A ROYAL ROMANCE
Valerie Martlew, U.K.
ONE of the Biblical mysteries is what has happened to the House of David in the world today.
Many people believe that the Lord Jesus has superseded the need for the Royal House of David since His first coming, but if we believe that, we are going against the clear message of the Bible, for the Lord said to King David that his throne would be established for ever, and the Lord Jesus did not take up His Kingdom at
His first coming:
"And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord teIleth thee that he wiIl make thee an house. And when thy days be fuIfiIled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I wiIl set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shaIl build a house for my name, and I wiIl establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I wiIl be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commits iniquity, I wiIl chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shaIl not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shaIl be established for
ever." - (II Samuel 7:11-16)
Do we believe God's message to David by the prophet Nathan, or do we consider that He changed His mind and His Plan? Remember that He also said:
"For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." - (Malachi 3:6)
There is also His pronouncement to Isaiah:
"I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return" - (Isaiah 45:23)
The Lord has sworn by Himself, please note carefully. What could possibly be more binding than this? God also said:
"For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel"- (Jeremiah 33: 17)
The Hebrew word in this instance is "Ish" which can mean either a man or a woman.
Remember also that while David was still alive, and while he must have felt himself and his line and kingdom to be reasonably secure, that the Lord swore another
"Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne"; - (Jeremiah 33:20-21)
If we believe God's Word, we had better begin to look for the House of David in the world today.
You will remember that after the Northern House of Israel had been carried away captive to Assyria, the Southern House of Judah, which was still ruled over by
David's descendants, held out for another hundred years. They were constantly harried by both the Assyrians, and then by the Babylonians, being besieged from time to time, and being forced to pay tribute.All the time the tribute was paid faithfully, Judah was not harassed too much, but occasionally various kings of Judah rebelled, and refused to pay any taxes. After all, these impositions were draining the life blood of the country. The last good king of Judah had been Josiah, in
whose time the Bookof the Law was rediscovered. (See II Kings 22). He was killed opposing Pharaoh Necho when the Egyptians invaded Judah.
The Babylonians had defeated the Assyrians and the Egyptians in 607 B.C., which the prophet Jeremiah tells us was at the time of Jehoiakim's accession. This King,
the son of Josiah, (II Kings 23) had been appointed by the Pharaoh Necho, and after the defeat of the Egyptians he continued to pay tribute to the new rulers, the
Babylonians. However, we read in II Kings 24: 1-15;
"In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebeIled against him. And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets. Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he fiIled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother; and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour; even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon."
His uncle, Mattaniah, the third son o fKing Josiah was appointed king by Nebuchadnezzar. His name was changed to Zedekiah. The prophet Jeremiah lived in his
time, and constantly warned of making alliances with the Egyptians against the Babylonians. He was ignored by Zedekiah, and Jeremiah was seized by the king's
officers and thrown into a dungeon.
Both the rulers and the people considered that Jeremiah was to blame for the disasters which they had to endure, because he had frequently warned them of the consequences to be expected from their sins. However,Jeremiah had been told by the Lord to deliver this message to the king, as in this way the people would
have been spared much suffering. The prophet was pursued by angry officials, who considered him to be a traitor.Jeremiah attempted to escape from Jerusalem
into Benjamin when the siege of Jerusalem was raised, but he was captured at the gate and imprisoned by Jonathan, the Scribe. - (Jeremiah 37:11 to 15)
"And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people. And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was lrijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans. Then said Jeremiah, it is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so lrijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes. Wherefore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison."
He was ill-treated in this prison, and King Zedekiah came to hear of it. (Jeremiah 37:17)
"Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon."
After this, the king had Jeremiah put into a milder prison, which did not please the princes who were opposed to him, and they accused him to the king of weakening the peoples' resistance through pessimistic propaganda. Once more, he was put into cruel confinement, in a pit this time, from its description, sounding like a mediaeval "oubliette". An Ethiopian official pleaded for him to the king, and he remained a prisoner, but in better accommodation, until the final defeat of Jerusalem, when Zedekiah fled and was captured and taken to Babylon.
The Egyptians had honoured the pact with Zedekiah and came to his aid. Consequently, the siege of Jerusalem lasted about eighteen months, and caused great
sufferingt o the people. When the walls were broken by Babylonian battering rams, and Nebuchadnezzar's troops poured in, Zedekiah tried to escape, but was
captured near Jericho.
The Babylonians were as cruel as the Assyrians towards their captured enemies. Zedekiah was forced to witness the killing of all his sons, and then he was blinded. He remained a captive in Babylon all the rest of his life, and his people were taken captive into Babylon, whilst Jerusalem was razed to the ground. This would seem to have been the end of the House of David, especially to the Babylonians. They had not heard of the Israel law which stated that daughters could succeed in default of male heirs. This had been the custom since the time of Joshua;
"But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The Lord commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren. Therefore according to the commandment of the Lord he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father." - (Joshua 17:3-4)
Jeremiah was released from prison by Nebuchadnezzar's decree, for the Babylonian king considered him to be an ally for counselling Zedekiah against resistance. He was subsequently treated well. He remained, with the new Governor of Judah, who set up his seat in Mizpah.
Jeremiah, having been charged with the responsibility of Zedekiah's daughters, then applied to the Governor; (Jeremiah 40:6)
"Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land."
Nebuzaradan, an officialof Nebuchadnezzar's, had received the following instructions from his king: (Jeremiah 39:11 to 12)
"Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee".
Obviously the Lord had overruled here, for note that Nebuchadnezzar told Nebuzaradan to do as Jeremiah asked. This was quite a concession for an eastern king
of those days!
From subsequent events, we may infer that Jeremiah made three requests, the first of which must have concerned the Ark of the Covenant. Perhaps Jeremiah told Nebuzaradan the story of how the Ark had brought plagues and danger to any aliens who tried to capture or possess it, as the Philistines and the men of Bethshemesh had found to their cost. This must have persuaded Nebuzaradan to yield it to Jeremiah's custody, together with his two other requests, which were to have the custody of Zedekiah's daughters and the Stone of Destiny, or Jacob's Pillar. A Babylonian would not know that daughters could inherit the throne under Israelitish law, so it appears that this request was granted, for we read in Scripture that they were with Jeremiah at Mizpah:- (Jeremiah 43:6)
"Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah".
Jacob's Pillar he probably regarded as a worthless lump of rock, so was happy to let Jeremiah have that too. In this way, Jeremiah was able to save the most important things for the future.
There are traditions that Jeremiah took the Ark of the Covenant through a secret passage to a secret chamber in Jerusalem. The Temple hill is honeycombed with
passages and chambers, and some have been found, but they are under the Dome of the Rock and the Muslims guard them well and will not allow excavations.
There are apparently other tunnels running from the Virgin'sFountain. Probably, Jeremiah, being a prophet, knew that the Temple would be burnt and Jerusalem
destroyed, so he would have entrusted the secret of the hiding place to those who needed to know, so that the information eventually reached Nehemiah.
It is possible that the Ark was moved to another hiding place by Jeremiah, when he heard of the treachery of Ishmael, who was a member of the royal family. He had been a refugee in Ammon, and returned and murdered Gedaliah, the Governor, perhaps because he thought that he would have a claim to the throne if he disposed of the protector of the princesses, and married one of them. It appears from the accounts in Jeremiah 40 and 41 that he was absent when Gedaliah was murdered, so where had he gone? He must have escaped, taking the Ark, the Stone and the princesses with him. We know that he lived in Egypt, but he did not have the Ark with him then.
Why should we be so sure that Jeremiah saved the princesses? We will turn to a remarkable prophecy which is little understood by Bible students.
"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; (Ezekiel 17:1-2)...
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". - (Ezekiel 17:22-24)
In prophecy the cedar means the royal house. Note that the young twigs from the top of the cedar were cropped and carried away to a distant land, and planted
there. "Tender twig" implies femininity, so the royal house was to continue in the person of a young princess.
We read in Jeremiah 43:1-7;
"And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him to them, even all these words, Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon. So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the Lord, to dwell in the land of Judah. But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah; Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: thus came they even to Tahpanhes".
This does not mean that Jeremiah and the princesses disobeyed God. The responsibility lay with Johanan, the Captain, and his associates. Their fear was for the safety of the princesses, and God used their disobedience for good.
Going now to secular history, having left Jeremiah and his charges in Egypt, we find that the Pharaoh of the time was Hophra. He had garrisoned the frontiers of
Egypt with Greek and Carian mercenaries, and Tahpanhes was one of his garrison towns, manned by Milesians, or mercenaries of Miletus, a town on the coast
of what is Turkey today. The people of this town were of IsraeIitish origin, and Trojans (who were also Hebrews who had migrated from Egypt before the Exodus) had fled there after the siege of Troy.
When Jeremiah and his charges arrived in Tahpanhes, Pharaoh took an interest in them, and "adopted" them for their protection. It was an established custom in
Egypt to do this. Thus Jeremiah and at least two princesses (note that the Bible mentions the "king's daughters") settled for a while in a peaceful and secure place as Pharaoh's guests. Jeremiah was not such a strange choice for guardian as one may think for he was a relative of the royal house himself, as we read in II Kings 23:31:
"Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah".
In the default of other male relatives as protectors, who better than a man who had been chosen by God as His mouthpiece?
A significant fact was noted by Sir Flinders Petrie, the archaeologist, in his book "The History of Egypt". I quote:
"To this day Tahpanhes or Defneh is called the Palace of the Jew's Daughter".
Another significant fact is that Tahpanhes means "flight".
Jeremiah received his commission from God, as he tells us in Jeremiah 1:9-10;
"Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 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".
Jeremiah could not build and plant in Palestine as the Babylonians ruled there, and the greater and better and more skilled part of the people were miles away in Babylon.
As the princesses matured, it is natural that some of the garrison soldiers of their distant kin should notice them. Tradition tells us that one of the princes of the Milesians, named Niul, was a friend of one of the Pharaohs, and received some land from him. He became an important officer in Pharaoh's army and fought a successful battle against the Ethiopians. Pharaoh gave him his "adopted daughter" as a reward. Unless the princess had been willing, we cannot imagine that Jeremiah would have allowed this to happen, so it seems that the princess was equally attracted to Niul. Neither would Jeremiah have allowed one of the heiresses of the royal line of David to marry a person who was not of Hebrew stock. According to tradition, the two princesses were named Tamar (or Tea) Tephi and Scota. It is not absolutely clear which one was the elder, or which one married Niul, but a Dr. Keating wrote a paper which was read to the Royal Irish Academy in 1821, in which he named her as Scota. Dr. Keating lived during the reign of Charles I (1625-1649). He travelled throughout Ireland, gleaning traditional material from bards and priests, and he was considered in his time to be a faithful narrator. Since the Irish traditions mention the arrival of a prophet, his scribe, Bruch or Brug, and two princesses, together with a sacred stone, he went to great trouble to trace their travels back through Spain, to Egypt.
Dr. Keating also mentions that a successor to the Pharaoh who was friendly to the Milesians, was not so disposed, and he made war on the Milesians and banished them from Egypt. Niul, the princesses, Jeremiah and Baruch his scribe, together with Niul's men, took sail for Spain, where they knew that Hebrew colonies existed. Here they stayed for 26 years, and the princess who was the wife of Niul had two sons, Heber (which became Eibhar in Irish) who was born in Egypt, and Heremon (Eireamhon) who was born in Galicia, in the north of Spain.
Dr. Keating says that the Milesians ruled in their area of settlement, but that there came a time of famine, and a man called Ith was sent to the Western Isle. "Er" means west, and "In" means isle, (cf modern Gaelic "inch") so that is why the ancient name of Ireland is Erin. On his reporting back, the Milesians decided to cross the sea to Ireland. They arrived at what is now Wexford, and the sons of Niul went to Teamhair (Tara). There they settled and divided Ireland into four provinces, Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. This land had previously been settled by colonists from the tribe of Dan, known in Ireland as the Tuatha de Danaan (meaning The Tribe of Dan). This had happened long before Jeremiah's time.
Even earlier than the conquest by the Danaans, a branch of Judah had settled in Ireland. You will remember the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law, Tamar, as told in Genesis 38. This is the story of Tamar's twins, and how Zarah was supplanted by Pharez, his brother. This was in the early days of the sojourn in Egypt.
When Zarah grew up, he was obviously disenchanted that his brother had taken the leadership, and went off to seek his fortune elsewhere. Tradition tells us that he
settled in Ireland. In his travels he also went to Troy, and one of his descendants was Brutus the Trojan, who came to Britain after the fall of Troy, and is credited with the foundation of London. The Milesians were also of this stock.
The line of Pharez continued in Palestine, and King David was of this line. It continued until Zedekiah, and all his male heirs were killed. King Jeconiah's descendants were the only ones left, but Jeconiah had been a bad king, as you rnay remember, and the Lord decreed that none of his descendants should reign.
"Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shaIl not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah". - (Jeremiah 22:28-30)
The Lord Jesus took his inheritance of the throne through his mother Mary. His step father Joseph was of Jeconiah's line. Mary traced her lineage through Nathan, a son of King David, but Joseph (Jesus's foster father) came of the forbidden line of Jeconiah, the son of Solomon. Only Mary's line was the valid one. In the meantime, the line of David had to continue somewhere in the world, and it had to be through Zarah, since the Pharez line was in Palestine.
The Bible tells us that Zarah had two sons, Darda and Calcol. Calcol's line ruled in Ireland, and King Eochaidh was his descendant at the time when Jeremiah and his charges landed in Ireland. The Princess Tamar Tephi was married to Eochaidh, thus uniting the two branches of Pharez and Zarah. Their son was the ancestor of our present Queen. Remember that the Lord had promised Judah:
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shaIl the gathering of the people be" - (Genesis 49:10)
Shiloh is the Lord Jesus, or the Messiah, at His second coming. This confirms that the sceptre of Judah must be continuing today. The Lord said to David:
"My covenant wiIl I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah". - (Psalm 89:34-37)
To return to Jeremiah and the princesses, we find Irish traditions of a ship being wrecked off Carrickfergus, in which there was a holy man, a royal princess, a scribe
called "Brug" (Baruch) and a holy and treasured stone called the "Lia Fail" (meaning "wonderful stone"). This stone was carried to Tara, where all the subsequent kings were crowned sitting upon it, as had been the custom in Israel and Judah. You will remember that Jacob had set up a pillar and anointed it with oil at the place he called Bethel ("House of God").
"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 caIled Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow saying, If God wiIl be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and wiIl give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shaIl 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 wiIl surely give the tenth unto thee". - (Genesis 28:18-22)
This stone was subsequently much prized by the Israelites, and followed them through the Wilderness. It was the same rock which Moses struck, and from which
water flowed. In later years it was used for coronations. One instance is given to us in II Kings, when the young prince who was heir to the throne had been hidden
from his wicked grandmother, Athaliah, by his aunt. When he became old enough to understand his destiny there was a palace coup, and young Joash was crowned in the time-honoured Israelitish manner:
"And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king. 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, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason". - (II Kings 11:12-14)
This custom has continued to this day. Even in their wanderings and paganism, the Saxons retained a dim memory of this rite, for they had a sacred stone on which
their kings were crowned. It is still at Kingston on Thames, in Surrey.
This stone, which has followed David's line wherever they wandered, is the Lia Fail of the Irish, the Stone of Scone of the Scots, and the Coronation Stone, which until recently was under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. It is the stone which Jacob anointed and set up as a memorial pillar. It has two rings at either end, made of rustless iron (invented well before the era of stainless steeI), and it is obvious that it has been transported long distances with a pole slung through the rings, for it is worn just where a pole would have gone. When, just before the present Queen's Coronation, the Stone was stolen and taken to Scotland, it was broken, and had to be repaired. Later, a minister visited the repairer and begged a few fragments of the Stone. He sent these for analysis, together with specimens of rock from Bethel. The analysis stated that "the specimens are similar in time and space". This proves that the Stone is not a piece of Scottish rock, as some would have us believe.
The Queen's family tree was researched in detail in 1902, by the Rev.W.M.H. Milner, M.A., and a copy of the chart which he drew up from many sources, including archives in Windsor Castle, may be inspected on application to the Valley Bible Fellowship. It is too long to reproduce here.
From the foregoing brief resume, it may be seen that the Lord made provision many hundreds of years before Israel was banished from the Holy Land, and had
established a royal throne of the line of David to rule over them when they were eventually gathered in the Appointed Place. How marvellous is His Great Plan!
How privileged we are to be able to understand it, albeit dimly
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