Scripture Reading: Daniel 11:4-6, and verse 17
Let’s welcome the women to this story. It’s funny, women are always in the background of every powerful man. Right? Well this story is no different. Our scripture reading comes from both verses 6 and 17. Again, the prophecy is assumed by many historians that the following women were the characters in this prophecy. Both women , daughters, used as pawns of warfare, and one of these young women, a direct relative to Cleopatra VII, the infamous queen of egypt, mistress of Julius Cesar, the true love of Marc Anthony, and the one that duped so many in history, later committing suicide.
Let’s start with our first young lady. After the kingdoms were divided into four, after the death of Alexander the Great, two of the countries continued to battle for rights of the lands conquered by Alexander. These countries were Syria and Egypt. This was a very big rivalry for years. Which leads us to the concept of the” Kings of the North and the Kings of the South”, Syria in the north and Egypt in the south. Famous well known kings with the same name used over and over, Ptolemy in the south and Antiochus in the North. So the story goes like this: the king of the south gave a bribe to the king of the north for peace. The bribe was his daughter. The king of the north was married, but that was of no consequence, he would just set her aside, and marry this new bride, receiving a very substantial dowry. Unfortunately, as the scriputre states, she did not “retain her power” after her father died. The king of the north put this young woman away and went back to his former wife. However, his former wife was not so keen on the notion of returning to his side, and she had him poisoned so her son could take the throne.
The animosity continues for years and years between the two kingdoms. The King of the North conquers Palestine, the holy land, and then he sets forth to conquer Egypt. In the meantime, Egypt makes an alliance with Rome.
The king of the north decides to do a similar trick, offering to have his daughter Cleopatra marry the Egyptian child king, Ptolemy Ephiphanes. However, the king of the north planned for his daughter to assist him as a spy of sorts, but her loyalties laid elsewhere. Cleopatra was not only loyal to her husband , but she later ruled this kingdom as the first female regent of the Ptolemaic kingdom. She set up a precedent for assisting the Romans that most likely affected future predecessors. This Cleopatra I is an ancestor to the infamous Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of this kingdom, before Rome conquered this land.
So there we have it, the Romans were given an “in” to this part of the world, and the world was never the same again. Strong women in very dire times. Women that made alliances that forever changed history, for good and for bad. It’s interesting to me, why these little snippets were even included in this vision. What was God’s purpose here? His purpose is so much bigger that what we can see or imagine., his purpose for the history of the universe and the purpose for our lives. What’s interesting to me is how the name of one woman, whether good or bad is still known all over the world even today. Her great great grandmother, Cleopatra I, was sent into Egypt in 196 BC. Hey, I acutally dressed up as Cleopatra VII for Halloween in 2005. Maybe the purpose here, at least for the moment, is to dwell on the fact that the use of women then and the use of women today, illegally trafficked, hasn’t really changed much in over 2200 years. But these women overcame their circumstances and so can we.