JACOB'S PILLAR #2
by Raymond Capt M.A., A.I.A., F.S. A.., Scot.
THE FIRST "OVERTURN"
The story of "Jacob's Pillar" may be likened to an arch, the
left-hand span of which, starting at Bethel, carries us through
Biblical history up to the destruction of Jerusalem about 584
B.C. The right-hand span of the arch begins at Westminster Abbey
in Britain and reaches backwards to Tara in Ireland, just after
584 B.C. The Keystone upon which the story rests is the "first
overturning" contained in Ezekiel's prophecy (Chapter 21:27).
That takes the Stone from Jerusalem, after the city's
destruction, to Tara.
From Bethel to Westminster is a long distance in both time
and space. Any attempt to connect the two involves the necessity
of reconstructing a consecutive, feasible story. There is a
tradition that has subsisted from time immemorial, and is quoted
in official guides, that the Stone of Scone, set in the
Coronation Throne in Westminster Abbey, is none other than that
on which the head of Jacob rested when he dreamed of the ladder
with angels ascending and descending upon it. Is it just an
interesting fable? Traditions do not spring from nothing, and
this one is at least worthy of impartial examination.
The arrival in Ireland of the Bethel Stone rests upon the
authority of the ancient records of Ireland and the traditions
which abound there. Here let us understand that the ancient
historical legends of Ireland are, generally speaking, far from
being baseless myths. The Irish people are a people who eminently
cling to tradition. Not only were the great happenings that
marked great epochs enshrined in their memory, forever, but even
little events that trivially affected the history of their race,
were, and are, seldom forgotten.
The Irish poets and "seanachie (shanachy, the historian) of
the remotest antiquity were honored next to the king, because of
the tremendous value which the people set upon the recording and
preserving of their history. The poet and the historian,
following the fashion of the time, took advantage of their artist
privilege to color their narrative to an extent that to the
modern mind would seem fantastic. But it was with the details of
the story that they were granted this liberty. The big, essential
facts, had to remain unaltered. The things of importance no poet
of repute, however highly he might color, could, or would dare to
falsify. However strange are the story-tellers description of
ancient tradition, when examined carefully provide substantial
links which give credence to the basic truth of the traditions.
The modern part of the story from Westminster back to
Ireland, rests on a succession of well authenticated Irish,
Scottish and English historical documents which may be regarded
as practically undisputed. Writers on the subject, quoting from
such works as "The Chronicles of Eri", "The Annals of the Four
Masters", "The Annals of Clonmacnoise", etc., locate the Stone
originally at Tara, County of Meath, Ireland. Naturally, such
early records as these are uncertain as to dates, but from the
"MS Cambrensis Eversus" (by Dr.Lynch), published in Latin in 1662
and translated in 1848, the year circa 584 B.C. may be taken as
the Tara starting date.
Scota was one of the earliest names of Ireland - so named,
it was said, from Scota, the "daughter of the Pharaoh" one of the
ancient female ancestors of the Milesians. These people were
commonly called "Scotti" or "Scots", both terms being frequently
used by early Latin historians and poets. The Irish legends also
relate how this same "Scots" while in Egypt married "Gallo"
(Gathelus), a "Miletus" (Milesian) chieftain, and that from this
union the kings of Tara were descended. The marriage is said to
have occurred during the reign of a Pharaoh who was "drowned" in
the Red Sea. This would have been the Pharaoh-Hophra (XXVI
Dynasty) who provided refuge to Jeremiah and the daughters of
Zedekiah, and who was later murdered in his boat in 566 B.C.
The "Chronicles of Scotland" by Hector Boece (translated
into Scottish by John Bellenden, 1531), tell us the ancestor of
the Scots was "ane Greyk callit Gathelus (father of Eochaidh, the
Heremon, or Eremon), son (sometimes used to denote a descendant)
of Cecrops (Calcol) of Athens, untherwayis of Argus, King of
Argives", who came to Egypt when "in this tyme rang (reigned) in
Egypt Pharo ye scurge of ye pepill of Israel". Gathelus gained a
great victory for Pharo against "the Moris and Pepil of Yned" and
"King Pharo gaif him his dochter, callit Scota, in marriage"
(vol.I, pgs.21-27). Neither the name or surname of Pharaoh is
given but the word Pharaoh is the Egyptian term for "king" or
"monarch". The fact that the records called Scota the Pharaoh's
"daughter" is proof that they knew her as merely "the King's
The Chronicles of Scotland continue the story of Gathelus,
recording that he left Egypt with his wife (Scots), his friends
and a company of Greeks and Egyptians rather that "to abyde ye
manifest wengenance of goddis" (reference to God's judgment on
the remnant that had fled to Egypt to escape Nebuchadnezzar) and,
travelling by sea (Mediterranean), after, "lang tyme he landit in
ane part of Spayne callit Lusitan" (later called Portingall).
After this, he built the city of Brigance and "callit his
subdittis (subjects) Scottis in honour and affeccioun of his
wyiff". And, peace having been secured, "Gathelus sittand in his
chayr of merbel within his citie".
This chair of "marble" had such fortune and omen that
wherever it was found in any land the same land "shall become the
native land of the Scots":
The Scottis sall ioyis and brouke the landis haill Quhair
yai fynd it, bot gif weirdis faill."
"The Scots shall brook that realm as native ground if words
fail not, wherever this chair is found."
It should be noted that "The Students English Dictionary"
defines "marble" as "any species of calcareous stone susceptible
of a good polish". It is reasonable to assume the "marble chair"
referred to was the Coronation Stone or the Bethel Stone, still
in the hands of the sons (descendants) of Jacob when in the care
of Gathelus and his Queen Scota.
Many of the ancient Irish records, when making reference to
an "eastern king's daughter", also mention an old man; "a
patriarch, a saint, a prophet", called "Ollam Fodhla" and his
scribe-companion called "Simon Brug, Brach, Breack, Barech,
Berach", as it is variously spelled. Reportedly, they carried
with them many ancient relics. Among these were a harp, an ark or
chest, and a stone called, in Gaelic, "Lia-Fail (pronounced
Leeah-Fail), meaning "Stone of Fate" or "Hoary of Destiny".
Tradition asserts that Ollam Fodhla was none other than
Jeremiah, the prophet; that the king's daughter was the heir of
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah. Simon Brug (Barech) was
Jeremiah's scribe who figures prominently in Biblical history,
and the harp was the one belonging to King David. The ark or
chest was the Ark of the Convenant. Finally, that the stone, "Lia
Fail" was the stone that Jacob anointed with oil at Bethel.
One story relating to Scota tells of her son, named
"Eochaidh" (later called Eremhon or Heremon, meaning King)
marrying a girl named "Tea Tephi." The following account, found
in the "Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters,"
states: "Tea sometimes spelled Teah, the daughter of Laghaldh,
son of Ith, whom Eremhon married in Spain was the Tea who
requested of Eremhon a choice hill as her dower, in whatever
place she should select it, that she might be interred therein.
The hill she selected was Druimcaein, i.e., Teamhair (in
Ireland)" (Vol.1 pg.31).
In the "Chronicles of Eri", by Milner, we find Eochaidh, the
husband of Tea Tephi, associated with the Stone Lia Fail. The
account is titled, "The Story of Lia Fail", and states: "In the
early days it was carried about by priests on the march in the
wilderness (hence the much-worn rings still attached to it, one
at each end). Later it was borne by the sea from East to West -
'to the extremity of the world of the sun's going' (an expression
used by the Romans to describe Britain). Its bearers had
resolved, at starting, to 'move on the face of the waters, in
search of their brethren.' Shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland,
they yet came safe with Lia Fail ... Eochaidh, sent a car for Lia
Fail, and he himself was placed thereon."
The story of the Stone was then repeated by his order, "And
Erimionn (Heremon) was seated on Lia Fail, and the crown was
placed upon his head, and the mantle upon his shoulders, and all
clapped and shouted." And the name of that place, from that day
forward, was called "Tara" (spelled "Tamhra" in the Irish
language). The fact that the story of the Stone was repeated by
his (Eochaidh) order suggests definitely that this Stone was of
ancient origin and custom, quite possibly of the earliest
Another version lists Tea Tephi as being the daughter and
heir of King Zedekiah (Scota, her younger sister, having married
in Spain) who accompanied Jeremiah to Ireland to meet and marry
Eochaidh. In this version Tea was made Queen at her husband's
coronation (by Jeremiah) on the Stone of Bethel. The name of the
capital is said to have been changed from "Lothair" to "Tara" and
the Harp of David became the national emblem.
There are many other variations of the story of the Stone
being brought from Egypt to Ireland, which when added together
present us with a rather confused story. This is understandable
when it is realized that the Irish records are compilations at a
late date of very early tribal histories. Each of these, written
in a tongue difficult to translate, gives its own aspect of the
one great story. However, they all agree in the following: The
Stone, known as the "Stone of Destiny", came from Spain, and
before that, from Egypt, It came in the company of an aged
guardian, who was called "Ollam Folla (Hebrew words that mean
"revealer", or "prophet"). Eochaidh (Eremhon) with his Queen Tea
Tephi was crowned King of Ireland upon the Stone which remained
at the Palace of Team-hair Breagh. It was the Coronation Stone of
every "Ard-Righ" (High King) of "Eireann" for a period of about
1040 years; from King Eremhon (The Heremon) to the 131st
Ard-Righ, named "Murcheartach."
Tara, attained the climax of its fame uNder Cormac, (the son
of "Art, the lonely" and grandson of "Conn, of the Hundred
Battles") who reigned as High-King in the third century. Cormac
is unquestionably considered greatest by the poets, the
seanachies, and the chroniclers. The noted 17th century Irish
historian, O'Flaherty says: "Cormac exceeded all his predecessors
in magnificence, munificence, wisdom, and learning, as also in
military achievements. His palace was most superbly adorned and
richly furnished, and his numerous family proclaim his majesty
and munificence; the books he published, and the schools he
endowed at Temair (Tara) bear unquestionable testimony of his
learning. There were three schools instituted, in the first the
most eminent professors of the art of war were engaged, in the
second, history was taught, and in the third, jurisprudence was
In Cormac's day, Tara must have been impressive. The great,
beautiful hill was dotted with seven duns, and in every dun were
many buildings - all of them of wood or of wood and metal. The
greatest structure there was the "Mi-Cuarta", the great
banqueting hall, which was in the Ard-Righs's own dun. It was
probably the largest building of its time in either Great Britain
or Ireland, measuring 700 feet in length and about 90 feet
across. There the chiefs and their ladies listened to the
stirring strains of the "harp that once through Tara's halls did
There was also the "House of a Thousand Soldiers", the
ancient poets tell us. Each of the provincial kings had, on Tara,
a house that was set aside for him when he came up to attend the
great Parliament. There was a "Grianan" (sun house) for the
provincial queens, and their attendants. The "Stronghold of the
lostages" was one of the structures. Another was the "Star of the
Bards" - a meeting-house for the poets and the historians, the
doctors and judges.
"Great, noble and beautiful truly was our Tara of the Kings"
was the theme of the hundreds of ancient poets who sang the
praises of Tara. Those words were not someone's fanciful
imagination. Proof of this is found in the silent testimony of
recently unearthed kingly ornaments. In recent times the
archaeologists have turned up, among others, two splendid gold
torcs (bands of twisted gold worn around the neck); one of them
was five feet seven inches in length, weighing twenty seven
ounces. The other band was of large size also, and weighs twelve
ounces. Both of them are beautifully wrought.
Archaeological excavations on the mounds at Tara have also
revealed that ancient Tara was not only the Royal Seat or Capital
of the Celtic Kings, that came from Spain, but it was also the
nerve center of the country. Five great arteries or roads
radiated from Tara to the various parts of the country - The
"Slighe Cualann", which ran toward the present County Wicklow;
the "Slighe Mor", the great Western road, which ran via Dublin to
Galway; the "Slighe Asail", which ran near the present Mullingar;
the "Slighe Dals", which ran Southwest; and the "Slighe
Midluachra", the Northern road. In order to cross the great
central bogs, tracks were sometimes constructed of timber, laid
on the peat, known as "tochan." This term is still extant in
place-names such as "toghee."
AERIAL VIEW OF THE HILL OF TARA
It is worthy of note that the name "Tara" is the English
corruption of the Irish word commonly written "Teamhara", which
is the genitive of "Teamhar" or "Tamar." The final "a" has been
aspirated according to the Hebrew rule of pronounciation, which
in Irish has been extended to apply to the letter "m." In this
form it almost disappears, making a sound like "Tea-wra, which to
English ears becomes "Tara." Since Tara, is the genitive of
"Tamar", it never stands alone, because being a genitive, it must
be by another noun. Thus the great palace of Ulster, designed by
Queen Tea (Tamar), displaying a form of architecture which made
it for centuries the wonder of Ireland, was called simply, "Tigh
Teamhara", the "House of Tamar."
The name Tamar itself is also spelled "Thamar" in Matt.1:3.
Where there is translation of words from Hebrew into Greek the
letter "h" is often dropped or added, i.e., we find "Eber" (Gen.
10:21) called "Heber" in Luke 3:35. Likewise we find Abraham's
father "Terah", called "Thara" in Luke 3:34, which could with
equal authority have been translated "Tara."
The name Tamar is found in many places in Britain. For
instance the river dividing the two counties Devon and Cornwall
is called the River Tamar. Tamar, according to "Cornish
Directories" is derived from the same root as that of the river
Thames. The latter is called "Tamise" in French, pronounced
without sounding the letter "h", as in English.
Many bards have sung of Tara's halls, but one "Amergin",
chief bard to King Dermod, a sixth century monarch or Ireland,
wrote of Tea Tephi:
"A rampart raised around her house, For Teah, the daughter of
Lughaidh, She was buried outside in her mound, And from her it
was named Tea-Mur."
"Lug" (or Log), is Celtic for "God", and "Aidh" is the same for
"House", hence Tea Tephi is called "the daughter of God's House."
Since Tea accompanied the Stone of Bethel (God's Stone), to the
people of Ireland, she could have been none other than "the
daughter" of that "House."
A celebrated bard, "Cu-an O'Cochlain", for a time Regent of
Ireland (A.D.1024), collected the legends which in his day were
prevalent concerning Tara, and ran them into a poetic selection,
from which is taken the following:
"The gentle Heremon here maintained His lady, safe in an
She received from him all the favors she desired, And all his
promises to her he fulfilled.
Bregli of Tea was a delightful abode, On record as a place of
It contained the grand, the great Mergech, A sepulcher which has
not been violated.
The daughter of Pharaoh, of many champions, Tephi, the most
beautiful that traversed the plains, Here formed a fortress,
circular and strong, Which she described with her breast pin and
She gave a name to her fair fortress, This royal lady of
agreeable aspect, 'The Fortress of Tephi', where met the
assembly, Where every proceeding was conducted with priority.
It may be related without reserve,
That a mound was raised over Tephi as here recorded, And the bier
beneath this unequaled tomb,
Here formed for this mighty queen.
It is a mvsterY not to be uttered.
The length and breadth of the tomb of Tephi, Accurately measured
by the sages,
Was sixty two feet of exact measure, As prophets and Druids have
Tephi was her name! She excelled all virgins! Wretched for him
who had to entomb here;
Sixty feet of correct admeasurement,
Were marked as a sepulchre to enshrine her.
It is asserted that all mankind may know;
That a mound was raised over Tephi as recorded. And she lies
beneath this unequaled tomb,
Here formed for this mighty Queen.
A meeting was held to select a sepulchre,
In the South, as a tomb for the beloved Tephi;
Temor, the impregnable, of lasting resources, Which conferred on
the woman high renown."
The above legend describes Tephi as the "daughter of
Pharaoh" whereas most of the ancient Irish Records and Chronicles
give her as the daughter-in-law of Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh
(as explained previously). Such a discrepancy is understandable
considering the time span in which the legend has been handed
down, and in no way discredits the basic story.
There is manifestly a mystery surrounding the burial of Tea
Tephi. The great "Mergech", the name given the tomb of Tephi was
once thought to be Celtic, but is now known to be Hebrew and
significant. It designates a place of deposit for treasures,
secrets, mysteries, etc. Considering the treasures: Ark of the
Covenent, Title Deeds to Palestine and various other relics or
Hebrew marks of identity that Jeremiah could have had in his
custody, the explicitness with which this tomb of Tephi is
described is noticable. Jeremiah 32:13-44 records "evidences"
which God directs Jeremiah and Baruch to bury.
(The actual burial site of Tea Tephi is unknown today. However,
the author has seen a stone at Tara with significant markings
which suggests that it marks the grave - vault of Ireland's first
Queen of the Davidic line. Perhaps, in due time, the grave will
be opened and the royal harp along with other relics will provide
the evidence to convince all that God kept His Covevant with
David (2 Sam.7:13).
Tradition has it that the Harp of David was brought to
Ireland Jeremiah and is buried with Tea Tephi at Tara. It is a
significant fact that the royal arms of Ireland is a
representation of the Harp of David, and has been such for 2500
years. This first mention of the Harp is found in the Dinn
Leanches, by Mac Awalgain (B.C.574).
Vincenzio de Galilei (the elder) in his "Dialiga della
Musica" (1581 A.D.) mentions that the harp of Ireland owes its
origin to the Harp of David: "This most ancient instrument
(commemorated Dante) was brought to us from Ireland where such
are most excellently worked and in a great number; the
inhabitants of the said island have made this their art during
the many centuries they have lived there and, moreover, it is a
special undertaking of the kingdom; and they paint and engrave it
in their public and private buildings and on their hill; stating
as their reason for so doing that they have descended from the
royal Prophet David."
The Irish harp was, and is, a many-stringed instrument, and
many harps of similar shape and stringing have been unearthed at
Ur in Mesopotamia dating back to 2800 B.C. The "Clarsach" or
"Highland Harp" of Scotland is a descendant of the early Irish
harps as is the "Cruith" or "Clanseach" introduced into Wales
(1098 A.D.) by Griffith, King of North Wales, who was born in
Ireland. In 1565, Buchanan, writing of the Western Isles, says,
"...they delight very much in music, especially in harps of their
own sort, of which some are strung with brass wire, others with
the intestines of animals. They ornament their harps with silver
and precious stones; the lower ranks deck theirs with crystal."
GOLD AND MOSAIC HARP FROM UR OF THE CHALDEES
If harps were strung with wire, they were held on the left
side plucked with nails grown long, the left hand taking the
treble; if strung with gut, the harp was held against the right
shoulder and struck with the cushion of the fingers, the right
hand taking the treble. Strings were tuned by turning the pins
with a key-in Gaelic, "crann". Should the player of a
wire-stringed harp displease, his punishment was to have his
The burial place of Ollam Fodhla (Jeremiah) is claimed as
being in two different places. One is a tomb hewn out of rock in
a cemetery on Devenish Island, in Lough Erne. It has been known
from time immemorial as "Jeremiah's Tomb". The other, and best
authenticated is located in Schiabhla - Cailliche, near
Oldcastle, County Meath, in Ireland, not far from Tara. A huge
cairn of stones marks the spot, and a large carved stone is still
pointed out as Jeremiah's judicial seat. Some thirty stones with
strange markings upon them, lie in the sepulchral chamber within
the cairn. The markings consist of a jumble of lines, circles,
dots and spirals.
One interpretation of the hieroglyphics (by George Dansie of
Bristol) is that they show a Lunar Eclipse, in the constellation
of Taurus and a conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter in
Virgo. The brow of a ship is shown in the center, with fire lines
indicating the number of passengers it carries. On the left, a
part of the ship, perhaps the stern, is shown with only four
passengers, one having been left behind or lost as indicated by
the line falling away from the ship. The wavy line indicates the
passage of the ship across the ocean, terminating at a central
point on an island.
A stellar calculation was made (by V.E.Robson, a friend of
Dansie) of the astronomical interpretation of the hieroglyphics.
This calculation established the date of Thursday, October 16,
583 B.C., a date consistent with the stellar calculations of the
Assuming Ollam Fodhla having been identified as Jeremiah,
the inscriptions could have been a record of his journey from
Egypt to Spain, having in his care the two daughters of King
Zedekiah. With them was Baruch, Jeremiah's secretary and probably
an attendant for the two Princesses. That fifth passenger might
have been "Ebed-melech," the Ethiopian, that figures in some of
the traditions. Illustrating a second part of the boat indicated
another voyage of Jeremiah and a party of four, to Ireland.
Some authorities on Irish history have cited the "Annals of
the Kingdom of Ireland" by the Four Masters" (edited from MSS. in
the Library of the Royal Academy and of Trinity College, Dublin -
translated by John O'Donovan, M.T.I.A.) as a link between Ireland
and Jeremiah: Ollam Fola (Foldha) is celebrated in ancient
history as a sage and legislator, eminent for learning, wisdom
and excellent institutions, and his historic fame has been
recognized by placing his medallion in 'basso relievo' with those
of Moses and other great legislators in the interior of the dome
of the Four Courts of Dublin ... The ancient Records and
Chronicles of the Kingdom were ordered to be written and
carefully preserved at Tara by Ollam Fola and there formed the
basis of th Ancient History of Ireland, called the Psalter of
The Four Courts of Dublin, which was destroyed by fire some
years ago, did have a large dome decorated with large medallions
of the world's greatest lawgivers. They included Alfred, Solon,
Confucius, Moses and Ollam may not have been Jeremiah. The word
"Ollam" means a learned man, and "Fodhla" was often used to
indicate a "king". On the medallion, Ollam Fodhla appears,
wearing a crown, but Jeremiah was not crowned. More likely, the
Ollam Fodhla of the medallion was Eochaidh, the son of Scota.
The name "Ollam Fodhla" is found linked to Eochaidh in a
further account given in the "Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by
the Four Masters": "Ollamh Fodhla after having been forth years
in the sovereigny of Ireland died at his own house at Team
hair...Eochaidl was the first name of Ollamh Fodhla, and he was
called Ollamh because he had been first a learned Ollamh, and
afterwards King (Fodhla of Ireland" (Vol.I, pgs 53-55).
The crowning of Eochaidh, the son of Scota (daughter of
Zedekiah) on the Stone of Destiny completed the first "overturn".
This fulfilled the prophecy of the "high tree" (House of
Pharez) being brought down and the "low tree" (House of Zarah)
being exalted. In addition it completed Jeremiah's mission "to
build and to plant" a seed of David's line through Pharez which
would again "take root" and "bear fruit". In other words, that
which had been the subject of prophecy concerning Jeremiah's
commission, and his royal charge, is now recorded as a matter of
There are some who may object of-hand, without knowledge,
that an assignment of a Jacob-Luz origin to the Coronation Stone
of Ireland is a matter of mere modern theory, the outgrowth of
speculation. But this is an untenable position, for it has been
known as Jacob's Stone dating back to the earliest Irish
traditions. In the "Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition -
Vo.14, pg 569, under "Inisfail", the following is stated:
"Inisfail, a poetical name for Ireland. It is derived from "Faul"
or "Lia-fail", the celebrated stone, identified in Irish legend
with the stone on which the patriarch Jacob slept when he dreamed
of the heavenly ladder. The Lia-fail was supposed to have been
brought to Ireland by the Dedannans and set up at Tara as the
'inauguration stone of the Irish kings' ...Inisfail was thus the
island of the Fail, the island whose monarchs were crowned at
Tara on the sacred inauguration stone".
To be continued