a lily, the Susa of Greek and Roman writers, once the capital of
Elam. It lay in the uplands of Susiana, on the east of the
Tigris, about 150 miles to the north of the head of the Persian
Gulf. It is the modern Shush, on the northwest of Shuster. Once
a magnificent city, it is now an immense mass of ruins. Here
Daniel saw one of his visions (Dan. 8); and here also Nehemiah
(Neh. 1) began his public life. Most of the events recorded in
the Book of Esther took place here. Modern explorers have
brought to light numerous relics, and the ground-plan of the
splendid palace of Shushan, one of the residences of the great
king, together with numerous specimens of ancient art, which
illustrate the statements of Scripture regarding it (Dan. 8:2).
The great hall of this palace (Esther 1) "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 2 inches." The inscriptions on the ruins represent
that the palace was founded by Darius and completed by
highland, the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22), and the name of the
country inhabited by his descendants (14:1, 9; Isa. 11:11; 21:2,
etc.) lying to the east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore
of the Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000
miles. The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning "high."
"The inhabitants of Elam, or 'the Highlands,' to the east of
Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several
branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative
language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or
short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.
"The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of
Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of
Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the
capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the
Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as
in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of
the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).
"The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against
Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in
conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword.
On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands
of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce).
This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.
strong-fisted, a son of Haman, slain in Shushan (Esther 9:9).
an interpreter of the law, the eldest of Haman's sons, slain in
Shushan (Esther 9:7).
lily of the testimony, the title of Ps. 60. (See SHOSHANNIM
the inhabitants of Shushan, who joined the other adversaries of
the Jews in the attempt to prevent the rebuilding of the temple
purity; worthy of honour, one of Haman's sons, whom the Jews
slew in the palace of Shushan (Esther 9:9).
the Eulaus of the Greeks; a river of Susiana. It was probably
the eastern branch of the Choasper (Kerkhan), which divided into
two branches some 20 miles above the city of Susa. Hence Daniel
(8:2,16) speaks of standing "between the banks of Ulai", i.e.,
between the two streams of the divided river.
beautiful, the queen of Ahasuerus, who was deposed from her
royal dignity because she refused to obey the king when he
desired her to appear in the banqueting hall of Shushan the
palace (Esther 1:10-12). (See ESTHER ¯T0001254.)
(Ezra 6:2), called Ecbatana by classical writers, the capital of
northern Media. Here was the palace which was the residence of
the old Median monarchs, and of Cyrus and Cambyses. In the time
of Ezra, the Persian kings resided usually at Susa of Babylon.
But Cyrus held his court at Achmetha; and Ezra, writing a
century after, correctly mentions the place where the decree of
Cyrus was found.
(= Khudur-Lagamar of the inscriptions), king of Elam. Many
centuries before the age of Abraham, Canaan and even the
Sinaitic peninsula had been conquered by Babylonian kings, and
in the time of Abraham himself Babylonia was ruled by a dynasty
which claimed sovereignity over Syria and Israel. The kings
of the dynasty bore names which were not Babylonian, but at once
South Arabic and Hebrew. The most famous king of the dynasty was
Khammu-rabi, who united Babylonia under one rule, and made
Babylon its capital. When he ascended the throne, the country
was under the suzerainty of the Elamites, and was divided into
two kingdoms, that of Babylon (the Biblical Shinar) and that of
Larsa (the Biblical Ellasar). The king of Larsa was Eri-Aku
("the servant of the moon-god"), the son of an Elamite prince,
Kudur-Mabug, who is entitled "the father of the land of the
Amorites." A recently discovered tablet enumerates among the
enemies of Khammu-rabi, Kudur-Lagamar ("the servant of the
goddess Lagamar") or Chedorlaomer, Eri-Aku or Arioch, and
Tudkhula or Tidal. Khammu-rabi, whose name is also read
Ammi-rapaltu or Amraphel by some scholars, succeeded in
overcoming Eri-Aku and driving the Elamites out of Babylonia.
Assur-bani-pal, the last of the Assyrian conquerors, mentions in
two inscriptions that he took Susa 1635 years after
Kedor-nakhunta, king of Elam, had conquered Babylonia. It was in
the year B.C. 660 that Assur-bani-pal took Susa.
mentioned in Scripture, of Eden (Gen. 2:8, 9); Ahab's garden of
herbs (1 Kings 21:2); the royal garden (2 Kings 21:18); the
royal garden at Susa (Esther 1:5); the garden of Joseph of
Arimathea (John 19:41); of Gethsemane (John 18:1).
The "king's garden" mentioned 2 Kings 25:4, Neh. 3:15, was
near the Pool of Siloam.
Gardens were surrounded by hedges of thorns (Isa. 5:5) or by
walls of stone (Prov. 24:31). "Watch-towers" or "lodges" were
also built in them (Isa. 1:8; Mark 12:1), in which their keepers
sat. On account of their retirement they were frequently used as
places for secret prayer and communion with God (Gen. 24:63;
Matt. 26:30-36; John 1:48; 18:1, 2). The dead were sometimes
buried in gardens (Gen. 23:19, 20; 2 Kings 21:18, 26; 1 Sam.
25:1; Mark 15:46; John 19:41). (See PARADISE ¯T0002843.)
as a mineral, consists of carbonate of lime, its texture varying
from the highly crystalline to the compact. In Esther 1:6 there
are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:, (1.) Shesh,
"pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue
limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian
marble. It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is
certainly known of it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the
verd-antique or half-porphyry of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black
marble," probably some spotted variety of marble. "The marble
pillars and tesserae of various colours of the palace at Susa
came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various
colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan
Susiana." The marble of Solomon's architectural works may have
been limestone from near Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly
white marble from Arabia. Herod employed Parian marble in the
temple, and marble columns still exist in great abundance at
the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin. It has been alleged
that he was carried into captivity with Jeconiah, and hence that
he must have been at least one hundred and twenty-nine years old
in the twelfth year of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). But the words of
Esther do not necessarily lead to this conclusion. It was
probably Kish of whom it is said (ver. 6) that he "had been
carried away with the captivity."
He resided at Susa, the metropolis of Persia. He adopted his
cousin Hadassah (Esther), an orphan child, whom he tenderly
brought up as his own daughter. When she was brought into the
king's harem and made queen in the room of the deposed queen
Vashti, he was promoted to some office in the court of
Ahasuerus, and was one of those who "sat in the king's gate"
(Esther 2:21). While holding this office, he discovered a plot
of the eunuchs to put the king to death, which, by his
vigilance, was defeated. His services to the king in this matter
were duly recorded in the royal chronicles.
Haman (q.v.) the Agagite had been raised to the highest
position at court. Mordecai refused to bow down before him; and
Haman, being stung to the quick by the conduct of Mordecai,
resolved to accomplish his death in a wholesale destruction of
the Jewish exiles throughout the Persian empire (Esther 3:8-15).
Tidings of this cruel scheme soon reached the ears of Mordecai,
who communicated with Queen Esther regarding it, and by her wise
and bold intervention the scheme was frustrated. The Jews were
delivered from destruction, Mordecai was raised to a high rank,
and Haman was executed on the gallows he had by anticipation
erected for Mordecai (6:2-7:10). In memory of the signal
deliverance thus wrought for them, the Jews to this day
celebrate the feast (9:26-32) of Purim (q.v.).
the queen of Ahasuerus, and heroine of the book that bears her
name. She was a Jewess named Hadas'sah (the myrtle), but when
she entered the royal harem she received the name by which she
henceforth became known (Esther 2:7). It is a Syro-Arabian
modification of the Persian word satarah, which means a star.
She was the daughter of Abihail, a Benjamite. Her family did not
avail themselves of the permission granted by Cyrus to the
exiles to return to Jerusalem; and she resided with her cousin
Mordecai, who held some office in the household of the Persian
king at "Shushan in the palace." Ahasuerus having divorced
Vashti, chose Esther to be his wife. Soon after this he gave
Haman the Agagite, his prime minister, power and authority to
kill and extirpate all the Jews throughout the Persian empire.
By the interposition of Esther this terrible catastrophe was
averted. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had intended for
Mordecai (Esther 7); and the Jews established an annual feast,
the feast of Purim (q.v.), in memory of their wonderful
deliverance. This took place about fifty-two years after the
Return, the year of the great battles of Plataea and Mycale
Esther appears in the Bible as a "woman of deep piety, faith,
courage, patriotism, and caution, combined with resolution; a
dutiful daughter to her adopted father, docile and obedient to
his counsels, and anxious to share the king's favour with him
for the good of the Jewish people. There must have been a
singular grace and charm in her aspect and manners, since 'she
obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her'
(Esther 2:15). That she was raised up as an instrument in the
hand of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people, and
to afford them protection and forward their wealth and peace in
their captivity, is also manifest from the Scripture account."
The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., "whiteness", was used
as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as
the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some
interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old
Testament the water-lily (Nymphoea lotus of Linn.), or lotus
(Cant. 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). "Its flowers are
large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink.
They supplied models for the ornaments of the pillars and the
molten sea" (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chr. 4:5). In the Canticles
its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ
to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly
argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments,
denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be
selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is "large,
vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring."
The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matt.
6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium
Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into
flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the
mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the
district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a
very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract
the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).
Of the true "floral glories of Israel" the pheasant's eye
(Adonis Palestina), the ranunuculus (R. Asiaticus), and the
anemone (A coronaria), the last named is however, with the
greatest probability regarded as the "lily of the field" to
which our Lord refers. "Certainly," says Tristram (Nat. Hist. of
the Bible), "if, in the wondrous richness of bloom which
characterizes the land of Israel in spring, any one plant can
claim pre-eminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower
for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether
walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side." "The white
water-lily (Nymphcea alba) and the yellow water-lily (Nuphar
lutea) are both abundant in the marshes of the Upper Jordan, but
have no connection with the lily of Scripture."
comforted by Jehovah. (1.) Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7. (2.) Neh. 3:16.
(3.) The son of Hachaliah (Neh. 1:1), and probably of the
tribe of Judah. His family must have belonged to Jerusalem (Neh.
2:3). He was one of the "Jews of the dispersion," and in his
youth was appointed to the important office of royal cup-bearer
at the palace of Shushan. The king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, seems
to have been on terms of friendly familiarity with his
attendant. Through his brother Hanani, and perhaps from other
sources (Neh. 1:2; 2:3), he heard of the mournful and desolate
condition of the Holy City, and was filled with sadness of
heart. For many days he fasted and mourned and prayed for the
place of his fathers' sepulchres. At length the king observed
his sadness of countenance and asked the reason of it. Nehemiah
explained it all to the king, and obtained his permission to go
up to Jerusalem and there to act as _tirshatha_, or governor of
Judea. He went up in the spring of B.C. 446 (eleven years after
Ezra), with a strong escort supplied by the king, and with
letters to all the pashas of the provinces through which he had
to pass, as also to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests,
directing him to assist Nehemiah. On his arrival he set himself
to survey the city, and to form a plan for its restoration; a
plan which he carried out with great skill and energy, so that
the whole was completed in about six months. He remained in
Judea for thirteen years as governor, carrying out many reforms,
notwithstanding much opposition that he encountered (Neh.
13:11). He built up the state on the old lines, "supplementing
and completing the work of Ezra," and making all arrangements
for the safety and good government of the city. At the close of
this important period of his public life, he returned to Persia
to the service of his royal master at Shushan or Ecbatana. Very
soon after this the old corrupt state of things returned,
showing the worthlessness to a large extent of the professions
that had been made at the feast of the dedication of the walls
of the city (Neh. 12. See EZRA ¯T0001294). Malachi now appeared
among the people with words of stern reproof and solemn warning;
and Nehemiah again returned from Persia (after an absence of
some two years), and was grieved to see the widespread moral
degeneracy that had taken place during his absence. He set
himself with vigour to rectify the flagrant abuses that had
sprung up, and restored the orderly administration of public
worship and the outward observance of the law of Moses. Of his
subsequent history we know nothing. Probably he remained at his
post as governor till his death (about B.C. 413) in a good old
age. The place of his death and burial is, however, unknown. "He
resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of
enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a
bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with
transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of
thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His
practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in
the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of
the wall and balked the cunning plans of the 'adversaries.' The
piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant
sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are
strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch.
1:5-11, and secondly and most remarkably in what have been
called his 'interjectional prayers', those short but moving
addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his
writings, the instinctive outpouring of a heart deeply moved,
but ever resting itself upon God, and looking to God alone for
aid in trouble, for the frustration of evil designs, and for
final reward and acceptance" (Rawlinson). Nehemiah was the last
of the governors sent from the Persian court. Judea after this
was annexed to the satrapy of Coele-Syria, and was governed by
the high priest under the jurisdiction of the governor of Syria,
and the internal government of the country became more and more
Temple, the Second
After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel (q.v.) and the
high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to
reorganize the long-desolated kingdom. The body of pilgrims,
forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed
the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks
of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their
proceeding by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of
their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by
rebuilding the temple. On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the
governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by
contributing personally 1,000 golden darics (probably about
$6,000), besides other gifts, the people with great enthusiasm
poured their gifts into the sacred treasury (Ezra 2). First they
erected and dedicated the altar of Jehovah on the exact spot
where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the
charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old
temple; and in the second month of the second year (B.C. 535),
amid great public excitement and rejoicing (Ps. 116; 117; 118),
the foundations of the second temple were laid. A wide interest
was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with
mingled feelings by the spectators (Hag. 2:3; Zech. 4:10). The
Samaritans made proposals for a co-operation in the work.
Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the elders, however, declined all such
cooperation: Judah must build the temple without help.
Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. The
Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" (Ezra 4:5), and
sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the
work was suspended. Seven years after this Cyrus died
ingloriously, having killed himself in Syria when on his way
back from Egypt to the east, and was succeeded by his son
Cambyses (B.C. 529-522), on whose death the "false Smerdis," an
imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months,
and then Darius Hystaspes became king (B.C. 522). In the second
year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was
resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5: 6-17;
6:1-15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and
admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready
for consecration in the spring of B.C. 516, twenty years after
the return from captivity.
This second temple had not the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the
holy oil, the sacred fire, the tables of stone, the pot of
manna, and Aaron's rod. As in the tabernacle, there was in it
only one golden lamp for the holy place, one table of shewbread,
and the incense altar, with golden censers, and many of the
vessels of gold that had belonged to Solomon's temple that had
been carried to Babylon but restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).
This second temple also differed from the first in that, while
in the latter there were numerous "trees planted in the courts
of the Lord," there were none in the former. The second temple
also had for the first time a space, being a part of the outer
court, provided for proselytes who were worshippers of Jehovah,
although not subject to the laws of Judaism.
The temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great
rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:16), although
there were not wanting outward evidences that the Jews were no
longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign
Hag. 2:9 is rightly rendered in the Revised Version, "The
latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,"
instead of, "The glory of this latter house," etc., in the
Authorized Version. The temple, during the different periods of
its existence, is regarded as but one house, the one only house
of God (comp. 2:3). The glory here predicted is spiritual glory
and not material splendour. "Christ himself, present bodily in
the temple on Mount Zion during his life on earth, present
spiritually in the Church now, present in the holy city, the
heavenly Jerusalem, of which he is the temple, calling forth
spiritual worship and devotion is the glory here predicted"
God is my judge, or judge of God. (1.) David's second son, "born
unto him in Hebron, of Abigail the Carmelitess" (1 Chr. 3:1). He
is called also Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3).
(2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once
spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and
prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended
from one of the noble families of Judah (Dan. 1:3), and was
probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of
Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar
(the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century
before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at
the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign
of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths
were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of
the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of
the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the
age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of
Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was
very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified
with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right
bank of the river.
His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Dan.
1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was
distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict
observance of the Mosaic law (1:8-16), and gained the confidence
and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention
gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to
master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to
excel his compeers.
At the close of his three years of discipline and training in
the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency
in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public
life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation
of dreams (1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the
province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald.
Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and
also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years
afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and
consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious
feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother
(perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret
the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a
purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The
place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated
with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (5:16). Daniel
interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain."
After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all
Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a
Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose
reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents"
of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs,
no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive
Jews (Dan. 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing
restored to their own land, although he did not return with
them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed
him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was
miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree
enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (6:26). He
"prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of
the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which
opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of
God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in
his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the
days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded.
He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a
pattern of righteousness (14:14, 20) and wisdom (28:3). (See