Women and Men of Power
In Japan they call it the “wetoo” movement because Japanese women who call individual attention to how powerful businessmen and government officials use them and abuse them face strong backlash. Some of had to leave the country.
From the time of Lamech, the seventh in the line of the murderous Cain, who was the first polygamist and treated his two wives as ornaments and playthings as he sang to them his song of vengeance (Genesis 4:23-24) to Xerxes dethroning his queen because she wouldn’t allow his drunken lords to ogle her (Esther 1:10-22), the Bible is straightforward about how powerful men degrade women, but they are not presented as the good characters in God’s Story.
As Daniel predicts the breakup of Alexander’s Empire and specifically focuses on the wars between Egypt and Syria, he predicts how the king of Egypt will try to use his daughter to seal an alliance with the king of Syria, but the alliance doesn’t hold.
“Then the king of the South will grow strong, but one of his commanders will grow even stronger and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to smooth the relationships between the North and the South, but she will not hold on to her power. Her strength will fail and she will be given over with her father and the one who supported her.” Daniel 11:5-6
Daniel begins to predict the conflict between the Ptolemys, the kings of the South and the Seleucids, the kings of the North, from the death of Alexander in 323 BC to the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 -163 BC). The first king of the South is Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 BC) and Seleucus I Nicator (312-280 BC) is the commander Daniel refers to. Seleucus was appointed the governor of Babylonia in 321 BC, but he didn’t last long. Antigonus, another one of Alexander’s generals, seized Babylon, forced Seleucus to flee south to Egypt where he united with Ptolemy. Their combined armies march north to Gaza and defeated Antigonus in 312 BC. Seleucus regained his power in the North, but the competition between the North and the South was far from over.
When his father died, Ptolemy II Philadephus (285-246 BC) took over Egypt and in 250 BC he tried to settle relationships with the Seleucids by sending Berenice, his daughter, to marry Antiochus II Theo (261 -246 BC). There was only one problem. Antiochus was already married to a powerful influential woman named Laodice. She murdered her husband, his new wife, and their young child and put her own son, Selechus II Calliniucus (246-226BC), on the thrown. And we thought things were hot in our politics.
Powerful men using younger women as pawns in their power game, powerful women countering with anger and murder—there’s nothing new under the sun, and the raging warfare of our politics and world politics needs to move us to trust even more in the only Prince who can justly keep the peace.
LORD, thanks that your Word exposes power politics in all of its ruthless, immoral ugliness. Use this history lesson from Daniel to warn us as men against treating women as pawns in a power game, and help us to understand that women in power can be just as murderous as men. We all need Jesus.
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