JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #17
by J.H. Allen (1917)
THE PRINCE OF THE SCARLET THREAD
While we leave our little royal "remnant" to make their
escape, let us look about and out into the fields of revelation
and history, to see if we can find some royal prince to whom
shall be wedded one of these princesses who are fleeing into that
"unknown land," where the Lord has promised that those who
compose this remnant shall again take root and grow.
While we are making this search it will be well to remember
that "God gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever," and
that "Israel" is not the name of the Jewish nation, but that it
is the name of the ten-tribed kingdom, which had been driven into
"an unknown land" about one hundred and thirty-nine years prior
to the flight of this remnant.
Let us also remember that the Sceptre, with all that belongs
to it, was promised distinctively to the Judo-Davidic family, and
not to the kingdom which bore the name of Judah, a name which,
together with its corrupted form, Jews, is the Biblical historic
name of the Jewish nation.
Judah, as we will remember, was the representative name of
that nation which was composed of the smaller portion of Israel's
seed, because it was to Judah's blessing and standard that the
people gathered who afterward became separated from the rest of
Israel, and were known as the Jews. They are the descendants of
these people who are still known as Jews.
On the other hand, according to a prophecy which shall be
cited in due time, the descendants of the ten-tribed kingdom,
which had been cast out into an unknown land, were to be called
by another name.
The fact that they were not to be known by the name of
Israel cannot annul the prophecy which was uttered by Abijah, as
he stood upon a certain mount in Ephraim and said: "Hear me, thou
Jeroboam, and all Israel; ought ye not to know that the Lord God
of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to
him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt?"
Do you ask, "Is it possible that this little royal remnant
shall have gone to that same unknown land to which they of the
ten tribes had previously gone? Was it among that people that
this remnant was planted, and over whom the preserved sceptre
held its sway?" Let us examine the Scriptural evidence.
Ezekiel is believed to have lived contemporaneously with
Jeremiah. By taking the testimony of chronology, together with
the concurrence of many historic events, all may know that this
Jeremiah states historic events and utters prophecies which
relate chiefly to Judah, but gives only a little of that which
pertains to Israel; while Ezekiel does the reverse of this,
saying much that concerns Israel and but little that pertains to
Still, what he does say concerning the destroyed
commonwealth of Judah, the plucked-up Sceptre and the overturned
throne of that royal family whose history we are studying, does
most undoubtedly furnish evidence which connects the remnant seed
and their monarchical belongings with the exiled house of Israel,
which has taken root, and whose people are gathering strength in
a country the location and geographical character of which are
described by the prophets, and which, at a time prior to the
prophecies, was an unknown and an uninhabited wilderness.
Jeremiah tells us that "Zedekiah was one and twenty years old
when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in
At a period which synchronizes with the time when Zedekiah
had reigned for six years, Ezekiel declares that the word of the
Lord came to him saying that he should prophesy against Judah and
Jerusalem, concerning the King of Babylon, who would come up
against them with the sword, and that at that time he should set
battering rams against the gates of the city, cast up a mount and
build a fort. The result of this would be that the city would be
At the same time the message from the Lord, which was
delivered by the prophet Ezekiel to Zedekiah, was "And thou,
profane, wicked Prince of Israel, whose day is come, when (your)
iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God: Remove the
diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be (upon) the
same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will
overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more
(overturned) until he come whose right it is; and I will give it
to him." - Ezek.21:22-27.
We have no disposition to make an attempt to give words a
meaning which they will not bear, nor to attach any signification
to them which the context does not clearly indicate; but these
words do most certainly give us to understand that there is a
person, a male heir of the royal line, who is to be the immediate
successor of Zedekiah to the Davidic throne. Also, these words
teach that the crown is to be taken from off the head of
Zedekiah, upon whom it rested at the time when this prophecy was
given, and placed upon the head of this person whom the
Scriptures designate as "him that is low."
These words further teach that when the royal diadem, the
emblem of kingly power and exaltation, is taken from the one and
placed upon the head of that other person, that then the one who
was previously high is abased and brought low, but that the one
who hitherto was low is then exalted and made high. This is
essentially so, because the two men shall have then exchanged
Furthermore, the expression, "This shall not be the same,"
taken together with the prophecy concerning the overturns, leads
us to expect a change of dynasty, at least on the side of the
male line, and also a change in the territorial or geographical
situation. This is still more apparent when we note that there
are to be three overturns, and that after the third overturn
shall have been accomplished, there are to be no more until
another certain person comes. Also, after the diadem has been
removed from the head of the prince who wore it at the time of
the first overturn and placed upon the head of "him that is low,"
it is to be noted that then either this man, who is the person
understood as the antecedent of the personal pronoun, "Him," or
his lineage, is to be dethroned by the Lord in favor of that
other person, who is designated as "he whose right it is," to
whom it shall then be given.
The next question for us to settle is, Who is this legally
possible person, that is to be the successor of Zedekiah, who is
spoken of as "him that is low"? for he is spoken of as "low" only
in the sense of nonruling.
By consulting the thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis we will
find a record of the conception and birth of twin boys, whose
conception and birth were both accompanied by such extraordinary
circumstances that the question of their parentage is forever
settled; for Tamar, the mother, did willingly stoop in order that
she might conquer Judah, the father, and compel him to do justice
The never-to-be-forgotten manner in which Judah was forced
to acknowledge that those children were his offspring and that
their mother was more righteous than he, does most certainly
place the fact of their royal lineage beyond the possibility of
When the mother was in travail and after the midwife had
been summoned, there was the presentation of a hand. Then, for
some reason either human or Divine, the midwife knew that twins
were in the womb. So, in order that she might know and be able to
testify which was born first, she fastened a scarlet thread on
the outstretched hand. Since Judah's was the royal family in
Israel, and the law of primogeniture prevailed among them, it was
essential that this distinction should be made so that at the
proper time the first born or eldest son might ascend the throne.
After the scarlet thread had been made secure on the little
hand it was drawn back and the brother was born first. Upon
seeing this the midwife exclaimed: "How hast thou broken forth?"
Then, seemingly, she was filled with the spirit of prophecy and
said: "This breach be upon thee," and because of this prophetic
utterance he was given the name of Pharez, i. e., "A Breach."
Afterward his brother, who had the scarlet thread upon his hand,
was born, and his name was called Zarah, i. e., "The seed."
The very fact that Pharez was really born first would exalt him,
and it eventually did exalt his heirs, to the throne of Israel,
for King David was a son of Judah through the line of Pharez. But
just so surely as this son of Judah and father of David, who was
the first one of the line to sit upon that throne, was given the
name of Pharez, just so surely must we expect - with that little
hand of the scarlet thread waving prophetically before them -
that a breach should occur somewhere along that family line.
That breach did occur. We are now considering its history
and are well into its transition period, which began when the
Lord God sanctified Jeremiah, sent him into the world, and gave
him his commission to pull down and pluck up the exalted Pharez
line, and afterward to build and plant anew the sceptre, throne
and kingdom; while at about the same time the word of the Lord
came to Ezekiel and moved him to predict the removal of the crown
from the head of the one who is high, a proceeding which not only
involves the transfer of the royal diadem to another head, but
also an overturning; and when both the transfer and the
overturning shall have been accomplished, then the one who was
low will have been exalted and the exalted one will have been
The immediate posterity of this "Prince of the Scarlet
Thread" is given as follows: "And the sons of Zarah; Zimri and
Ethan and Heman and Calcol and Dara, five of them in all." (1
Chron.2:6.) Thus the direct posterity of Zarah was five, while
that of Pharez was only two.
For the reason that our Lord sprang out of Judah, through
the line of Pharez, the unbroken genealogy of that family is
given in the sacred records; but the genealogy of the Zarah
family is given only intermittently. One thing is made quite
clear in the Bible concerning the sons of Zarah, and that is,
that they were famous for their intelligence and wisdom, for it
was only the great God-given wisdom of Solomon which is declared
to have risen above theirs, as is seen by the following: And God
gave Solomon wisdom and understanding * * * and Solomon's wisdom
excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East, for he was
wiser than all men - than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and
Calcol, and Dara. (1 Kings 4:29,3I.)
Furthermore, we find that two of them, Ethan and Heman, were
also noted singers, as we find by consulting the fifteenth
chapter of First Kings and the nineteenth verse. By noting the
titles of the eighty-eighth and eighty-ninth Psalms we also see
that one of them was composed by "Heman the Ezrahite," and that
the other was the song of "Ethan the Ezrahite."
It is not at all unlikely and would be but natural that
the Zimri who overthrew Baasha, the third King of Israel (not
Judah), belonged to the posterity of Zimri, the first-born son of
Zarah, son of Judah and twin brother of Pharez. For, as we have
shown, the seed of Jacob were at that time divided into two
kingdoms, with the posterity of Pharez on the throne ruling over
the kingdom of Judah. How natural it would be for the then living
members of that family to think, and to say: "This is the long
foretold breach for which we have been taught to look. This is
the time to assert our royal prerogatives, take the throne, and
rule over this the house of Israel."
It would be but natural for another reason, namely, there
has always been an attempt to fulfill, in the natural, every
promise that the Lord God has made to his chosen people. He
promised Abraham and Sarah that they should have a son. In order
that they might accomplish this end Sarah gave and Abraham took,
Hagar her handmaid, and the result was Ishmael.
Before Jacob and Esau were born the Birthright was promised
to the younger. Jacob, the younger, undertook to accomplish this
in the natural by taking unjust advantage of his brother and
deceiving his father.
So with Joseph: after God had promised the Birthright to him
he undertook in the natural to take advantage of the blindness of
Nevertheless, God in his own good time gave Sarah strength
to conceive; settled with repentant, wrestling Jacob, and
outwitted manceuvering Joseph.
So now, in his own good time, he has also made the predicted
breach, which shall result in the bringing down of the line of
Pharez, "the high," and which shall exalt the prosperity of
Zarah, "the low."
To be continued