Daniel, Meet Gabriel

Daniel 8:16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.”

This is Gabriel’s formal introduction in the Old Testament. Gabriel is God’s chosen messenger to the prophet Daniel, who will document interpretation of visions.

Daniel reveals the time and place of the vision. The timing of the vision is revealed initially in Daniel 8.

Daniel 8:1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first.

Scholars and researchers estimate the date of the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

Granted, Daniel is physically in Babylon at the time of the vision. But, Daniel sees himself in a specific place.

Google Maps: Hamadan, Burial site of Esther & Mordechai

Daniel 8:2 And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal.

Per the ATS Bible Dictionary, the Ulai or Euleus River flows by the city of Susa. It was known as the Choaspes by the Greeks. Today, it is called the Kerkhah River. The river is about a mile and a half east of Susa.

Susa was the headquarters of the ancient Persia and Media Empire. Ancient Susa is also known as Shush or Shushan.

Little did Daniel know, Susa would be the setting for the story of the book of Esther. The events in Esther took place from 483-473 BC. Queen Esther and Mordechai are buried in Hamadan, north of Susa to this very day in the 21st century Iran.

From Daniel’s vision in 553 BC to the onset of Esther’s trials in 483 BC is 70 years.

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Daniel 8:15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.

Gabriel is introduced by the voice of a man. It seems Gabriel has the appearance of a man.

This is not just any man. The Hebrew word for “man” is geber. This is the term for a mighty warrior. It would seem that Gabriel is physically imposing.

Daniel has the same response to Gabriel as all the other people who meet him. There are two other people who would later meet Gabriel. They are Zechariah the priest and the Virgin Mary in the book of Luke. In all three cases, Gabriel scares the hell out of them.

Daniel 8:17a So he came near where I stood. And when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face…

Daniel was “frightened” or baath in the Hebrew. The word can also be translated as startled or terrified or overwhelmed (Strong’s Concordance). Other dictionaries use the word troubled.

Daniel also “fell on my face”. This is a sign of submission or reverence by Daniel. He realized he is in over his head.

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