THE HOUSE OF DAVID
AND THE LOST TRIBES
David and His Descendants
Are royal houses of Europe, Aristocrats and numerous commoners descended from King David?
Who Was Tea Tephi, daughter of Zedekiah of Judah and the prophet Jeremiah in Ireland?
The Jewish rules of Narbonne, were also descendants of David.
David's seed was to be as numerous as the sand the the sea.
Are there Jewish descendants of David?
Are the monarchs of Britain from King David of Judah?
Evidence suggests that they are.
Also descended from the House of David are some monarchs of other western nations,
very many families of aristocratic origin as well as the families of numerous ordinary people
whose ancestors were the younger sons of nobility or intermarried with them.
If one goes back far enough this encompasses a large number of people of British descent as well as numerous others.
What counts in Biblical terms is descent through the male line.
The deeds, attitudes, and thoughts of a person determine who he is more than anything else though ancestry in some
way does have significance to the people concerned. The following articles explore some aspects concerning the House of David in Western Europe.
After exhorting the exiled Ten Tribes of Israel to leave a traceable path of dolmens, the Prophet Jeremiah (chapter 31) continues and describes how the Tribe of Judah (i.e. the Jews) will also be re-established. A New Covenant will be made between God and the Houses of Israel and Judah. This Covenant will entail a change of nature and will be set in the heart so that the will of God will be instinctively known and performed:
"The days come that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.”
“In those days…will I cause the branch of righteousness to grow up into David; and he shall execute judgement and righteousness in the land ” (Jeremiah ch.33;14-15).
“David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel” (Jeremiah ch.33;17).
DAVID had numerous sons. Solomon the son of David had 300 wives and 700 concubines and children were borne to him. Most of the kings of the House of David had more than one wife and several children each of whom also would have raised a family of his own. It follows that numerous offspring on the male side must have belonged to the House of David. Descent through the male is what Scripture, strictly speaking, requires in order for the descendants to call themselves by the House of their male ancestor- even though, in Jewish Law, anyone borne of a Jewish mother is considered Jewish. The House of David reigned in Judah and quite a few families amongst the present-day Jews trace themselves back to David, some of them have complete (or almost complete) geneaological records all the way back. In some cases the traditions may not be entierely valid ones but in other cases they most likely are. The Biblical Commentators Rashi (1040-1105) and Abarbanel (1435-1508) as well as the Maharal (1512-1609) and many other famous Rabbinical scholars were descended from King David. The Maharal (1512-1609) was the leading Rabbinical scholar in his time. John Dee who formulated the idea of a future British Empire in the time of Elizabeth-I was sent by Elizabeth to interview the Maharal. What transpired is unknown.
Apart from those descendants of David amongst the modern Jews, people from Judah were also exiled together with the Lost Ten Tribes and in this and other ways descendants of David must have penetrated the ranks of the exiled Israelites. An Aramaic inscription mentions a "House of David" (Biran) somehow in connection with Dan in the Galilee. There was also a Judaean enclave known as Yadi in southeast Turkey which was attached to Judah in the south, "He recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel" (2-Kings 14;28). The rulers of Yadi had Hebrew names like Gabbar, Bamah, Hayya, Saul, and in our opinion represented a minor branch of the House of David. Yadi disappeared together with the northern Ten Tribed Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrians exiled the Ten Tribes of Israel. The Ten Tribes went to the north and part of them became identified as Scythians who were also known as Sacae. The Sacae-Scythians were spread over several areas and at one stage an offshoot of the Sacae had an independent kingdom in eastern Iran named “Sakastan”. The ruling dynasty of Sakastan believed itself descended from King Solomon the son of David. Iberia (Georgia in the Caucasus in southern Russia) also belonged to the Scythians. Here too there was a dynasty (related to the Arsacid Kings of Parthia) that traced itself back to David as well as to a mythical "Angl-Tork." The main region of the Scythians was the area formerly known as the USSR which along with Eastern Europe is referred to in historical terms as “Scythia.” The ruling houses of the Sakae-Scythians in Sakastan and Scythia were interrelated and had familial connections with the monarchs of the Guti (Goths) east of the Caspian Sea and with the Parthians and they with each other. It follows that these rulers too, at least in part, may well have been descended from David.
From the monarchic and aristocratic lines of Scythia came the early kings of Scandinavia, of the Franks, and of the Anglo-Saxons.
DAUGHTER OF KING ZEDEKIAH
AND THE PROPHET JEREMIAH
Enthusiasts have adduced all kinds of genealogical permutations in order to prove that the reigning house of Britain is descended from an eastern princess named Tea Tephi daughter of Zedekiah, king of Judah of the House of David. Tea Tephi according to legend married an Irish king. Their descendants moved to Scotland and from there they eventually inherited the English Throne.
In the past, a lot of people who were interested in Israelite Identity were also fascinated by the possibility that the British Royal Family were descendants of David. An old Irish legend was discovered that spoke of a mysterious princess from the east named Tea Tephi who married one of the kings of Ireland. From this king emerged the monarchs of Scotland and from them those of England. Tea Tephi had been accompanied by someone named Simon Berak and another wise man. Simon Berak was identified with Baruch, son of Neria, disciple of Jeremiah the prophet and the wise man was said to have been Jeremiah himself! Tea Tephi was one of the daughters of the kings of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had conquered Jerusalem. He took King Zedekiah and most of the people captive back to Babylon. A small remnant of the poor people was temporarily left in Judah. Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard placed Gedaliah in charge of this remnant. Gedaliah was assassinated and the Jews who had remained in Judah fled to Egypt since they feared the anger of the Babylonians (Jeremiah chapters 41,42,43). They forced Jeremiah and everybody else to go with them.
“Men, women, and children, and the king’s daughters, every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they to Tahpanhes” (Jeremiah 43;6-7).
We see here the daughters of the king being taken with Jeremiah and Baruch to Egypt. Later Irish tradition developed the idea that Jeremiah had brought one of the king’s daughters to Ireland and that Jeremiah himself is buried in Ireland.
Since Tea Tephi was the daughter of the king of Judah who was of the House of David so, too, were her descendants descended from David. The British Israel organization in Britain with the support of the British Royal Family expended much effort and money in propagandizing the legend of Tea Tephi and it worked. For some reason the notion of a romantic princess from the east caught the fancy of the populace, and it still does. There are in fact several other paths by which the seed of David penetrated British and European Royal Houses. They are more direct, seem more likely and are more logical than Tea Tephi. They also concern the male line, which is what counts in Biblical genealogy. These other possibilities, however, though seemingly more probable have not captured popular imagination in the same way that the legend of Tea Tephi has!
THE JEWISH RULERS OF NARBONNE
DESCENDANTS OF DAVID
One fount of the Davidic line may have penetrated West European nobility via France! There was once a semi-autonomous Principality in Narbonne (Southern France) described by Arthur J. Zuckerman. It was ruled by a Jewish Prince of the House of David whose offspring intermarried with the aristocracy and Royal Line of France and these with that of Normandy, Scotland, and England. From these houses descend many aristocratic and common families of France, Britain, and other lands. This is the possibility we will examine in these pages. It is not the only possibility; there are several others all of which may be valid and any one of which is sufficient. One way or the other, descendants of King David did reach Western Europe at an Early date. Quite a few families either descend from David through the male line or are related in one way or other due to intermarriage. It therefore follows, that (theoretically at least) present-day descendants of David may be extremely numerous.
DAVID'S SEED AS THE SAND OF THE SEA
Compare the possibility that many people of European descent are descended from David with the following verse:
"As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me” (Jeremiah 33;22).
We see from the above that descendants of David were to be very numerous.
David was promised that the Rulership over Israel (or at least part of it) would come from him:
“If my covenant be not with day and night, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
“Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them” (Jeremiah 33;25-26).
Literally speaking, the promises to David and to the Levites do not necessarily mean that they will always have rulers and ministers over the Houses of Israel. Rather, the Biblical promises may be understood to state that descendants of David and Levi will always be available to fulfill their ancestral functions whenever the Promised Messianic Order shall be instituted or whenever the Children of Israel are worthy. Even so, it may be that many of the Rulers over the exiled Israelites and those who ministered to them in Britain and elsewhere are (and were) descended from the Houses of David and Levi. [The Levites along with other tribes will be discussed further in future articles].
My friend Shmuel ben Yaacov (of Shiloh) has suggested that just as a genetic marker was found that had a predominant presence amongst the priestly caste (Cohens) on the Y chromosome for the male line, so, too, may one be found for descendants of David. This present article examines the House of David that existed in southern France and whose descendants intermarried with European aristocracy. This is one of the main recognized possibilities for Davidic blood being found amongst Gentile families in the west.
JEWISH DESCENDANTS OF DAVID
A Midrash (Seder Olam Zuta) traces descendants of David to about 400 CE or later. It lists names but does not give dates. The Dayan Family of Alleppo in Syria, the Abarbanels, and others had traditions and in some cases geneaological lists of their own back to King David. Another more modern source (“Der Geheimnisse der Juden,” 5 volumes) reportedly gives genealogical lists tracing from David to Rashi and from Rashi to known Jewish families.
Nebuchadnessar had exiled the Jews of Judah to Babylon. The exiles included many members of the House of David. Later, many of the exiles returned to Judah but the Diaspora in Babylon remained an important center, and after the destruction of Judah it was strengthened. The Jews of Babylon under the Babylonians, Persians, Parthians, Sassanians, and Arabs enjoyed a large degree of autonomy. They had their own rulers (“Exilarchs”) who belonged to the House of David. Bustenai ben Haninah (618-670 CE) was Exilarch under the Persians and then under the Arabs. The Arab Caliph Omar had captured the daughters of the Persian king Chosroes-ii. He took one for himself and gave one to Bustenai who already had had sons by his Jewish wives. When Bustenai died the succession was disputed between the sons of the Jewish wives and those of the Persian ones. It was alleged that the Persian woman had not converted but the Sages did not accept this claim and decided in favor of her offspring. Offspring from the Persian woman as well as the Jewish ones eventually served as Exilarchs
, but friction existed between the two sides. .
Meanwhile Gaul was being conquered by the Franks after which it became known as France. The early ruling house of the Franks was that of the Merovingians. These wore their hair long and often had Hebrew names. They were friendly towards the Jews and it is believed that some of their aristocracy converted to Judaism or at least were well influenced by it. Different Researchers have identified the Merovingians as from the Tribes of Judah
, and Dan
. The Merovingian dynasty was to be displaced by the Carolingians but the possible presence of Jewish nobles or Israelites who were conscious of their origins amongst the early aristocracy of France places a different perspective on later developments.
The Arabs had conquered the whole of the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and part of Southern France. Charles Martell defeated them in battle and saved France from Moslem domination. Charles Martell was not a Merovingian but he made himself de facto ruler, while his son Pepin formally usurped the monarchy. Henceforth, the Carolingians (named after "Charles" [Carol] Martell) replaced the Merovingians. The first Carolingian monarch was Pepin (751-768), the son of Charles Martell. Pepin continued the reconquest of those parts of southern France still held by the Arabs. Amongst the areas he conquered was Narbonne, which at that time had a large Jewish population. The Jews turned Narbonne over to Pepin and in return were promised autonomy. Zukerman points out that Pepin himself was an usurper and in need of legitimization. The Arab rulers of Spain were adversaries of Pepin. They were also enemies of the Arab rulers of Bagdad who had massacred their relatives in the east. In 766 the Franks sent a mission headed by a Jew to Bagdad. As a result of this mission, the King of Bagdad sent Machir (a Jewish descendant of King David) to France. Machir in Bagdad had been known as Natronai. He was a descendant of Bustenai through one of his Jewish wives. Natronai (Machir) formerly wasthe Exilarch of the Jews (763-766) but had since been deposed. By sending him and his brother to France, the King of Bagdad was ridding his important Jewish community of a divisive element. He was also cementing relations with the King of the Franks and doing him a favor. The King of the Franks was his potential ally against their mutual enemy in Arab Spain. The identification of Natronai with Machir is according to Zuckerman;
[Athol Bloomer however disagrees: “I disagree with the identification of Machir with Natronai and see him as the enemy of Machir's family. There were a number of Natronais in the Exilarch family and legend has sometimes confused them”.]
At all events Machir was of the Exilarchic House of David and he and his brother Gershom and at least one of their sisters went westward to Europe. Machir was given the Princedom of Narbonne in southern France over which he had autonomous rights. Charlemagne confirmed these rights in 791. Charlemagne (“Charles the Great”) was the son of Pepin. He was to become the first Holy Roman Emperor. Machir was also known in the west as Theodoric, Thierry, Aymerim Aimericus, and Americo. The name Americo or America is a Latinised version of the Hebrew name “Machir” or “Ha-Machiri” meaning "Belonging to Machir". This name was later to be given tot he Continent of "America". Machir was a warrior who fought on behalf of Charlemagne against the Arabs in Spain. He is recalled in the ballads of Southern France (quoted by Zukerman) sometimes as a Jew and at other times as a Christian. Due to his fame the name Americo appears to have entered the region. Eventually several hundred years later Americo Vespucci of Northern Italy received the name. Vespucci was a navigator who first determined that America was a separate Continent and not part of Asia. Americo (Amerigo) Vespucci gave his name to AMERICA, WHICH IS NAMED AFTER HIM. Machir in the Bible was the first-born son of Menasseh. The descendants of Machir dominated the half-tribe of Menasseh on the East Side of the Jordan. Divine Providence decided that North America would become the land of Menasseh and the origin of its very name in Hebrew is the same as that of the first born son of Menasseh. It is interesting to note that the very name “Menasseh” can be taken to mean representative responsible government while one of the meanings of the name “Machir” is selling or capitalism. These two names therefore express something of the essence of the North American nation.
Machir of Narbonne had several wives, as did the Frankish monarchs and many of the aristocrats at that time. Machir gave his sister to Pepin and took the sister of Pepin as one of his wives. The son of Machir was William, while the son of Pepin was Charlemagne and the son of Charlemagne was Louis. Athol Bloomer claims that the mother of Charlemagne was the sister of Machir and indeed there is great uncertainty as to his mother really was. Different accounts say that a daughter of William (son of Machir) married either Charlemagne or the son of Charlemagne, Louis (814-840). Charlemagne was friendly to the Jews. He resolutely resisted pressure to persecute them and he was referred to as “David.” William the son of Machir ruled over the area of Septimania. He was made Duke of Aquitaine and is referred to as “King of the Goths” since the area of southern France was a place of Gothic settlement. At one stage many Goths converted to Judaism and the terms “Goth” and “Jew” in southern France were used synonymously. William at one stage was the virtual ruler of France and served as Regent. Very often, the individuals concerned had several wives, several names, and numerous offspring whom they married off to each other. The records also helped determine matters of inheritance, rank, and status and so they were liable to be doctored. Genealogical records concerning these people therefore often become confused and contradictory but nevertheless an overall pattern repeats itself. Descendants of Machir were from time to time in different records referred to as Jewish. Despite their Jewish origins they had become Chrsitian and their descendants were sometimes anti-Semitic and persecutors of the Jewish people. They intermarried with French monarchy and upper echelons of the aristocracy. Their descendants helped fertilize the nobility of France, Flanders, Scotland, and England. At that time all of Europe was governed by the feudal system. The nobility of different countries often intermarried with each other.
Some points of possible importance are:
• One of the sons of William (grandson of Machir) was Bernard of Septimania who was the alleged physical father of Louis-III of France.
• The wife of William the Conqueror was Matilda of Flanders who was descended from Machir.
• The Dukes of Aquitaine were also possibly descended from William son of Machir. They were amongst the ancestors of English Kings.
• It is said that Louis the Stammerer the King of Aquitaine was also the son of Bernard of Septimania. Isabella of France was one of his descendants and she married Edward-II of England (1307-1327) and gave rise to a line of English monarchs.
For more details about the House of David amongst the Jews
see "Davidic Dynasty"
The partial lost of possible or probable descendants of King David include the family names:
Abarbanel*, Adler, Alter/Rotenberg (Ger Chassidim), Alfandari, Altshuler, Ashkenazi, Auerbach, Averels/Everels, Babad/Heschel*, Bach (descendants of Sirkes), Bachrach, Beharier, Berdugo, Berlin/Berliner, Bernstein, Biederman, Birnbaum, Breslav Chassidim, Nakhman, Burstein, Caro/Karo, Charif, Charlap*, Chayes/Chayut, Cohen (various families), Dayan*, Don Yechia/Ibn Yechia*, Edels, Ehrenreich, Ehrlich, Eichenstein (Zditchov Chassidim), Enzel, Epstein*, Falman, Fishel, Freidensohn, Frenkel/Frankel*, Frenkel-Teomim*, Friedland, Friedman (Rizhin, Sadagora etc. Chassidim), Fuchs, Ginzburg/Gunzburg, Glickman, Goldman, Gombiner, Gordon, Halberstam(ZanzChassidim),
Heilprin/Halperin*, Heller*, Helman, Hertzkes, Heschel/Babad*, Hillel and the Nesi'im*, Horowitz/Hurwitz (various Chassidim)*, Ish-Zvi, Isserles/Isserlin*, Itinga/Ettinger/Ittingen, Jaffe/Yoffe* / ** , Kalb, Kalmankes, Kalonymus*, Karo/Caro*, Katz (Maharal of Prague)* / **, Katzenellenbogen*, Klauber, Klausner*, Klingberg, Landau, Lau, Levinsohn,
Lichtenstadt, Lichtenstein, Lifshutz/Lipshitz, Loeb*, Loewenstam, Lowe*, Lubarsky, Lukashevesky (Lux), Lurie/Luria*,
Maharal of Prague * / **, Malavski, Margolioth, Margulies/Margolis/Margaliot*, Meisels*, Mintzberg, Mirels, Mirkes, Morgenstern (Kotzk Chassidim), Moskowitz, Oknovski, Openheim, Paprosh, Parnas, Pereles, Peretz, Polak, Posner, Rabinowitz, Rapaport*, Rashei Galut (Exilarchs) male descent from David*, Rashi (descendants of daughters)*, Reines, Roffe, Rokeach (Belz Chassidim), Rotenberg/Alter (Ger Chassidim), Roth, Rubin (Horowitz) (Ropshitz Chassidim), Rubinstein, Sabatka, Safrin, Sassoon*, Schneurson, Schneurson (Lubavitch Chassidim), Schol, Schorr*, Segal (descendantz of "Taz"), Shachor/Charny/Shwartz, Shapiro/Shapira.Spiro/Spira*, Shealtiel/Sealtiel*, Shereshevski, Shrentzels*, Simchowitz/Simchowitch, Sirkes/Sirkin, Sonnabend, Spiro, Tamarels, Teitelbaum, Teomim/Teomin-Frenkel*, Treves/Dreyfus*, Twersky (Chemobyl Chassidim), Weil *, Weinberg, Weisblum (Lizhensk Chassidim)*, Widslawski, Winkler, Zak, Zaslovsky, Zifferstein, Zinger
, “Biblical Dan,” Jerusalem, Israel, 1994, p.277.
, "History of Palestine and Syria To the Macedonian Conquest", New York, 1931, p.184
Arthur J. Zuckerman
"A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900", New York, 1972.
: Encyclopedia Judaica, “Bustenai,” “Exilarchs”, “Geneaology, House of David.”
: Herman Hoeh, “A Compendium of World History,” USA, 1962,
: Baigent, Leigh, & Lincoln. "The Messianic Legacy", 1987, U.K.
: Athol Bloomer