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€ 77
paresthkote" to the â€œone like a son of manâ€ infers another similarity between
the â€œone like a son of manâ€ and the Ancient of Days (36). In v. 10, the Ancient
of Days is surrounded by the great multitude standing before the throne. When
the â€œone like a son of manâ€ arrives, the great multitude approaches this figure.
Their approach to the â€œone like a son of manâ€ shows similarity with their
position before the Ancient of Days, and it suggests that the son of man figure
has a status similar to that held by the Ancient of Days in relation to the
standing ones. This portrayal implies both the â€œone like a son of manâ€™sâ€
exalted state before the oiJ paresthkovte" and therefore his similarity to the
Ancient of Days, but the OG does so without going so far as to claim identity
with the Ancient of Days.
Thus, the OG of Dan 7,13-14 depicts the â€œone like a son of manâ€ as
similar to the Ancient of Days in four ways. (1) The son of man figure arrives
like the Ancient of Days. (2) He appears on the clouds of heaven, (3) receives
service that suggests cultic worship given to God, and (4) is approached by
those who stood before the Ancient of Days.
II. The Messianic Characteristics of the â€œone like a son of manâ€
Now, while in the OG the Ancient of Days and the son of man figure do
share these similarities and the son of man figure seems to be a heavenly
figure, there are also indications that this figure has messianic
characteristics (37). The first messianic characteristic in the OG is that the â€œone
like a son of manâ€ receives kingly authority. Second, he receives an eternal
kingdom, and, third, a distinction is made between the â€œone like a son of manâ€
and the holy ones of the Most High.
1. The â€œone like a son of manâ€™sâ€ Kingly Authority
The first and most significant messianic characteristic is the fact that in
the OG the â€œone like a son of manâ€ receives kingly authority. The OG has a
different list of things given to the â€œone like a son of manâ€ than the Aramaic
text. Whereas Aramaic Daniel and Q speak of the son of man figure being
given dominion, honor, and a kingdom (Aramaic: wklm, rqy, Ë†flv; Q: ajrchv,
timhv, basileiva); the OG says that he was only given authority. Interestingly,
Papyrus 967 refers to it as ejxousiva basilikhv (â€œkingly authorityâ€ or â€œroyal
authorityâ€) (38). In Codex 88 and the Syro-Hexaplar version, the word ejxousiva
is followed by a hexaplaric mark and the words kai; timh; basilikhv (â€œkingly
authority and honorâ€) (39). The OG thus indicates that what is given to the â€œone
(36) KIM, Son of Man, 24.
(37) I am using the word â€˜messianicâ€™ in line with J. Lustâ€™s definition of Messianism
(Messianism and the Septuagint. Collected Essays [ed. K. HAUSPIE] [Leuven 2004] 142):
â€œMessianism can tentatively be defined as 1. the expectation of a future human and yet
transcendant messiah or saviour, 2. who will establish Godâ€™s kingdom on earth, 3. in an
eschatological era. In a narrower sense, the expected saviour is a descendant of David.â€
(38) GEISSEN, Septuaginta-Text, 108.
(39) GEISSEN, Septuaginta-Text, 108-109; ZIEGLER - MUNNICH, Susanna-Daniel-Bel et
Draco, 338. See HOFIUS, â€œSeptuaginta-Textâ€, 79, n. 27; and KIM, Son of Man, 23, n. 38. This
appears to be an attempt to bring the OG in line with the Aramaic version.