Scripture and Scholars say...


1 Ki. 14:15, God “shall scatter” Israel “beyond the river,” not all in one place.

2 Ki. 10:32, “In those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel...” –before their final complete exile.

2 Ki. 17:6, The Assyrian king “captured Samaria and exiled Israel”

Deut. 29:28, “cast them into another land, as it is this day”

Isa. 5:26 “the end of the earth”

Isa. 11:11-12, “the four corners of the earth”

Isa. 27:13 (Vulgate), “those lost from the land of Assyria”

Isa. 49:9, “say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” An address to the lost ten tribes according to Jewish midrash “Pesikta Rabbati 31:10”

Isa. 49:21, (Ten Tribes:) “where had they been?”

Jer. 15:4, “I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth”

Hos. 2:14, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,” not a return to Canaan.

Hos. 8:8, “Israel is swallowed up now among the nations”

Hos. 9:17, “wanderers among the nations”

Ezra 1:15, ONLY “Judah and Benjamin” returned; remaining ten tribes did not return

“Israel and Judah... developed more or less independent of the other, Israel in the north and Judah in the south; and only gradually did circumstances bring them together, and then came the inevitable clash of interests, religious as well as political.” –"Hebrew Origins," Theophile James Meek, 1936, p.76

“Israel as a kingdom was never restored from Assyria, as Judah was from Babylon after 70 years.” –Jamieson, Faucett, Brown Commentary, p.650

“There never was a real return from the exile, although some individuals doubtless returned...the captivity of Israel did not actually terminate at 538 [B.C.], nor, in fact, ever.” –Geo. Ricker Berry, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, “Was Ezekiel in the Exile?” pp.89, 92 (Journal of Biblical Literature 49 (1930)

“Many of the towns in southern Judah and Simeon were not reoccupied after the exile. This process was quite as disastrous as it is portrayed in the Old Testament...” –Thos. Davis, “Shifting Sands,” Oxford Univ. Press, 2004

“That the Redeemer comes ‘from Zion’ [Isa. 59:20] for Israel implies that Israel is in exile...” –G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” Baker Academic, 2007, p.674

“The exile, into all lands, among all nations, was as irrevocably decreed as was the destruction of the city.” –Charles C. Torrey, Yale University, Journal of Biblical Literature 56 (1937), p.206

“...the returnees came only from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin —the exiles in Babylon. The ten tribes did not return...the loss of the [ten] tribes marked the greatest demographic defeat inscribed in Jewish memory since Biblical times.” –Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, “The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History,” Oxford Univ. Press, 2009, pp.17, 117

“Evidently it was a token return...” –Frank Moore Cross, Harvard University, “A Reconstruction Of The Judean Restoration,” Journal of Biblical Literature 94 (1975), p.15

“The tree of Israel, grown from one root with various branches, was cut into pieces.” –John Calvin, cited in Boer, “John Calvin,” pp. 190-191

“The ten [tribes] which had previously been carried away being scattered among the Parthians, Medes, Indians, and Ethiopians never returned to their native country, and are to this day held under the sway of barbarous nations.” –Sulpitius Severus (circa. 360-420 A.D.), Severus, Sacred History, bk ii, ch. Ii, in Schaff, et al., transl. Sulpitius Severus

“Jewish people often thought that ten of the twelve tribes were lost and would be restored only in the end time.” –Craig Keener, “A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew,” Eerdmans, 1999, p.315

The ten tribes’ not returning opened “a huge wound that does not heal.” –Talmudic Haga, Sefer Ha-Berit Ha-Hadash

"The prophecy of a restored and reunited Israel and Judah...was never actually to be fulfilled... Intransigence on the part of both...produced separate and irreconcilable societies that were never able to reunite." -Bruce Vawter, "Amos, Hosea, Micah, With An Introduction To Classical Prophecy," p.81

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Commentary:
Steven M. Collins


 

The Tribe of Zebulon

 

 

 

Steven M. Collins

 

We are pleased to present articles by leading authors on the subject of the Biblical promises and covenants to Israel.

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THE TRIBE OF ZEBULON

RECLAIMERS OF THE SEA

 

By Steven M. Collins

 

Zebulon was a younger brother of Reuben, and little information is provided about Zebulon in the Bible. Zebulon formerly lived in the area west of the Sea of Galilee. After their relocation to Asia, they were one of the many related "Sacae" tribes, which bore the name of Isaac. Consequently, their migrations would have followed the route of the larger tribes of Israel, first into Asia, and later into Europe. Ordinarily, that would make it difficult to determine the specific location of the modern Zebulonites. However, the Bible gives us a very revealing clue concerning their identity in the modern world. In fact, it is uncannily accurate in describing one modern European nation.

 

Genesis 49:13 gives this short but meaningful clue regarding the latter day location of the tribe of Zebulon:

 

            "Zebulon shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon." (KJV)

 

A dictionary definition of the word "haven" includes the alternate meanings "any sheltered, safe place; refuge," and "a port, harbor." The Bible prophesied that the Zebulonites would inhabit an area that was a "haven" (i.e. a "shelter" or "refuge") for ships from the sea. Since the Israelites migrated into Europe from Asia, we obviously need to look for a European nation which is on a seacoast and is "sheltered from the sea."

 

Many readers will know which nation in Europe was "bought back from the sea" via its famous dikes. That nation is the Netherlands (Holland). Much of Holland's land is quite literally "sheltered from the sea" via its dike system, so the prophetic description of a "haven of the sea" is strikingly apt. The phrase "haven of ships" indicates that the land of Zebulon must also include a major harbor facility. Indeed, the Amplified Bible translates this phrase as "a landing place for ships." Does the Dutch nation satisfy this requirement? Yes!

 

The Dutch port of Rotterdam became the busiest modern seaport in the world. The Encyclopedia Americana (1988 Ed., Vol. 23, see "Rotterdam," p. 805) states regarding Rotterdam:

 

            "It's port, in volume of freight handles, is the largest in the world...In addition to foreign trade, the port handles the huge barge traffic that is carried on the Rhine River and associated waterways...The port now extends continuously from Rotterdam to the Sea. At the mouth of the New Waterway lies the great port complex of Europort ("Gateway of Europe").

 

Not only is Rotterdam the busiest ocean-going seaport, it is now a gateway to all of Europe via a system of interconnected canals on Europe's mainland. The above is sufficient to identify the Dutch people as modern Zebulon, but a prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 33:18-19 about the future of the tribe of Zebulon gives even more support to this viewpoint. Moses prophesied:

 

            "...of  Zebulon he said...they shall suck of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hidden in the sand."  (KJV)

 

The Hebrew word translated "suck" is used elsewhere in the Bible to describe infants sucking milk out of a breast. When an infant "sucks" milk from a breast, it "drains" or "empties" the milk in the breasts. Moses prophesied that the Zebulonites would "suck" the "seas" and gain an "abundance" from doing so. The connection with Holland is obvious! The Dutch literally, "sucked out (i.e. 'drained') the sea" via their system of dikes and windmills, and gained "abundant" land as a result. The phrase "treasures hidden in the sand" could refer to the same thing, but it may have another meaning which also identifies the Dutch. What "treasure," frequently "hidden in the sand," has become critically important in the modern world? The answer is oil, and one of the largest oil companies in the world is "Royal Dutch/Shell."

 

The Dutch nation formerly had overseas colonies of its own, the largest of which was oil-rich Indonesia (known for centuries as the Dutch East Indies). Indonesia became independent of the Dutch after World War II, and is now a member of OPEC. However, the Royal Dutch/Shell Oil Company is still one of the premier oil-producing companies of the world. It is unique in that it bears the name of a specific European nation in its corporate title, unlike Exxon, Standard Oil, Mobil Oil, etc.

 

The second portion of the prophecy in Genesis 49:13 is as cryptic as the first portion is clear, but since it is there, a possible decipherment will be proposed. What can be understood about the prophecy "...his border shall be unto Zidon?" The following answer is speculative, but it does find a fulfillment in modern Holland

 

The key may lie in the Hebrew word translated "border," which literally means "thighs." This Hebrew word is so translated in Daniel 2:32 in the phrase "its belly and thighs of brass." This phrase is part of a description of a body, and denotes the lower torso down through the uppermost portion of the legs of a statue seen in a dream since Daniel 2:33 refers to the statue's "legs" as being different from its "thighs." In other words, the ancient Hebrew word for "thighs" in Genesis 49:13 includes the pubic area. [On this specific application, I wish to acknowledge the assistance of the late-Dr. Charles Dorothy, a graduate of Claremont Graduate School, who checked the above analysis for accuracy.] How could this reference point to the modern Dutch nation?

 

The Dutch capital of Amsterdam is world famous for its "red light district" offering all kinds of erotic/sinful pleasures in its various "sex shops." The CBS television program "60 Minutes" featured (in its 1990-91 season) a program about the Amsterdam "sex district" which included prostitutes openly peddling their bodies to customers just behind windows at street level! In 1992, the Dutch Parliament effectively legalized the prostitution industry by repealing a law which previously had banned pimps. The ancient Sidonians were famous for sponsoring and tolerating sinful sex practices which were part of the fertility cult worship associated with Baal and Ashtaroth. Wicked Queen Jezebel, whose name is synonymous with brazen sexual temptation, was a Sidonian. A dictionary lists one meaning of the word "Jezebel" as "any shameless, wicked woman."

 

Official Dutch tolerance of a major industry featuring sexual sins parallels the Sidonian tolerance of similar practices, and would give meaning to the Genesis 49 prophecy about modern Zebulon being comparable to the sexually-sinful Sidonians.

 

The Netherlands perfectly fulfills the biblical prophecy about a modern seacoast nation that is "sheltered from the sea," has "sucked" the sea dry in an area, has a major "seaport," and a sex industry like that of ancient Sidon. That a prophecy thousands of years old has come true so accurately in the "latter day" period for which it was intended gives further testimony that there is an all-powerful God who can accurately foresee the future.

 

The Bible clearly indicates the Dutch are the modern Zebulonites.

 

Steven M. Collins