JACOB'S PILLAR STONE
by Raymond Capt M.A., A.I.A., F.S.A., Scot.
THE STONE OF BETHEL
"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night,
because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place,
and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the
top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God
ascending and descending on it.
And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God
of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon
thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed:
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt
spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and
to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families
of the earth be blessed.
And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places
whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for
I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken
to thee of.
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord
is in this place; and I knew it not.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is
none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that
he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and
poured oil upon the top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that
city was called Luz at the first.
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will
keep me in this way that I go and will give me bread to eat, and
raiment to put on; So that I come again to my father's house in
peace; then shall the Lord be my God.
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's
house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the
tenth unto thee." Gen.28:10-22.
The Scripture deals chiefly with that which took place
between Jacob and the Lord, as Jacob was making a journey from
Beersheba to Padan-aram. Mention of a certain sunset and stones
(plural) for pillows seem incidental, but suddenly one of those
stones is brought into great distinction. The facts which brought
that special stone into such prominence may be quickly read, for
the Bible account of them is very short and their true symbolic
importance is generally overlooked.
The veneration of sacred pillars was common in ancient
Israel but no where in Scripture has an inanimate object been
given such a glorious eminence, or divinely-declared purpose, as
that which was bestowed on that "pillow-stone" upon which Jacob
rested his head on that certain night. Jacob was so spiritually
impressed that, to memorialize the occasion and the place, he
blessed the stone on which his head had rested, sanctified it by
anointing it with oil and gave it the name "Bethel" (God's
House). Although Jacob gave the name "Bethel" to the place, or
locality, where the Stone was set up, he emphatically declared:
"The stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house."
Twenty-two years passed, and Jacob was directed by the Lord
to return to Bethel. In the interim, Jacob had been blessed not
only with great riches but by a knowledge that at that place
(Bethel) was his God. On his return, Jacob had a vision, and the
Lord again spoke to him, saying, "I am the God of Bethel" (Gen.
31:13). Thus, the Lord associated Himself not only with the place
of the vision but with the Bethel Stone, implying that He Himself
inspired both the choice of this stone and its name.
After returning to Bethel, Jacob erected an altar of stones.
And again God appeared unto Jacob and blessed him saying, "Thy
name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but
Israel (meaning "sons ruling with God"). And God said unto him, I
am God Almighty, be fruitful and multiply; a NATION and a COMPANY
of NATIONS shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy
While the Bible account does not state explicitly that Jacob
took the Bethel Stone with him when he journeyed from Bethel, it
is hard to imagine that he would have simply left a monument with
such remarkable associations to lie in the fields and be lost.
Rather, it is most likely that this special Stone would be kept
and venerated down through the ages.
There is Biblical evidence to show that the Bethel Stone was
the inheritance of Joseph, committed to the care of the House of
Joseph. Jacob blessed each of his twelve sons before he died, in
Egypt. But, while he was making the prophecy concerning Joseph
and his house (to whom he had just given the "birthright") he
stopped in the midst of his prophetic utterances and used the
following parenthetical expression: "from thence is the shepherd,
the stone of Israel" (Gen.49:24).
"Thence", in this instance, is an adverb used as a noun, and
is equivalent in value to "that place", or the place to which it
refers. The phrase, "from thence", means "out of there, out from
thither", (or) "out of that place". The place from whence
(present form of the old word thence) the Stone came (Bethel) was
part of the inheritance which fell to the House of Joseph when
the land of Canaan was divided among the children of Jacob. This
suggests that not only Bethel (the city or place) but also
Bethel, the pillar-rock was given to the birthright family.
Approximately 215 years later, at the time of the Exodus, Jacob's
descendants (or a large part of them) left Egypt under the
leadership of Moses with all their possessions and much spoil
besides. Jacob's "annointed" Stone must have gone out of Egypt
with them, thereafter, accompanying them through their long
forty-year trek through the wilderness.
The history and movements of Israel's wanderings in the
desert-wilderness is a fascinating story. The Lord continually
provided food for the Israelites during these forty years and
twice it is recorded the Lord supernaturally provided them with
water. The first incident mentioned was when the Israelites were
encamped at Rephidem, where there was no water for the people to
drink. Without previously selecting one special rock, the Lord
said unto Moses: "Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the
rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall
come water out of it, that the people may drink" (Exodus 17:6).
The phrase, "there in Horeb", points out the place where the rock
was at the time. If the Lord, when He spoke of the rock, had used
the demonstrative form, and said, "that rock", then we should
know that He was designating which one, or a certain one not yet
selected, but the fact that He said "the rock", indicated to us
that He was speaking of a rock with which they were already
familiar. It was undoubtedly the Bethel pillar rock, "the
shepherd, the Stone of Israel", which had been committed to the
keeping of the house of Joseph.
The second instance was when the people were without water
at Kadish, a city in the border of Edom, the area belonging to
the descendants of Esau. At that place, the people of Israel were
very bitter against Moses and Aaron and said unto them: And why
have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this
wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And
wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us
into this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of
vine,or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink"
(Num.20:4,5). Again, the Lord appeared unto Moses, saying:
"Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou and
Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes;
and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to
them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation
and their beasts drink" (Num.20:8).
In both instances where the Lord provided water from the
rock, there is not the slightest indication that there was any
selection, or indication of preference for any certain rock in
the vicinity of Kadish, or that one was not already chosen, and
in their midst. It is clear, also, that at the very first mention
of water for the people from this "rock", all that was necessary
(as a preparatory measure) was for the Lord to say to Moses,
"speak to the rock." Also, when the people were commanded to
"gather before the rock", they clearly understood which rock it
was, so that in all the great company, no explanations were
necessary. Therefore, it must have been among them before this
event, and well known to them.
Artists have depicted Moses standing by a great cliff from
which water was pouring, showing the people drinking from the
stream. However, this conception of the artist does not picture
the actual scene, as described in the Bible. The same name, "the
rock" was used at Rephidim and at Kadesh, thus showing the same
rock was smitten at each location, although they are
geographically many miles apart. Certainly the Israelites did not
transport a cliff with them, but they did carry the Stone.
Jacob's Stone, or rock, was a tune of Jesus Christ, who
would bring forth living waters, welling up into e eternal life.
For proof, let us go back to the place called "Bethel." There we
find that Jacob, after setting up the rock for a pillar, also
anointed it with oil, which in sacred symbols is typical of the
Holy Spirit. According to sacred history, this Bethel Stone is
the only single stone that has ever been anointed; making it
pre-eminently "the Anointed One." When Christ, the great
prototype, came, and was anointed with the Holy Spirit, He was
pre-eminent among men, "the Anointed One."
Also, concerning this "rock", which accompanied Israel, the
Lord could say to Moses, "Speak to the rock." But, on the other
hand, Israel also could say, concerning that Divine presence
which went with them, "Let us sing unto the rock of our
salvation." It is also said of Israel that they "...did drink the
same spiritual drink, for they drank of that Spiritual Rock that
followed them and that Rock was Christ" (I Cor.10:4).
Jacob also called the Stone, "The Shepherd of Israel." And
there is also a Divine One unto whom Israel prayed, saying, "Give
ear, 0 Shepherd of Israel." Later, when this same Shepherd was
manifest in the flesh, He said, "I am the Good Shepherd", and His
apostles spoke of Him as "The Great Shepherd" and "The Chief
Shepherd." Since, with God, names are always characteristic, we
would expect this Stone of Israel to be with Israel in all their
wanderings. Hence, this "Shepherd" - though it be only a stone -
as any other shepherd would do, must go with His flock.
Further, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, Israel's Divine
Shepherd-rock was smitten, for it is written, "Smite the
Shepherd." So, too, Israel's literal Shepherd-rock was smitten.
The Lord knew that He must be smitten for the sins of the people,
and, that the type and prototype might agree, He gave the
command, "Smite the rock."
In view of God's miraculous intervention at their
deliverance from Egypt, it should not be difficult to believe
that the Children of Israel were supplied with water from that
literal Rock,which went with them. It was their Shepherd-rock.
Otherwise,how could, Moses, in asking permission for the
Israelites to pass through the land of Edom, give assurances to
the king of Edom, "...we will not pass through the fields, or
through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the
wells; we will go by the king's highway; we will not turn to the
right nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders" (Num.
20:17). The land they must have traverse was several hundred
miles in lenght and would have taken a considerable lenght of
time. However, Israel could afford to make this proposition, for
both their Shepherd-rocks were with them (the literal and the
spiritual). They knew that He, who had hitherto furnished them
with food and water, would continue to supply them until the end
of the journey. Otherwise, Moses would never have made such a
True, there was a conditional promise made, in which there
was a promise to pay for any of the water of Edom which Israel
might use. This was made chiefly on account of the cattle which
they might not always be able to control when passing by the cool
and tempting water pools. During the heat of the day, this might
prove to be a difficult task for the drivers; hence, the proviso.
THE STONE OF ISRAEL
After forty years of wanderings in the wilderness, the
children of Israel entered unto the land of Canaan to establish
the United Kingdom of Israel which had been founded at Sinai. A
special stone or pillar plays an important part in the building
of the House of God, known as "Solomon's Temple". Masonic
tradition speaks of a stone called "Jacob's Pillar" (Encyclopedia
of Freemasonry, 1921 Vol.II pg.37 - Waite) which was rejected by
the builders. Not only was this stone "in the rough" but it
contained a crack which, possibly, could have split the stone in
two pieces at any moment. It is further prophetically intimated
that early in the building of the Temple the attention of the
architects had been incidentally invited to this very stone, for
use in the Temple. After inspecting the stone, the builders
forthwith condemned it as unfit for any such purpose (Compare Ps.
118:22 and Acts 4:11).
Thus, "neglected and despised by the builders", it had
remained in the Tabernacle. By the close of the seven and a half
ears Temple construction the stone had become practically
forgotten. It seems always to have been used in Tabernacle
worship for some religious purposes, but now that grander
provisions had been made at Jerusalem for the ritual ceremony, it
was clearly in danger of being set aside. Man had rejected the
relic but God had provided otherwise. Just at the moment when the
Tabernacle was to be taken down and packed up for the march to
the Temple, silence reigning throughout the multitude, this stone
appears to have given unmistakable evidence of its own peculiar
and inestimable worth. How the stone so suddenly, "became" of
specific import, as to strike all concerned with astonishment and
admiration, we do not know. We can only conjecture. Perhaps the
stone itself may have spoken, for stranger things are recorded as
facts in the Scriptures (Num.22:21-35). At Kadesh, Moses had been
directed to "speak" to this very same stone (Num. 20:7-13) and
sinned by smiting it as he had at Horeb. This latter time he
acted both in wrath and perhaps in pride, saying, Shall we bring
forth"?-what, in reality, God alone could cause to flow. So, if
the stone could "hear", why not "speak" upon some particular
occasion? Jesus, when rebuked to quiet His followers on His
triumphant ride into Jerusalem told the Pharisees, "I tell you
that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would
immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40).
At any rate, to continue Masonic tradition, some remarkable
incident occurred then and there at the Tabernacle. Whatever it
was, it took place just before the sacred regalia started in
procession to their place in the finished Temple of Solomon. The
sentence was reversed, the stone could not be left behind to
oblivion. Its indisputable identity and undoubted worth was made
manifest to all. History is strangely silent and only scantily
suggestive of these events and we may only imagine the
circumstances of this occurrence and supply the shouts of those
who witnessed them: "Lo, this is the Pillow of Jacob - The Dream
Miracle Stone! It is the Stone of Israel, and Joseph is its
guardian. Let it be borne in honor to the Temple of God!"
In the coronation of the kings of Israel we find, again, a
special stone or pillar playing an important role. When Joash was
brought forth and proclaimed the heir of David's Throne and was
anointed King, the account states: "And when Athaliah heard the
noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into
the temple of the Lord. And when she looked, behold, the King
stood by a pillar, as the manner was" (2 Kings 11:13,14) In
the Revised Standard Version it is rendered, "standing by THE
PILLAR, as was their custom," the article "the" denoted a
particular pillar, by, or upon, which it was the custom of Israel
to crown their kings.
The Dr.Adam Clark translation reads, "stood on a pillar",
which he explains is "The place or throne on which they were
accustomed to put their kings when they proclaimed them." There
is, in the Second Chronicles 23:13, a recapitulation of the
circumstances concerning Joash, which gives the following, "And
she looked, and behold, the king stood at the pillar," again
indicating that it was a particular pillar belonging to those who
were anointed King.
The Companion Bible, in this instance, gives an alternate
rendering as "UPON THE PILLAR". It is reasonable to assume that
Joash stood UPON the stone which Jacob had set up, as a pillar,
when he made his covenant with God. Israel was familar with the
history of the Bethel Stone and knew it was the "House of God" to
Jacob and that it had become the "Guardian Stone" of Israel.
Thus, the King could have chosen no more fitting place for making
his covenant to restore the law and its administration to Israel.
It was a sacred stone and it had witnessed all of the many solemn
compacts between God and His people.
The stone which was refused by the builders of Solomon's
Temple did become the "head of the corner" as the pillar or
Coronation Stone on which the kings of the House of David were
crowned. The first attitude of the builders toward this stone was
prophetic of the attitude and rejection of Jesus Christ by the
Chief Priests and a majority of the people of the Nation of the
Jews. The nation, at that time, was composed of a remnant of the
House of Judah plus other races.
What happened to this Coronation Stone when the captivity of
Israel took place starting 745 B.C.? The Bible purposely makes
little mention of the Stone as such and then only in a secondary
way, perhaps to guard against the tendency to make an idol of it.
Also, it seems God intended for the identity of the Stone and the
people connected with it to be hidden from the world for a time.
However, it is logical to assume that the custody of the Stone
would remain in the hands of some part of the people of Israel.
Between 745 - 721 B.C. we know the northern Ten-Tribed Kingdom of
Israel (known as the House of Israel), together with a larger
portion of the southern Kingdom of Judah (known as the House of
Judah) were taken into Assyrian captivity (2 Kings 17:3-6).
Archaeological tablets found in the excavations of the
Assyrian Royal Library at Nineveh have indicated that a majority
of the Israelites escaped. Some traveled around the southern end
of the Black Sea into the Danube River Valley and the Carpathian
Mountains; others went by way of the Dariel Pass through the
Caucasus Mountains, into the Steppes of Southern Russia.
Confirmation of the escape of Israelites from Assyrian
captivity is found in the writings of the Prophet Ezra (Esdras).
After the ten tribes (House of Israel) refused the request of
King Xerxes to return to Jerusalem to join the remnant of Judah
from Babylon, Ezra (Esdras) wrote concerning their movements:
"And whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable
multitude unto him; Those are the ten tribes, which were carried
away prisoners out of their own land in the time of
Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away
captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they
unto another land. But they took this counsel among themselves,
that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth
into further country, where never mankind dwelt, That they might
there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own
land. And they entered in to Euphrates by the narrow passages of
the river. For the most High then shewed signs to them, and held
still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that
country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a
half: and the same region is called Arsareth"(2 Edras 13:
This is in harmony with the following: "I will surely
assemble, 0 Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant
of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as
the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise
by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before
them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and
are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and
the Lord on the head of them" (Micah 2:12,13).
The clause, "They... have passed through the gate", and the
one by Ezra, "They have entered into the narrow passages", are
parallel and refer to the same circumstance and place. This
"gate", or "narrow passage", which is up among the headwaters of
the Euphrates, is known today, as the "Caucasian Pass", or the
"Pass of Dariel". Ancient writings sometimes refer to it as the
"Pass of Israel". It is at this time that Hosea wrote: "The
children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and
without a sacrifice, and WITHOUT AN IMAGE", or as the marginal
reading gives it, WITHOUT A STANDING PILLAR". Young's Exhaustive
Concordance, gives, among other definitions of the original
Hebrew word, both "Memorial stone" and "pillar". Other
authorities give us "pillar-rock" and "pillar-stone" as the
correct rendering. All this justifies our conclusion, that the
pillar in question is the Bethel Pillar Stone which was used as a
Coronation Stone and retained by the royal family which ruled
over the -emnant of Judah until the overthrow of Zedekiah.
When Jerusalem was taken by the King Nebuchadnezzar of
Babylon and the Temple destroyed, there was every probability
that the Throne of David would become vacant. Zedekiah, the King
of Judah had fled by night but was overtaken in the plains of
Jericho where he and his sons were taken captive. Nebuchadnezzar
killed all the King's sons. Then, after putting out the eyes of
Zedekiah, took him in chains to Babylon where he later died in
prison (Jer. 39:4-7). The king's DAUGHTERS were spared and there
are several later references to them (Jer.41:10-17 and Jer.
Zedekiah's reign had lasted only about eleven years and he
is considered by most Bible scholars to have been the last king
of the Judo-David line to reign over any part of the Israel
people. Yet God has said that He would build up David's Throne
unto all generations. "then I will establish the throne of thy
kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father,
saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of
Israel"(I Kings 9:5), and prior to that He declared: "The Sceptre
shall not depart from Judah [his posterity] nor a law-giver from
between his feet unto Shiloh come; and unto him [Shiloh] shall
the gathering of the people be"(Gen. 49:10).
Though that Throne ceased in Palestine when Zedekiah died,
as a captive in Babylon, there must of necessity be a
continuation of that throne. There must be a ruler of the House
of David reigning over at least a portion of the House of Israel,
forever. Since Zedekiah's sons were killed there were no male
heirs to the throne of Judah. However, under Hebrew law (Num.
27:8-11) a daughter would inherit as though she were a son and
the right of descent would pass to her male seed, providing she
married within her own house (Num. 36). This fact was evidently
unknown to Nebuchadnezzar who thought that in slaying all the
male heirs to the Throne of David it had been destroyed forever.
The King's daughters, in the company of Jeremiah, did escape with
a remnant of Judah to the land of Egypt. Jeremiah, with the
daughters, found sanctuary with the Milesian (Greek mercenaries)
garrison, which according to secular records, was stationed in
Tahpanhes, Egypt (Jer.43:5-7).
Tahpanhes has been identified as the Greek fortress
"Daphnae" (modern Tel Defneh), which is on the caravan road from
Egypt to Palestine. For travelling and commercial purposes, the
fortress was near the frontier of Egypt. However, after reaching
the fort a traveler must traverse another 150 miles of waterless
desert before reaching the gardens of Gaza.
Professor Sir W. M. Flinder Petrie (Professor of Egyptology
at the University College, London, 1894) in the report of his
excavations at Tahpanhes describes the fortress as having a
central structure of brickwork 143 feet square and probably 30 to
40 feet high. From the top of this building a far watch over the
desert plains could be maintained. The entire fortified camp was
ringed with walls over 40 feet thick. The report also describes a
royal apartment or palace opening into a wide paved area on the
north-east of the fortress. Its purpose, Petrie concluded, was
for Egyptian governors or other officials who might visit there.
If so, then such accomodations would have been at the disposal of
the royal Hebrew princesses. It is meaningful that Tell Defneh is
also known to this day as "Qasr Bint el Yehudi", meaning "The
Palace of the Jew's Daughter". So through the long ages of Greek
and Roman and Arab there has come down the memory of the royal
residence of the "King's daughters" from the destruction of
We are now in a position to understand the politics of the
time and the importance of Tahpanhes. It was build as a border
fortress and manned by Greek mercenaries against the then rising
power of the Assyrian Empire. It was therefore, the most natural
thing for any Hebrews escaping from the vengeance of the
Assyrians, to flee to the safety of the Greek garrison over the
border. When Jeremiah and the Hebrew king's daughters were
Babylonians they would have also fled to this nearby place
of safety, and doubtless they would appeal to the King of Egypt
for some help. Pharaoh-Hophra (otherwise called Apries by
Herodotus; Uaphris by Manetho; Haa-ab-ra; Uehabre, and other
variants of the name by modern authorities) had recently come to
the throne in 589 B.C. One of his first acts had been to try to
hold the south of Palestine in alliance with Judah. From there
the Babylonians had beaten him off, when they destroyed Jerusalem
in 588 B.C. So, to a fugitive royal party from Jerusalem, he
might be expected to show friendship and good will.
The prophecies of Jeremiah are remarkable for their variety
of application; Not only do these prophecies cover a lengthy
period of time, extending from the then immediate future until
the end of the age, but some of them also concern specific
individuals. One such person was Pharaoh-Hophra whom Jeremiah
foresaw would fall into the hands of his enemies and made his
prophecy accordingly. Some time later Hophra was deposed and
imprisoned by his subjects, but was well treated. After some
years, he escaped and endeavoured to return to power, but on
being opposed by the forces of the new Pharaoh, his own
supporters murdered him, thus fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy.
Hophra's successor, Aahmes, in driving the Greek settlers and
garrisons out of Egypt for supporting his rival, thus weakened
his country and prepared the way for Nebuchadnezzar's invasion
predicted by Jeremiah: "Behold, I will send and take
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his
throne upon these stones that I have hid ... And when he cometh
he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for
death; and such as are for captivity; and such as are for the
sword to the sword (Jer.43:10,11).
Jeremiah also prophecied that the Israelites who fled to
Egypt to escape the Babylonians would not escape God's judgment:
"Therefore hear ye the word of the Lord, all Judah that dwell in
the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith
the Lord that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any
man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord God
liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for
good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt
shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be
an end of them" (Jer.44:26,27). Following this judgment was the
promise that a remnant would escape: "For none shall return but
such as shall escape "(Jer.44:14). indicating that a small
remnant would escape the desolation and destruction soon to
descend upon Egypt.
Earlier, God had promised Jeremiah: "Verily it shall be well
with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee
well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction" (Jer.
15:11). This statement is followed by the promise that Jeremiah
would pass into a land which he did not know. "And 1 will make
thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest
Isaiah also tells us of the remnant that was to go forth
from Jerusalem and escape: "And the remnant that is escaped of
the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit
upward" (Isa.37:31). This fits in with Jeremiah's Divine
commission: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and
over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy,
and to throw down, to build, and to plant" (Jer.1:10).
This remnant which was to escape was not the remnant that was
left by Nebuchadnezzar; nor the entire remnant that went down
into Egypt to dwell, but Jeremiah's own particular little
remnant, a small, select company that had been given to him to
use in the "planting" and "building". Since this planting and
building was to take place in a land that Jeremiah did not know,
it could not have been in Egypt, Palestine, or Babylon, or any of
the small nations around Palestine. The expression "to pass" is
significant, for it implies travel by sea, passage by boat.
The Bible records Jeremiah fulfilling the first part of his
commission but of the "building" and "planting" there is no
record. That planting and building, moreover, was to be in a
distant foreign land to which God declared Jeremiah would lead
his remnant. Since the commission concerned the Throne of David,
and as Jeremiah was instrumental in the removal of kings who did
evil in the sight of God, it follows that the "building" phase of
the prophecy would also be related to the Throne. Upon leaving
Egypt, Jeremiah would doubtless have had in his possession the
Stone of Bethel, the Symbolical Throne of David. The Stone was a
witness of promises still to come, some of which even today are
waiting fulfillment. Certainly, Divine Providence would not allow
this witness to suffer destruction or fall into sacrilegious
The Scriptures are silent concerning Jeremiah's whereabouts
after describing his journey to Egypt. But, we have every reason
to believe God would see to it that he was preserved to
accomplish the building and planting which he was commissioned to
do. The daughters of King Zedekiah became the prophet's wards.
Because God had promised that His covenant with David would not
be broken and that David would never lack a seed to reign upon
his Throne, the building and planting obviously had to do with
preserving this royal branch of the House of David.
This brings us to the all-important question; what happened
to this Royal party after they left Egypt? Where did they go? One
important clue is found in the riddle of Ezekiel, chapter 17:
"And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of Man, put
forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; And
say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings,
long-winged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came
unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: He
cropped off the top of his young twigs,and carried it into a land
of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants. He took also the
seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed
it by a great waters, and set it as a willow tree. And it grew,
and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned
toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a
vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth springs" (Ezek.
These first verses of the parable introduce a "great eagle".
It is used by the prophet to symbolize the Babylonian ruler,
Nebuchadnezzar. He had succeeded to the sovereignty of the
Gentile succession of empires (Dan.2:31-45) destined to control
the world during the absence of Israel from her own land. The
eagle was an Assyrian emblem and this fact is probably referred
to in Habakkuk 1:8. The eagle-headed deity of the Assyrian
sculptures is that of the god "Nisroch". In the representations
of battle scenes, trained birds of this order are frequently
shown accompanying the Assyrian warriors into battle.
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Lebanon, home of the famous cedar
trees, in southern Syria. This was the home of the Hebrew
patriarchs after their migration from Mesopotamia, where Isaac
and Jacob later obtained their wives. The Royal dynasty of Israel
might be likened unto a great Cedar of Lebanon. The "highest
branch" of the cedar and the "top of his young twigs" represent
King Jehoiachin and the princes of Judah removed to Babylon in
the "land of traffick". Nebuchadnezzar also took of the "seed of
the land" and planted it "as a willow tree" in a fruitful field
by greatwaters (Ezek.17:5). Vast numbers of willows line the
waterways of Mesopotamia; the roots of the trees help to hold the
mud banks together. In this respect, it is a fitting symbol of a
country that depended for its existence upon irrigation and
water-borne trade, as did Mesopotamia in general and Babylon in
particular. After Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon, his brother
Zedekiah was made a puppet ruler of Nebuchadnezzar.
Zedekiah was planted figuratively by the "great waters" of
the Euphrates upon which he too was to depend for his existence.
This "seed" of the cedar tree, planted like a "willow" of
Babylon, "became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot
forth sprigs". Here is an ingenious intermingling of national
symbols: the cedar, typifying the House of David, was set up to
grow both as a Babylonian "willow" and as a "vine" which is the
symbol of Joseph and the birthright. All this was done as part of
Nebuchadnezzar's great plan to establish sovereignty over Israel.
This puppet state became only a "vine of low statute". It could
not compare with the former exalted state of the servant nation,
for out of all 12 tribes of Israel only a badly shattered remnant
of the Kingdom of Judah was left.
The riddle continues with the introduction of another great
"There was also another great eagle with great wings and
many feathers: and behold, this vine did bend her roots toward
him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water
it by the furrows of her plantation. It was planted in a good
soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and
that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. Say
thou, Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not
pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it
wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even
without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots
thereof. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it
not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall
wither in the furrows where it grew. (Ezek.17:7-10).
The second "great eagle" was the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was
approached by Zedekiah in hope of deliverance from the Babylonian
king. The Egyptians sent a force to the assistance of the king of
Judah, but it was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar's army. Zedekiah and
all his sons were taken to Babylon to meet their unhappy end, and
Jerusalem was destroyed. This was the dreadful fulfilment; the
"roots" of the plant were torn up, and its fruit was "cut off".
Zedekiah saw his sons slain in his sight, and then his own eyes
were put out. Ezekiel continues:
"Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto me
saying, Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these
things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to
Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes
thereof, and led them with him to Babylon; And hath taken of the
king's seed, and made a covenant with him: he hath also taken the
mighty of the land: That the kingdom might be base, that it might
not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might
stand. But he rebelled against him in sending him ambassadors
into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people.
Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or
shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? As I live, saith
the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that
made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he
brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make
for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to
cut off many persons: Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the
covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all
these things, he shall not escape. Therefore thus saith the Lord
God; As I live, surely mine oath that he had despised, and my
covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his
own head. And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be
taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will
plead with him there for his trespass that hath trespassed
against me. And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall
by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all
winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it."(Ezek.
The second part of the parable (second great eagle) is set
up in contrast to the first (first great eagle), which saw how
the aspirations of the kings of Judah were brought to nought.
Their failures, however, were not to be allowed to annul the
promises of perpetuity made to the House of David. Despite the
fact that the male succession to the throne apparently ended with
the death of Zedekiah's sons, there was yet a method for the
continuation of the royal line,the right of female succession as
granted by Hebrew law. The allegory employed from verse 22
onwards of Ezekiel's riddle provides the feminine link:
"Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch
of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top
of his young twigs a TENDER one, and will plant it upon an high
mountain and eminent: In the mountain of the height of Israel
will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit,
and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every
wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And
all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have
brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried
up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish; I the
Lord have spoken and have done it" (Ezek.17:22-24).
In the grammatical structure of the text of verse 22, the
words, "branch", "the high", "its" (the cedars) and "twigs" are
feminine whereas the masculine could have been used in each case.
These feminine words should be taken as being in some way
prophetically connected. Since the "highest branch" refers to the
royal family of Zedekiah; the "high cedar", the Royal House of
David, it follows that the "tender twig" would indicate a female
of the Royal family of Zedekiah. The King's daughters would have
been the only individuals who were in a position to perpetuate
the Davidic line.
With the end of the male succession on the Throne of David,
as recorded in the Bible, we look for the continuation of that
line in one of the "kings daughters" taken by Jeremiah into Egypt
(Jer. 43:6). We are not told in the Scriptures how many king's
daughters there were, or any of their names. Nor does the Bible
give any historical narrative of what happened to these
princesses beyond telling us that they were taken to Egypt with
Jeremiah, Baruch (the scribe) and others. But, in our view, the
prophetic parable that we are now considering may reasonably be
taken as applying to one of them. Also, we may assume that the
royal line of David would be re-established in Israel, in "an
high mountain and eminent: in the mountain (future nation) of the
height (Heb. 'high place') of Israel".
Now that the House of Judah was broken forever, the royal
line was to be transferred to the House of Israel. This is
entirely in keeping with the parables of the potter's vessels.
The House of Judah was commanded by Jeremiah to get a potter's
earthen bottle (fired pottery) with which he was to demonstrate
the judgement upon Judah. Jeremiah was told to take some of the
leaders among the people and the priests and go to the valley
opposite the pottery - gate where he was to proclaim a message of
judgement upon them for their evil ways. He was to then break the
bottle in the sight of those who went with him and say to them:
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Even so will I break this people
and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be
made whole again" (Jer.19:11).
Contrasting the illustration of the House of Judah, the
House of Israel's condition was that of a vessel of clay damaged
in the making but still workable clay, capable of being reshaped.
"And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of
the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as it seemed good
to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me,
saying, 0 house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?
saith the Lord, Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so
are ye in mine hand, 0 house of Israel"(Jer.18:4-6). (This
illustration alone is sufficient to establish the House of Israel
and the House of Judah as two separate and distinct peoples).
A further prophecy of the transferring of David's Throne
from the House of Judah is found in Ezekiel 2: "And thou, profane
wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall
have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take
off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low,
and abase him that is high, I will overturn, overturn, overturn,
it, and it shall be not more (overturned), until he (the Messiah)
come whose right it is; and I will give it (the Throne of David)
to him " (Eze.21:25-27).
In the above prophecy of Ezekiel, the accepted
interpretation of the "profane wicked prince", the one that was
"high" is that he was Zedekiah, King of Judah. It is he who was
to be brought down. But who was the "low" one referred to, who
was to be exalted; the one that was ruled over at the time the
words were spoken? To answer this question, it is necessary to
return to an incident in the thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis,
which is related with such explicit detail that it must be
regarded as highly significant. Usually, in such cases, the
dialogue foreshadows coming events. In the Bible narrative,
Judah, the son of Jacob, who was to be the father of the future
kings of the covenant people, married a Canaanitish woman. But
the Canaanites were an abomination to the Lord because of their
Baal worship and other unrighteous practices. Therefore, none of
the sons of this marriage were allowed to become progenitors of
the promised royal line. Two of the sons by this marriage died,
and in the course of time the Canaanitish wife also died. Then,
the Scriptures tell of how Tamar, a woman who had been living a
celibate life for years, but who longed for motherhood, became
the mother of twins of Judah. The recorded incidents concerning
the birth of Judah's twin boys are also meaningful. The midwife
in such case to distinguish the elder for the right of
inheritance, had made ready a scarlet thread with which to mark
the one who should be the rightful heir.
"And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out
his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet
thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he
drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she
said, How hast thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee:
therefore his name was called Pharez. And afterward came out his
brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name
called Zarah" (Gen.38:28-30).
There could be no other significance here than that both of
these twins were to be inheritors of the birthright somewhere
along the line of descendants. Naturally, Pharez, the first born,
was to come first. It was from him that David, the first king
from the tribe of Judah, descended (Saul, the first king over the
Twelve Tribes was a Benjaminite). But the midwife said, "This
breach be upon thee". Moffat translates this remark, "What a
breach you have made for yourself". This would clearly indicate
that somewhere in descent of the Pharez line there would be a
break in the sequence.
The royal line of Pharez, established in David, was unbroken
until the command of the Lord was given concerning Zedekiah,
"Take off the crown; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is
high". When Zedekiah was dethroned and all his sons were slain,
there certainly was a breach in the line of Pharez, for not
another king has reigned over the tribe of Judah. But, as we have
seen, a daughter was to be planted in a distant land. However,
the command was to exalt him that was "low", or the non-ruling
line of Judah. This had to be Zarah, the Prince of the scarlet
cord. In other words, the Zarah branch of the royal House of
Judah, seemed destined to supercede the Pharez branch.
ZARAH, THE PRINCE OF THE SCARLET THR
There is very little in the Scriptures that applies
specifically to Zarah, the Prince of Judah. His immediate
posterity is given as follows: "And the sons of Zarah; Zimri, and
Ethan, and Herman, and Calcol, and Dara; five of them in all "(I
Chron.2:6). Two of his descendants are given as authors of
certain of the Psalms.
And Solomon is described as having wisdom greater "than
Ethan, the Ezrahite, and Herman, and Calcol, and Darda (I Kings
4:31). However, there is a bountiful supply of data in historical
records, generally overlooked by Bible scholars, which sheds
light on the fulfillment of Jeremiah's commission. It seems
certain that the family of Zarah aspired to the sceptre of Judah
but failed to attain their ambitions. After a time, Zarah's
entire household seems to have migrated out of Palestine. Where
the Scriptures allow the record of Zarah's line to lapse (we
believe purposely), we find secular history provides the
necessary clues. When properly fitted together, these enable us
to blend the whole into one continuous recital down to the
An examination of some of the historical clues reveals that/
Darda, "the Egyptian", (son of Zarah) was "Dardanus", the
Egyptian founder of Troy: "Hecataeus, therefore, tells us that
the Egyptians, formerly, being troubled by clamities, in order
that the divine wrath might be averted, expelled all the aliens
gathered together in Egypt. Of these, some, under their leaders
Danus and Cadmus, migrated to Greece" (Fragments Historicorum, by
Muller; vol.II, pg.385 - copied from the works of Hecataeus of
Abdera, a fourth-century B.C. Greek historian).
The "clamities" referred to were obviously the plagues which
God brought down of the Egyptians, and the "aliens" were the
Israelites, some of whom migrated to Greece with Danus and
Cadmus, while others, under the leadership of Moses, made their
exodus to the Wilderness of Sinai.
Diodorus gives us another version of the same story: "Now
the Egyptians say that also after these events a great number of
colonies were spread from Egypt all over the inhabited world ...
They say also that those who set forth with Danaus, likewise from
Egypt, settled what is practically the oldest city of Greece,
Argos, and that the nations of the Colchi in Pontus and that of
the Jews (remnant of Judah), which lies between Arabia and Syria,
were founded as colonies by certain emigrants from their country;
and this is the reason why it is a long-established
institution amongg these peoples to circumcise their male
children, the custom having been brought over from Egypt. Even
the Athenians, they say, are colonists from Sais in Egypt"
(Diodorus of Sicily, by G.H. Oldfather, 1933, vol 1, Us 1-II,
1-34 pg. 91).
The descendants of Darda ruled ancient Troy for some
hundreds of years, until the city was destroyed in the famous
"Siege of Troy". Aeneas, the last of the royal blood,
(Zarah-Judeh), collected the remnants of his nation and traveled
with them to Italy. There he married the daughter of Latinus,
king of the Latins and subsequently founded the great Roman
Empire. Aeneas' son (or grandson) Brutus, with a large party of
the Trojans, migrated to Malta, and there was advised to
re-establish his people in "the Great White Island" (an early
name for Britain due to its chalk cliffs). This advice is
recorded in an archaic Greek form on the Temple of Diana in Caer
Troia (New Troy). An historic stone still stands in the town of
Totnes, on the shores at Torbay, commemorating his coming (Circa
1103 B.C.). Brutus then made contact with his kindred blood in
Britain and built for himself a new capital city to which he gave
the name "Caer Troia", or New Troy. The Romans later called it
"Londinium", now known as London.
The actual date of the founding of London is suggested in
the Welsh bardic literature: "And when Brutus had finished the
building of the city, and had strengthened it with walls and
castles, he consecrated them and made inflexible laws for the
governance of such as should dwell there peacefully, and he put
protection on the city and granted privilege to it. At this time,
Beli the Priest ruled in Judea, and the Ark of the Covenant was
in captivity to the Philistines" (The Welsh Bruts).
The reference in the above quotation to Beli the Priest, is
obviously of Eli of the first book of Samuel. Such remote
prehistorical antiquity of the site of London is confirmed by the
numerous archaeological remains found there, not only of the New
Stone and Early Bronze Ages, but even of the Old Stone Age, thus
indicating that it was already of settlement at the time when
Brutus selected it for the site of his new capital of "New Troy".
According to "The Harmsworth Encylopaedia", Cecrops ("Calcol" of
I Chron.2:6 and "Chalcol" of I Kings 4:31, and brother of Darda)
was the mythical founder of Athens and its first king. He was
thought to have been originally a leader of a band of colonists
from Egypt. Dr.R.G. Latham, the ethnologist, asserts: "Neither do
I think that the eponymus of the Argive Danai was other than that
of the Israelite tribe of Dan; only we are so used to confine
ourselves to the soil of Palestine in our consideration of the
history of the Israelites, that we treat them as they were
'adscripti glebae' and ignored the share they may have taken in
the ordinary history of the world" (Ethnology in Europe, 1852,
Historical records tell of the westward migration of the
descendants of "Calcol" along the shores of the Mediterranean
Sea. establishing Iberian (Hebrew) trading settlements. One
settlement now called "Saragossa", in the Ebro Valley in Spain,
was originally known as "Zarah-gassa", meaning "The Stronghold of
Zarah". From Spain they continued westward as far as Ireland. The
Iberians gave their name to Ireland, calling the island "Iberne"
which was later abbreviated to "Erne", and subsequently Latinised
to "Hibernia", a name that stills adheres to Ireland.
Note that in pre-Exodus days Abraham's descendants were
still called by their more ancient name "Hebrews: (See Exodus
2,6,13, etc.) or "Heberites" (Num.25:45), being descended from
"Heber" (spelled "Eber" in N.T. Scripture). Heber was Noah's
great-great-grandson, and the great-great-great-great-grandfather
of Abram or Abraham. Thus, the "Hibernians" or "Iberians" who
came to Ireland about 1700 B.C. were undoubtedly Hebrews,
descended from Abraham through Judah's son Zarah and grandson
Calcol. Later history records that these people grew considerably
and expanded into Scotland.
Many historical records point to Israel's r sence
particularly Dan and Judah) in Ireland at a very early date. On
Ptolemy's ancient map of Ireland we find in the north-eastern
corner of the Island such names as "Dan-Sowar" (Dan's Resting
Place) and "Dan-Sobairse" (Dan's habitation). Gladstone's
"Juventus Mundi" and the "old Psalter of Cashel" both state that
some of the Grecian Danai left Greece and invaded Ireland.
Writers such as Petanius and Hecatoeus of Abdera (sixth century)
speak of Danai as being Hebrew people, originally from Egypt, who
The "History of Ireland" (Moore) states that the ancient
Irish, called the "Danai" or "Danes", separated from Israel
around the time of the Exodus from Egypt, crossed to Greece and
then invaded Ireland. The "Tuatha De Danann", means the "Tribe of
Dan". The "Leabha Gabhala", or "Book of Conquests of Ireland"
give their earlier name as "Tuatha De", meaning "People of God".
The great Irish historiographer, Eugene O'Curry, says: "The De
Danann were a people remarkable for their knowledge of the
domestic, if not the higher, arts of civilized life". The ships
of the Tuatha De Danann are accredited with bringing Jeremiah and
Jacob's Pillar to Ireland.
Among the early records and chronicles of Ireland, those
known as the "Planatation of Ulster" are the best preserved and
most complete. They date back to about 700 B.C. and record the
first important settlements of Hebrews in Ireland. One section of
these chronicles are known as the "Milesian Records". They are
named "Milesian" (meaning warrior) because they give an account
of the genealogy and history of Gallam (William, the conqueror of
Ireland), the last person mentioned in the genealogy. Among the
names in the genealogy of Gallam are several that are
specifically mentioned as belonging to the "Red" or "Scarlet"
branch of Judah.
The Milesians invaded Ireland at about 1000 B.C. subjugating
the De Danann. Most conquerors come to despise the conquered, but
the Milesians came to honor, almost worship those whom they had
subdued. Later generations of Milesians to whom were handed down
the wonderful traditions of the De Danann they had conquered,
lifted them into a mystic realm, the greatest ones becoming gods
and goddesses, giving rise to the early belief that the people in
question were mythological.
Both the De Danann and the Milesians were kinsmen, who long
ages before, had separated from the main Hebrew stem. Many
historians, today, erroneously refer to these people as "Celts"
and "Gaels" whereas in fact, they were only forerunners of the
Celtic tribes that wound their several ways across Europe from
the East, turbulently meeting and finally blending in amity, and
flowing onward in one great Gaelic stream into the Islands of
The Celts were also kinsmen but mainly of the later westward
migrations of the Israel tribes following their captivity in
Assyria between 745 and 721 B.C.
It was Zarah's hand bound with a "scarlet thread" that
probably accounts for the origin of the heraldic sign employed
today in Ulster, northern Ireland, consisting of a Red Hand
couped at the wrist with a scarlet thread. An ancient Irish
record entitled "Cursory Proofs", lists five equestrian orders of
Ancient Ireland. Among these five, one was called "Craobh-Ruadh
(the Red Branch). The origin of this order was so ancient that
all attempts at explanation have hitherto failed. These knights
of the Red Branch called themselves "Craunogs", or the "Crowned".
Undoubtedly these names have reference to the hand of the Prince
of Scarlet Thread (Zarah).
To be continued