From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

A river near Shushan, by the banks of which Daniel saw the vision of the ram and the he goat ( Daniel 8:2;  Daniel 8:16). The ancient Eulaeus or Choaspes, for these are two divisions of one river, bifurcating at Paipul, 20 miles N.W. of Shushan; the eastern branch Eulaeus, the western branch Choaspes (now Kerkhah) flowing S.W. into the Tigris. The eastern branch passes E. of Shushan and at Ahwaz falls into the Kuran (Pasitigris) which flows on to the Persian gulf. The undivided stream was sometimes called Eulaeus, but usually Choaspes.

In Pehlevi Eulaeus or Aw-Halesh means "pure water." Strabo (15:3, section 22) says the Persian kings drank only of this water at their table, and that it was lighter than ordinary water. The stream is now dry but the valley traceable, 900 ft. wide, 12 ft. to ft. 20 deep. A sculpture from Sennaeherib's palace at Koyunjik represents Shushan in the time of his grandson Asshur-bani-pal, its conqueror, and the stream bifurcated. In  Daniel 8:16 Daniel says, "I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai," referring either to the bifurcation or to the river and one of its chief channels, for Eulaeus by artificial canals surrounded the Shushan citadel. The upper Kerkhah and the lower Kuran were anciently united and were viewed as one stream.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

The memorable river near the city of Shushan, from the banks of which Daniel heard the man's voice. ( Daniel 8:16) When we consider what is said of the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day,  Genesis 3:8; when we mark the same grace manifested upon many occasions during the Old Testament dispensation,  1 Samuel 3:4;  1 Kings 19:9; and when we call to mind, the numberless sweet and gracious tokens of the Lord Jesus, manifested to his servants in the early ages, before he openly tabernacled in substance of our flesh: may we not venture to suppose this voice to have been Him, who in after ages openly tabernacled among us? I only humbly propose the question. I by no means presume to decide upon it. Some have called this river Ubal, Ulai; because Ubal is the name of the river itself, and Ulai defines the particular one by name.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

U'la-i. (Pure Water). Ulai is mentioned by Daniel,  Daniel 8:2;  Daniel 8:16, as a river near to Susa, where he saw his vision of the ram and the he-goat. It has been generally identified with the Eulaeus of the Greek and Roman geographers, a large stream in the immediate neighborhood of that city.

The Eulseus has been by many identified with the Choaspes, which is undoubtedly the modern Kerkhah , an affluent of the Tigris, flowing into it a little below Kurnah . Recent surveys show that the Choarspes once divided into two streams about 20 miles above Susa. The eastern was the Ulai. This bifurcation explains  Daniel 8:16.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Ulai ( Û'Lâi or Û'La-Î ), Strong Water? A river of Susiana, on whose banks Daniel saw his vision of the ram and he-goat.  Daniel 8:2-16. Recent explorations have shown that the river Choaspes (Kerkhah) divides about 20 miles above Susa. The eastern branch, which received the Shapur and fell into the Kuran, was probably the Ulai. This bifurcation of the stream explains the otherwise difficult passage, "I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai,"  Daniel 8:16—that is, between the banks of the two streams of that divided river.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

Or Euleus, a river which ran by the city Shushan, in Persia, on the bank of which Daniel had a famous vision,  Daniel 8:2,16 . It was the Choaspes of the Greeks, and is now called the Kerkhah; but appears to have had in ancient times a second channel, still traceable, nine hundred feet wide and twenty feet deep, and flowing along the east side of Shushan. The two channels emptied their waters through the river now called the Karun into the Shat-el-Arab, the united stream of the Euphrates and Tigris, twenty miles below their junction at Korna.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

River flowing near to the city of Shushan where Daniel saw himself in a vision.  Daniel 8:2,16 . It is judged to be the Eulaeus of the Greeks and Romans. Identified by some with the Kerkhah, an affluent of the Tigris, and this agrees with the upper Eulaeus. Others have traced it to the Kuran, another affluent of the Tigris, and this agrees with the lower Eulaeus; but at one part a branch of the former once ran into the latter.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

ULAI . A large river of Elam, emptying into the Persian Gulf. According to   Daniel 8:2;   Daniel 8:16 and the Assyrian inscriptions, it flowed past the city of Shushan (Susa). It is the modern Karûn , which, however, does not now flow close to the site of Susa, but to the east of it. Cf. also Hydaspes.

J. F. McCurdy.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 Daniel 8:2 8:16

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Daniel 8:2,16

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

[many U'laf] (Heb. Ulay', אוּלִי [in pause אוּלָי ], probably Pehlvi Am- Halesh, i.e. "pure water;" Sept. Οὐλαϊ v; Theodotion, Οὐβάλ ; Vulg. Ulai ) is mentioned by Daniel ( Daniel 8:2;  Daniel 8:16) as a river near Susa, vhere he saw his vision of the ram and the he-goat. It has generally been identified with the Eulceus of the Greek and Roman geographers (Marc. Heracl. p. 18; Arrian, Exp. A 1. 7:7; Strabo, 15:3,22; Ptolemy, 6:3; Pliny, t. N. 6:31), a large stream in the immediate neighborhood of that city. This identification may be safely allowed, resting as it does on the double ground of close verbal resemblance in the two names, and complete agreement as to the situation. The Eulaeus has been by many identified with the Choaspes, which is undoubtedly the modern Kerkhah, an affluent of the Tigris, flowing into it a little below Kurnah. By others it has been regarded as the Kuran, a large river considerably farther to the eastward, which enters the Khor Bamishir, near Mohammerah. Some have even suggested that it may have been the Shapur or Sha'ur, a small stream which rises a few miles N.W. of Susa, and flows by the ruins into the Dizful stream, an affluent of the Kuran.

1. The general grounds on which the Eulaeus has been identified with the Choaspes, and so with the Kerkhah (Salmasius, Rosenm Ü ller, Wahl, Kitto, etc.), are the mention of each separately by ancient writers as "the river of Susa," and, more especially, the statements made by some (Strabo, Pliny) that the water of the Eulaeus, by others (Herod, Athenaeus, Plutarch, Q. Curtius) that that of the Choaspes, was the only water tasted by the Persian kings. Against the identification it must be noticed that Strabo, Pliny, Solinus, and Polyclitus (ap. Strabo, 15:3, 4) regard the rivers as distinct, and that the lower course of the Eulaeus. as described by Arrian (Exp. A 1. 7:7) and Pliny (I. N. 6:26), is such as cannot possibly be reconciled with that of the Kerkhah river.

2. The grounds for regarding the Eulaeus as the Kuran are decidedly stronger than those for identifying it with the Kerkhah or Choaspes. No one can compare the voyage of Nearchus, in Arrian's Indica, with Arrian's own account of Alexander's descent of the Eulaeus (7, 7) without seeing that the Eulaeus of the one narrative is the Pasitigris of the other, and that the Pasitigris is the Kuran is almost universally admitted. Indeed, it may be said that all accounts of the lower Eulaeus those of Arrian, Pliny, Polyclitus, and Ptolemyidentify it, beyond the possibility of mistake, with the lower Kuran, and that so far there ought to be no controversy. The difficulty is with respect to the upper Eulaeus. The Eulueus, according to Pliny, surrounded the citadel of Susa (6, 27), whereas even the Dizful branch of the Kuran does not come within six miles of the ruins. It lay to the west, not only of the Pasitigris (Kuran), but also of the Coprates (river of Dizful), according to Diodorus (19, 18, 19). So far, it might be the Shapur, but for two objections. The Shapur is too small a stream to have attracted the general notice of geographers, and its water is of so bad a character that it could never have been chosen for the royal table (Geogracph. Journ. 9:70). There is also an important notice in Pliny entirely incompatible with the notion that the short stream of the Shapur, which rises in the plain about five miles to the N.N.W. of Susa, can be the true Eulaeus. Pliny says (6, 31) the Eulaeus rose in Media, and flowed through Mesobatene. Now, this is exactly true of the, upper. Kerkhah, which rises near Hamadan (Ecbatana), and flows down the district of Mahsabadan (Mesobatene).

The result is that the various notices of ancient writers appear to identify the upper Eilaeus with the upper Kerkhah, and the lower Eulaeus, quite unmistakably, with the lower Kuran. A recent survey of the ground has suggested a satisfactory explanation. It appears that the Kerkhah once bifurcated at Pai Pul, about twenty miles north-west of Susa, sending out a branch which passed east of the ruins, absorbing into it the Shapur, and flowing on across the plain in a S.S.E. direction till it fell into the Kuran at Ahwaz (Loftus, Chaldea and Susiana, p. 424, 425). Thus, the upper Kerkhah and the lower Kuran were in old times united, and might be viewed as forming a single stream. The name Eulaelus (Ulai) seems to have applied most properly to the eastern branch stream from Pai Pul to Ahwaz; the stream above Pai Pul was sometimes called the Eulseus, but was more properly the Choaspes, which was also the sole name of the western branch, or present course, of the Kerkhah from Pai Pul to the Tigris. The name Pasitigris was proper to the upper Kuran from its source to its junction with the Eulaeus, after which the two names were equally applied to the lower river. The Dizful stream, which was not very generally known, was called the Coprates. It is believed that this view of the river names will reconcile and make intelligible all the notices of them contained in the ancient writers. It follows from this that the water which the Persian kings drank, both at the court and when, they traveled abroad, was that of the Kerkhah, taken probably from the eastern branch, or proper Eulaeus, which washed the walls of Susa, and (according to Pliny) was used to strengthen its defenses. This water was, and still is, believed to possess peculiar lightness (Strabo, 15:3, 22; Geograph. Journ. 9:70), and is thought to be at once more wholesome and more pleasant to the taste than almost any other.

See Porter, Travels, 2, 412; Kinneir, Persian Empire, p. 100-106; Sir H. Rawlinson, in Geograph. Journ. 9:84-93; Layard, ibid. 16:91-94; Loftus, Chaldea and Susiana, p. 424-431.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

ū´lı̄ , ū´lā́ı̄ ( אוּלי אוּבל , 'ūbhal 'ūlāy , "river Ulai"; Theodotion   Daniel 8:2 , Οὐβάλ , Oubál , the Septuagint and Theodotion in  Daniel 8:16 , Οὐλαί , Oulaı́ Latin, Eulaeus ):

1. The Name and Its Forms:

A river which, running through the province of Elam, flowed through Shushan or Susa. It was from "between" this river that Daniel ( Daniel 8:16 ) heard a voice, coming apparently from the waters which flowed between its two banks.

2. Present Names and Course:

Notwithstanding that the rivers of Elam have often changed their courses, there is but little doubt that the Ulai is the Kerkhah, which, rising in the Persian plain near Nehavend (there called the Gamas - âb ), is even there a great river. Turned by the mountains, it runs Northwest as far as Bisutun, receiving all the waters of Southern Kurdistan, where, as the Sein Merre , it passes through the inaccessible defiles of Luristan, its course before reaching the Kebir - Kuh being a succession of rapids. Turned aside by this mountain, it follows for about 95 miles the depression which here exists as far as the foothills of Luristan, reaching the Susian plain as a torrent; but it becomes less rapid before losing itself in the marshes of Hawizeh . The course of the stream is said to be still doubtful in places.

3. Changed Bed at Susa:

In ancient times it flowed at the foot of the citadel of Susa, but its bed is now about 1 1/4 miles to the West. The date of this change of course (during which a portion of the ruins of Susa was carried away) is uncertain, but it must have been later than the time of Alexander the Great. The stream's greatest volume follows the melting of the snows in the mountains, and floods ensue if this coincides with the advent of heavy rain. Most to be dreaded are the rare occasions when it unites with the Ab-e-Diz.

4. Assyrian References:

The Ulai (Assyrian Ulâa or Ulâia ) near Susa is regarded as being shown on the sculptures of the Assyrian king Ashur-bani-pal (British Museum, Nineveh Gal.) illustrating his campaign against Te-umman. Its rapid stream bears away the bodies of men and horses, with chariots, bows and quivers. The bodies which were thrown into the stream hindered its course, and dyed its waters with their blood.


See Delegation en Perse: Memoires , I, Recherches Archeologiques , 25 ff.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

U´lai a river which flowed by Susa [SHUSHAN] into the united stream of the Tigris and Euphrates. It is mentioned in . It is called by Pliny Eulaeus, but is described by Greek writers under the name of Choaspes, and is now known by the name of Kerah, called by the Turks Karasu. This river is formed by the junction of many streams in the province of Ardelan, in Kurdistan. It runs through the plain of Kermanshah, and being greatly increased in magnitude by the junction of two small rivers, proceeds with a furious course towards Khuzistan, receiving numerous tributaries in its passage. It passes on the west of the ruins of Shus [Susa: see SHUSHAN], and enters the Shat-ul-Arab about twenty miles below Korna.