Notice: That is the second in a two-part sequence reflecting on girls within the biblical guide of Daniel. For half 1, see right here.
The second feminine character I seen whereas taking a deep dive into the guide of Daniel seems much more briefly. Daniel 11:6-7 contains her story: “The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, however she is not going to retain her energy, and he and his energy is not going to final. In these days she will likely be betrayed, collectively along with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. One from her household line will come up to take her place” (NIV). It’s a transient story—and never a contented one, ultimately. However I believe it’s value reflecting on.
On this chapter of Daniel, an unnamed supernatural messenger offers Daniel an in depth account of a protracted sequence of violent energy struggles between numerous kings. Empires accumulate after which are damaged up (vv. 3-4). One king is powerful, however his commander proves stronger and overtakes him (v. 5). Assaults are victorious, and valuables are seized and carried off (vv. 7-8). Retreats are made (v. 9). Nice armies are assembled (v. 10). Kings “march out in a rage” towards battle (v. 11). Armies are carried off, and 1000’s are slaughtered (v. 12). You get the concept. All the pieces is violent. All the pieces is bloody. All the pieces is one brutal battle after one other, one brutal kingdom after one other, one brutal ruler after one other. All of it begins to blur collectively.
Proper in the midst of all this, one feminine participant briefly takes the stage. And she or he does so in an effort to make peace. The kings of the North and South are preventing each other, exchanging violent advances forwards and backwards to no finish. However the daughter of the king of the South has a distinct thought. She goes to the king of the North to attempt to make an alliance (v. 6). Perhaps that is simply the form of alliance the place two events be a part of forces with the intention to enact additional violence towards others. However possibly it’s an effort to convey peace to the entire area. Perhaps the king’s daughter sees the methods battle has devastated her individuals and says, No extra. There’s one other manner. We will be taught to work collectively somewhat than struggle each other. We don’t should preserve pointlessly killing off our younger males. Perhaps we will speak; possibly we will attempt to see eye to eye.
It sounds just like the king’s daughter achieves some success and reigns for a time. “She is not going to retain her energy,” the textual content says, implying that she was in energy at one level. Her rule ends when she and her companions are brutally betrayed (v. 6). Within the grand scheme of the rise and fall of empires, the peace she sought to make didn’t final lengthy. It may appear insignificant to these of us wanting again on historical past from millenia later. However I believe we miss one thing if we underestimate the importance of even quick intervals of peace time to those that stay by means of them.
Perhaps a number of hundred males’s lives had been spared, those that would have died within the battles that might have been fought throughout this time if the king’s daughter had not made peace. That is significant; their lives had been significant. Perhaps the world was completely different for generations to come back due to this pause in warfare: complete households not torn aside by shedding a son, a husband, a father, too younger. Perhaps the peculiar individuals of the North and the peculiar individuals of the South discovered, for a time, to see each other as buddies, buying and selling companions, co-participants within the broader human neighborhood—somewhat than rivals, threats, enemies to be destroyed. Peace, even for a short while, is highly effective.
If I’m tempted to assume that the king’s daughter’s reign was too quick to be important, I consider the distinction up to date girls have made even when their time in energy is just too quick, or after they weren’t in official positions of energy in any respect. Stacey Abrams, for instance, has not (but) change into governor of Georgia, however her campaigns introduced consideration to the voting rights points she has labored on for years with nice influence. Elizabeth Warren, in operating for president in 2020, sadly wasn’t nonetheless a contender by the point I bought to vote in a main election, however her coverage concepts challenged her opponents, raised the bar, and altered the broader dialog for the higher. Feminine leaders like these have made an actual distinction—even when their “rule” was nonexistent or short-lived. I’m wondering if it was in any respect like this for the king’s daughter who needed to make peace.
I need to see her, to seek out that means in her reign. Though the person who dominated after her—the “one from her household line” who “[arose] to take her place” (v. 7)—as soon as once more needed battle. Even when imperial violence continued by means of the years and generations. The guide of Daniel makes it clear that at some point, after violent empire has been succeeded by violent empire, violent king by violent king, there will likely be an finish to all of the bloodshed. There will likely be an eternal kingdom (7:14), a kingdom of peace and flourishing. There will likely be an finish to battle.
The guide of Daniel invitations individuals of religion to look ahead to such a day—and, in the mean time, to decide on to stay trustworthy, nonviolent lives. To decide on peace. To construct amongst ourselves the form of power it takes to make peace—a distinct form of power, and a higher form of power, than it takes to make battle. To withstand the fickle energy of empires, simply as Daniel and his three buddies did within the tales of chapters 1, 3, and 6. Maybe it’s the king’s daughter, simply as a lot as Daniel, who factors the best way.
 The biblical textual content doesn’t inform us how lengthy, but when this time interval corresponds traditionally to Ptolemy’s daughter’s marriage to Antiochus II, we’re about seven years. By the best way, I write right here up to now tense, as if talking of historical past, somewhat than sooner or later tense because the scriptures have it, as a result of I comply with most biblical students in understanding these texts as a part of the “apocalyptic” style that makes use of coded language to interpret previous and current occasions greater than it intends to prophecy particularly in regards to the future.