Four Kinds of Men in Daniel

The Prophet Daniel -1511 by Michelangelo

The Prophet Daniel -1511
by Michelangelo

There is nothing profound here, this paper brings no great insight into the prophecies, but it does show how much is lost in translation.

In the Hebrew Bible there are four different words that are translated “man/men” . There is not much difference in them and yet there is. On our other blog (that is  more of a devotional feel and is written with women in mind) we have a post that gives the definitions for these words. (See Also: Four Kinds of Men in the Bible)

Adam – meaning mankind
Ish – is usually paired with isha, as is man and woman or husband and wife
Enosh – weak or sick man
Gever – mighty man, sometime a good person and sometimes evil.

 In Chapter Two king Nebuchadnezzar is looking for an enosh but finds a gever.

The Chaldeans answered the king, “There is not a man (enosh) on earth who can meet the king’s demand; for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. Dan. 2:10  Then Ari-och brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man (gever) who can make known to the king the interpretation.” Dan. 2:25  . . . and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the sons of men (enosh), the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, making you rule over them all — you are the head of gold. Dan. 2:38

In Chapter Three every enosh is to bow, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are gever and so is the fourth man.

You, O king, have made a decree, that every man (enosh) who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; Dan. 3:10 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men (gever), O king, pay no heed to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.” Dan. 3:12 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. Then they brought these men (gever) before the king. Dan. 3:13  And he ordered certain mighty men (gever) of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Dan. 3:20 Then these men (gever) were bound in their mantles, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were cast into the burning fiery furnace. Dan. 3:21 Because the king’s order was strict and the furnace very hot, the flame of the fire slew those men (gever) who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Dan. 3:22 And these three men (gever), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. Dan. 3:23 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He said to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men (gever) bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” Dan. 3:24  He answered, “But I see four men (gever) loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Dan. 3:25 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men (gever); the hair of their heads was not singed, their mantles were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Dan. 3:27

In Chapter Four Nebuchadnezzar is driven from the enosh.

. . . let his mind be changed from a mans (enosh), and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven times pass over him. Dan. 4:16 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men (enosh), and gives it to whom he will, and sets over it the lowliest of men (enosh).’ Dan. 4:17 that you shall be driven from among men (enosh), and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will. Dan. 4:25 . . . and you shall be driven from among men (enosh), and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Dan. 4:32 Immediately the word was fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men (enosh), and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws. Dan. 4:33

The Chapter Five the old queen remember’s that there is a gever in the kingdom.

Immediately the fingers of a man’s (enosh) hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand; and the king saw the hand as it wrote. Dan. 5:5  There is in your kingdom a man (gever) in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, Dan. 5:11 . . . he was driven from among men (enosh), and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; he was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will. Dan. 5:21

In Chapter Six the gever plot against Daniel, but his faithfulness is honored and their malignant plans are terminated.

Daniel in the Lion's Den-1872 by Briton Riviere

Daniel in the Lion’s Den-1872
by Briton Riviere

Then these men (gever) said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” Dan. 6:5 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever makes petition to any god or man (enosh) for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Dan. 6:7 Then these men (gever) came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Dan. 6:11 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that any man (enosh) who makes petition to any god or man (enosh) within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Dan. 6:12 Then these men (enosh) came by agreement to the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance which the king establishes can be changed.” Dan. 6:15 And the king commanded, and those men (gever) who had accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions — they, their children, and their wives; and before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. Dan. 6:24


In Chapter Seven verse 13 the son of man is called an enosh, which is surprising since in the similar passage in Zech 13:7 He is a gever. The reason for this is that Messiah did not win His throne through some great mighty act. He did not conquer the world with His might man’s sword. He came as a week and mild man, who laid down his life for all who believe.

The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man (enosh); and the mind of a man (enosh) was given to it. Dan. 7:4 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man (enosh), and a mouth speaking great things. Dan. 7:8 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man (enosh), and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. Dan. 7:13

In Chapter Eight, Gabriel is a gever and Daniel the son of adam.

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 (gever). Dan. 8:15  And I heard a man’s (adam’s) voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, “Gabriel, make this man (word not man here) understand the vision.” Dan. 8:16 So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I was frightened and fell upon my face. But he said to me, “Understand, O son of man (adam), that the vision is for the time of the end.” Dan. 8:17

In Chapter Nine the men (ish) of Judah’s behavior is the subject of Daniel’s prayer. Here Gabriel is called an ish which seems out of place as ish is usually pared with ishah or woman, however most scholars believe that this is here to stress that he is male. For that matter, in the Bible, all angels are male. For some reason the artists make them out to be female, so many people think that they are female.

To thee, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us confusion of face, as at this day, to the men (ish) of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those that are near and those that are far away, in all the lands to which thou hast driven them, because of the treachery which they have committed against thee. Dan. 9:7 . . . while I was speaking in prayer, the man (ish) Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. Dan. 9:21

In Chapter Ten the ish clothed in linen is said to have the likeness of the sons of adam but calls Daniel an ish. Now as a eunuch it seems odd to call him ish. He is the greatly beloved ish. There is one explanation that has been offered for this, that is spite of his condition he was greatly blessed and loved of the LORD and he would not be barren.

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” Is. 56:3    I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man (ish) clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with gold of Uphaz. Dan. 10:5 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men (ish) who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. Dan. 10:7 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man (ish) greatly beloved, give heed to the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. Dan. 10:11 And behold, one in the likeness of the sons of men (adam) touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. Dan. 10:16 Again one having the appearance of a man (adam) touched me and strengthened me. Dan. 10:18  And he said, “O man (ish) greatly beloved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And when he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Dan. 10:19

In Chapter Twelve the ish in linen is back.

Dan. 12:6 And I said to the man (ish) clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?”  The man (ish) clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time; and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be accomplished. Dan. 12:7 

There are many who believe that this Ish in Linen is Messiah Himself. They sight that only He is the Bridegroom.[c.f. Rev 10:1-7]

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