A happier translation of Jacob's blessing than the foregoing may be seen even as a vision for the future, but it certainly has a strange parallel in the past:

"Holland a haven for philosophers'' 

This is a quotation of Chapter nine in Charles Wilson's excellent book on the Dutch Republic in the 17th century!

Note: this is not the 19th century John Wilson from Cambridge, we are quoting Charles Wilson, now lecturer in modern history also at Cambridge.

Professor Charles Wilson devotes a chapter on the religious persecuted from many countries in those days, who found refuge in the Netherlands:

"By far the largest group were Flemings or Walloons from the south, but they were far from being the only prominent newcomers. They were joined by Germans, Scandinavians, French, English, Scots, Jews, even Armenians, Turks. The large towns were cosmopolitan to an extent unique in the seventeenth century world...Almost all foreign immigrants came in search for freedom from persecution, whether they were great merchants from Antwerp, skilled textile workers from Ypres, or scholars from France or England.''

Charles Wilson in the Dutch Republic, page 165, World University Library, London, 1968.

Among these scholars were Rene Descartes, Baruch de Spinoza, John Locke, to name only a few. Many were Huguenots who after the edict of Nantes flocked in thousands to the Protestant Netherlands. Many a Dutchman can still claim descendency from them.

The famous Mayflower-group who sailed for America in 1620, first settled in Amsterdam and Leyden under their pastor John Robinson. They found protection in the Netherlands for many years.

Spinoza was a Jew. Holland always has been a "haven" for Jews. In the 15th and 16th centuries thousands of Sephardic Jews fled from Spain towards the Netherlands, mainly settling in Amsterdam, which until the second world war was still called "Mokum" (which means good place) or the "Jerusalem of the North." Names like Cohen, de Levita, Jessurun, de Pinto are well known and respected in Amsterdam. They have enriched the Dutch culture for many ages. Their skill at silver work, diamond-cutting, medicine, music, Hebrew, was outstanding and could grow in peace in Holland.. When the Bible was translated around 1620, Dutch theolegians were greatly assisted by Sephardic Jews. Rembrandt painted them as Biblical illustrations.

In later ages Ashkenazim Jews escaping from their fate in Russia, Poland and Germany also found refuge in the Netherlands. During all these ages Jews never lived in ghetto's in Holland, the only country in Europe where they were not discriminated against.



It was the Rev. John Wilson a hundred and fifty years ago, who made the remark in his book on our Israehtish Origin, that the Hebrew word "chof," meaning haven, sounds the same as the Dutch word hof; having the same meaning. He probably was nearer the mark than he himself knew. Anyhow following this line we come to some remarkable parallels.

(Note: a series of articles on this subject was written in Een Nieuw Geluid, Oct. 1967 - Feb. 1968 by the authoress).

In the dialects of Zealand and Flanders, the g and ch are interchangeable with the h. The same occurs in Hebrew and Gaelic. For mstance an old Zealand farmer in his traditional black national costume with golden filigree buttons on his collar, when inviting you to visit his farm, will tell you "kom op't chof." This literally means "come within the gates of my property.''

The word "chof" for haven, meaning originally "an enclosure" also expresses exactly what the Dutch word "hof" is and means: an enclosure with a fence, or surrounded by, pile and twined reeds.

Etymologically speaking the Dutch word Hof is one of the oldest words existing in this language and one with the most varied meanings within the conception of an enclosure!

Here are a few examples of everyday usages of the Dutch word "hof: 

1. "the oldest hof are the Houses of Parliament in The Hague, The Binnenhof. (Origin in the 7th century) Originally the Dukes had their hof-days there. The Governmental buildings are built in a square around an open court, with the main building almost in the centre, thus forming the enclosure.

2. The Residence of the Royal Family is called "Hof.'' Those who are serving the Queen are the "Hofhouding.'' (Hof-holding).

3. A large, typical Dutch farm with all her separate buildings and garden around, often fenced in with a ditch or a row of trees, is a "HOF."

4. The Dutch Courts with judges are officially called "het Hof." 

5. A beautifully kept enclosed garden is called a "hof." Internationally known is "Keukenhof," where thousands of tourists admire the flowers in the spring, (illustration nr. 9) 

6. The garden of Eden in the Dutch Bible is called "Hof van Eden'' 

7. An old-fashioned word for courting a girl is "hof-maken." (the man is asking the girl to make his ' 'hof," to be his haven).

8) The almshouses (which they are not!) or ancient communities of single ladies, one person dwellings built in a square, are of a typical Dutch origin. Nowadays they are historical gems and a combination of Israel's care for its widows and being an example of a typically Dutch "haven" or "hof," Let us have a closer look at them:


The idea "Hofje" had its origin in the Netherlands in about the 13th century. They were first built in Flanders for elderly women (often rich, so that it is not right to compare them with an almshouse), not to be confused with nunneries, although in Belgium they sometimes have been taken over by the Roman Catholic Church. In Holland the idea "Hofje" was entirely identified with the Protestant culture, and it reminds us of the enclosures and safe haven of Zebulun, for the principle was to have settlements of houses, for single persons built in a square around the pump and garden with gatehouse as entrance to the street, where single women could live a free, independent and safe life. 

The principle behind it was the Mosaic law to care for the orphans and the widows and it was "done" in the 16th-17th centuries by the Calvinistic nobility and rich merchants. They got then-fortunes through their overseas trade to finance a Hofje to which they either gave their own name for posterity or a Biblical one. So we still have architectural gems with names like: Bethlehem-Hofje, Sions-Hofje, Holy Ghost-Hofje. It is certainly a Dutch dwelling invention, though later on copied by other countries, especially Denmark. There are still about one hundred and fifty larger and smaller Hofjes left in the Netherlands, either still inhabited by single women or again serving as a modern form of refuge, this time to escape modern traffic noises and impersonal glass and steel apartment blocks. Nowadays they are often inhabited by artists and students. A modern haven for creative work.



Unless you have criss-crossed the small Netherlands many times, you will never realize how without exaggeration almost every town or village is situated by the water edge, which has functioned as a natural harbor. Look at the map of the Netherlands: The islands in the south-west, where all the villages are built along these sea-arms; the long coast of Holland, harbors with natural seaside resorts. Look at the coast bending inland forming the Zuy-derzee, now closed by a dam, but still bordered by innumerable pretty ancient little towns and villages, where life is centred around the harbors. Now take Friesland in the north, full of shallow still safe pools and lakes strewn about their flat meadows.

However this is not yet the end of the number of Netherlands natural harbors: The three great rivers, Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt with their slow moving waters are being bordered almost every other, kilometer by a village with some shipyards. Apart from the big ones, there are innumerable smaller rivers, mostly canalized, along which the Dutch built quays with houses.

Truly, where else in the world does a people exist, blessed so systematically with flat watery land, and where in the world have the homes alongside the "haven" a more characteristic parallel with Zebulun, than in the innumerable little port-towns of Holland?


Speaking about haven in the modern sense, is it so strange that small Holland has the largest port in the world within its borders, namely Rotterdam-Europoort? It has surpassed London, New York and Hamburg. Willy nilly it is becoming the premier port of the European Community. The name itself, Europoort is the Dutch abbreviated word for "gate of Europe" It is too far fetched to remind you that Israel, living in the Isles of the West, will possess the (sea) gates of their enemies, as prophesied in Genesis 22:17; 24:60. Incidentally, as far as our comparison with Zebulun is concerned it is a nice little touch that Rotterdam-Europoort has as its modern symbol a large watch-tower called Euro-mast, like the mast of a ship.

At Rotterdam the international rivers Rhine and Meuse become confluent. According to ancient legend it was Ratherius in 90 A.D. who founded Rotterdam, being a descendant of the Royal Trojans, who again claimed to belong to the tribe of Judah. (see Rev. W.M.H. Milner's The Royal House of Britain an enduring dynasty, 13th edition 1964, Covenant Books, London).



We have been dealing with the blessings of Jacob to his son Zebulun given in Genesis 49:13, which prophesied about the status of the tribe, as dwelling at the haven, being blessed with a fishing fleet, and the way he will be fishing.

Parallels have been shown with the geographical position of the Netherlands, their natural harbors, the way the Dutch are living and "dwelling" and their art of architecture has been demonstrated.

Examples have been given of the Dutch word "hof," which is Hebrew for haven. The symbol for Zebulun and Dutch ships has been compared. The importance of herring and other fish in the Netherlands have been stressed. A vision of a future curse has been given, which will become a fact if the Dutch don't quickly purify their own waters. The typical methods of Dutch fishing as an example of the Hebrew words has been demonstrated. The Dutch mentality of welcoming every foreigner who is persecuted and Holland as a haven for writers have been mentioned. Even the ghostly world of the Flying Dutchman has been brought to the forefront as an eerie parallel with Zebulun's ships.

Chapter nine will now give a brief parallel with the tradition of the Patriarch.

Chapter ten is devoted to the activities of Zebulun as prophesied by Moses and the strange parallel with the Dutch suckers and milkers.

Chapter eleven speaks about Zebulun's talents with the pen and Holland's advanced talent for printing and bookreading, as well as laying claim to the invention of the art of printing.



These are not Biblical words. However based on ancient Jewish tradition, it may teach us something about Zebulun's mentality handed down through the ages.

Greatly stressed is his image as the most compassionate one of the twelve children of Israel.

He had compassion on his brother Joseph. Hence, he commands his descendants to have mercy upon their neighbours, "to have compassion towards all, not towards men only, but also towards beasts. Have compassion in your hearts, because when my brethren were sickening and dying on account of Joseph, because they showed no mercy in their hearts, my sons were preserved without sickness as you know," reads the Testament of the Patriarch. Zebulun saw a man in distress, being naked, and he had compassion upon him and secretly stole away a garment from his father's house, and gave it to him who was in distress. "Do ye therefore my children, from that which God bestoweth upon you, show compassion and mercy without hesitation to all men and give to every man with a good heart...I know that my hand found not the wherewithal to give him that needed, and I walked with him weeping for seven furlongs, and my bowels yearned towards him in compassion."


In every century individual Dutchmen dealing with Spaniards, Indians, Africans, were as far removed from Christian love as any other wild white western Anglo-Saxon, but at home and as a nation they are throughout history known as a compassionate and peaceful people. They are indeed renowned for their compassion on those in need. The care for the sick, the poor, disabled, the mentally disturbed has always been an example to other nations. Being a homely people, neighbourly help has always been the inner strength of the nation, and in times when the cities of the western world started demolishing their slums, Holland had hardly any.

However Holland's mentality of compassion can easily degenerate in Holland into sheer busy-bodiness, which nowadays may lead to hysterics in the overpopulated country. Shown on a national scale it can sometimes become ridiculous. Everybody is minding everybody else's business. And when little Holland is going to tell other nations how to handle their internal affairs, it becomes meddlesomeness. This is far removed from "walking with the other weeping for seven furlongs," which undoubtedly is the mental attitude of the best of our Dutch leaders, led by the Dutch Royal Family.

Anyhow it is a fact that the spontaneity with which the population of the Netherlands responds to calls for the charity beats all other countries. A national collection for disasters in other countries like food for India, earthquakes in Persia, children in Biafra gather enormous sums. These do not come from a few rich millionaires. They come from the average man, woman and child in the street all over the Netherlands.

Becoming emotional about the underdog in the world seems to be the peculiar mentality exclusively to the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people (which includes the Scandinavians)—a mark in itself of Israel—but only the Dutch go so far in their compassion that they are getting very emotional about it. The closing stages of a national collection are assuming epidemic proportions. The mass-media play upon the emotions of the Dutch; many are glued to their T.V. sets on such a day of a national ingathering to see how much is coming in minute by minute from this town, or that factory or such a school or apartments-flat. From ships and churches they all send messages and money to the national collecting centre. However hysterical as it sometimes may become, it is a truly national example, which is unique in the world. It shows a strange parallel with the words of Zebulunto his descendants.

The reverse of this medal is that the Dutch on the whole are too indiscriminate as to where the distribution of the money goes, and when found out, the grumbling, that other peculiar national trait, comes later! It can become dangerous too in these days when a few through the mass media can play on the emotions of the Dutch in their homes and make them dip into their pockets for any dubious political aim. Blindly they drive their bent for compassion too far and like Israel of old they get a rude awakening when the Canaanites, whom they had bred, stood up against them within their own gates.

Could the reverse of Zebulun's command be a blind exaggeration of the Dutch passion for compassion on the underdeveloped underdog, and ought not they sometimes lock their doors against them in the future and behind themselves with more Israelitic discrimination?

In former days Holland was blessed, being a refuge for foreigners and their compassion was a positive thing. Nowadays the free immigration of foreign laborers with their different morals has become a problem (a curse) to the Netherlands. It is causing psychic pollution by too much busi-bodiness with these adverse elements. Being part of Real Israel the Dutch have to cleanse their own house. Look in the mirror: Zebulun did not drive out the Canaanites from Kithron and Nahallel as ordered in Deutronomy 7 and mentioned in Judges 1:7.



I have not gone into the meaning of all the names of places given to Zebulun by lot. This is too specialized a subject for this book. I want to make one exception: Zebulun has twelve cities. One of them in the North is called Nahallel, meaning green pastures. It is said that the Zebulunites did not drive out the heathen inhabitants of Nahallel.

In 1647 there was found a temple of a heathen goddess on the island of Walcheren at the Scheldt with the name inscribed in stone Nehalennia. Immediately after these findings there were Dutch and English theologians of those days tracing her name back to... Nahal, meaning pasture, suggesting she was derived from the Scythian language.