The History of the Ten "Lost" Tribes/Part 3/Note 4

Note IV.


I have stated on page 10 that the so-called Historic Proofs of Anglo-Israelism, by which the theory is supported, are derived from pagan myths and fables. Let the following suffice as a sample:—

"To accomplish this" (i.e., that the seed of Abraham should inherit the isles of the west) "some were sent to take possession of the islands long before."

The wrath of man is made to praise Him (Gen. xxxvii. 2; l. 15–21), which led to the flight of Danaus, the son of Bela, from Egyptus his brother. Dan is the son of Bilhah and brother of Joseph, who was over all the Egyptians. This was the first secession from Israel. This is probably alluded to in Ezekiel xx. 5–9. Another secession took place (1 Chron. vii. 21–24). A third secession was after the Exodus. When in the Wilderness Num. xiv. 1–4 states that they said, "Let us make a captain." Nehemiah ix. 17 tells us they did so (compare Psa. cvi. 26, 27; Ezek. xx 21–23).

Hecatœus of Abdera (6th century B.C.), quoted by Diodorus Siculus (B.C. 50), i. 27, 46, 55, says:—

"The most distinguished of the expelled foreigners (from Egypt) followed Danaus and Cadmus into Greece; but the greater number were led by Moses into Judæa."

In Æschylus' Supplicants (B.C. 6th century) Danaus and his daughters are represented as a "seed divine," exiles from Egypt, fleeing from their brother Egyptus. Since they feared an unholy alliance, they appear to have passed through Syria and perhaps Sidon into Greece.[1]

I will say nothing here about the Scripture references in the first paragraph, but if any intelligent Bible student will look them up he will see that only a perverted fancy can see in them any justification for the theory here propounded. But, as will be noted, the heathen fable about Ægyptus and Danaus is here brought into the history of Israel, Danaus being identified as Dan, the son of Bilhah; and Ægyptus, I suppose, with Joseph. Now here is the pagan fable, and let the reader judge what connection it has with the history of the sons of Jacob.

Ægyptus, who had fifty sons, and Danaus, who had fifty daughters, were twin brothers. Their father, Belus, the son of Poseidon, identified by the Romans with Neptunus, the god of the Mediterranean Sea, had assigned Libya to Danaus; but, fearing Ægyptus, his brother, he fled with his fifty daughters to Argos in Peloponnessus, where he was elected king by the Argives in place of Gelanor, the reigning monarch. Thither, however, he was followed by the fifty sons of Ægyptus, who demanded his daughters for their wives. Danaus complied with their request, but gave to each of his daughters a dagger with which to kill their husbands in the bridal night. All the sons of Ægyptus were thus murdered, with but one exception. The life of Lynceus was spared by his wife, Hypermnestra, who, according to the legend, afterwards avenged the death of his forty-nine brothers by killing his father-in-law Danaus.

The fifty daughters of Danaus, known as "the Danaides," were punished in Hades for their crime by being compelled everlastingly to pour water into a sieve. Note also that the fable propagated by Manetho that the Jews were expelled from Egypt as lepers, and the legend of Hecatæus, quoted by Diodorus Siculus that, "the most distinguished of these expelled followed Danaus and Cadmus into Greece, but the greater number were led by Moses into Judea," is also accepted as history. Some of these same pagan writers believed that the object of worship in the Holy of Holies was the head of an ass, and other absurdities of the same nature. I wonder if Anglo-Israel "theologians" accept this also as "history."

I may here add that the identification by Anglo-Israel writers of Tea, or Tephi, the heroine of some Irish ballads, with a princess of the royal house of Judah, whom Jeremiah brought to Ireland in one of the ships of Dan, and who married Esincaid, King of Ulster, and so became the ancestress of the royal houses of Ireland and Scotland, and subsequently of England—has just as much "history" for its basis as the identification of Danaus with Dan, or of Ægyptus with Joseph.

The value of Irish legends and ballads (upon which the romances of Anglo-Israel writers are largely based), as sources of "history," may be judged from the following introductory statement taken from a standard compendium of the history of Ireland:

"The history of Ireland, like that of almost all ancient countries, 'tracks its parent lake' back into the enchanted realms of legend and romance and fable. It has been said, not untruly, of Ireland that she 'can boast of ancient legends rivalling in beauty and dignity the tales of Attica and Argolis; she has an early history whose web of blended myth and reality is as richly coloured as the record of the rulers of Alba Longa and the story of the Seven Kings.' We cannot now make any effort to get at history in the beautiful myths and stories. We should puzzle our brains in vain to find out whether the Lady Cesair, who came to Ireland before the Deluge with fifty women and three men, has any warrant from genuine tradition, or is a child of fable altogether. We cannot get any hint of the actual truth about Conn of the Hundred Fights, and Fin MacCoul and Oisin. But the impression which does seem to be conveyed clearly enough from all these romances and fables and ballads is that the island was occupied in dim far-off ages by successive invaders who came from the south.

"The Phœnicians are said to have represented one wave of invasion and the Greeks another. . . .

"What may be called the authentic history of Ireland begins with the life and career of St. Patrick (5th century)."

  1. "Palestine into Britain," by Rev. L. G. A. Roberts, Secretary of the "Imperial British Israel Association."