Daniel sees a vision of a man dressed in wealthy clothing, whose skin and eyes are shining and dazzling. Daniel faints when he sees this heavenly visitor.
The last three chapters of Daniel recount Daniel’s final vision given to him by God. Daniel has been mourning for three weeks. He has denied himself tasty food or ointments during this period. He notes that it was the twenty-fourth day of the first month of the Hebrew year. This makes it clear this was an actual event that occurred on an actual date in history.
Daniel explains where he was when he experienced his vision. It was not during his sleep or prayers, as in previous visions. He was by the bank of the great river, the Tigris. Other men were with him there, though he does not identify them. Babylon was located on the Tigris River. It was, along with the Euphrates River, the source of fertility in the “Fertile Crescent” that is often considered the cradle of civilization. Given Daniel’s description it seems likely he was not in the city itself, but somewhere in the outlying regions, yet still on the bank of the Tigris.
Sitting at the bank of the great river, Daniel lifted his eyes and looked, and saw a strange man standing before him. He writes behold to draw important attention to this new presence. This certain person is impressive and awesome in appearance. He is dressed in linen and his waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. Uphaz is generally assumed to be a location that produced gold, though that is not verified either within or outside the Bible. This man is dressed in fine clothing and a costly belt of pure gold. His body also was like beryl. Beryl is a shining gem. This messenger’s body was dazzling and golden, and his face had the appearance of lightning. His eyes are like flaming torches, and his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze. Not only is he richly dressed, this man is shining. His eyes are like fire. He is obviously not a mere man. In fact, he is an angel, or messenger from God. The angel is unnamed, and does not appear to be Gabriel, the angel previously sent to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:20-21).
He speaks to Daniel, and the sound of his words are like the sound of a tumult.Tumult, or “hamón” in Hebrew, can be translated to “multitudes” or “roar.” The fiery man spoke in a roar of many voices. Daniel’s reaction is perfectly understandable. As he saw this great vision he found that no strength was left in him, and his natural color turned to a deathly pallor; his face went as pale as a dead man’s. He emphasizes his reaction when he repeats that he retained no strength.
The men with Daniel ran away to hide themselves. Interestingly, they did not see the vision, for Daniel alone saw the vision, but a great dread fell on the men. Despite their ignorance of what Daniel was seeing, the presence of the visitor weighed fearfully on them and drove them away, presumably so that Daniel could have a private conversation with the stranger. Daniel is left alone after the other men ran away. He writes that as soon as he heard the sound of the stranger’s words, he fell into a deep sleep on his face, with his face to the ground. The appearance of this heavenly person, his body and eyes blazing with light, his voice like a thunderous crowd of people, causes Daniel to faint.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. 6 His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. 7 Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. 9 But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
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