Esau Have I Hated!
The Apostate Tribe of Dan
This third installment of our study should prove quite intriguing and informative, since, in addition to more information on Esau and the Edomites, we will also be delving into a subject that, at first glance, might not seem appropriate for this subject. As we move, however, into Part 3 of the series on Esau Have I Hated, there will be a concentration on the enigmatic tribe of Dan, the descendants of one of the twelve sons of Jacob, and its possible connections to the overall topic of our study. As the story unfolds, I believe that you will come to appreciate that there is indeed an historical and even current relationship between the Danites and the Edomites, one that simply cannot be overlooked or denied. First, however, we need to pursue yet another of the many migrations of Esau and his descendants.
ESAU AND THE PHOENICIANS
As we have observed in the previous two installments, the
descendants of Esau, son of Isaac, brother of Jacob, and perpetual enemy of
This area was originally settled and populated by certain of the Canaanite tribes who occupied and gave their family name to the entire Promised Land that the Almighty originally gave to Jacob and his children, through His covenant with the patriarch Abraham. The Phoenicians were, of course, the great maritime people of the ancient world, renowned as the major commercial and colonizing power for hundreds and hundreds of years. But who were the Phoenicians? What were their origins, from what locale did they migrate, and what connection, if any, do they and their exploits have with the Biblical narrative, and to the subject of our particular discussion? The answers to these questions are truly astounding, as we shall see.
The significance of the Phoenician peoples in ancient history cannot possibly be overstated, both in terms of their maritime achievements, their colonization efforts, and the part they played in the affairs of other great nations long after it is assumed that they vanished from the world scene.
The most ancient authoritative information on
The word Erythraean
means red, a fact that must not be lost on us as we investigate the
Phoenicians. According to most of the
ancient historians, including Diodorus Siculus, Aristophanes, and Plutarch, the
“And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside
Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the
“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a ROCK.”
It is almost surely no mere
coincidence that for centuries, prior to the rise of the Nabatean kingdom, the
ancient rose-rock city of
In the extended prophecy against Tyre found in Ezekiel 26-28, it seems most appropriate that the descendants of Esau should be so directly connected with this ancient city-state, because in the description of its great fall, we read language almost identical to that written in the book of Revelation with regard to the demise of the end-time world-ruling system of evil, which, as we will come to see, also is strongly connected to latter-day Edomites. Note the interesting and amazing comparisons below:
“Behold, I am against you, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against you...And they shall make a spoil of your riches, and make a prey of your merchandise...And I will cause the noise of your songs to cease; and the sound of your harps shall be no more heard” (Ezek. 26:3, 12-13).
“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in you; and no craftsman of whatever craft he may be shall be found any more in you...for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived” (Rev. 18:22-23).
“Say to Tyrus, O you that are situate at the entry of the sea, which
are a merchant of the people for many isles...O Tyrus, you have said, I am of
perfect beauty...They have made all your ship boards of fir trees of
Sinir...your benches of ivory...fine linen with embroidered work...blue and
purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered you...Tarshish was your
merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron,
tin, and lead, they traded in your fairs.
Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were your merchants...the men of
“The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil...all the fruits that your soul lusted after are departed from you” (Rev. 18:12-14).
“Thus says the Lord God to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of your fall...Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their embroidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground...and be astonished at you. And they shall take up a lamentation for you, and say to you, How are you destroyed, that was inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which was strong in the sea...Now the isles...shall be troubled at your departure...They shall make themselves utterly bald for you, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for you with bitterness...saying, What city is like Tyrus...When your wares went forth out of the seas, you filled many people; you did enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of your riches and of your merchandise” (Ezek. 26:15-18; 27:31-33).
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning...And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no one buys their merchandise any more...the merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, that great city...for in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And every ship master, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city” (Rev. 18:9, 11, 15-18).
That Esau and the Edomites were directly connected to the Phoenicians is a virtual given. One of the chief gods in the Phoenician pantheon bore the name of Ousoos, unequivocally identified with Esau. The Dictionary of Religion & Ethics states:
“There is no question but that this Usous (Ousoos) within the Phoenician pantheon was the Biblical Esau” (vol. XI, p. 179).
Once again, Sanchaniathon informs us that it was the god Usous (Esau) who taught the Phoenicians the art of ship-building and navigation, two skills for which they eventually became world famous. Historians generally hold that the Phoenicians were the first civilization to create a full alphabet, and not surprisingly, this same Usous is also credited with inventing and imparting to the Phoenicians the first standard collection of writing characters, upon which most of the western alphabets are based.
Eusebius, the famous early church historian, relates a
Phoenician legend regarding the origin of the great city-state of
Furthermore, the name Samemroumos
seems to be a play on the Hebrew word for
And lest we forget, please be reminded that Isaac’s
firstborn son, Esau, against the will of God and to the everlasting displeasure
and sorrow of his parents, married into the evil Canaanites by taking two of
the daughters of Heth, progenitor of the powerful Hittite empire. Under no circumstances can Esau’s cursed
Canaanite relations be relegated to a mere error in human judgment. These marriages were carefully and specifically
contrived by Esau who, having lost both his birthright and firstborn blessings,
sought advantageous ties with the Hittites in order to secure for himself and
his progeny a strong financial and military base from which to operate. Certain branches of the Edomites established
seaports at Aqaba and other locations on the Red Sea and the
In Greek, as well as Roman, mythology, Uranus was considered the first of the
gods. His offspring were known as the Titans, and among them was Kronus (Cronus), known also as Saturn,
and earlier as Typhon. Kronus was also identified as the Canaanite
deity Baal-Zephon (the name given the
area near the
In addition, Cronus (Saturn) subsequently deposed Uranus and became the chief deity. According to Sanchoniathan, Cronus traveled throughout the world establishing colonies. In an incredible statement, the historian records that:
“Cronus offered up his only son as a sacrifice and CIRCUMCISED himself, and forced his allies to do the same.”
This story is instantly recognizable as being based on
the life of Abraham and his son Isaac.
Cronus was, in fact, Abraham himself, who, like many of the ancient
Biblical characters, had their lives interwoven into myth and legend by numerous
later societies throughout the world. And indeed, just as Cronus was a great
colonizer, so Abraham sent out the twelve sons of Ishmael, his first-born, into
areas south and east of Palestine, and later his six sons by Keturah into the
east country to settle there (Gen. 25:1-18).
Interestingly, once deified, Cronus became associated with the planet
Saturn whose sacred day was Saturday the seventh day of the weekly cycle, most
appropriate for the patriarch Abraham who was obedient to all the laws of
Yahweh (Gen. 26:5). In addition, the
word Saturn means hidden, which is identical to the term Zephon (as in Baal-Zephon, mentioned earlier in connection with Cronus, Typhon,
and the Amalekite/Egyptian god Seth, all of which were identical
entities). An ancient source (Isolde and Osira, 31, no. 259) utilized
by the historian Plutarch says that Typhon (Cronus) fathered Hierosolymus (
One of the grandsons of Cronus was the famous Zeus of Greek mythology (The Roman Jupiter or Jove). According to legend,
Zeus was sent to Crete, and from there, he and some of his offspring went to
Such information should not shock us or cause us to doubt its veracity, for it was divinely prophesied that great kings of the earth would issue forth from the loins of Abraham. We read in Genesis 17 the following:
“As for me (God), behold, My covenant is with you, and you (Abraham) shall be a father of many nations...And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and KINGS shall come out of you” (Gen. 17: 4, 6).
There is even a particular line of thinking that connects the historical character Esau with the mythological character Hercules. Although this connection is somewhat tenuous, it has possibilities. Over time, we have learned that many, if not most, of the gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines of ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology, were originally based on men, women, and events recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Greek name for Hercules is Heracles, which actually means, glorious gift of Hera, or son of a glorified ancestress (Hera). The fact is that Esau viewed himself as a world Messiah, and acted accordingly. He believed that it was his destiny to fulfil the great promises given to his grand-father Abraham, and, though denied the birthright and first-born blessings from Isaac, he dedicated his life to seeking them on his own.
Esau knew, of course, that Jacob was the favored child of his mother, Rebekah, and that she was directly involved in the treachery to deceive Isaac into giving the blessing to his younger brother. Although he loved his father, for these other reasons, he hated his mother. The Semitic name for the Great Earth goddess was Awa or Avah. In Greek, it was Hera. The true original Mother of all living was, of course, Eve or Evah. Her name in Hebrew is actually Chavvah. The name Heracles, therefore, is really a word that means the son of Eve, or the great gift of Eve. The Redeemer of all mankind was prophesied to come from the seed of Eve (Gen. 3:15). Instead of honoring his own mother, Esau rather identified himself with the mother of all living, namely, Eve.
The chief deity of
Melkart, like Esau, was also a
hunter of great renown. According to
virtually all the authorities on ancient mythologies, the Greeks associated
their great hunter/hero Heracles (Roman
- Hercules) with the Phoenician Melkart.
We have already, in fact, commented briefly on possible connections
between the Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Greeks, but, as we will discover later in
this study, there is actually an abundance of evidence to sustain the
contention that certain Hebrew peoples, namely Edomites, along with some
northern Israelites, migrated into the coastal area of Phoenicia, intermarried
with the Canaanite residents of the area, founded the great city-state of Tyre,
and ultimately became the greatest of the ancient Sea-People, some of whom
eventually sailed to Crete, the Aegean Islands, and the Peloponnesus, laying
the groundwork for what we know as the Greek
civilization. Indeed, as astounding as
it may sound, the eventual Hellenization of
the entire Middle Eastern/Mediterranean region (including the later Roman influence throughout
The fact is that there were several Hercules in the myths of the ancient world, and this is admitted by most scholars on the subject. It is quite likely that the notion of the celebrated hunter/hero indeed tracks back to Cain himself in the pre-Flood era, as well as to Nimrod in post-Flood times. And perhaps it finds its most complete fulfillment in a very well-known Biblical figure whose life we will investigate a little later in this study, namely, the mighty Samson the Danite, Judge of Israel during a critical period in her history, and one whose story is quite phenomenal indeed.
Although I do not claim to be an expert in the etymology of words, I do find it very interesting and intriguing that the words Esau, Ousoos, Usous, Esus (the lord or master of the Druid trinity, which we will show later has a distinctive connection with Esau and Edom), and Zeus all share a very striking similarity, and, based upon the information at our disposal, each of these terms is indeed a name for the Biblical character Esau himself! Frankly, one is even compelled to consider the Greek Iesous, from which is rendered the familiar name Jesus. Just comparing these various words, Esau, Ousoos, Usous, Esus, Zeus, Iesous, and Jesus, cannot help but cause one to wonder about the relationship that they potentially share. If indeed the original of these terms goes back to Esau, we have a situation that truly shatters previously held conceptions, for such information would indicate that Esau, the great perpetual enemy of the true Messianic line of Jacob, and Judah in particular, may well have through the centuries been palmed off as the true Savior, and may even to this day still be worshiped in his very own name! Although I have great respect for the Hebrew name of the Messiah, I have never been a supporter of the idea espoused by some that the word Jesus may be of pagan origin, but, quite frankly, I had never really associated it with Esau, whom I now clearly see as the ultimate rejecter of the true Messiah, and very likely the one historical individual who saw himself as the world messiah, and sought to perpetuate this concept through his descendants. This possibility certainly gives one reason to pause and consider carefully the implications raised by such a notion.
In this light, we might also wonder about such words as Ursa, Ursus, Arth, Artemis, and even Arthur, all of which are related to and carry the meaning of a particular animal, namely, the bear. You will recall that Esau is described in the Scriptures in a very unique manner. In the Genesis account, we read:
“And when her (Rebekah) days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like a HAIRY GARMENT;
and they called his name Esau” (Gen. 25:24-25).
One of the more obvious characteristics of a bear is that it is exceedingly hairy, indeed perhaps the most hairy of all mammals. We also read in the same chapter regarding Esau yet another bear-like trait:
“And the boys (Esau and Jacob) grew: and ESAU was a CUNNING HUNTER, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Gen. 25:27).
Like a bear, Esau was a strong, savvy hunter, and like a bear, he was on the move, unlike his more placid, sedate brother who was satisfied to be a tent-dweller. Esau, therefore, was much more like Cain, a man of the field, and like Nimrod, the mighty hunter in place of the Lord! It is written in the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel that “Esau was a man of idleness to catch birds and beasts, a man going forth into the field to kill lives, as Nimrod had killed, and Hanok his son” (p. 241).
Note also that Esau is described as being cunning. The Book of Jasher, chapter 28:19-20 declares that Esau was a “designing and deceitful man, one who hunted after the hearts of men and inveigled them.” A footnote indicates that the Hebrew literally states that Esau stole the minds of people, a most apropos statement regarding the deceptive qualities employed by the Edomites, both anciently and currently!
The reference to
Esau having been hairy all over also can be related to the hair on his head as
well, for he and many of his descendants became well-known for wearing long hair, long red hair (remember that Esau’s nickname was Edom, meaning red), both
facts that we will want to keep in mind as we proceed through our study. Additionally, the Edomites were given by
Yahweh the area known as Mt. Seir as
their possession. In fact, Seir became synonymous with
With regard to the Edomite/Phoenician connection that we
have been examining, it is most intriguing that the Hebrew Scriptures single
out two peoples as being famous for their wisdom–the Phoenicians of ancient
Tyre (Ezek. 28:3, 12; Isa. 23:8) and the Temanites of Edom (Jer. 49:7; Job
2:11, 22:1; Obadiah 9). Indeed, there is
even Biblical evidence for close ties between
“Thus says the Lord (YHWH),
For three transgression of GAZA, and for four, I will not turn away the
punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to
deliver them up to EDOM...For three transgressions of TYRE, and
for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered
up the whole captivity to EDOM, and remembered not the brotherly
covenant: but I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre, which shall devour the
palaces thereof. Thus says the Lord, For
three transgressions of
The evidence derived from secular history, ancient mythology, and, of course, the Holy Bible, all testify convincingly to the affinity between the Edomites and the Phoenicians. We are compelled to acknowledge that at least one of the tribes of Esau gained great sea-faring experience sailing the waters of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean, who then migrated under tumultuous circumstances north into the Galilee and from there to the Mediterranean coast, colonizing the area known as Phoenicia, establishing the great city-states of Tyre and Sidon, instituting the cult of Baal-worship which would become one of the most damning influences on the Israelites and indeed eventually the entire world, even to this very day, deifying both Esau and Abraham, under the names of Ushu and Cronus/Baal-Zephon respectively, and ultimately becoming the greatest maritime power of the ancient world–a remarkable turn of historical events!
The religion of the Phoenicians was highly pantheistic,
and their close proximity to
“And the children of
We know that the idolatrous
Phoenician/Canaanite worship began to corrupt
Later, after the division of the United Monarchy, king
Ahab of Israel violated the commandment of God and married Jezebel, the
daughter of Ethbaal, king of
The Phoenician religion promoted that most dreadful of rites, the sacrificing of children to the pagan gods. Yahweh condemned the people through the prophet Jeremiah, saying:
“They have also built in the name of the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind” (Jer. 19:5).
Jezebel introduced another
facet of Phoenician worship, that of male and female temple prostitutes. The monies generated by these sexual perverts
helped finance the service to the goddess Astarte. Demon-worship was also prevalent among the
Canaanites, as was the practice of cannibalism.
In fact, the very term itself is derived from the two words
It is written in the Babylonian Talmud:
“Five things did
connection to ancient
This is such an amazing story, not only on its own merits as an historical event, but also because of the significant typology involved. Joash is a type of the Messiah, and Athaliah a symbol of the evil end-time ruler of evil. That she was of Phoenician/Edomite descent is most important in this regard. During the years of her wicked reign of terror, Joash remained hidden in the Temple, a type of Christ being in heaven, but in the seventh year, he comes down in victory, even as will Yahshua (Jesus). Interestingly, Joash was not only crowned king in the seventh year, but also on the seventh or Sabbath day of the week, thus fulfilling the type completely! Athaliah, like Jezebel before her, is representative of the wicked Edomite system that long was planned to overtake the entire world. Nothing less than total domination of the human race will be satisfactory for those involved in this endeavor.
But this is by no means the end of the story, for it also
involves one of the key tribes of
DAN WAS ALWAYS DIFFERENT!
Dan? Of all the
After Jacob (Israel) departed from an incredible 20
years’ labor for his uncle Laban, he left with not one, but two wives, Rachel,
his beloved, and her sister Leah, who was foisted off on him by the greedy and
rather treacherous Laban himself. Some
might perceive that this protracted period of service during which Jacob is
deceived more than once by his uncle was just remuneration for Jacob’s taking
advantage of Esau and obtaining both the birthright and the blessing of the firstborn. Jacob’s name, after all, meant supplanter, until, of course, it was
changed by Yahweh to
There was, however, a problem, in that the preferred bride, Rachel, was barren, and, unlike as in later times, including even today, the bearing of children was of the utmost, critical importance to the people of that ancient era. Indeed, there was a certain stigma attached to women who could not produce offspring, and the husband was expected to make the necessary exceptions in his marital arrangement to have children, one way or another. Of course, in Jacob’s case, he actually had another legal wife, and Leah was well able to bear children to her husband, which she did, birthing four fine sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, all names with which we are quite familiar.
After the birth of
“And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God has judged me, and has also heard my voice, and has given me a son: therefore she called his name Dan” (Gen. 30:5-6).
The most obvious
significance in this passage is the fact that Dan was the first son of Jacob to
be born outside his wedlock to Leah and Rachel.
While this may not appear at first to be of any real importance, it
actually is, for it set Dan, in particular, apart from the first four of
Jacob’s children, and is an indication of the lower birth status of a number of
the sons, and subsequent tribes, of
Jacob continued his arrangement with Bilhah, resulting in the birth of yet another son, Naphtali (Gen. 30:7-8). At this point in the saga, Leah discovers that she too has become barren, so, following the example of her sister Rachel, she employs her own handmaiden, Zilpah to engage in the same kind of relationship with Jacob on her behalf, a convention to which he willingly submitted. Thus followed the births of Jacob’s seventh and eighth sons, Gad and Asher. Take note that Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher form something of a sub-group among the children of Israel, due to their mothers being handmaidens of Jacob’s two wives, and, to a certain extent, because they all were born consecutively, in close proximity to one another, and, as a result, grew up as a unit, and tended to associate together even after they were grown, as we shall soon see.
After the birth of Asher, tensions ran high between Leah and Rachel, neither one of whom were at this time able to bear children. After an especially confrontational situation transpired (Gen. 30:14-16), Rachel relented and acquiesced to Leah’s desire to have more children by Jacob, and indeed she was blessed by God with two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun, as well as a daughter, Dinah.
Finally, it came Rachel’s turn, and miraculously she was
able to bear Jacob his last two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, of which Joseph
became his father’s most favored child.
In the process of Benjamin’s birth, however, Rachel died, and was buried
in Ephrath, the specific area of Bethlehem from which Micah later prophesied
the future Messiah would originate (Micah 5:2).
Ephrath or Ephratah in Hebrew means fruitfulness. Once
DAN & JOSEPH
The next reference to Dan in the Scriptures is a rather
veiled one, but the likelihood is that, though not directly mentioned by name,
he was clearly involved in a signal incident that eventually had far-ranging
and quite significant implications for the entirety of ancient
“And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the
As you can easily determine, only Joseph, of all Jacob’s children, is specified by name in this passage of Scripture. The reference, however, in verse 2 is inescapably clear that certain specific other sons of Israel were with Joseph on this occasion, namely, the sons of the two handmaidens, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. It is imperative that we take note of this particular grouping of Jacob’s children with respect to this incident. Even though these sons are not listed by name, we know for a fact precisely who they were. Notice that they were together, virtually as a separate group, a proclivity that would continue with their tribal descendants as well.
The real significance, however, is the fact that Dan is
not only one of the four sons involved, but is the oldest of the group, and
thus the most likely ringleader of the evil
report which Joseph brings back to his father. In other words, this passage is telling us
more about Dan than apparently meets the eye.
Dan and his three brothers, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, clearly did not
have a good relationship with Joseph, the most favored of all the children of
In addition, such a betrayal
of Joseph by Dan cannot help but be seen as an ancient type of another far
greater betrayal, that instigated by Judas Iscariot toward the Messiah
Himself. Indeed, the parallels are
fascinating and compelling, for as there were twelve apostles, so there were
twelve tribes of
Furthermore, if one looks at the family of Jacob from
another perspective, there were originally 12 sons and thus 12 tribes, and yet
once we observe the nation of
DAN’S INEVITABLE DOWNFALL
Given the circumstances in the family of Jacob, it is not all that shocking that some of the children turned out to be less than their father would have hoped. Dan was one such son. From his birth on, he was reckoned by his older brothers, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, as being in that lower echelon of the family, of having a less prestigious pedigree, and of being rather reckless, all of which were, in fact, quite true.
Dan’s reaction to such perceptions and undoubtedly to the
typical treatment he would have received as a result, led him and his
descendants to choose a more independent course for themselves. Not wishing to remain in the shadow of the
more favored children, Dan’s pathway often led to major departures from the
tribal unity of
As the Danites continued to pursue their own way, we
cannot help but begin to notice a de-emphasizing, indeed even a certain
demotion, of the tribe of Dan in the Mosaic record. Although born the 5th out of 12
sons, Dan is often listed at or near the end in various places in the Torah and
the Chronicles. For instance, in Genesis
46, at the time when Jacob was moving his family to
In fact, in the Genesis 46 passage, you will note that the very last two sons listed are Dan and his brother Naphtali, even though they were much higher in the literal birth order. To put an even finer point on things, we read in verse 25 the following editorial notation:
“These are the SONS OF BILHAH, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare unto Jacob.”
Notice carefully that the
two sons of Bilhah, the 5th and 6th born of Jacob’s
children, are listed dead last, even after the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaiden. Whether this was a comment originally made by
Moses himself or a later insertion by Ezra, there absolutely has to be a strong
reason for this kind of arrangement. It
is not haphazard, accidental, or even coincidental whatsoever. Virtually the same thing can be seen in the
second census recorded in Numbers 26. So
it is abundantly clear that the children of Bilhah were the least favored in
the family of
With respect not only to Dan’s demotion from his birth order position in the tribal listings, there are a couple of additional peculiarities which, at first glance, might not appear all that important, but taken together with the accumulating evidence, they almost surely are. In the second chapter of Numbers, the tribal arrangement of the camp is given. This camping structure is not to be summarily dismissed as inconsequential. Yahweh orchestrated the specific placement of the various tribes based upon a divine pattern.
As most of us are well aware, numbers are exceedingly important within God’s scheme of things. We see numerical patterns running throughout the Scriptures. In fact, the entire created universe is basically mathematical in structure. With regard to our subject, the number four comes into play. Dr. E. W. Bullinger, in his seminal work, Number in Scripture, makes the following astute observation on the significance of the number four:
“Now the number four is made up of three and one (3 + 1 = 4), and it denotes, therefore, and marks that which follows the revelation of God...namely, His creative works...The fourth day saw the material creation finished (for on the fifth and sixth days it was only the furnishing and peopling of the earth with living creatures)...Four is the number of the great elements–earth, air, fire, and water. Four are the regions of the earth–north, south, east, and west. Four are the divisions of the day...Four are the seasons of the year–spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Four are the great variations of the lunar phases...In the next chapter (Gen. 3:22-24), the cherubim are first mentioned. These are four, and they have to do with creation always. They are first seen here, keeping, i.e., guarding (Gen. 2:15) the Tree of Life, and thus preserving the blessed hope of immortality for creation...They are seen on the veil and on the mercy-seat, binding up the hope of creation with Him who is called ‘the Hope of Israel’...In the Apocalypse the same four cherubim are called ‘the living creatures’ (Rev. 4). These announce the coming One; these sing of creation and of Him who created all things, and for whose pleasure they were created (Rev. 4:11). Whenever they speak, it is in connection with the earth. These call forth and announced the judgments or plagues (Rev. 6) which issue in the ejection of the Usurper from the earth, and the destruction of them which destroy the earth...Hence it was that these four cherubic forms were placed in the Signs of the Zodiac, and so placed that they divide it into four equal parts, thus uniting in one the twelve signs which set forth the blessed hope of a groaning creation, which waits for the Promised Seed of the woman to come and crush the serpent’s head and bring in universal blessing. They are the four heads of animal creation: the lion, of wild beasts; the ox, of tame beasts; the eagle, of birds; and man the head of all...They mark the purpose of God from the moment the curse was pronounced, and are the pledge that it will one day be removed” (pp. 123-125).
Although further elaboration
on the number four is given, the
above-cited information should serve well for our purposes. The camp of
“All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan were a hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go HINDMOST with their standards” (Num. 2:31).
Once again, the tribe of Dan
is not only listed last, he is specified to bring
up the rear, as it were–a clear distinction denoting the lesser status of
the Danites within the camp of
In addition, Dan was situated in the north (Num. 2:25). Again, this is not some arbitrary, random placement. It is no mere coincidence that Dan, of all the tribes, was positioned in the north. It was unquestionably intentional and by divine decree, for the Scriptures clearly indicate that either evil or judgment are associated with or come out of the north.
For instance, virtually all of
“And the word of the Lord come unto me the second time, saying, What do you see? And I said, A seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north. Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the NORTH shall EVIL break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land” (Jer. 1:13-14).
“Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the NORTH COUNTRY, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons’ (Jer. 10:22).
“Son of man, set your face against Gog, the
“The king of the NORTH shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown” (Dan. 11:40-41).
These are but a smattering of the Biblical references to evil and destruction emanating from the north. It would appear from the prophecies that the end-time anti-Christ indeed comes out of the north, a fact that we will want to keep squarely in mind as we continue through this study.
The north is also the direction associated with judgment in the Scriptures. In fact, the passages quoted above are actually a part of God’s judgment against the sins of His own people. We read in Psalms 75:
“When I (Yahweh) shall receive the congregation (Heb. mo’ed - a set time, a festival, an appointment), I will JUDGE uprightly. The earth and all the inhabitants are dissolved...Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion (Heb. ruwm - exaltation, extolling) comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But GOD IS THE JUDGE...All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted” (Psa. 75:2-3, 5-7, 10).
Since the Almighty, in this passage, rules out every direction but the north, it is clear that this position is reserved for Him as the true and righteous Judge of the earth. In this respect, it is quite interesting that the word and name Dan means to judge. Was Dan (Judge) purposely located by God in the northern quarter of the camp as a kind of prophetic indication that this tribe would produce the unrighteous judge, attempting to usurp the position of the truly righteous Judge Himself? Remember that the character named Lucifer (Heb. Heylel, from halal - to shine, hence to make a show, to boast; to be clamorously foolish; to rave) boasted that he would ascend into the heavens, above the throne of God, and sit in the sides of the north (Isa. 14:13). When we begin to discuss the prophecies connected with the tribe of Dan, these factors will come into play much more substantially.
To elaborate further on Dr. Bullinger’s reference to the
cherubim and its relationship to the camp formation of ancient
Bullinger’s mention of the Zodiac with respect to the number four is both interesting and instructive, because there is a direct and very divine connection, for just as Israel had twelve divisions, so there are twelve signs in the Zodiacal belt, that swath through the heavens which marks the apparent path of the sun as viewed from earth. Also, just as Israel’s twelve tribes were arranged around four standard-bearers, three tribes to each standard, so the twelve constellations of the Zodiac are further divided into four groups of three signs each–Leo the lion (Judah), Taurus the bull (Ephraim), Scorpio the scorpion (Dan--a significant clarification on this sign is needed and will be discussed later), and Aquarius the water-bearer (Reuben). And furthermore, just as each of the four Israeli standard-bearing tribes had a designated leader, so each of the four major constellations of the Zodiac has a star of the first magnitude associated with that sector of the heavens–Regulus/Leo, Aldebaran/Taurus, Antares/Scorpio, and Fomalhaut/Aquarius.
This sort of heavenly pattern is seen in a number of other arrangements as well, a well-known example of which would be the four gospel accounts in the New Testament. The inclusion and omission of certain facts, along with any apparent contradictions among these sacred writings, can almost always be accounted for by understanding that each of the four writers was guided by the Spirit to reveal and emphasize a different aspect of the Messiah. Matthew presents Him as King, and is thus associated with the lion; Mark as the Servant, even as the ox was the classic beast of burden in ancient times; Luke shows Yahshua/Jesus as a Man, therefore his account is directly linked with the cherub’s face of a man; and John reveals Christ as God, symbolized by the eagle.
Although some of this information may not bear directly on our discussion, it is most interesting and impressive to observe the intricate way that God has woven the tapestry of His creation and His divine purposes together. Truly, His thoughts are higher than ours!
Before leaving this section of our discussion, let us
note that the consistent diminution of the tribe of Dan continues on throughout
the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.
When the Israelites had crossed over
And to further drive home the point, note the following:
“And the coast of the children of Dan went out TOO LITTLE FOR THEM.”
In other words, Dan’s share
of the Promised Land was actually too small or narrow for them. They were, in fact, one of the larger tribes
in terms of population, and yet their
allotted territory was among the smallest in the land, certainly another
indication of their considerably lower esteem among the children of
Not only do we find the Danites often listed last or near
last among the children of
And, of course, undoubtedly the most glaring exclusion of the tribe of Dan is to be found in the New Testament, in the seventh chapter of the book of Revelation. It is here that John is told about the famous and enigmatic 144,000. Note the following introductory statement in verse 4:
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were
sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of ALL THE TRIBES of the
The subsequent verses tell
us that they were evenly divided, 12,000 from each tribe–and indeed, precisely
twelve tribes are named in this passage, but you may search high and low, and
you will find no trace whatsoever of the tribe of Dan! They, once again, are completely deleted from
this prestigious list in Revelation 7.
And remember verse 4 states that the 144,000 come from all the tribes of
This omission is far more critical than the ones in the
Old Testament, due to the prophetic nature of Revelation. It is speaking specifically of the end-time,
the time when the anti-Christ arises to power in the world, the time when the
people of God are greatly persecuted by the ruling beast system. And this will be especially applicable with
regard to the nation of
Although there is not a plethora of prophetic information
regarding each separate tribe of
“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall BEFALL YOU IN THE LAST DAYS” (Gen. 49:1).
Note carefully that what Jacob was about to speak had little to do with actually blessing his sons, but rather was to be a prophetic utterance regarding each of them with regard to the latter days, and what their father said was hardly smooth and pleasant in their ears. Beginning with Reuben, the firstborn, Jacob minces no words by saying:
“Reuben...unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father’s bed; then defiled you it; he went up to my couch” (Gen. 49:3-4).
One has to wonder as Jacob
looked at each of his children for the last time, just how painful it must have
been for him to have such understanding of their future states. Simeon and Levi are predicted to be divided
and scattered, because of their anger which led to murder.
But what about Dan? The words of Jacob are very telling. Even though a number of his sons receive a negative prediction, none quite match the nature of what was spoken concerning the tribe of Dan. Beginning in verse 16, we read:
“Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of
No other tribe of
Note carefully that Jacob prophesies Dan is to be a SERPENT. This can hardly be viewed as
inconsequential, particularly in light of the Biblical symbolism associated
with these and other related reptilian creatures. The serpent is representative of Satan, the
great Adversary and the personification of wickedness, and is so portrayed
throughout the Scriptures, from his conspicuous appearance in the Garden of
Eden in Genesis to the concluding chapters of the book of Revelation. Furthermore, note carefully that this
prophecy regarding Dan pertains to his attitude and action toward his own
family–his fellow brother tribes. Is
Jacob stating or implying here that Dan will be as the Adversary in the affairs
Dan is called a serpent by his father in Genesis 49:17. Jacob, however, is more specific in the next sentence, for he states:
“Dan shall be...an ADDER in the path.”
The Hebrew word for adder is shphiyphon, and is derived from the root term shuwph, which means to gape, to snap at, to overwhelm, and is rendered to break, bruise, and cover. Thus it is quite apparent that Jacob’s perception of his son in this instance is far from positive. He tells us that Dan the serpent will be in the path–the path of the rider and his horse; and that he will bite at the horse’s heels, causing him to fall backward. Thus Dan is prophesied to be an impediment, an opponent, and negative force in the latter days.
It is well known, of course, that the serpent is representative of evil, of conniving, of worldly wisdom. It is first associated with the great deceiver, Satan the devil, who appeared in the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent, and with subtlety beguiled Eve. Whether this creature was originally the precise description of what we know as a snake today is perhaps debatable, for the derivation of the Hebrew word nachash means to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; to prognosticate; an enchantment or enchanter, and, as such, may be subject to more than one interpretation. This fact, however, is beside the point with respect to our discussion. The serpent encountered in Genesis 3 was cursed by the Almighty to crawl upon its belly in the dust of the ground, and thus the word nachash became the general term for a snake in the Hebrew language.
With respect to the latter days, of which Jacob’s prophetic words speak, the serpent, of course, plays the signal role, for it is the sign of the Adversary, Satan the devil, and thus the spirit of the anti-Christ that will arise in the end-time. This is so stated in many Biblical prophecies, but surely none more emphatically than the book of Revelation, where we read:
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a GREAT RED DRAGON, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth...And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels...And the great dragon was cast out, that old SERPENT, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world...And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child...And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:3-4, 7-9, 13, 17).
The Greek word for dragon in verse 3 actually is defined as a fabulous kind of SERPENT, so called because of its keen power of sight (from the root ‘derke,’ signifying ‘to see’). It is used precisely 13 times in the Apocalypse to designate Satan the devil.
Satan, of course, is the real power behind the throne, as it were, of these horrific end-time events predicted in the book of Revelation. His chief servants, however, are also identified with the image of a serpent. Indeed we read in Revelation 9:15-19, that the power of the dreaded latter-day army that devastates one-third of the earth’s population is likened unto that of a serpent.
How interesting then that the first human being ever to
be Scripturally identified with the serpent is none other than the fifth son of
Israel and the subject of our discussion–Dan himself, and this serpent
connection to the tribe of Dan cannot be summarily dismissed as a casual use of
this symbol. It is the sign of the
Adversary, Satan the devil, and its image crops up in prophecy after prophecy
in the Scriptures. In fact, the snake
became the identifying sign of the Danites, both with respect to the figure
that appeared on their standard as a part of the camp of
It is also noteworthy that the biting of the horse’s heels is language eerily similar to what we read in the first great Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15, where Yahweh says to, of all creatures, the serpent:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it (Messiah - the ultimate seed of the woman) shall bruise your head, and you (the serpent) shall bruise his HEEL.”
With respect to the image of a serpent, much, of course, has also been made of the fact that the tribe of Dan appears to have left a trail in their numerous migrations throughout the world, a trail that can be traced and followed, indeed such as a serpent would make as it slithers along the ground. There is undoubtedly a great deal of truth to this assertion, for Dan surpassed by far all of the tribes of Israel in its ability and desire to travel, explore, and colonize, a reality that already connects this particular tribe with the sea-faring branch of Edomites who settled in on the Tyrian coast in Phoenicia.
In addition to the prophecy of the dying Jacob, Moses
also spoke specific words with regard to each of the twelve tribes of
Every single one of these 11
tribes received positive comments and blessings from God through His servant
Moses, even though most of the people were never really all that faithful. Still, Yahweh had a special place in His
Of course, the obvious omission at this point is the tribe of Dan. He receives just a single short sentence from the mouth of Moses, and what a contrast it is from all the rest of the tribes. In verse 22, we read:
“And of Dan he said, Dan is a LION’S WHELP: he shall leap from
Not another word is spoken with respect to the
Danites. No blessing is given, nothing
positive is stated. Dan is the only
tribe in all of
The reference to Dan being a lion’s whelp should have a familiar ring to it, for in the
previously referenced passage in Genesis 49, Jacob used the identical
expression to describe the tribe of
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the DEVIL, as a roaring LION, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8).
It appears that the tribe of
Dan was particularly despised and highly criticized by the tribe of
THE SPECTER OF THE ANTICHRIST!
The notion that, as the true Messiah would be the Lion of
Judah, so the false Messiah would be connected with the lion of Dan. It is, in fact, quite ancient and was taken
most seriously by a number of the elder Jewish scholars, as well as many of the
“Mark these words of Jacob which were spoken to
This perhaps may seem like quite an extraordinary conclusion for Hippolytus to draw concerning the tribe of Dan, but he was certainly not alone in making such a contention. His mentor, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, also held the same view. Writing in his famous Against Heresies, he says:
"Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against...This, too, the apostle affirms: 'When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.' And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, 'We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.' This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved" (Against Heresies, V, 30, 1-2).
Note in this passage that Irenaeus makes reference to yet
another prophecy concerning the tribe of Dan, one that we have yet to
investigate. Let’s take a look at it in
Jeremiah 8. In a stinging denunciation
“At that time...death shall be chosen rather than life...Yea, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times...but my people know not the judgment of the Lord...Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields...from the prophet even unto the priest every one deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace...I will surely consume them, says the Lord...Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defensed cities, and let us be silent there: for the Lord our God has put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from DAN: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. For, behold, I will send SERPENTS, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, says the Lord...When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me...Is there no BALM IN GILEAD; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered” (Jer. 8).
Within the context of a possible end-time prophetic scenario, these words could well be an indication that the great destroyer whom God will bring against His people will come forth from the tribe of Dan. The immediately following reference to serpents in verse 17 also would have a direct and strong connection to Dan, since, as we have already read, Jacob was led to use the symbol of the snake with respect to what would befall Dan in the latter days (Gen. 49:16-18).
In addition, Jeremiah’s plaintive cry, “Is there no balm in
“I have waited for Your salvation, O Lord” (Gen. 49:18).
Given the fact that Jacob expressly states in the beginning of the chapter that the words he is speaking are for the latter-days (Gen. 49:1), his saying in verse 18 with respect to the “salvation of the Lord,” seems a virtual parallel to Jeremiah’s question regarding the “balm in Gilead,” since they both come at the mention of the tribe of Dan, and both appear to be references to the return of the Messiah as the only hope for Israel.
In a somewhat similar and very likely related prophecy, Jeremiah again mentions Dan. In chapter 4, beginning in verse 4, we read:
“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your
heart...lest My fury come forth like fire...Blow the trumpet in the land; cry,
gather together...Set up the standard toward Zion...for I will bring evil from
the NORTH, and a great destruction.
The LION is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the
Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make your land
desolate...Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a
whirlwind: his horses are swifter than EAGLES. Woe unto us, for we are spoiled!...For a
voice declares from DAN, and publishes affliction from
Note the mention on two occasions of the standard. Note also that the prophesied destruction
comes from the north. The standard of Dan, according to Numbers
2:25 was situated on the north side. Combined with the direct reference to Dan in
verse 15 this prophecy becomes quite compelling, and appears to dovetail with
Jeremiah’s aforementioned prediction concerning Dan in chapter 8. In addition, the adversary in this instance
is described as a lion. This cannot, of course, be a reference to
Ephraem the Syrian, writing around 373 A.D., states the following concerning the Antichrist:
"At the end of the world at the final consummation . . . suddenly the gates of the north shall be opened... They will destroy the earth, and there will be none able to stand before them. After one week of that sore affliction (tribulation), they will all be destroyed in the plain of Joppa . . .Then will the son of perdition appear, of the seed and of the tribe of Dan . . .He will go into Jerusalem and will sit upon a throne in the Temple saying, 'I am the Christ,' and he will be borne aloft by legions of devils like a king and a lawgiver, naming himself God" (On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World).
This same sense was also
shared by St. Methodius of
“When the son of perdition appears, he will be of the tribe of Dan,
according to the prophecy of Jacob. This
enemy of religion will use a diabolic art to produce many false miracles, such
as causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear. Those possessed with demons will be exorcised. He will deceive many and, if he could, as our
Lord has said, even the faithful elect.
Even the Antichrist will enter
As a final comment on this aspect of the tribe of Dan, we read a passage from The Jewish Encyclopedia’s online edition:
"Dan became the very type of evil-doing. He was placed to the north (Num. ii. 25), this being the region of darkness and evil (Jer. I. 14), because of his idolatry which wrapped the world in darkness (Num. R. ii.). Still further goes a tradition which identifies the serpent and the lion (Gen. xlix. 17 and Deut. xxxiii. 22) with Belial (see the literature in Bousset's "Antichrist," 1895, pp. 87, 113). Irenæus ("Adversus Hæreses," v. 302), Hippolytus ("De Christo et Antichristo," pp. 14, 15), and other Church fathers have a tradition, which can not but be of Jewish origin, that the Antichrist comes from the tribe of Dan" (The Jewish Encyclopedia.com).
Suffice it to say that there was unquestionably a widely
held belief early-on among both Jews and Christians that the prophecies
concerning Dan appeared to suggest that the Antichrist would arise from this
apostate tribe of
DAN’S FIRST GREAT LEAP!
Although generally understood as being somewhat speculative, it does appear from the ancient records that at least a segment of the tribe of Dan may have been the first of the Israelites to migrate beyond the confines of the early boundaries. So early, in fact, that their initial departure can be traced all the way back to the time of the Exodus itself, and perhaps even before that.
Looking back into the annals of ancient history, we come
upon the testimony of the Egyptian chronicler Hecataeus of Abdera. Writing during the reign of Ptolemy I,
Hecataeus records a remarkable story that is nothing less than that of the
Israelite Exodus from
“Once, when a PESTILENCE had broken out in
This is a striking bit of
history with regard to certain Israelites under the leadership of one DANAUS splitting from the other
tribes at or about the time of the Exodus, and striking out across the
Mediterranean Sea to the area of
Another well-respected early historian is Diodorus of Sicily. He composed a 40-volume history of world, and includes the following very similar information regarding the tribe of Dan:
“They say also that those who set forth with DANAUS, likewise
from Egypt, settled what is practically the oldest city of Greece, Argos, and
that the nations of the Colchi in Pontus and that of the Jews, which lies
between Arabia and Syria, were founded as colonies by certain emigrants from
their country (Egypt); and this is the reason why it is a long-established
institution among these peoples to circumcise their male children...the custom
having been brought over from Egypt.
Even the Athenians, they say, are colonists from
The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, writing in Against Apion, records the history of Lysimachus of Alexandria, wherein two exoduses from Egypt are said to have occurred at or about the same time, the main one led by Moses over land, and the other by sea!
Josephus also records two separate letters that were
exchanged between the Spartans in
“AREUS, KING OF THE LACEDEMONIANS, TO ONIAS, SENDS GREETINGS. We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of ONE STOCK, and are derived from the kindred of ABRAHAM. It is but just, therefore, that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concern as you please. We will also do the same thing, and esteem your concerns as our own...Demotoles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is foursquare; and the seal is an EAGLE, with a DRAGON IN HIS CLAWS” (Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 12, chapter 4, sec. 10).
Note the emphasized words in this passage. Not only did the Spartans recognize that they
were descended from Abraham, they also were aware of their close relationship
with the Jews in particular, indicating a direct tie-in to the tribes of
Furthermore, the last line of the letter is most telling,
for it is stated as being first foursquare. Why say such a thing? What could it possibly mean? Although this could conceivably be a casual
reference with no substantive significance, the statement is unusual and
compelling enough to at least consider another credible explanation. Since king Areus admits that a family
relationship existed between the Jews and the Spartans (Lacedemonians), it is
intriguing that the ancient layout of the camp of
It is, however, the rest of Areus’s statement that appears to seal the issue, for he says:
“This letter is foursquare; and the seal is an EAGLE WITH A DRAGON IN HIS CLAWS.”
This is an amazing
declaration, since the eagle (the fourth face of the cherubim) was the sign
associated with Dan, and the standard or ensign for this tribe was indeed the
eagle with a serpent in its claws–precisely the description given by Areus with
regard to the Greek Spartans! It would,
therefore, seem a virtual certainty that the king was signifying to the Jewish
high priest exactly the relationship of his people to
The second letter quoted by Josephus is a later reply by the Jewish high priest Jonathan to the initial Spartan correspondence, a portion of which reads as follows:
“Accordingly, as they returned, they came to Sparta, and delivered the epistle which they had received from Jonathan to them; a copy of which follows here: ‘Jonathan the high priest of the Jewish nation...to the...body of the people of Lacedemonians, send greeting...When in former times an epistle was brought to Onias, who was then our high priest, from Areus, who at that time was your king...concerning the kindred that was between us and you, we...were well pleased with Demoteles and Areus, although we did not need such a demonstration, because we were well satisfied about it from the sacred writings” (Ibid., Bk. 13, chapter 5, section 8).
The implication, if not the direct statement, of
Jonathan, the high priest, is that the Jewish leaders already were aware of the
family relationship among the Spartans, Jews, and other tribes of
It can, therefore, be positively established that at
least an element of the tribe of Dan migrated by sea to Greece, during the
general time-frame of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, perhaps even somewhat
earlier, as certain ancient testimony, especially that of Petavius in his History of the World, actually puts
their departure as occurring within only a few years after the death of
Joseph. This presumably would have been
at a juncture when the Israelites were not yet slaves in
Both Greek and Irish history confirm that a contingent of the Danaans, called the Twuatha de Danaan, literally the Tribe of Dan, left Greece at a certain point, under possible duress, and migrated north via various navigable rivers to the Baltic Sea, and from there to Denmark and parts of southern Sweeden, across the North Sea to Scotland, and finally Ireland. These famous journeys of the Danites are very interesting to investigate, but any full examination of them will necessarily have to remain outside the scope of this present study. For anyone interested in pursuing this subject further, there are numerous references and indeed complete written works readily available on the various migrations of the tribe of Dan.
By the time of the great Greek epic poet and historian
Homer, the Greeks were commonly referred to as DANAANS. Homer
himself uses this term almost exclusively in his writings. This should not be taken as meaning that all
Greeks were descendants of Dan. The
indigenous population of
ON TO BAHSAN!
Going back to the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 33, the remainder of his short prediction regarding the tribe of Dan states:
“He shall leap from
“And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in ASHTEROTH KARNAIM, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, and the Horites in their Mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelled in Hazezon-tamar.”
While these ancient
geographical names may have little relevance for most people today, they do
provide us with some pertinent information concerning the area known as
“Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote...Sihon, king of the Amorites...and the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelled at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, and reigned in Mount Hermon, and in Salcah, and in all Bashan” (Josh. 12:1-2, 4-5).
comprised the territory from Gilead in the south to Mount Hermon in the north,
As the story begins, the tribe of Dan is not mentioned,
rather it deals with a certain unknown man of
Micah, however, becomes much more deeply entrenched in idolatry, for we read in verse 5:
“And the man Micah had a HOUSE OF GODS, and made an EPHOD,
and a TERAPHIM, and consecrated one of his sons, who became HIS
PRIEST. In those days, there was no
Not only do we encounter the
issue of idolatry in this chapter, we also should take note that it is
connected in this case with
Next, we are told in verse 7 of a certain young man, a
Levite from Bethlehem-Judah, who is on a journey searching apparently for a
place where he can settle down and serve in his Levitical capacity. Immediately we sense something is rotten,
because it was not the customary procedure in
“And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan.”
Since Manasseh was not of the priestly line, this could be a mistranslation, as some have suggested, and perhaps was originally intended to state that Jonathan was descended from Moses, a Levite, since only a slight addition to the Hebrew is required to alter the name to Manasseh.
This wandering Levite,
so obviously out of God’s will, happens to come upon Micah’s house in
“Dwell with me, and be unto me a FATHER and a PRIEST...So the Levite went in” (Judg. 17:10).
We must realize that Micah is not asking this man to be as a physical parent unto him, for the next verse plainly tells us:
“And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him (Micah) as one of his SONS” (v. 11).
Clearly, therefore, Micah is much older than Jonathan. Indeed, it would appear that the exact opposite situation developed, whereby the young man actually became as one of Micah’s own sons. That being the case, what does he mean by requesting that the Levite become a father to him? I would suggest that this is to be understood in a religious sense of the term. We all are quite familiar with the title father as it is applied by ecclesiastical institutions. That typically Roman Catholic word, however, long pre-dates the founding of that church organization. It was only borrowed from much earlier pagan sources, one of which we can read about in the 17th chapter of Judges!
And so this corrupt would-be Levite lands a paying job as Micah’s personal hired priest, and you just have to know by Micah’s reaction what his real motives actually are in the entire matter, when you read the following verse:
“Then said Micah, Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest” (Judg. 17:13).
Now enter the tribe of Dan
into this unusual, almost bizarre story.
The Danites needed land, because their inheritance bordered one of
“And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray you, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous” (Judg. 18:5).
They too were far more interested in getting what was their’s, and perhaps even what wasn’t their’s, than they were in worshiping and serving the true God as He had commanded them to do. They were willing to sell themselves into idolatry in order to secure the blessings of the gods. And so, they appropriated the services of the young Levite, enticing him to leave Micah, and become their priest, indeed the priest for all the land-dwelling Danites, an offer the money-grubbing cleric simply couldn’t refuse!
When Micah protested their action, the Danites explained the facts of life to the hapless Ephraimite, who suddenly decided it was a whole lot better to be without a personal religious shrine, complete with his own priest, and remain alive, than it was to push the issue any farther and end up dead! Jonathan the Levite quickly accepted the offer and blessed the Danite warriors, who grabbed up the graven image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the molten image, and with the priest in tow, absconded with them northward in search of a people whom they could easily victimize, and whose land they could confiscate for themselves.
Their objective was not long in being achieved, for they
happened upon the peaceful little
A third negative characteristic of this tribe also became immediately evident, indeed if it wasn’t already well accounted for among the Danites, for we read in Judges 18:29-31 the following insightful information regarding this incident:
“And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he
had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure: and they
smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire. And there was no deliverer, because it was
The city of
The problems associated with Dan are quite evident just
in this single incident involving the destruction of Laish. Perhaps the most significant of them all was
the fact that the tribe of Dan embraced idolatry and false worship more readily
than any of the other children of
The choice of territory in which the Danites ultimately
settled is, in itself, quite strategic.
First of all, it put them as far away as possible from the rest of the
nation, and especially from Shiloh, where the center of Yahweh-worship in
In aligning themselves with the descendants of Esau, the Danites in effect became the avowed enemies of Yahweh and the true Messiah that was to come through Jacob and Judah. Esau vowed to kill his brother to whom he had sold the birthright, and to regain what he had lost through the treachery of Jacob. From this early conflict stems the great struggle between the descendants of these two individuals. Not only did the false worship center established in northern Israel by the Danites for hundreds of years vie directly with Shiloh for the spiritual allegiance of the people, there is evidence that this evil system may have had a direct connection with the crucifixion of Yahshua, for we read in that famous Messianic passage of Psalms 22:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?...Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong BULLS OF BASHAN have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion” (Psa. 22:1, 11-13).
We know for a fact that at
least the opening words of this Psalm were indeed specifically spoken by the
Messiah while hanging on the cross. It
is very plausible that some of the other verses were also quoted by the Savior
on this horrible occasion. Whether this
is so or not, the 22nd Psalm is unquestionably about the dying
Messiah. Note it is said that “strong bulls of
Who were these bulls
When the Messiah looked at those assembled around the crucifixion site, He knew within Himself the identification and true nature of the ones who had plotted against Him. Remember that it was originally Esau’s sworn pledge to kill his brother Jacob. Doing so would have cut off the righteous line of Abraham and Isaac that was destined to bring forth the Christ into the world, the very essence of the birthright blessing that Esau despised, trading it to Jacob for a bowl of mere red pottage.
Were there descendants of Esau present in first-century
In addition to the Herods and their Edomite cohorts, there is another factor that we should consider with respect to the possible involvement of the tribe of Dan in the death of the Messiah, and this concerns Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed and sold out Yahshua to the conspiring religious authorities. You may not have viewed Judas quite from the following perspective, but I believe you will find it quite intriguing.
First of all, as noted in an earlier installment of this
study, there appears to be a very closely related pattern between the tribes of
With regard to Dan and the evil action of the serpent, we are compelled to recall the ancient prediction of Genesis 3:15, a direct reference to the death of the Messiah at the hand of the serpent’s seed, which reads:
“And I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman, and between your (serpent’s) seed and her seed (Messiah); it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (typical of Christ’s death).”
Although clearly understandable on more than one level, this prophecy could quite feasibly apply to the betrayal of Yahshua by Judas. That he should be described as a seed of the serpent is easily acceptable, since we are told that Satan himself entered Judas Iscariot (Jn. 13:27), not to mention the plain fact that he was guilty of the single most dastardly deed in all of history! It is also telling that the Savior was literally wounded in the heel, due to the spikes being driven through his feet.
Aside from this very interesting pattern of similarity
between Dan within the 12 tribes of
“And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war” (Judg. 18:11).
The cities of Zorah and Eshtaol were a part of Dan’s original portion of the Promised Land (Josh. 19:41). The 600 Danite warriors were gathered out of these two population centers and commissioned to march northward to Laish, the defenseless Sidonian city, and take it captive. As the Danite contingent moved toward the north, we read:
“And they went up, and pitched in Kiriath-Jearim, in
As you can easily determine, this is the same city of
“Wherefore they called that place Mananeh-Dan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kiriath-Jearim” (Judg. 18:12b).
Now what does all of this
information mean with regard to our study?
The city of
Aside from the foregoing information with regard to the
connection between Dan and Judas, please recall that the tribe of Dan is
glaringly omitted in the allocation of the 144,000 in Revelation 7. This, of course, is an end-time reference,
and most likely is related to Dan’s part in the betrayal of
In many respects, just as the end-time descendants of Dan, or a portion thereof, can be seen with reference to the predicted Anti-Christ, so can Judas Iscariot. Remember that there are only two individuals in all of Scripture that are called the son of perdition, an especially denigrating term, and they are Judas himself and the Anti-Christ (Cf. Jn. 17:12 & II Thess. 2:3). And, as mentioned earlier, the only two Scriptural instances of Satan personally possessing a human being are Judas Iscariot (Jn. 13:27) and the Anti-Christ (II Thess. 2:8-9; Rev. 16:13).
And finally, Judas, Dan, and the end-time figure known as the Anti-Christ can all be seen as related in the 55th Psalm. Although I realize that this may not be the commonly accepted application of this passage, I think you will agree that it is indeed appropriate. This psalm is a complaint by king David on the occasion of his having been betrayed:
“Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Yourself from my supplication...because of the oppression of the wicked...My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me” (Psa. 55:1, 3-5).
Compare these poignant words with the plaintive cries of the Messiah at the time surrounding His arrest and crucifixion:
“So also Christ glorified not Himself...who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared” (Heb. 5:5).
“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then says He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt. 26:37-38).
“And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly” (Lk. 22:44).
Next, David pours out his inner wish that he could escape the terror he was facing, saying:
“Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off...I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest” (Psa. 55:6-8).
These words parallel quite
well the pleas of Yahshua in the
“And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto You; take away this cup from Me” (Mk. 14:35-36).
Then David reveals the source of his horror–he has been betrayed, but notice how he characterizes his betrayer:
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it...But it was you, a man like me, my guide (Heb. chief friend, familiar) and my acquaintance” (Psa. 55:12-13).
Of course, with respect to our Savior, we know that the very next event to transpire on that fateful night was, upon arising from prayer, his confrontation with Judas Iscariot and the band of conspirators, which, like David, constitutes His own betrayal, not by aliens, but rather by apostates from within. David then says of his own Judas:
“We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company” (Psa. 55:14).
And we read in the case of Christ these similar words:
“And while He yet spoke, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with
him...the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign,
Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is he; hold him fast...And Jesus said unto
him, Friend, why are you come?...In that same hour said Jesus unto the
multitudes, Are you come out as against a thief...for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the
David then concludes his petition by uttering words that are directly applicable both to Judas Iscariot, as well as to the end-time Anti-Christ:
“He has put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him; he has BROKEN HIS COVENANT. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart” (Psa. 55:20-21).
Note here that David’s betrayer, he says, has “broken his covenant,” and that his words were “soft...but war was in his heart.” Are these statements not reminiscent of Daniel’s prophecies regarding the Anti-Christ, when he says:
“And he (the evil prince to come) shall confirm a COVENANT with
many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice
and oblation to cease, on the wing of the
“Near the end of their kingdoms...an insolent king, skilled in intrigue, will come to the throne...He will cause deceit to prosper through his cunning and by his influence, and in his own mind he will make himself great. In a time of peace, he will destroy many; he will even stand against the Prince of princes” (Dan. 8:23, 25).
“At the appointed time he (Anti-Christ)
will come again to the South...On his return, he will favor those who abandon
the HOLY COVENANT. His forces
will rise and desecrate the
That the Anti-Christ should arise from among the tribes
“Neither shall he regard the GOD OF HIS FATHERS...But in His stead shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom HIS FATHERS KNEW NOT shall he honor with gold and silver...Thus shall he do in the most strongholds with a STRANGE GOD” (Dan. 11:37-39).
Note carefully the phrase “God of his fathers.” This is an Hebraic idiom, indicating that
the Anti-Christ will almost surely be someone whose ancestors knew Yahweh, the
true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, known collectively as the fathers. Under virtually any circumstance, this would
be considered a reference to his being, in some fashion, of
The predictable merging of the descendants of two patriarchs shouldn’t really be all that surprising, especially if we consider some of the numerous similarities between the two houses. The most obvious is that they shared a close family relationship, since Esau was Dan’s uncle. From the beginning, they both were considered lower in God’s eyes, as well as those of the rest of the peoples. They were, in effect, both rejects! They were also very much alike in character, as both exhibited the traits of craftiness, secrecy, deception, and violence, not to mention, of course, a strong penchant for the most despicable sort of religious practices imaginable!
In addition, factions both of the Danites and the Edomites took to plying the high seas. Not only did the earliest migration of any Israelite people occur within the tribe of Dan--they migrated by ship, rather than by land--but we also observe rather early in the period of the Judges that the remainder of the Danites, who carved out their own place in the north, also took to shipbuilding and sailing, for we read in Judges 5 an excerpt from the magnificent Song of Deborah, composed upon the occasion of Israel’s great victory over Sisera and the Canaanites, that states:
“Gilead abode beyond
Even at this early date, the Danites were known as mariners. Note also that the Song of Deborah seems to be chiding Dan for his lack of participation in the war against Jabin and Sisera, yet another indicator that this particular tribe had much higher priorities on its agenda than the purposes of God and the welfare of their fellow Israelites.
Dan’s seafaring tendencies and abilities were a perfect
fit with their Edomite/Canaanite cousins in
Another interesting point regarding Dan’s relocation to
the extreme north of
“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied, that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men and beget us children’...And they were in all two hundred who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of MOUNT HERMON, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it” (Ch. 6, vv. 1-8).
This notorious incident that
transpired at Mount Hermon, is recorded in even greater detail in certain of
the Dead Sea Scrolls, in particular, The Book of Giants, as well as The Book of Jubilees and The Book of Jasher. In fact, this area, which became the extreme
northern boundary of
Hittite, as well as Biblical, records confirm that
Given just these few facts, it is hardly any wonder that, upon their entrance into the Promised Land, Yahweh gave the Israelites the following strict command:
“But of the cities of these people, which the Lord your God does give you for an inheritance, you shall SAVE ALIVE NOTHING THAT BREATHES: but you shall utterly destroy them...That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should you sin against the Lord your God” (Deut. 20:16-18).
After the time of Joshua,
the people of
Later, in the days of Jeroboam, the northern ten tribes rebelled against the House of David and separated themselves from the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The almost immediate result of this division is succinctly recorded for us in I Kings 12, where we read:
“So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day...And
Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem
...Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto
them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel,
which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
And he set one in
Note carefully the strategic part the area of Dan plays
in this rebellion against God. The
golden calf placed in Dan was situated at
I strongly suspect that
Based upon the Paris Zero Meridian, which was universally
used prior to the Greenwich International Zero Meridian established in 1884,
The Promised Land that God had reserved for His people
In addition, Masonic lore claims that since Jesus, who is considered as one of the Master Initiates, apparently died at the age of 33, this exact number represents the highest spiritual level which one can attain.
It is likely that
Remember also the name Paneas, which is the ancient term for the area around the base of
This was then and had for centuries been a center for the
worship of the god Pan. There was an
impressive temple built in his honor at the base of
“The voice of the Lord is powerful...The voice of the Lord breaks the
cedars; yea, the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also to skip like a calf;
Sirion, we are told in Deuteronomy
3:9, was the Sidonian name for
The name Hermon
itself has a reference to a heap of
stones, a landmark, a pyramid.
Interestingly, stones were often utilized in the worship of the
gods. We not only see this throughout
The stone heaps so often utilized in the worship system
of the mystery religions were actually phallic symbols. In reality, the renaming of the Promised Land
by the term Palestine constitutes a
brash, outright statement that this was the land of phallic-worship, part of the very ancient pre-Flood system
instigated by the Nephilim, and
reinstated through the descendants of Ham and Canaan after the Flood. You might want to think about these
historical facts when you hear this area of the world termed as
Pan is also closely associated with music, and the pipe and flute most especially. Although a rather obscure reference, we find in II Samuel 24:6 a possible reference to Pan-worship being connected to the tribe of Dan. Note the following:
“Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they
came to DAN-JAAN, and about to
The place-name Dan-jaan is obviously named after Dan,
and is clearly shown by the text to be in the extreme northern area of
Pan-worship was transported from Mount Hermon by a
segment of Danites to
The mythological origin of the Merovingian race is traced
back to a water-beast known as the Quinotaur, which took the form of a
sea-goat. This ancient story is derived
from lore associated with the god Pan, who was, in fact, a sea-goat. The source of this mystical beginning to the
Merovingians can be traced directly to the influence of the Danites who took
With respect to the subject of Freemasonry, the term Sion is strongly associated with the
symbolism attached to this ancient evil craft.
Note that this word is Sion,
“And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel...in the land of Sihon (one of the giants) king of the Amorites, who dwelled at Heshbon...and the land of Og (another giant) king of Bashan...From Aroer, which is by the banks of the river Arnon, even unto MOUNT ZION, which is HERMON” (Deut. 4:44-48).
Notice that the King James
Version of the Scriptures renders the name of Mount Hermon as
As an aside to this aspect of our study, it is
instructive to know that in Celtic the word Sion
means Mount of Stones or a Fortress. The Druids would build huge fires in the
midst of their great stone circles or Sions,
and the high priest would conduct worship services standing in the midst of the
fiery stones. The central stone was
called the Stone of the Covenant, and
Just as an interjection, the Priory of Sion, a highly secret society connected with the Knights Templar which we will discuss in another installment of this study, has been, since at least the time of the first Crusade (1099 A.D.), totally dedicated to the restoration of a particular royal house, the Merovingians, installing on the throne of a United Europe the very man who may well be revealed as the end-time Biblical Antichrist! How interesting it is that the Old Testament contains precisely 33 separate terms denoting the latter-day Antichrist! And it is by no mean a mere coincidence that in the Hindu sacred book, the Vishnu-Purana, we read:
“These thirty-three (33) divinities exist age after age, and their appearance and disappearance is in the same number as the sun sets and rises again” (p. 160).
Or that the Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead speaks of the 33 heavens ruled over by Indra and the 33 ruled over by Mara? The obvious answer to these questions is HARDLY!!
Even in our own day, the current European Council of
Princes, ostensibly the advisory body to the European Union, consists of
exactly 33 participating members, divided into the Council of Nine, and the
Council of Twenty-Four. Every
distinguished member of this assembly is of Merovingian
lineage. The Merovingian dynasty is the
royal bloodline that preceded Charlemagne and the Carolingian usurpers to the
throne of the
It should also be of interest that the headwaters of the
Jordan River emanate from
Of course, we could not leave off a discussion of this
particular area of the world without mentioning the fact that this region is
today known as the Golan Heights,
over which so much controversy and bloodshed has arisen in the
“We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, but behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from DAN: the whole land trembles at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land...For, behold, I will send serpents...among you...and they shall surely BITE YOU.”