|BIBLE STUDY SERIES: #22, 23, 24 and 25|
29 March, 1992
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
In our continuing examination of the roots of our own Anglo-Celto-Saxon peoples in the tribes of ancient Israel, we had arrived at that well known episode wherein the remarkable coat of many colours or cloak of distinction had been stripped from the seventeen year old Joseph by his envious older brothers and dipped in the blood of a kid of the flock. The young Joseph, no doubt by now feeling both hungry and thirsty in the dry pit to which he had been consigned, has now been pulled out and sold by his brothers to passing Ishmaelite slavers for twenty pieces of silver, and in their caravan, he is now destined for a time of testing and preparation under the providence of Almighty God in the land of Egypt.
We must now avert our gaze for a while, from the sad, tired figure of the departing Joseph as he disappears down the road, led to his fate in that distant historic land. The Scriptures insert at this point a most important account which relates the developing details of the immediate family of Judah.
We shall not be able to cover the whole topic in one talk but we shall make a beginning today and continue with the rest on our next programme.
This account will hold great significance for any who would know that God is faithful, for what now happens will form the source of some quite remarkable symbolism connecting Judah to certain of the British people of the present day, and to all who have any interest in, or fealty to, the Throne of The LORD over the modern-day Israel in the British and kindred nations.
We shall begin by reading some of the account, found in the 38th Chapter of Genesis and as we read, I shall, from time to time, make comments to assist our understanding of the matter.
1. And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
2. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
3. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
4. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
5. And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
It would seem that, after Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites, an act which Judah had suggested in preference to outright killing of the youth, Judah must have felt at least a little alienated from his brothers as we find him moving some distance apart from them, to the Canaanite city of Adullam.
A word of explanation might be of assistance at this point. Adullam was in the part of Palestine which would later belong to Judah's allotment, and lay about half way between Jerusalem and Lachish, about 16 miles, or 25 kilometers, South-West of Jerusalem. To a cave at Adullam one of Judah's most famous descendants, David, would, in a later century, flee the pursuit of King Saul.
Shuah was the name of the father of the girl whom Judah took, as we will see from verse 12, and Shelah, one of the sons, will, in particular, hold some interest for us later. Here I must point out that as Judah had taken a Canaanite girl, all three of these sons of Judah were half Canaanite from their mother.
Verse 6 says: "And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar." While Er was half Canaanite, it will be of importance to note that there is no indication in the Bible that Tamar was anything other than a relative of Abraham's own tribe, for her name is Hebrew, and means "palm". In fact the Book of Jasher states that "Judah went to the house of Shem and took Tamar the daughter of Elam, the son of Shem, for a wife for his firstborn Er". So according to that source, although it is not from a Biblical book, Tamar is definitely stated to be a descendant of Shem through Elam. Let us follow our account to see what happened.
7. And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
8. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
9. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
10. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
I think the passage is pretty well self explanatory. Onan apparently coveted the double portion of the firstborn for his own name. Here the Commentaries point out that the law, which provided for a surviving brother to undertake the gendering of a son in order to legally carry on the line of a dead brother, must have been widely observed though the Bible does not list this levirate law until it is stated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.
Incidentally, as it may be of some interest, perhaps I should momentarily digress in order to read that passage. It says:
5. If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
6. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
7. And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
8. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
9. Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
10. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.
It is interesting that this law speaks of the loosing of a shoe of one who refuses to do his duty in gendering children for his dead brother, for he is supposed to "stand in his dead brother's shoes". That is what it means.
In the Book of Ruth, we find Naomi's rich relative, Boaz, sitting down in the gate, the area of the town where legal affairs were conducted, and calling together ten men of the elders of the town, being the required number of witnesses to witness the transfer of property from Naomi's and Ruth's nearer relative to himself. This transaction included the taking of Ruth as his wife. Ruth 4:7-9 says: "Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's... ."
It is a symbol that, in a variant sense, we sometimes carry on in the Western world even today in the tying of old shoes to the departing car which carries a newly wedded couple on their honeymoon, for the new husband now stands, symbolically speaking, in the shoes of the father of the bride, having taken over the responsibility for her welfare from her father in the wedding ceremony.
When John the Baptist, in reference to Jesus Christ, said, in John 1:27, "He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose", he was making use of this same symbol. John the Baptist was saying, in effect, "A person is coming who is so much greater than I that I am not worthy to even begin to attempt to fill His shoes!" But let us continue with the account of Judah's offspring.
11. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father's house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.
It would seem that Judah was not willing to chance losing Shelah in the manner of his brothers, and so ignored Tamar's right as Er's widow, to obtain offspring by Shelah.
12. And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah's wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
God thereby opened the way for what followed.
13. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.
14. And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
15. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
Common prostitutes would not be veiled. Here, the commentaries suggest that she veiled herself in the manner of the Canaanite temple prostitutes as she would otherwise be recognized. In the debased temple worship of the Canaanite religions, prostitution of this specialized sort was a part of the worship of the fertility deities. The New Bible Dictionary, under the topic of "Prostitution", states that "In the thought of the Old Testament prophets, harlotry and national apostasy were closely associated ... the one leading to the other. So the Old Testament speaks of going a-whoring after other gods."
What followed in Judah's encounter with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, embodies something of outstanding significance for the descendants of Israel in the world today, but we must leave that for our next programme.
5 April, 1992
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have been following the story which the Bible tells regarding God's purposes in developing, and working through, the tribes of the Patriarchs in order to bring into being a people upon whom He can call for special service to Himself and to the rest of mankind.
We have seen how Judah, following the departure of his young brother Joseph to slavery in Egypt, married a Canaanite woman, by whom he had three sons, only one of whom, Shelah, now remained. Tamar, the descendant of Shem, and widow of Er, Judah's firstborn, has waited in vain for Judah to arrange the consumation of her marriage rights in the younger brother, Shelah. Judah has delayed this indefinitely, not wishing to see Shelah die as had the other two brothers, under God's intense displeasure.
Tamar has decided that she must obtain the required seed from Judah himself, and in order to do this, she must pretend to be a prostitute. She can appear as no ordinary unveiled prostitute, however, for she will be recognized. Therefore, she veiled herself in the manner of a temple prostitute, and we pick up the story from Genesis 38 starting at verse 16 where Judah has passed by and seen the veiled figure of his daughter-in-law, Tamar:
16. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
17. And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it?
Here we shall read of one of the outstanding symbolic acts of the Old Testament. We shall need to take careful note of just exactly what Tamar requires of Judah, for these symbols will, surprising though it may seem, be perpetuated down through the subsequent millennia to our own day. Let us read the next passage carefully, to see what these symbols are to be:
18. And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
The signet would be a cylinder seal, worn on a cord about the neck, according to the New Bible Commentary 3rd edition. Its function would equate to the ring on one's finger which has been used for the same purpose down to our own time. It represents a personal signature.
Those bracelets would be ornamental, and might possibly relate to twisted wire of precious metals. The Hebrew word appears to relate to the concept of a cord or rope, doubtless of some precious material.
The staff would not be simply some wooden stick, but rather an ornate, possibly quite costly, symbol of rank, and as such would be of distinctive and recognizable design, as, indeed, would all of Judah's securities deposited with Tamar. Let us read further.
19. And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
20. And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman's hand: but he found her not.
21. Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
22. And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
23. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
This last expression means, in effect, "Let her come to us if she wants to have her payment. I tried to find her, so I have done all that is necessary in attempting to consumate the agreement." I might just point up the truth embodied in the statement of those men of the place, who said that "there was no harlot in this place." There was none, for Tamar was within the law in obtaining her purpose in this manner.
24. And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
That is an extreme form of punishment which, in later years, would be mentioned in Leviticus 21:9 as the punishment of the daughter of a priest who profanes herself by playing a whore. The normal method of execution for whoredom is stoning, as shown in Deuteronomy 22:20-24. Such executions would seem most extreme in most societies today, but we have to remember that this law was to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the sacredness of a people peculiarly chosen and selected for God's special service as a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. Racial contamination through whoredom could not be tolerated. Diseases which would be transmitted by practices common today would be devastating in the context of God's purposes for this holy nation. By remaining within this tribal society, one solemnly undertook to keep such law strictly. If one feared the punishment, one might simply leave the Israel nation, join oneself to the filthy practices of the surrounding nations, and take one's chances with the normal processes of disease, and the possibility of becoming part of a society fitted for total destruction by Almighty God's dispositions.
We are sometimes pointed to the New Testament occasion, mentioned in John 8:3, wherein the Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman taken in the act of adultery before Jesus, and demanded that He render a verdict. Had He broken this law through leniency, He would have been a sinner, and not capable of fulfilling His calling as the sinless Saviour. He did not break this law in any way, for the Old Testament Law also provided that two or three witnesses must testify in any matter of such import, and the witnesses, by that Law, were to be the first to cast the stone which signalled the general stoning to begin (Deuteronomy 17:6-7). This the scribes and Pharisees failed to provide, and thus the woman could not be convicted, and she was sent away with a caution by Our Lord. But let us never forget that capital punishment is still God's manner of dealing with Sin. Otherwise Christ would not have had to face the Cross! That is the point of His sacrifice. The Law still applies, but Jesus took our punishment. Now let us return to Tamar and Judah.
25. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
26. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
This is an exceedingly important symbolic act. It is by the presentation of the signet or ring, the bracelets and a staff of authority that Judah's seed by Tamar will be recognized and acknowledged. Where, in the world today, do you suppose that symbolic act has been repeated down through the centuries?
Let me outline briefly a summary of the ceremony which immediately preceded the actual placement of St. Edward's Crown upon the head of Queen Elizabeth II while she was seated on the Chair containing the Coronation Stone, also known as the Stone of Destiny or Jacob's Pillow. I am taking what follows from the Coronation Service Programme of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Archbishop placed two Bracelets upon the Queen's wrists. The Imperial Robe was placed about her shoulders. The Orb, representing the world under the feet of Christ was given into her hand and then "laid on the altar." The Ring of Kingly Dignity was placed upon her finger. The Royal Sceptre, the ensign of kingly dignity and power, and the Rod of equity and mercy, topped by a Dove were placed in her hands. Finally, the Crown was placed upon her head.
There is the picture. There, we see re-enacted in symbol, the presentation of those same articles which Tamar presented to Judah in claiming the credentials of her seed as inheritors of the sovereign's birthright in Israel!
But wait, there is yet one more point to consider. One part of the United Kingdom proudly bears as its heraldry a red hand, tied about at the wrist with a red cord. Where do you suppose Ulster got that symbol? Let us read on:
27. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zarah.
We shall have to consider that more fully on another programme. For the present, let us see in the establishment and perpetuation of this symbolism from our antiquity the faithfulness of Our Almighty God, in that these symbols and credentials of a whole people, who had not yet come into existence, were honoured by Him in the subsequent development of the British and kindred nations of the world today.
Judah, as we shall find later, was to receive the sceptre, and the ancestry of our Royal Family has been traced back to King David of the Tribe of Judah.
12 April, 1992
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have recently been following that portion of God's Great Plan which concerns Judah, and we noted that as Er and Onan had died under God's disapproval, Judah's surviving sons were Shelah, Pharez and Zarah. Of these, Shelah's mother was a Canaanite, and thus he might not be considered a legitimate Israelite by those sired by Judah and born of Tamar, who were not considered to be so tainted.
In the course of tribal extension, as the families grew, no doubt there would have arisen some contention over pride of place. Shelah was chronologically the eldest, but he was half Canaanite, as would be all his descendants. Of Pharez and Zarah, those twins who might claim a more acceptable ancestry, Zarah's right hand was born before Pharez, and had that red cord tied about the wrist to prove it.
Pharez, however, was completely born before Zarah emerged. That hand of Zarah, no doubt red from the blood accompanying their multiple birth, testified to Zarah's portion of the claim to Judah's birthright. Thus each of these three sons would hold some claim to precedence. It is thought that those contentions may be reflected even today in that portion of the Israel lands called Ireland.
The Red Hand of Zarah Judah is even now the proud symbol of the people of Ulster, while the name "Shelah" is not uncommon among the Irish people. In connection with those who descend from Shelah, I Chronicles 4:21 begins: "The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah,..." and it inserts, as a matter of some acclaim: "...and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea... ." So the justly famed working of Irish linen apparently stems from a most ancient traditional occupation of their ancestors in Judah!
While what follows might at first glance appear quite unrelated to what has just been said, I think that a short digression into some ancient Irish lore would not be unprofitable to our understanding of the matter. Please bear with me in this, as I think you will discover some interesting points of curious affinity with the Biblical families of Israel, and particularly that of Judah.
In "The History of the Irish Race" by Seumas MacManus, we find, briefly, that the Celtic peoples flooded across Europe from the East into Western Europe, including Spain and the British Isles. The accounts of the Celtic peoples of early Ireland include mention of three successive waves of invaders.
The earliest of these settlers were those called Firbolgs, who were said to have come as escaped slaves from Greece whence they escaped in the captured ships of their masters. These Firbolgs, early on, were harassed by the Fomorians, a people who were said to be African sea-rovers and it seems that at that time these were finding a foothold in the the area of the Hebrides.
If the latter were from North Africa and came by sea, we must consider the probability that these Fomorians were the highly organized Phoenician traders of Carthage and the Western Mediterranean shores, mainly Canaanite but also including Israelites, who brought with them the worship of Baal, a name which they appear to have left all over Celtic Britain.
The word Baal is Hebrew for lord, possessor or master, and a modern derivative might be "bailiff", i.e. a magistrate or land steward. One can readily understand, then, how this word could, through time, also absorb the meaning "homestead." Many Irish names contain as their first syllable some form of the name "Baal." The usage has Biblical roots. Some Scriptural examples of such usage of the name "Baal" in placenames are "Baal Gad" and "Baal Hermon", near Hermon; "Baal Hamon" in Mount Ephraim; Baal Hazor" near Ephraim; "Baal Meon", built by Reubenites; "Baal Perazim", near the valley of Rephaim; "Baal Shalisha", near Gilgal in Ephraim; "Baal Tamar", a place near Gibea of Benjamin; "Baal Zephon", a place where Israel crossed the Red Sea, and "Baalath", a city in Dan. Carthage, inhabited by a mixture of Canaanites and Israelites, incidentally, just might have been the true source of the name "MacCarthy."
The second wave of Irish invaders were the Tuatha De Danann, whom MacManus associates with the "goddess Dana", and whom others identify as one section of the Israelite Tribe of Dan. These were a people reportedly highly cultured and skilled in crafts, who defeated the Firbolgs in chivalrous battle.
Some adventurous Israelites especially from the coastal allotment of the Tribe of Dan, had, for a long time, been going to sea in company with the Phoenicians. King Ahab of Northern Israel, you may remember, married Jezebel, the evil daughter of the Canaanite Baal-worshipper, Ethbaal, King of Tyre,and their sons Ahaziah and Jehoram succeeded Ahab as Kings of Israel while their daughter Athaliah married Joram, King of Judah and this couple had a son, Ahaziah who succeeded to the throne of Judah. Thus we might expect that in commercial enterprise the co-operation of these sea-going Canaanite Phoenicians and Israelites would be quite close.
We should not forget, in this connection, the amount of sea traffic of both the Greeks and the Phoenician cities of the Eastern Mediterranean with the West. The Phoenicians, commercially aggressive competitors to the Greeks, must have traded to Britain and Ireland, as attested by the finding of Irish goldwork at Gaza, in Palestine, and the importance of the Cornish tin trade to the early Mediterranean civilizations. I cannot help but recall that it was the Greeks of Ephesus who were skilled silver workers and who made their living, you may remember, in the creation and selling of images of the goddess Diana (also known as Artemis), as recorded in Acts 19:35.
When I consider this, I am at once reminded of the fact that the Greeks themselves were mainly of Israelitish origins. Attestation that the Spartans descended from Abraham and were related to the Jews is provided to us in the exchange of letters between the Lacedemonian (Spartan) king and the Jewish High Priest, found in I Maccabees 12:21 and also recorded by Josephus. Indeed we are told by Saint Paul in I Corinthians 10:1-5 that the Corinthian Greeks were Israelites. We may narrow it down even further. Especially prominent in Greece, it appears, were those of the Tribe of Dan, for the Roman name for the Greeks indicates this in the famous expression "timeo Danaos et dona ferentes", meaning "I fear the Greeks even when bringing gifts."
Here, I should quote a brief excerpt from an article by Rev. L. G. A. Roberts, Commander, R.N., on the Origin of the Danai: "According to Petavius' `History of the World', Danaus was the son of Bela, a sojourner in Egypt. His brother was Egyptus. Danaus was informed by an oracle that his brother would slay him; he fled, taking with him his daughters (colonists), and came to Greece three years after the death of Joseph. This was about 148 years before the Exodus. Dardanus is said to have built Troy about 34 years before the Exodus.
The Firbolgs, then, might well have been escaped slaves who fled from these Danite Israelites, and who were subsequently harassed by Mediterranean traffickers, including some of those same Danites who invaded and then settled in Ireland alongside them.
The Celts, once dominant across central Europe, later began to suffer reverses there. Incidentally, the Irish history mentions, in passing, that one group of Gaelic Celts made their way back towards the east, and settled for a time in Asia Minor, in the territory which, from their name, Gaels, was called Galatia, and it was among this group of Gaels that St. Paul worked. It seems that remnants were still speaking a form of Celtic in the days of St. Jerome.
The third wave of Celtic invaders to reach Ireland, a wave which came, some say, perhaps about 1000 B.C., was composed of the Milesians. The legendary story of this particular group of Milesians is that they first came out of Scythia, through Egypt (about the time of Moses), then to Crete and Spain, and finally to Ireland. While the account appears somewhat deficient of accurate details, it does seem to accord in general with the story of God's people which we find in Scripture.
Regarding the Milesian Israelitish connection, as revealed in heraldry, we find that about the time of Christ, there were in Ulster the Knights of the Royal Branch, otherwise called the Knights of the Red Branch.
Until recent times that Red Hand, which was the hand of Zarah Judah, appeared in the heraldry of Northern Ireland surrounded by that mid-wife's red cord and it testifies even as we speak to the whereabouts of some of Zarah's descendants. We also find it in the Arms of County Antrim, County Tyrone and the County of Londonderry as well as the city of Dungannon. But not all of Zarah Judah's descendants reside in Ulster. The mark of that Red Hand followed the Scots from Ireland to Scotland. The arms of a number of the Scottish Clans like those of MacLachlan, MacPherson and MacDonell also display this red hand.
We shall take a more detailed look at this connection in our next programme as we seek to distinguish the various strands of the people of Israel and to follow the historic part that each was to play in witness to the sure and certain promises of Almighty God involving an eventual blessing upon all the peoples of mankind. God's mighty purposes are still being worked out exactly to the letter, although this is yet unseen by the majority of those who are to be soon affected by the results. We of the British-Israel-World Federation see, in the emergence of the British and kindred peoples, those who fulfil every one of the marks assigned to Israel of the last days, and we are anxious to convey this information to any who may feel inclined to inquire further into these thrilling matters.
19 April, 1992
By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.
We have, on recent Bible Studies, been examining the evidence of some Celtic connections to the ancient Israelitish Tribe of Judah, and we had mentioned some Irish aspects of this fascinating story. Today, as it seems so very appropriate, I think that I might, with suitable adaptations, read portions of a most interesting book written by the late Mr. W. H. Bennett of Windsor, Ontario, entitled "Symbols Of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage." This book, beautifully illustrated in full colour, incidentally, makes a wonderful present for someone whom you feel might find blessing in an understanding of the matters which we are discussing on this programme.
The two sons of Joseph were designated as separate tribes in recognition of the birthright double portion which Joseph received, supplanting Reuben and Simeon in this office as we shall later relate, so there were actually not just twelve, but thirteen Tribes of Israel, if we count both Ephraim and Manasseh, the two tribes which descended from those two sons of Joseph. These matters were as designated by their father Jacob-Israel in his last testament before he died, along with the assignation of a tribal symbol to each tribe and a tribal blessing or prophecy relating to each tribe's future.
After an opening section in which Mr. Bennett explained something of the purpose of heraldry, and also something of the message which we have been presenting before our listening audience for more than a generation regarding the origins of our own British, American and kindred peoples in the various tribes of the nation of ancient Israel, Mr. Bennett then proceeds to examine each of the symbols on each of the thirteen banners of the tribes of Israel, along with other matters relating to the tribal heraldry and the royal regalia of later centuries.
Each of those thirteen tribes of Israel, as designated by their father Jacob-Israel, proudly carried a banner upon which was emblazoned the symbol of that tribe. These banners were used to mark the station of each of these tribes while on the march in the Exodus journeys and they were planted about the tabernacle at times when Israel encamped, to mark the assigned location of each tribe within that vast multitude.
In the course of relating the connections of each symbol to the Israel peoples of our own day, Mr. Bennett assigns his twelfth chapter to a study under the title "The Emblems of Zarah-Judah", and it is from this chapter that I wish to extract some portions for our study today. Mr. Bennett writes:
"As we have already noted, when Jacob-Israel gave his dying blessing to his twelve sons, he associated each of them with some animal, object or personal characteristic which afterwards became the emblem of the family and tribe descended from him. Among these the Lion, the emblem of Jacob's fourth son Judah, is of special interest. As we saw, this Lion, in a couchant postion, became the emblem of the Tribe of Judah, then, in a passant posture, it became the emblem of the Camp or Brigade of Judah and, later, with the addition of a Crown, of the Royal House and Throne of David. Still later, in a rampant posture and with a Crown, it became the emblem of the two-tribed House and Kingdom of Judah.
"Yet this Lion, usually portrayed as tawny or golden in colour, is not the only emblem of the descendants of Judah, or even the only Lion.
""In the last four verses of the 38th chapter of Genesis, we find the record of the birth of twin sons to Jacob's fourth son Judah.
At this point, Mr. Bennett quotes the passage which relates the birth of Zarah -Judah, wherein Zarah's hand came out first and a red cord was tied about it by the midwife to mark it as the firstborn portion. Mr. Bennett then continues:
"We suggest that you read the above quotation again, for this is one of the most important events recorded in Bible history. The births of a great many other people are recorded in the Bible but in this one case only are the details given. Why? Why is this birth singled out for such special attention?
"Surely it is because this birth was a matter of great and special importance, and the details are recorded to emphasize that importance.
"Here we see the basis for serious family trouble. Though Judah had other and older sons, they could not inherit the prophetic promise that from his descendants would come the future Royal Family of the Israel nation, because they were the children of a forbidden union. Their mother was a Canaanite. Thus, with the older of these two boys destined to be the ancestor of the future Royal Family of Israel, the question of which of them was born first, and therefore the heir, was a matter of the very greatest importance.
"In the record of the birth, as quoted above, we read that the hand of Zarah (Zara) appeared first and that the midwife tied a scarlet cord around his wrist, saying: `This came out first'. Then we read that the hand was withdrawn, and that the birth of Pharez then took place. Here indeed was the seed of trouble. Which boy was the first-born and, therefore, the heir: Zara with the scarlet cord around his wrist and the pronouncement `This came out first', or Pharez whose birth was completed first?
"Eventually Pharez was declared the heir and it is from him that the official branch of the Tribe of Judah and the Davidic Royal House are descended.
"What then was the reaction of Zarah (Zara) and his descendants to what they, undoubtedly, considered as being robbed of their rightful inheritance?
"That they did not accept this decision and that many of them left the rest of Israel during the time of the bondage in Egypt, becomes evident when we consider the tribal genealogies as recorded in the Bible. These record the main lines of descent from Pharez-Judah for a very long period of time, but the record of the descendants of Zara-Judah apparently ends with the third generation.
"As these genealogies, and especially those of the chief families in each tribe, were kept with great care, any omission would indicate that those omitted were no longer in Israel when the record was made. As the genealogy of Zara-Judah apparently ceases with the third generation, it follows that most, if not all, of Zara's descendants must have left during the time of Israel's bondage in Egypt and therefore before the Exodus. Where then did they go?
"As descendants of Judah their emblem was a Lion. Even though bitterly resentful towards the rest of the Tribe of Judah, it is very unlikely that they would give up this emblem of their identity and descent. So we may reasonably conclude that they kept the Lion as their emblem. Nevertheless, they would have to change it in some way to show that, though they were descendants of Judah, they were entirely separate and distinct from the Tribe of Judah in Israel. In their bitterness they would want to make this difference as great as possible, and so instead of a tawny couchant Lion they depicted theirs as both rampant and red. Thus a Rampant Red Lion became an emblem of the Zara branch of the Tribe of Judah.
"Turning again to the birth of Judah's twin sons as recorded above, we see that the peculiar circumstances of this birth gave the descendants of Zarah (Zara) another emblem. Note again verse 28:
"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.
"Here we have an emblem which is absolutely unique, one which could apply to no one else and one to which the record draws a special and emphatic attention - a Hand, red from the blood of birth, circled by a Scarlet Thread or Cord. In this unique way a Red Hand, or a Red Hand circled by a Scarlet Cord, also became an emblem of the Zara Branch of the Tribe of Judah.
"As we have already noted, the descendants of Zara-Judah, or most of them, decided to leave the Israel nation and to flee out of Egypt to some new land, where they could establish independent kingdoms of their own. Evidently they could not agree on where to go, with the result that they divided into two or more groups which then fled across the Mediterranean Sea in different directions.
"One of these led by Zara's great-grandson Calcol fled westward to a land known today as Spain. Here they settled for a few years, during which they founded a city which still bears the name of their ancestor Zara - Zaragossa.
"Here we should remember that racially these descendants of Zara were Hebrews, being descended through Abraham from Eber, or as it is in the New Testament, Heber. Wherever they went they left this name like a footprint marking their journey. Thus the river on the banks of which they founded the city of Zaragossa is still called the Ebro, and to the land itself they gave the name Iberia - the land of the Hiberi or Hebrews.
"Later Calcol and at least some of the others, left Iberia, moving on northward to the land we call Ireland. Again they took their name with them, calling their new home Hiberland or Hibernia, and the islands to the north of it, the Hebrides. Then, with Calcol as their King, these descendants of Zara-Judah founded the Kingdom of Ulster shortly after the year 1600 B.C., and from that time until the present, a matter of nearly 3,600 years, the emblem of Ulster has been a Red Hand circled with a Scarlet Cord.
Here, we shall have to break off, and leave the rest for our next programme. However, as I stated at the start of today's programme, this book, "Symbols Of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage", printed by Covenant Books in England, is available through a number of channels including our own Toronto bookroom, and if you write to us we will be happy to suggest the closest source so that you may obtain a copy.
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