5. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
5. Et levavi oculos meos, et vidi, et ecce vir unus indutus lineis, vestibus scilicet, et lumbi ejus accincti auro Uphaz.
6. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
6. Et corpus ejus sieut tharsis, et facies ejus quasi lampades ignis: et brachia ejus, et pedes ejus quasi conspectus aeris politi,1 et vox sermonum ejus quasi vox multitudinis. 2
As to the word Uphaz, some think it to be a pearl or precious stone, and they take the word Mtk, kethem, which precedes it, for pure gold. Others take uphaz adjectivally, for pure gold. I do not suppose it to be an epithet, but I rather subscribe to the view of those who understand it as the proper name of a place, because this view is in accordance with the phraseology of the tenth chapter of Jeremiah. There is another opinion which is unsuitable. Uphaz is said to be derived from the noun Phaz, and is called "pure," the letter Aleph being redundant. The above mentioned passage of Jeremiah is sufficient to prove my assertion, that it signifies a certain region; and so some have translated it by ophir. The word ssrt, tharsis, is thought to mean chrysolite: some think it denotes the color of the sea, and then, by a figure of speech, take it generally for any sea. It is also said to mean sky-colored.
Daniel now begins to relate the manner in which the vision was offered to him. He says, when he stood on the bank of the river a man appeared to him, different from the common order of men. He calls him a man, but shews him to be endued, or adorned with attributes which inspire full confidence in his celestial glory. We have elsewhere stated, how angels are called men, whenever God wished them to put on this outward form. The name of men is therefore used metaphorically whenever they assumed that form by God's command, and now Daniel speaks after the accustomed manner. Meanwhile, some absurdly imagine angels to have been really men, since they assumed this appearance, and were clothed in a human body. We ought not to believe them to be really men, because they appeared under a human form. Christ, indeed, was really man, in consequence of his springing from the seed of Abraham, David, and Adam. But as regards angels, God clothes them for a single day or a short period in bodies, for a distinct purpose and a special use. Wherefore, I assert the gross error of those who suppose angels to become men, as often as they are corporeally visible in a human form. Still they may be called men, because Scripture accommodates itself to our senses, as we know sufficiently well. Daniel therefore says, he saw a man, and afterwards distinguishes him from the human race, and shews fixed and conspicuous marks inscribed upon him, which discover him to be an angel sent down from heaven, and not a mere earthly mortal. Some philosophize with subtlety on the word raised, as if Daniel so raised his eyes upwards as to be unconscious of all earthly objects; but this does not appear to me sufficiently certain. The Prophet wishes to impress the certainty of the vision; not only was his mind composed and collected, but he applied all his senses to the one object before him -- the attainment of some consolation from God. The Prophet, therefore, denotes the earnestness of his desire, for when he looked round he found himself subject to many cares and anxieties. Again, with reference to the marks by which Daniel might infer the object of his vision to be neither earthly nor mortal, he first says, he was clothed in linen. This kind of garment was common enough among the people of the East. Those regions are remarkably warm, and their inhabitants need not protect themselves against the cold, as we are necessarily compelled to do. They seldom wear woolen clothing. But on special occasions when they wish to use more splendid attire, they put on linen tunics, as we learn not only from many passages of Scripture, but also from profane writers. Hence I take this passage as if Daniel had said, the man appeared to him in splendid apparel. For Mydb, bedim, is supposed not to mean common linen, but a more exquisite kind of fabric. This is one point.
He next says, He was girt with pure gold; that is, with a golden belt. The Orientals were formerly accustomed to gird themselves with belts or girdles, as their garments were long and reached almost down to the feet. Hence it became necessary for those who wished to move expeditiously to gird themselves with belts. When the angel appeared with raiment of this kind, the difference between himself and other men was displayed to the Prophet. Some refer the linen garment to the priesthood of Christ, and treat the girdle as an emblem of rigor. But these are mere refinements, and seem to me destitute of all reality. I therefore am content with the simple opinion on which I have touched, namely, this form of clothing distinguished the angel from ordinary mortals. But this will appear clearer from the following verse. For Daniel says, His body was sky-colored, or like the precious stone called beryl, of a golden hue Without doubt, the Prophet beheld something different from a human form, for the purpose of his clearly ascertaining the vision not to be a man, but an angel in the form of man. I leave the allegory here, although it proceeds throughout the whole verse. I am aware of the plausible nature of allegories, but when we reverently weigh the teachings of the Holy Spirit, those speculations which at first sight pleased us exceedingly, vanish from our view. I am not captivated by these enticements myself, and I wish all my hearers to be persuaded of this, -- nothing can be better than a sober treatment of Scripture. We ought never to fetch from a distance subtle explanations, for the true sense ,will, as I have previously expressed it, flow naturally from a passage when it is weighed with maturer deliberation. He says, His face was like the appearance of lightning. This, again, assured the Prophet of his being an more than earthly mortal. His eyes would lead to the same conclusion; they were like lamps of fire; then his arms and feet were like polished or burnished brass; lastly, the voice of his words was the voice of a tumult, or noise, or multitude. The sum of the whole is this, -- the angel, though clad in human form, possessed certain conspicuous marks by which God separated him from the common crowd of men. Thus Daniel clearly perceived the divine mission of the angel, and God wished to establish the confidence and certainty of those prophecies which will afterwards follow in the eleventh chapter. Let us proceed: