Zebulun – Holland
by Bert Otten

[Posted to this site: 21 November, 2013, 18 Kislev, 5774]

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Preliminary Note by YD (the Editor): The article below identifies the Dutch with the Israelite Tribe of Zebulon. We too, agree on the whole with this identification. Some of our proofs are similar to those adduced by the author, Bert Otten, below. Others are based on the similarity of the names of ancient peoples who settled in the Netherlands to those of Israelite Clans belonging to the Tribe of Zebulon. Other proofs derive from Scripture, history, mythology, symbolism, and Rabbinical sources. Those interested are invited to peruse our Literature on the subject. See especially our work, "The Tribes".

Ten Prophetic Clues Concerning

Zebulun – Holland

There is no direct history connecting the tribe of Zebulun to the Dutch people. We are talking about one of the lost tribes. Even the Caucasian population of the Netherlands comes from various backgrounds. One can compare this to Jewry. The Jewish people have known many proselytes, yet, there has been a core of the tribe of Judah (and some of Levi & Benjamin) over the past 2500 years. The core passes on characteristics and genes to the periphery. Looking at the ‘prophetic clues’ one has to conclude that a core of the tribe of Zebulun once found its way to the Low Countries. This core passed its characteristics and genes on to the influx of others. The more fulfilled prophetic clues we find, the stronger our case. What follows is not historic proof, but proof by revelation.

1st Clue: To dwell – dwelling

And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband DWELL with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun [=DWELLING] (Gen 30:19-20, KJV throughout, unless mentioned).

            The name Zebulun means to dwell or dwelling and this gives a clue for the population of the low countries. Home, homeliness, cosiness, intimate dwelling, it’s all very important to the Dutch. The Dutch word ‘gezelligheid’ is hard to translate into other languages, ‘cosiness’ comes close.

            The Netherlands is a relative small country, densely populated, 16 million people, and yet the biggest town, Amsterdam, has only 820,000 people (Rotterdam 620,000). The Netherlands has a village-like atmosphere compared to other countries. Foreigners often regard Holland as one big garden. There is no wilderness, no wild country. Everything is neat, clean, systematic, well ‘groomed’, ‘gezellig’, tidy, even our forests seem to be tidy …

            Think of all the narrow houses along the canals of Dutch towns, and the canal-boats. Interior design has been important in Holland since the days of the DutchRepublic of the Seven United Provinces (1585-1795). Just look at the pictures of Vermeer.


2nd Clue: dwellings ‘on-Sea’

Zebulun shall dwell at the SHORE of the sea, and he shall be a SHORE for ships … (Gen 49:13a, JPS). Z’vulun will live AT THE SEASHORE, with ships anchoring along his coast … (Gen 49:13a, CJB).

            The Hebrew word ‘chof’ means a cove (as a sheltered bay):—coast [of the sea], haven, shore, [sea-]side.

            The Netherlands has only sandy beaches, from the islands in the north (province of Friesland) to the islands in the south (province of Zealand). The beaches are bordered by sand dunes, sometimes 50m high and at some places 4km wide. Before the great land reclamations started, half of the country was close to the sea. There is an abundance of place names with ‘aan Zee’ (on-Sea), ‘zand’ (sand) and ‘duinen’ (dunes): Katwijk aan Zee, Noordwijk aan Zee, Bergen aan Zee, Egmond aan Zee, Castricum aan Zee, Wijk aan Zee, Bloemendaal aan Zee, Hagen aan Zee, Julianadorp aan Zee, Schoorl aan Zee,

Huisduinen, Loosduinen, Camperduin, Heemskerkerduin,

Kijkduin, Breezand, Cadzand-Bad,

’s Gravenzande, Zandvoort.

            Half the country is built on reclaimed land. If there were no dunes and no dykes, half the country would be submerged. I myself live in Gouda, 6m below sea level.


3rd Clue: Zebulun, a haven for ships


Zebulun shall dwell at the HAVEN of the sea; and he shall be for an HAVEN OF SHIPS … (Gen 49:13).

            There are different translations for ‘chof’. It can be translated either as beach or haven (port). This is quite logical when we see that in the past the beach was often the ‘port’ for vessels. Until the 19th century Scheveningen had no harbour for its fishing vessels. The fishing boats (flat-bottoms) were pulled up onto the beach with the help of horses. Jacob’s prophecy concerning the tribe of Zebulun in the ‘end-time’ (acharit ha-yamim, Gen 49:1) is about dwelling ‘on-Sea’ and being a port for the nations. This can only be fulfilled by Zebulun as a lost tribe, as Zebulun was a landlocked tribe in Canaan.

            There are many ports in the low-countries. Rotterdam was the biggest port of the world for 50 years and still is the biggest port of Europe. Rotterdam and surrounding harbours are called Europoort. It is the ‘mouth’ of Europe. Rotterdam has a turnover of  430 million tons a year (2010). Rotterdam is the transport hub of Europe.


4th Clue: Zebulun, a travelling people

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy GOING OUT; and, Issachar, in thy tents (Deut 33:18).

            There is a special bond between Zebulun and Issachar. They are even more often mentioned together than Ephraim and Manasseh. In verse 19 the maritime blessing is extended to Issachar as well. In verse 18 a difference is accentuated between the two tribes. Zebulun (provinces of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht) rejoice in your going out; and Issachar (the population north of the line Haarlem-Bremen) rejoice in thy tents. The tents refer to stables and have to do with husbandry.

            At the time of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces (1581-1795) there were many Dutch explorers. For a list of Dutch explorers see: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lijst_van_Nederlandse_ontdekkingsreizigers

Many parts of the East and West Indies, Spitsbergen, Australia and New Zealand (Zealand is a Dutch province) were discovered by the Dutch. The Dutch settled in New Amsterdam (New York), Surinam, the West Indies, the Cape and the Dutch Indies. Many Dutch place names can be found.

            The VOC, Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company, had many ships built and organized many trips to the far east. Zebulun, rejoice in thy going out. Wikipedia:

            Statistically, the VOC eclipsed all of its rivals in the Asia trade. Between 1602 and 1796 the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4,785 ships, and netted for their efforts more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods. By contrast, the rest of Europe combined sent only 882,412 people from 1500 to 1795, and the fleet of the English (later British) East India Company, the VOC's nearest competitor, was a distant second to its total traffic with 2,690 ships and a mere one-fifth the tonnage of goods carried by the VOC. The VOC enjoyed huge profits from its spice monopoly through most of the 17th century.

Elizabeth - my grandparents inland

navigation boat in Zealand (1908)

            The travelling of the Dutch is also apparent in the inland navigation of Europe. More than half of the 13.000 vessels are Dutch. The rest are registered in Belgium, France and Germany.

Johannes-A –
my parents inland

navigation boat in France (1968)
(Photo by Otten)

            The VOC is the Dutch East India Company, the WIC is the West India Company and there was the Nordic Company of the whalers. The Dutch were the leading nation in whaling for two centuries, Zebulun rejoice in thy going out.

            The Netherlands is a transport land, a transit land. Rotterdam is the hub of Europe, and Amsterdam is an important port too. Transport from Rotterdam to the hinterland occurs not just by inland navigation, but by rail and by trucks too. The Dutch like to travel, the NL (Netherlands) on the number plates of trucks, coaches and tourist cars can be found all over Europe. The Dutch are caravan lovers.

            The boers of South-Africa are mainly of Dutch stock and they had their ‘Great Trek’ (1830-1850) from the Cape towards what later was to become Natal, Orange Freestate and Transvaal, in an effort to escape the influence of the English.

            Cycling tours in summer and skating tours in winter are very popular in the NL.


5th Clue: Zebulun, abundance of the seas

… for they [Zebulun and Issachar, Holland and Friesland] shall suck of the ABUNDANCE of the SEAS … (Deut 33:19b).

            Moses includes the blessing of Issachar into the blessing of Zebulun: And of Zebulun [Moses] said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents (v. 18). There is a separate emphasis in verse 18, but verse 19 concerns both tribes: They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand (v19).

            The phrase abundance of the seas concerns many items over the past centuries: herring fishing, fishing in general, whaling, the harvesting of shrimps, mussels and oysters, trade coming by sea, dredging vessels, making of dykes, canals and ports, Holland-America line, Dutch merchant fleet in the 20th century, naval wars, shipbuilding, etc. Our riches came from the sea and by sea!

            Moses has 10 blessings for the tribes. Simeon is not mentioned, and Zebulun and Issachar are mentioned within one blessing. Both of them would be living by and from the sea. The mentioning together is an indication that the Frisians would not have their own state in the end time. In Canaan both Zebulun and Issachar were landlocked tribes. The Mosaic blessing concerning the fact that Zebulun and Issachar would suck the abundance of the seas was for the end-time. Frisians and Dutch have been coastal peoples for centuries.

Bert Bert Otten on the Afsluitdyke

            It goes without saying that the abundance of the seas also refers to all the fertile reclaimed land from the sea in the Netherlands. About half the country is below sea-level. The Afsluitdyke (Closing-off-dyke) turned the Zuyderzee into a fresh water lake, the Ysselmeer (1932). In the following decades huge polders of reclaimed land were made in the former Zuyderzee.


6th Clue: Zebulun, treasures hid in the sand

… for they [Zebulun and Issachar, Holland and Friesland] shall suck … of the TREASURES hid in the SAND (Deut 33:19c).

            This part of the prophecy needs some elaboration. In the first place we think of the flatfish which hides in the sand which has been important to Dutch fishing.

            Gravel and sand themselves are treasures as well. The Netherlands is situated in the delta of Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. Below many parts of the Netherlands are huge layers of sand and gravel. Especially along the Meuse are many sand deeps and gravel deeps, lakes which have come into existence by dredging the layers of sand and gravel.

            Holland is the biggest flower and bulb exporter in the world. Behind the sand dunes there are ‘geestgronden’. These ‘geestgronden’ exist of sand from the dunes, mixed with clay. This mixture is very useful for the growing of bulbs. So even our tulip fields are linked to the abundance of the sea and treasures hid in the sand, as the North Sea brought both the clay and the sand.

            Another fulfilment is to be found in Shell. Wikipedia: Royal Dutch Shell, commonly known as Shell, is an Anglo–Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the second largest company in the world in terms of revenue. Gas and oil are formed in former seas and can be defined as ‘treasures hid in the sand’.

            In the 60’s a huge field of gas was found in Slochteren (north of the Netherlands, Issachar area). Wikipedia: Slochteren is in the center of the giant Groningen gas field, discovered in 1959, ensuring the position of the Netherlands as a major energy exporting country. The estimated gas reserves in 2009 was 2700 billion m³ (95,350 billion cubic foot). Another example of Zebulun and Issachar sucking the treasures hid in the sand, deep in the sandstone of former seas.


7th Clue: Zebulun, a compassionate people

Now I will declare unto you what I did, I saw a man in distress and nakedness in wintertime, and had COMPASSION upon him, and stole away a garment secretly from134    [“Finis non determinat probitatem actus.”] my house, and gave it to him who was in distress.  Do you therefore, my children, from that which God bestoweth upon you, show COMPASSION and mercy impartially to all men, and GIVE to every man with a good heart. And if ye have not at the time wherewith to GIVE to him that asketh you, have COMPASSION for him in bowels of mercy.  I know that my hand found not at the time wherewith to give to him that asked me, and I walked with him weeping for more than seven furlongs, and my bowels yearned towards him unto COMPASSION (The Testament of Zebulun Concerning Compassion and Mercy).

            According to the writer of the pseudo-epigraphic The Testament of Zebulun, the patriarch Zebulun was a giver and full of compassion. The Testament of Zebulun is also called the Testament of Compassion and Mercy. The patriarch Zebulun admonishes his children to be givers and to be compassionate. There are other seafaring nations like the Greek and the Japanese, however, in the Dutch we find a unique fulfillment of both prophetic clues: a nation tied to the sea and known to be givers, to be compassionate, both by government as well as in private.

            Below the ten most successful television actions by Giro 555 Samenwerkende Hulp Organisaties (SHO): for good causes:


2004-2005: Asia, tsunami victims,

            208 million euros.

2000: Kosovo, refugees,

51 million euros.

2005: Pakistan, India & Afghanistan,

earthquake, 40 million euros.

1999: Central America, hurricane Mitch,

37 million euros.

1994: Rwanda, genocide-victims,

35 million euros.
2000: Turkey, earthquake,

30 million euros.

1988: Africa Now, famine in Africa,

23 million euros.

1992: Africa, famine,

18 million euros.

1991: Africa, famine,

17 million euros.

2003: Soluth Africa, famine

12 million euros.

The Dutch are a travelling, seafaring people of compassionate givers.


8th Clue: Zebulun’s stone, a diamond

And thou shalt make the BREASTPLATE of judgment with cunning work … And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius [Ruben], a topaz [Simeon], and a carbuncle [Levi]: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald [Judah], a sapphire [Issachar], and a DIAMOND [Zebulun] (Exodus 28:15-18).

            Amsterdam has been a diamond city for 400 years. For 400 years Amsterdam was the most important diamond city in the world, but not anymore. Amsterdam retains first position in direct sales of diamonds to customers though. Famous diamonds like the Koh-I-Noor and the Star of the South were cut in Amsterdam (at Coster Diamonds).

            There is a link between diamonds and Dutch speaking areas. Of course many diamonds were found in the BoerRepublics of South Africa (near Kimberley of Orange Free State). Diamonds follow the trail of the tribe of Zebulun.

            Antwerp was a diamond city before Amsterdam. At the time of the inquisition many diamond traders fled to Amsterdam. In the 1920’s the Amsterdam market collapsed and Antwerp grew in importance. Nowadays about 80% of the diamond trade is via Antwerp.


9th Clue: Zebulun, writers, bookprinting

[From Deborah’s Song] … and out of Zebulun they that HANDLE THE PEN OF THE WRITER (Judges 5:14b)

            After Jacob’s prophecies (Gen 49) and Moses’ blessings (Deut 33), Deborah’s Song (Jud 5) is often an important source for clues towards the identities of the tribes.

            This important verse for identifying Zebulun is translated in the Greek Sepuagint as: … and from Zabulon came they that draw with the scribe’s pen of record (Judges 5:14b, LXXE).

            Holland is a very literate country and everything having to do with books, reading, writing,  printing, publishing, cartography, Bible Societies, literacy, speaking foreign languages, can be seen as fulfilments of this clue.

            Many Dutch people see Laurens Janszoon Coster (Haarlem, c. 1370 – 1440) as the inventor of the printing press. Although this cannot be proven and may not be true, Holland was a leading nation in printing in the 17th century. Although the country itself was conservative in the 18th century, it became the place where most foreign (forbidden!) works of the enlightenment were printed and published.

            Even Crusades set up by Anne van der Bijl (became Open Doors), smuggling Bibles and literature into communist countries is a fulfilment of this verse.

            The Dutch have been great cartographers. For a list of Dutch and Flemish cartographers see:


            A modern way of combining computers and cartography is sat nav or satellite navigation. TomTom NV is a Dutch manufacturer of sat nav systems and is the leading manufacturer in Europe.


Zebulun handles the pen of the writer … and of the cartographer.


10th Clue: Zebulun & Judah (Jews)

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard … far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch. And on the east side … shall they of the standard of the camp of JUDAH pitch … And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of ISSACHAR … Then the tribe of ZEBULUN … All that were numbered in the camp of JUDAH were 186,400, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth (Numbers 2:1-9).

            There is a bond between Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. They are the three youngest sons of Leah.

            The three tribes camped for 40 years in brotherly fashion in the camp of Judah (Num 9:1-9). They were the first ones to break up. And at a new campsite they were the first ones to set up camp before the tabernacle was set up. Issachar and Zebulun joined the others in sin – think of the Golden Calf and the bad report of the 10 spies – but they were not ringleaders in evil.

            The peace they enjoyed together under the banner of Judah (a lion!) in the desert is prophetic for the peace they would have in the end-time, in the last days. Over the past 400 years a special bond has developed between the Dutch (Zebulun), the Frisians (Issachar) and Jews (Judah).

            Holland became independent in 1581 and over the past 430 years Jews have lived in relative peace among the Dutch, as long as we were independent. We lost control and were occupied in 1940 – 1945 by the Germans. Tragically 105,000 Jews were deported. The Germans were helped by a minority of Dutch nationals, sad to say. It would not have happened if we had been able to stay out of the war.

            When the Dutch queen Beatrix visited the Knesset (1995), prime minister Rabin spoke of the ‘love story between Holland and Israel’. His speech can be read on http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1995-1996/Address+in+the+Knesset+by+Prime+Minister+Rabin+in.htm

            Rabin gave many possible reasons for the love relation between Holland and the State of Israel. Of course he did not mention the fact that we once resided together east of the tabernacle.

Amsterdam is a city with Hollanders, Frisians and Jews. Quite significant is, that the AmsterdamBibleMuseum houses the well-known tabernacle of Rev. Schouten.


There may be more indications that the Dutch are descendants of the lost tribe of Zebulun. However, in my opinion the above are the ten most convincing prophetic clues that this is so.

Bert Otten

See Also:

Zebulon and the Sea-Shores

Holland and Israel
PM Yitzhak Rabin and Reasons for Israeli-Jewish Appreciation of the Dutch, 28 Mar 1995

More details on the identity of many amongst the Dutch People with the Israelite Tribe of Zebulon are to be found in the work
by Yair Davidiy.