In Daniel 8:16, who is the man between the banks of Ulai?

[Dan 8:15-17 NASB95] [15] When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. [16] And I heard the voice of a man between [the banks of] Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this [man] an understanding of the vision." [17] So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."

2 Answers 2


I will suggest three possible choices: God, the Angel of the Lord, or (for some Christians) Jesus prior to his incarnation. The voice sounds human but it does not seem to belong to a literal human being.

First, let's deal with the man who stood before Daniel, since the whole scene seems to play out by the Ulai. The use of גָֽבֶר׃ [ḡā-ḇer] for "man" in vs. 15 may be a hint here, as it appears to be a pun on the name Gabriel. Meanwhile "man" often signifies what we would call an angel in this section of Daniel. So, this "man" in vs. 15 was Gabriel.

But the question is about the person to whom "voice of a man" belonged (not Gabriel) in vs. 16. It had to be some other heavenly being, perhaps God himself or the Angel of the Lord. Some even suggest Jesus, who is identical with the Angel of the Lord. So this can't be clearly answered without resorting to opinion.

I think the solution lies in Chapter 10, which speaks of another unidentified "man," again representing a very powerful angelic being. This time Daniel both sees and hears the man:

5 As I looked up, I saw a man dressed in linen with a belt of fine gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face shone like lightning, his eyes were like fiery torches, his arms and feet looked like burnished bronze, and the sound of his voice was like the roar of a multitude... 11 “Daniel, beloved,” he said to me, “understand the words which I am speaking to you; stand up, for my mission now is to you.”

Some commentators think this "man" is Gabriel too, or he may be the man whose voice is heard at the Ulai. I prefer that latter interpretation. So I would answer that the "man" in vs. 16 of chapter 8 is the same powerful heavenly being who is described in ch. 10:5-11. For me, "the Angel of the Lord" is the best identification.

  • I found it very helpful that you pointed out the word choice for "man," and the possible link with Gabriel.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27, 2023 at 20:26
  • Chapter 8 seems very relevant as well. Also Daniel 12:11, Revelation 11:3 & 12:6. The Christian religion is like a box of chocolates, but instead of chocolates, the box is filled with puzzles!
    – Ruminator
    Nov 27, 2023 at 21:03
  • 2
    I love this question as I have pondered and tested it for years. The man standing on the water in Ch 12 has the authority to instruct Gabriel and we all know who walked on the water. It is an end time context and he also has the authority to declare the sealing of the prophecy. Got to be Jesus making a preincarnate appearance. All that said your referenced verse in Ch. 8 is indeed hard to ascertain whether it is a description of Gabriel or the man on the water in Ch.12. The description seems to coincide with the one in Rev. 1: 13-17 very well.
    – RHPclass79
    Nov 28, 2023 at 0:32
  • 1
    @Ruminator my two main hobbies at this stage of my life are puzzles and Biblical Hermeneutics. (or should I say "my main hobby"?) Nov 28, 2023 at 1:56
  • I'm also very fond of beating my head against a wall!
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28, 2023 at 13:00

In the Jewish canon, Daniel was not included among the prophets, but was instead considered literature. In "Matthew," Daniel is anointed as a prophet:

[Mat 24:15 NASB95] [15] "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

In the Catholic canon, the Daniel scroll is divided into ten sections, but in the Protestant canon, there are only seven. That is because of the inevitable desire of fraudsters to associate their ideas with a heroic figure by producing new chapters to the original.

>…The Hebrew Bible includes Daniel in the Ketuvim (writings), while Christian biblical canons group the work with the Major Prophets.[4] It divides into two parts: a set of six court tales in chapters 1–6, written mostly in Aramaic, and four apocalyptic visions in chapters 7–12, written mostly in Hebrew;[5] the deuterocanonical books contain three additional sections, the Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.[6]…


This is significant because Hebrew word "ge-bor" was used differently by Aramaic speakers than it was by Hebrew speakers. Hebrew authors tended to reserve ge-bor for poetry, involving men mostly as warriors, but Aramaic authors tended to use the word to refer to men in more general terms. So since all of the references to ge-bor are in the Hebrew section, we should probably consider the word choice to be significant. IE: Daniel is not just speaking about males, but specifically about macho men. IE: Men that have or are expected to wield power, militarily, financially, socially, geopolitically and so on.

So I might suggest a translation along these lines:

[Dan 8:15-17 SUGGESTED BY BILL ROSS] [15] When I, Daniel, saw the vision, I tried to understand it; and, (picture this,) a man dressed like a warrior was standing in front of me. [16] And I heard the voice of another warrior between [the banks of] Ulai, and he shouted, "Gabriel, explain the vision to this man." [17] So he came closer to where I was standing, and as he approached me I became terrified and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Soldier, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end."

So Hebrew Daniel had the angel Gabriel in front of him when a human voice from the middle of a canal/river commanded Gabriel to explain the vision. Human and with authority over angelic soldiers? This authority is given to men in Daniel:

[Dan 7:22 KJV] [22] Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

[Rev 20:4 KJV] [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

[1Co 6:2-3 NASB95] [2] Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent [to] [constitute] the smallest law courts? [3] Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

However, Daniel had no authority, so it must be the Messiah, who acts as the God's voice/utterance/LOGOS and as the Captain of the LORD's Armies:

[Psa 8:4-6 NASB95] [4] What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? [5] Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! [6] You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

[Psa 29:3 NASB95] [3] The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters.

[Eze 43:2 NASB95] [2] and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.

[Rev 1:15 NASB95] [15] His feet [were] like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice [was] like the sound of many waters.

[Rev 14:2 NASB95] [2] And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard [was] like [the sound] of harpists playing on their harps.

[Rev 19:6 NASB95] [6] Then I heard [something] like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

[Jos 5:14-15 NASB20] [14] He said, "No; rather I have come now [as] captain of the army of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" [15] And the captain of the LORD'S army said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.

  • The difference in lengths in Daniel is a result of Luther's decision to rely on the Masoretes understanding of Scripture rather than the early Church. The Jews who translated Daniel into Greek included the "extra" section. So a claim of "fraudsters" should be cleaned up to make clear it was the pre-Christian Jews who were looking for a heroic figure, not those who simply continued to use of the LXX as did the earliest Gentile Christians. Nov 28, 2023 at 16:26
  • Also, your positions would have greater credibility if you would be consistent in your hermeneutics. When it suits your doctrine, you use the Apocrypha to support your interpretations. For example, your comment about Tobit - hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/33277/… Other times, such as here, the Apocrypha is the work of fraudsters. Pick one position and be consistent or at least explain why one time it is true and another is a fraud. Nov 28, 2023 at 16:28
  • Its all the work of fraudsters, and all of the authors allege to be Jews. Do you have a problem with Jews? And how are you coming along with the Prodigal?
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28, 2023 at 16:34
  • I am simply pointing out the errors and the inconsistencies in your answers here. It is hypocritical IMO to claim Tobit is a reasonable work to interpret an expression Paul uses and claim here the Apocrypha work of Daniel is the work of fraudsters (presumably Catholic, not the LXX which is the true source). If Paul had access to the LXX, which is a reasonable conclusion, he could have used Tobit, as you believe. But the same work has the "extra" sections of Daniel. So either the LXX is a reasonable source or not. And how are you coming along on identifying your "unsanctioned temple?" Nov 28, 2023 at 17:10
  • I've explained as many times as I'm willing. Your demand for me to claim a "correct canon" for the various authors of the NT is based on ignorant presuppositions about a "canon" that never existed. There are multiple canons even now. The idea of "The Bible" is a complete myth in and of itself. It does not exist in time and space. If it does, show it to me. If not, quit downvoting my posts for imaginary reasons.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 28, 2023 at 17:20

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