JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #22
by J.H.Allen (1917)
DAN-THE SERPENT'S TRAIL
The question naturally arises, "How did the prince, the
highest branch of the cedar of Lebanon, get to the isles of the
sea?" To get to the bottom of that which is involved in the reply
to this question we will need to understand some of the
characteristics, and acquaint ourselves with some of the
prophecies, which pertain to the tribe of Dan.
The prophecies which dying Jacob gave concerning what the
posterity of each of his sons was to become in the last days, is
recorded in the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis. In the
seventeenth verse is a part of the prophecy concerning the tribe
of Dan, the first clause of which, according to the King James'
translation, reads as follows: "Dan shall be a serpent by the
way." But a better translation is as follows: "Dan shall be a
serpent's trail." A few points in the history of the children of
Dan will show us how they became a serpent's trail.
In the division of the land by lot, a narrow strip of
seacoast country, west of Ephraim and Benjamin, fell to Dan. But
this country soon became too small for the tribe, as we are told
in the following: "The coast of the children of Dan went out too
little for them; therefore the children of Dan went up to fight
against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the
sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem,
Dan, after the name of Dan, their father." (Joshua 19:47.)
Concerning the Danites, we have also the following: "And
there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah
and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of
war. And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah;
wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day."
Again we are told concerning this same company of six
hundred that they came to Laish, "A people that were at quiet and
secure; and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt
the city with fire.... And they built a city and dwelt therein.
And they called the name of the city DAN, after the name of Dan,
their father, who was born unto Israel; howbeit the name of the
city was Laish at the first." (Judges 18:29.)
A company of Danites went to Leshem, and it became Dan. A
company of Dan-ites went to Kirjathjearim, and it became
Mahaneh-Dan. They went on to Laish, and it ceased to exist, but
they left their trail, i. e., DAN, the name of their father, and
thus their trail can be traced, not only from Dan to Beer-Sheba,
but to the islands of the sea both by land and by water, for Dan
had an inland country and a coast country. The inland company of
Danites went west with the Overland Column, and the coast company
went by water, for "Dan abode in his ships."
Thus we have the prophecy concerning the ships of Tarshish,
i. e., the ends of the world: "Be still (margin: silent) ye
inhabitants of the isles; thou whom the merchants of Zidon, that
pass over the sea, have replenished." (Isa.23:2.) Also, in the
sixth verse, is the following: "Pass ye over to Tarshish howl, ye
inhabitants of the isle. Is this your joyous city (Tyre) whose
antiquity is of ancient days? Her own feet (means of travel)
shall carry her afar off to sojourn."
In these scriptures we are informed that the isles of the
sea were replenished by the ships whose seaports were Tyre and
Zidon, which were ports of Palestine. Also the people by whom the
islands were replenished, or peopled, are commanded to keep
silent; just as this same prophet, in another place, commands
Israel in the island to keep silent until they should renew their
When Shalmanesar descended upon Israel, he did not disturb
those portions of the tribes of Dan and Simeon, which were
dwelling on the southwest coast of Palestine, for the kingdom of
Judah was then at peace with Assyria and lay between them and
Samaria. However, both Dan and Simeon had large colonies in the
interior, Dan in the north (Judges 18) and Simeon in the east, at
Mount Sier, the region formerly occupied by the Amelekites
( 1 Chron.4:42-43). These portions of Dan and Simeon went with
the rest of Samaria-Israel into Assyria, and with them passed out
through the Caucasian Pass. The territory into and through which
the ten tribes made their escape was just north of the Caucasus,
which in ancient geography, as may be seen by consulting ancient
maps, was known as the territory of the Sarmatians, while the
pass, or gate, was sometimes called "The Sarmatian Gate." Not a
few have shown, and upon good grounds, that the name of Sarmatia
was derived from Samaria, the earlier home of these wandering
people, whose general name among themselves was Scoloti, but whom
the Greeks called Scythians, or Nomades. From that word Scoloti
we have the more modern name Scoti, and the still more modern
Scots, which, of course, mean the same as the Greek, Scythia and
Nomades, i. e., wanderers.
But this is only one of the many names by which these
wanderers, or Scots, may be traced, for in their western march
across the European continent, which was necessarily slow,
Ephraim did obey the prophetic injunction, "Set thee up
waymarks." (Jer.31:21.) And just here we must keep in mind the
fact that in the ancient Hebrew there are no written vowels, and
that in the word Dan there are only two letters used which are
equivalent to the English D and N. Hence it makes no difference
if the word is Dan, Don, Dun, Din or Den, it is equal to the
Hebrew D-N, in which the speaker sounds the vowel according to
characteristics of his own dialect.
On the west side of the Black Sea, there is, according to
ancient geography, a region which was called "Moesia," signifying
the land of the Moses-ites, and the people of which were called
Moesi, or Mosesites. These people had such great reverence for a
person whom they called Zal-moxis, whom Herodotus, the father of
history, supposed to be their God, and concerning whom he
concludes his account as follows "Zalmoxis must have lived many
years before Pythagoras; whether therefore he was a man or a
deity of the Getae, enough has been said of him." T. R. Howlett
says, "Zalmoxis, whom Herodotus supposed them to worship as a
god, is without doubt Moses; Zal signifying "chief," or "leader,"
while Moxis and Moses are but the Greek for the Hebrew Mosie,
which is also rendered Moses in our tongue."
Moesia was bounded on the south by Mace-Don-ia and the
Dar-DAN-ells, and on the north by the river DAN-ube. In the
territory of Sarmatia, which in some maps is Scythia, in others
Gomer, there are the rivers D-n-iper, D-n-ister, and the DON..
The fact that the Dnieper and the Dniester are written without a
vowel between the D and the N is quite as significant as the fact
that the Don has one.
Professor Totten says: "There is no grander theme upon the
scrolls of history than the story of this struggle of the
Anglo-Saxons westward. The very streams of Europe mark their
resting-places, and in the root of nearly all their ancient names
(Dan, or Don) recall the sacred stream, Jor-dan-river of
rest-from whose banks, so far away, as exiles, they set out. It
was either the little colony of Dan, obeying its tribal
proclivity for naming everything it captured (Jud.18:112-29)
after their father, or else the mere survival of a word and
custom; but, none the less, it serves to trace these wanderers
like a trail. Hence the Dan-ube, the Dan-ieper, the Dan-iester,
the Dan-au, the Dan-inn, the Dan-aster, the Dan-dari, the Dan-ez,
the Daci and Davi, the Dan, the Don, the U-Don, the Eri-don, and
the thousand other dans and dons of ancient and early geography,
down to the Danes in Dan-emerke, or "Dan's last resting place."
To this we would add, that, during all these years of
blindness concerning the birthright tribes, the people of
Den-mark have been called DAN-es, and that the people in
contiguous countries, while having different local names, have
been called by the same generic name, i. e., Scan-DIN-navians.
Also that Denmark, the modern form of Danemerke, means "Dan's
mark": that too, to the people of the lost birthright. The very
people who have hunted most for the way-marks which God told them
to set up.
All that Scandinavian country, and much more, once belonged
to Denmark, which is now reduced to a comparatively small region.
Yet we believe that little kingdom will stand until the end of
this age. When dying Jacob called his sons together about him
that he might tell them what their posterity should become in the
last days, he began his prophecy concerning Dan as follows: "Dan
shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel." Then,
immediately following, is the expression, "Dan shall be a serpent
by the way." (Isaac Leeser's translation.)
In this prophecy Jacob does not say, as many seem to think,
that Dan in the last days shall become the ruler of the other
tribes of Israel; for the Eternal One has said, "Judah is my law
giver." But what Jacob does say is, that Dan as one of the tribes
of Israel shall render a verdict, or judge his people Israel.
How? Because he shall, like a serpent, leave his mark or trail,
that Israel may find it in the last days, and that they may say,
"There is one of the lost tribes of Israel." When this verdict
has been rendered, then Dan will have judged his people Israel.
It may be that the word Israel, as used in the prophecy above, is
used in its broadest sense, and includes both the house of Israel
and the house of Judah. We are inclined to this opinion, for
reasons which follow:
When Dan was born, Rachel said: "God hath judged me, and
hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son; therefore she
called his name Dan." The word in Hebrew means "Judge," and
Daniel means "The judge of God." Thus Dan "judge," and El "God,"
hence Daniel, the judge of God. Thus Jacob in his last day's
prophecy concerning the tribe of Dan plays on their tribal name,
and says the judge shall judge, or, in other words, that Dan
shall Dan. What? Dan shall Dan! Yes; and he certainly has Dan-ed,
and Dan-ed, and Dan-ed, and kept on Dan-ing until he has given
abundant evidence to his people that he is one of the tribes of
Israel, for they now see the mark of his trail, i. e., DAN.
It is now more than two hundred and fifty years since a Danish
peasant, who, with his daughter, was following their plow in
their native country, when the daughter's plow turned up a bright
and glittering something, which upon examination proved to be a
golden trumpet. It was taken to the authorities, and, beyond all
doubt, identified as one of the SEVEN Golden Trumpets used in the
altar service of the temple at Jerusalem. This trumpet, which is
now in the National Museum at Copenhagen, is ornamented with a
lily and pomegranate - the lily being the national flower of
Egypt, and the pomegranate that of Palestine - thus showing the
half Egyptian and half Israelitish origin of the birthright
nation of which the tribe of Dan was a part.
Just before Moses died, he, like Jacob, gave prophecies
concerning each tribe in Israel, and of Dan he said "Dan is a
lion's whelp; he shall leap from Bashan." Bashan was on
Palestinean territory, hence Dan is to leap from that country,
but it is left for history to tell where that leap landed him.
And it is a well-authenticated fact that, after the coast
colonies of Dan and Simeon knew that their king and their
brethren were defeated, then they embarked in their ships and
fled to the islands of the sea which are to the northwest of
Europe. For the people who are known by all historians to have
been the first settlers of Ireland are called "Tuatha de
Danaans," which literally means "The tribe of Dan." These Danaans
of Ireland correspond to the Danaoi of the Greeks, and Latin
Danaus, and the Hebrew Dan.
The Lord, by the mouth of the Psalmist, declares that "He
breaketh (or driveth) the ships of Tarshish with an east wind."
As these Si-don-ians from the port of Si-don are driven, like
Ephraim, WEST by an east wind, they not only leave their trail
along the shores of the Mediterranean in Dens, Dins and Dons, but
on the Peninsula of Spain. Just before passing out through the
strait into the great waters they left a mark that remains unto
this day, i. e., Me-din-a Sidon-ia.
That Dan's leap landed him in Ireland is evident, for in
that island we find to this day Dans-Lough, Dan-Sower,
Dan-Monism, Dun-dalke, Dun-drum, Don-egal Bay and Don-egal City,
with Dun-glow and Lon-don-derry just north of them. But there is
also Din-gle, Dun-garven and Duns-more, which means "More Dan's."
And, really, there are so many more that we have no space for
them, except to mention Dangan Castle, where the Duke of
Wellington was born, and to say that Dunn in the Irish language
means just what Dan means in the Hebrew, i. e., a judge.
It is remarkable that there is not only a river Don in
Scotland, but also a river Doon, and that there is also a river
Don in England. Also that these countries are as full of Dans,
Dons and Duns as Ireland, for in them are not only such names as
Dundee, Dunkirk, Dunbar, Dunraven, and many others, but the name
of DAN, the son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, lies
buried in the name of their capital cities, i. e., E-din-burgh
and Lon-don. Surely Dan hath Dan-ed, or judged among his people,
and thus fulfilled the sure word of prophecy.
We are told that, in the days of Solomon, "Every three years
came the ships of Tarshish." Eight hundred and sixty years before
Christ we are told that Jonah went to Joppa, a seaport within the
borders of Dan, and found a ship going to Tarshish, and that he
took passage in it to go to Tarshish from the presence of the
Lord. Just how long the ships of Palestinean seaports had been
replenishing, or colonizing, the isles, even before the Assyrian
captivity of the ten tribes, is not known, but historians place
the time as early as 900 B.C. This gives abundant time for some
prince of the Zarah branch of Judah's family to have preceded
Israel to the isles, and to have had a large colony even before
the Birthright went to Assyria, an event which did not occur
until 721 B.C. That one of those princes did precede Israel to
the isles of the sea is evident; first, because God says he did,
and, second, because it is recorded in the Milesian records of
Ireland that the prince Herremon, to whom Tea Tephi was married,
was a prince o f the "Tuatha de Daanans."
Mark this! If that prince was a prince of the tribe of Dan -
and authentic history declares he was - then he was a prince of
the family of Judah, for there can be no Prince of Dan other than
a prince of the royal family of HIS RACE, and that family has but
one fountain head, i. e., Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and
Leah, to whom pertains the sceptre blessing.
But this rule seems to have worked both ways, for the family
ensign of Judah is a lion, and since one of his whelps (young
lion) went to the northwest isles with Dan, as a matter of course
the ensign of his family, the royal family, went with him. Thus
it became associated with the "Tuatha de Daanans," the tribe of
Dan, and in time found its way into their national seal. See the
The figure on this seal is described as "A Lion's Whelp with
a Serpent's Tail." The largest of these represent Denmark, and
the other two Norway and Sweden, which were at that time under
the dominion of Denmark.
INDEED THE TRIBE OF DAN, PART OF THEM AT LEAST DID COME
TO IRELAND AND WERE THERE WHEN JEREMIAH WITH THE KING'S
DAUGHTER ARRIVED IN IRELAND. HENCE THE LINE OF JUDAH AND
THE THRONE LINE WERE CARRIED TO THE LAND OF GREAT
WATERS, THERE FOREVER IN THOSE LANDS OF IRELAND,
SCOTLAND, AND ENGLAND, TO PERPETUATE THE THRONE OF DAVID,
TO KEEP IT GOING ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE SECOND COMING
OF CHRIST JESUS, WHOSE RIGHT IT IS, AS PROMISED BY THE
ANGELS WHEN TALKING TO MARY AND TELLING HER THAT THE
CHILD SHE WOULD BRING INTO THE WORLD WAS THE SON OF
GOD, AND TO HIM WOULD BE GIVEN THE THRONE OF DAVID.
To be continued