MAPPING ISRAEL'S MIGRATIONS
ISRAEL'S ANCIENT HIGHWAYS INTO EUROPE
Pastor Jory Steven Brooks, CBIA, Canada
THE recent special exhibition, "Magnificent Maps," at the famed British Library in London, England, featured dozens of beautiful large, rare maps dating from as early as the Middle Ages. Some of these maps in earlier times had resided in palaces, audience chambers, and even royal bedchambers. There were a total of eight exhibition rooms full of these venerable works of art, and some of the maps were quite large, measuring eight feet or more in diameter. Most of the maps were quite detailed, and often were meticulously hand-painted in beautiful rich coloring by their creators.
Some of the maps depicted either Europe or the whole world, while others were of early North America, and still others displayed the farms and fields of rich
Looking over these masterpieces, I noticed that the detail on some of these maps included Israel-related place names. In fact, a knowledgeable viewer could actually follow the path of Israel's tribes into Europe, with place names that could not have been mere accidental resemblances.
One of the first examples to greet the visitor in the entrance-way was a large wall map designed by Gerard Valk of Amsterdam, dated 1680. In the Caucasus
Mountains was a region marked, "Iveria," which is usually spelled, "Iberia" on more modern maps. This term means, "Iber's land," and refers to the patriarch
Eber whose name is the source of the word, "Hebrew." Spain was also known in ancient times as the Iberian Peninsula due to Hebrew sea voyages there.
Proceeding through the Caucasus and following around the north and west side of the Black Sea is a River Sereth in Moldavia (modern Rumania), and another place name north of the Black Sea is labeled "Azara." These landmarks remind us of an important passage in the book of Esdras in the apocrypha, concerning the lost tribes of Israel:
The exiled Israelites resolved to
"go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt. ..And they.. entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river ... 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." (see 2 Esdras 13:40-46)
Some believe that the word, Arsareth, is a corruption of the Hebrew word, Aretz, which appears in Isaiah 5:26 in a prophecy of the place of Israel's exile: "mi-ketse ha-Aretz," meaning, "end of the earth." The lost tribes indeed went to the end of the earth! (Deuteronomy 33:17) If so, it is a good description of Western Europe and its border with the Atlantic Ocean.
Further north on the Gerard Valk map, the visitor sees the North Sea labeled, "Danicarum Mare," or "Sea of the tribe of Dan." Similarly, the modern state of
Denmark is here labeled, "Danos," yet another reference to the Biblical tribe of Dan. The late great antiquarian scholar, Dr. Cyrus Gordon, wrote of the migrations of this tribe in his study, "The Mediterranean Factor In The Old Testament." He wrote:
"The role of Dan is of particular importance. Judges 5:17 informs us that Dan was a sea people, dwelling in ships. Dan is related onomastically to Danan [and] Danuna with the suffix - an [or] -on. The group must have been large, for it is well nigh ubiquitous. The Greeks called themselves Danaoi; Ramses III repulsed the Denyen (Danuna/Danaoi/Danites) ...in the eighth century B.C., Cilicia was dominated by Danunites ...and there is reason to believe that waves of Danaoi/Danites migrated to the westernmost reaches of Europe, bringing with them their name." (p.21) Cilicia is located in southeast Asia Minor, south of the Black Sea.
For further evidence, we review another map in the British Library collection which is replete with historical evidence of Israel's migration into Europe, including
place-names associated with the tribe of Dan. This map was published by Justus Perthes of Gotha, Sweden, in 1865. Five major rivers supplying the Black Sea all have reference to the tribe of Dan. These are the Danube, Dniestr, Dnieper, Donets, and Don. Each has a story to tell.
Flowing into the western end of the Black Sea is the Danube (German: Donau) River, and inland a few miles from its outlet to the sea are three towns: Isaktscha (Isaac's town), Ibrahil (Eber), and Galatz (compare Gaul and Galatia). A 450 mile-long tributary of this river is still known as the Sereth (see above); a town by this name was also established in the 18th century and still exists here in modern Romania. Nearby is the location of the University of Danubius (Danube).
North of the Danube River is the Dniester River, which flows southeast from the region of Galicia into the northwest side of the Black Sea. In ancient times it
was known as the Danastus or Danastris, again showing the presence of the Biblical tribe of Dan. A separate report on the Hebrew connection with Galicia/
Bohemia may be read on the "Bible Question Box" page of the Israelite.ca website. Professor Zvi Ben-Dor Benite stated, "Some Jews believe that the Dniester River was in fact the Sabatyon," the river the lost tribes of Israel crossed in their exile from Canaan according to Jewish legend. This would again place lost Israel in Europe. (See the prophecy in I Kings 14:15)
Flowing into the north end of the Black Sea is the Dnieper River, known anciently as the Dananris; it flows roughly north to south, passing through Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Some historians believe that the early hero, Odin, established a city here in ancient times. We do know that the Goths for a time established their capital city at Arheimar on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar Saga. Flowing into the Sea of Azov north of the Black Sea are the Donets and Don Rivers. Also notable is the Russian town Donetsk located along the Donets River. Some mainstream writers believe that this "Dan" or "Don" appellation is derived from the Persian word for a stream or river, danu, but how can this be since they claim that the Anglo-Saxons originated in Scandinavia or Central Asia, not Medo-Persia? And why apply a Persian word for river to cities, towns, and other regions? As Dr.Cyrus Gordon indicated above, it is much more probable that the tribe of Dan, or tuatha de Danaan, named these locations after themselves since they actually traversed and colonized these areas. The tribe was known for applying their "Dan" place-name while on their journeys.
In Joshua 19:47 the Danites traveled to an area of northern Canaan, " ...and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father."
This Danite naming custom is also mentioned twice in the book of Judges (18:12, 29). It is significant that while traveling in the territory of the tribe of Judah they named the place of their camp "Kirjathjearim" (Camp of Dan), a name that Scripture tells us remained at that location "unto this day."
Scholars who previously doubted the "early Israel connection" with Europe are beginning to reconsider. Noted Biblical historian, Johannes C. DeMoor, writing
in "Ugarit and Israelite Origins" (Brill,1995)says:
"The theses of C.H. Gordon, M.C. Astour, and Y.Yadin with regard to a possible connection between the Sea People called Danites and the Israelite tribe of Dan have been all but abandoned ... [but] the situation may have been more complicated than we had anticipated ...the whole matter should perhaps be re-evaluated." (p.222)
Flowing into the north end of the Caspian Sea is the Volga River, with its tributaries the Jeruslan River and Samara River. The near identity of these terms with
"Jerusalem" and "Samaria" is obvious. Just to the east is the Ural River,with a town called "Sacharnaia," the "land of the Saka" or Saxons.
The Caucasus Mountain region is another gateway to Europe from the Mid-east, and Israel place-names are found there, too, in such names as Sakartvelo and
Sachkhere. W.H. Bennett's, "Story Of Celto-Saxon Israel" gives evidence that the Saka were Israelite 'Isaac-sons' and that the ancient Armenian and Georgian Chronicles speak of Israelite "captives" arriving in the 6th century, B.C. It is also interesting to note that the central pass through the Caucasus at Anatoriss is located near Mount Gimarai, five miles west of Kasbek; the Israelites were called Gimirri by the Babylonians.
Author Steven M. Collins has written on the origin of the word, German, in the Medo-Persian-Parthian district called Carmania, one of the places to which
Israelites were exiled by Assyria. ('Israel's Tribes Today,' p.l 0) The Gerard Valk map discussed above also labels an area of south-central Asia Minor (modern Turkey) as "Caramania, " showing an important migration route from the Mid-east through the Bosporus Strait and into Europe. Just south of the Bosporus is the Dardanelles, again showing the presence of the tribe of Dan in early times.
Many of these place-names are marked on the adjoining map, and present clear evidence of Israel's ancient migration routes to Europe. This article is necessarily brief. For further information on the migrations of Israel's tribes and their identification in the world today, see our website or printed booklist for a selection of important books on this subject.
CBIA - The Servant People, www.israelite.ca
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