This series of posts on Daniel has been considering how Daniel’s education and tutoring in the wisdom tradition equipped him with the skills of a statesman/diplomat. We have been interested in puzzling out insights related to that role rather than to Daniel’s role as a prophet. So far, we have looked at several key narratives that show how Daniel gained and exercised exceptional diplomatic skill:
- Daniel’s wisdom-based education in both Jerusalem and Babylon;
- Daniel’s meteoric rise to renown in the Babylonian royal court as a devout Jew serving with distinction at the highest levels of government;
- his irenic attitude and style of communication;
- his respect not only for the king but for his Chaldean colleagues, including those advisers called astrologers;
- and his esprit de corps with his Chaldean colleagues in government.
In these next posts I want to wrap up our time with Daniel the statesman/diplomat by considering:
- Daniel’s non-retaliatory actions toward his political enemies;
- how his wisdom-based way of reasoning bore fruit in political-religious controversies within the royal court;
- and the different, possibly contradictory, sticking points between Daniel and his three Jewish colleagues in the Babylonian system.
Over the years, I have found it helpful to talk about these three features in the context of “sticking points,” so I will do that here. Knowing what one’s sticking points are in a given situation, and honest and open talk about them with others, is actually quite crucial because there may arise the mistaken notion that with wisdom “anything goes.” Not so. At the other extreme, there may be present arise a very real nervousness in which the word such as “compromise” and “accommodation” seem like swear words to people who don’t swear.
There are of course compromises that are not wise. On the other hand, a wise compromise may never see the light of day because one of the parties is overly nervous about seeking any sort of agreement with the other. I hope that insights we gained from Daniel’s attitude toward the king’s menu have shown that you can have your sticking point yet still negotiate an acceptable compromise agreement. But the Daniel narrative offers us even more challenging insights about sticking points, which we will consider beginning in the next post.
©2014 by Charles Strohmer