Benjamin E. Reynolds, «The 'One Like a Son of Man' According to the Old Greek of Daniel 7,13-14», Vol. 89 (2008) 70-80
While studies of the Old Greek (OG) of Daniel 7,13-14 are not uncommon, they are often undertaken as part of a broader examination of the 'one like a son of man'. Rarely, if ever, do these studies focus on the description of this figure in the
OG version and what readers of this version might have understood of this character. This study is an examination of the interpretation of OG Daniel 7,13-14, and the argument is made that the OG portrays the 'one like a son of man' as similar to the Ancient of Days and as a messianic figure.
The â€œOne Like a Son of Manâ€ 75
epi; tw'n nefelw'n â€“ Matt 24,30; 26,64
ejpi; th;n nefevlhn â€“ Rev 14,14
meta; tw'n nefelw'nâ€“ Mark 14,62; Rev 1,7 (but ejpiv in some Rev mss.)
ejn nefevlai" â€“ Mark 13,26
ejn nefevlh â€“ Luke 21,27
Therefore, it seems unwise to use the prepositions in Dan 7,13 to argue for
or against the â€œone like a son of manâ€™sâ€ similarity with the Ancient of Days.
The important point is the figureâ€™s appearance on the visionary stage in the
presence of clouds. His position, whether he is on the clouds or with them (or
even in them), provides insufficient evidence for determining the nature or
identity of this figure.
Rather, the significance is in the reference to clouds. Clouds, in the OT
commonly indicate the appearance of YHWH (28). Godâ€™s presence in the
tabernacle and in the temple is signified by the presence of a cloud (Exod
40,34-35; 1 Kgs 8,10-11; 2 Chron 5,13-14). The pillar of cloud also indicates
the Lordâ€™s presence (Exod 13,21-22; 14,19). In Deut 5,22, the Lordâ€™s presence
on Sinai is connected with fire, cloud, gloom, and darkness. Jer 4,13 speaks of
Godâ€™s chariot as closely related to the clouds (cf. Ezek 1,4.28), and Ps 97,2
highlights the relationship between clouds, fire, and Godâ€™s throne (cf. Ps
18,11). Even the coming of the Lord in judgment on the Day of the Lord is
correlated with clouds (Joel 2,2; Nah 1,3; Zeph 1,14).
Other references to clouds in the OT do not connote the appearance of any
other being. They refer to clouds in the sky (Gen 9,13; Job 7,9; 37,11), a cloud
of incense (Ezek 8,11), mist that quickly passes away, and to coming
judgment (Hos 6,4; 13,3).
No other being, including angels, appears with clouds in the OT. Thus,
the â€œone like a son of manâ€™sâ€ coming with the presence of clouds implies the
figureâ€™s similarity with the Lord and most likely indicates a heavenly being
greater than the angels (29).
3. The â€œone like a son of manâ€ and Cultic Worship
The third similarity to be noted is the word used for service in the OG,
which communicates that the service the â€œone like a son of manâ€ receives is of
the nature of cultic worship. After the â€œone like a son of manâ€ is given
authority, v. 14 says that the nations of the earth will serve him. What is
significant about v. 14 for the OG translation is the use of the word latreuvw.
In the Greek OT, this word carries the connotation of service within the
(28) A. FEUILLET, â€œLe Fils de lâ€™homme de Daniel et la tradition bibliqueâ€, RB 60 (1953)
187-189. See also W. BITTNER, â€œâ€˜Gott-Menschensohn-Davidssohn. Eine Untersuchung zur
Traditionsgeschichte von Daniel 7,13f.â€, Freiburger Zeitschrift fÃ¼r Philosophie und
Theologie 35 (1985) 349-351. Cf. M. BLACK, â€œDie Apotheose Israels: eine neue
Interpretation des danielischen â€žMenschensohnsâ€œâ€, Jesus und der Menschensohn. FÃ¼r
Anton VÃ¶gtle (eds. R. PESCH â€“ R. SCHNACKENBURG) (Freiburg 1975) 97.
(29) Cf. LACOCQUE, Daniel, 137; C.C. CARAGOUNIS, The Son of Man. Vision and
Interpretation (WUNT 38; GÃ¶ttingen 1986) 71-72; C. ROWLAND, Open Heaven. A Study of
Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (London, 1982), 181-182. Caragounis (Son
of Man, 74) states that the clouds create a â€œserious obstacleâ€ for equating the one like a son
of man with the holy ones and that â€œclouds are bearers of the divine presence.â€