑d’s intervention was hidden throughout the entire turn of events. On the surface, all one sees is a dramatic tale of palace intrigue, but “behind the scenes” every development is intimately guided by His hand.." from the article: Who Was Queen Esther?

The History of an Elamite City (SUSA)

"Susa was one of the oldest cities in the world and part of the site is still inhabited as Shush, Khuzestan Province, Iran. Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back to 4395 BCE but that early community grew from an even older one dating back to c. 7000 BCE. Susa was a principal city of the Elamite, Achaemenid Persian, and Parthian empires and was originally known to the Elamites as 'Susan’ or 'Susun’. The Greek name for the city was Sousa and the Hebrew, Shushan. It is mentioned in the Bible in the books of Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and most notably the Book of Esther and was said to be the home of both Nehemiah and Daniel. It is important to note that these locations were not only mentioned in biblical texts but also in other religious texts as well. Although Shush presently occupies most of the ancient city’s location, an archaeological site of largely unexcavated tells is nearby. The temple/palace area and graves were excavated in the 19th and 20th centuries CE but further excavation is required. According to UNESCO, “the excavated architectural monuments include administrative, residential, and palatial structures” and the site contains several layers of urban settlement dating from the 5th millennium BCE through the 13th century CE. The old city was situated between the modern rivers Karkheh and Dez (the rivers Choaspes and Eulaeus mentioned in the Biblical Book of Daniel 8:2, where Daniel received his vision), which bring mud down from the Zagros Mountains making the area one of the most fertile in the region. It was the political center of Elam early in the 4th millennium BCE and there is a fortress, still extant, which dates back to this period as well as the ruins of buildings from the Persian, Macedonian, Syrian-Greek, and Parthian eras, making the Susa site of particular historical importance as it provides significant evidence of the evolution of cultures in the region over a vast period of time. It was accorded status as a site of Outstanding Universal Value by UNESCO in 2015 CE." from video introduction

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