Ancient Israel in Spain And Britain
(A Review of an important 1846 work authored by historian and theologian DR. MOSES MARGOLIOUTH: ‘THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN GREAT BRITAIN’ )
Moses Margoliouth was a learned and respected minister in the Church of England of the nineteenth century. As his name might indicate, he was also of Jewish extraction. Born in Suwalki, Poland in 1818, he arrived in England in 1837 and converted to the Christian faith the following year. MCCLINTOCK AND STRONG’S CYCLOPEDIA adds the following:
“In 1840 he entered Trinity College, Dublin, and, after completing his studies, was ordained in 1844. He held various positions in the Episcopal Church, and at the time of his death, Feb. 25, 1881, he was vicar of Little Linford, near Newport Pagnell, Bucks, England. He is the author of many works: Fundamental Principles of Modern Judaism Investigated (London 1843); History of the Jews in Great Britain (ibid., 1846); A Pilgrimage to the Land of my Fathers (ibid. 1850, 2 vols.); History of the Jews in Great Britain (expanded 1851, 3 vols.); Abyssinia, its Past, Present, and Future (1866); The Spirit of Prophecy (1864); Sacred Minstrelsy: A Lecture on Biblical and Post-Biblical Hebrew Music (1863); The Oracles of God and their Vindication (1870); Vestiges of the Historic Anglo-Hebrews in East Anglia (eod.); The Poetry of the Hebrew Pentateuch (1871); The Lord’s Prayer No Adaptation of Existing Jewish Petitions (1876). Besides, he left a great many works in manuscript.”
A very learned churchman, he earned two doctorates (in Philosophy and Letters). The knowledge and learning he possessed shows clearly in his work, THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN GREAT BRITAIN. At the University of Liverpool, in England, he gave six lectures in 1845 on this subject. They were so well received that many requests came for their reprinting in book form, which appeared in 1846. A synopsis of this work follows.
ISRAEL, A MIGRATORY NATION
On page12, he states that Israel was “trained to be a wandering nation” with “a peculiar migratory disposition” (p.13) in preparation for “their mighty dispersion” over the earth. Israel’s progenitor, Abraham, was “a type of the same,” or example to those who followed after. Abraham was commanded in Genesis 12:1, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that 1 will show thee.’ Dr. Margoliouth adds that Abraham “and his descendants have ever and anon manifested a peculiar migratory disposition, as you always find in holy writ.” Not only that, but Israel was “trained to be a maritime nation,” as well, and quoting the eminent ancient Roman historian, Tacitus, “the first colonizing expeditions were performed by water, not by land.” Margoliouth adds, “Not only did they possess the small Sea of Galilee, but they were placed all along the upper border of the great, or Mediterranean, Sea; and no sooner were they established in their country than they began to be engaged in maritime affairs, as we read in sacred history (I Kings 9:26-28) ‘And King Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon.’ The Israelites, therefore, had an opportunity of traversing the known world at a very early period of their history…”
These statements have proven true in history. Other historians (such as Aylett Sammes in the 17th century), noted the Hebrew-Phoenician language of the early colonists of Britain, yet gave the Phoenicians all of the credit, saying that the Hebrews were never known to colonize! Not only is such a conception mistaken, but the word, “Hebrew,” in ancient times even came to mean “a colonist.” The Bible prophesied of Israel that, “his seed shall be in many waters”(Numbers 24:7) and they were to “spread abroad” to the four corners of the earth. (Genesis 28:14)
On pages 16 to 21, Pastor Margoliouth comments on the Hebrew-Phoenician connection with ancient Britain and Spain. The Bible in First Kings 10:22 tells us, ‘For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish, with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold and silver…’ Margoliouth says, “I am led to adopt the view of the profoundly learned Bochart — viz., that the Tarshish of the Scriptures was the Tartessus of Spain, with a district around including Cadiz … Now if Tarshish be Spain, the conclusion is inevitable, the Israelites must have visited the western countries in the days of Solomon.’ Israel and Phoenicia both spoke the same language in ancient times, but since the nation of Israel far outnumbered the Phoenicians, it is obvious that most “Phoenician” colonization was in reality Israelite. An excellent and authoritative discussion of this subject is covered in Stephen M. Collins’ recent book, “THE TEN TRBES OF ISRAEL … FOUND!” ($20US PPD., Box 88735, SIOUX FALLS, SD 57109-1005)
ANCIENT HEBREW INSCRIPTIONS
A very interesting discussion of monuments found in Spain begins on page 22. In the year 1480 at Saguntum, Spain, “a Hebrew epitaph” of great antiquity was discovered. It reads, ‘This is the grave of Adoniram, the servant of King Solomon, who came to collect the tribute, and died on the day…’ (page 23) This Adoniram is mentioned in both I Kings 5:14 and 4:6, “and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.” From this we understand that Adoniram was sent by Solomon to the Hebrew colony in Spain, where raw materials were collected for the Temple and other building projects in Palestine. This large stone sepulchre has been called, “the stone of Solomon’s collector.”
A second monument discovered in Spain with ancient Hebrew lettering, reads, “Raise with a bitter voice, a lamentation for the great prince; YAH has taken him. Amaziah.” An old Hebrew book, called “Darcay Noam,” or “Ways of Pleasantness,” gives an account of this epitaph.
Pastor Margoliouth sums up this issue well in saying, “I see no reason for disbelieving that there were [Israelites] in Spain in the time of David and Solomon – startling as it may appear .. there existed colonies of Hebrews all over the world, in the reigns of David and Solomon…” (page 30)
I KINGS 9:26-28 “And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon.”
I KINGS 10:22 “For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish, with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold and silver…”
A fascinating discussion of the language connection with ancient Israel appears beginning on page 32. Samuel Bochart (1599-1667), a profound Oriental language scholar, showed that the name Britain itself “is a corruption of the Hebrew words Barat Anach,”or islands of tin. We read that “an eminent Cornish scholar of last century, who devoted a great deal of his time to prove the affinity between the Hebrew and Welsh languages, observes, ‘It would be difficult to adduce a single article or form of construction in the Hebrew grammar, but the same is to be found in Welsh, and that there are many whole sentences in both languages exactly the same in the very words.'” Two columns of quotations follow, showing the connection between the Hebrew and Welsh languages, after which Pastor Margoliouth asks, “where could [the early Britons] have got hold of such whole Hebrew, purely Hebrew, sentences?” The only answer, of course, is that Hebrews visited and colonized the British isles in ancient times.
Proper names are next referenced. Kings of ancient Britain often had Hebrew names, such as Solomon (three different kings!), Daniel, Abraham, Asaph, and Adam, “from which circumstance some antiquarians attempted to prove that the Welsh are descendants of the children of Israel.” Pastor Margoliouth expresses that he is being “very moderate” in establishing that at the very least, ancient Israelites had been ‘mixing with the Britons’ in forming the foundation of the modern British people. On this point, we believe evidence exists that the Celtic-Britons were themselves descendants of the Biblical House of Israel, the lost ten tribes, who migrated overland from the land of their captivity in Assyria through the Caucasus and into Europe. Our tract, “THE REAL DIASPORA” discusses these points in greater detail.
Biblical prophetic references to Britain are discussed beginning on page 37. ‘The command is to declare the Lord’s purpose concerning Israel’ in “The isles afar off,” in Jeremiah 31:10 . These “were supposed by the ancients to have been Britannia, Scotia, and Hibernia (Ireland).’ Again, in Jeremiah 31: , “For thus saith the Lord, sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations … save thy people, the remnant of Israel.” Pastor Margoliouth avers that, ‘The prophet seems to behold Britain in his vision. There can be no doubt that Britain [was long] the chief of the nations. Her monarch’s territory is one upon which the sun never sets.’ Yet a third Biblical term is also tied to the British isles. “The expression, ‘The end of the world,’ mentioned in Isaiah 62:11 is also supposed to mean Britain, which was a common appellation for this island in remote ages.”
In the year 1670, a contractor digging the basement for a house in Mark-Lane, London, came across an old underground Roman-era vault beneath the pavement. The vault was scaled with a large old Roman-style brick ‘of curious red clay, and in bas-relief on the front hath the figure of Samson putting fire to the foxes’ tails, and driving them into a field of corn.’ An antiquarian of the time, writing about the find, asked, “How the story of Samson should be known to the Romans, much less to the Britons, so early after the propagation of the gospel, seems to be a great doubt, except, it should be said, that some Jews, after the final destruction of Jerusalem, should wander into Britain…”
The spread of the Gospel into Britain during the time of the Apostles, is a matter of historical record. “As to St. Paul’s being one of the first heralds of salvation in this island, there can scarcely be any doubt on the subject. Indeed, if we do not believe it we must make up our minds to reject all the hitherto authentic historians.” Dr. Burgess, late Bishop of Sarum, has shown that St. Paul laid the foundation of Britain’s national church. Clemens Romanus, ‘who was an intimate friend and fellow-labourer of St. Paul, declares in his Epistle to the Corinthians, that “St. Paul having been a herald of the Gospel both in the east and in the west, he received the noble crown of faith, after teaching righteousness to the whole world, and gone even to “the utmost bounds of the west” , an expression, well-known to every scholar, that always designated, or at least included, the British Islands.” Theodoret, a learned church historian of the fourth century, ‘mentions Britain among the nations which had received the Gospel.’ He states in his observations on Psalm 116, that “Paul carried salvation to the islands which lie in the ocean.” Jereme soon after, in his commentary on Amos chapter 5, said that “St. Paul’s diligence in preaching extended as far as the earth itself .. after his imprisonment he preached the Gospel in the Western parts [of the world].” (De Script. Eccl.) Venentius Fortunatus, fifth century Bishop of Poitiers, said, “Paul having crossed the ocean, landed and preached in the countries which the Britons inhabit.”
Pastor Margoliouth observes that “I could multiply quotations on this subject almost without end; but they would be as tedious, as they are unnecessary. 1 may, however, observe that some of the greatest men … who spent a great part of their lives in such researches… the learned Ussher, Parker, Stillingfleet, Cave, Camden, Gibson, Godwin, Rapin, and a great many others – have clearly shown that St. Paul was the founder of the British church … yea, the government of the British Christian Church was established and set in proper scriptural order by [Israelites] themselves, be they who they may – Peter, Paul, Simon Zealotes, loseph of Arimathea.”
Christians owe a debt of gratitude to men like Pastor Moses Margoliouth, who so clearly show us our relationship to the ancient covenant people, that we may correctly see our responsibilities as that people.
OTHER JEWISH EXPOSITORS
Other Jewish authors have espoused the “Anglo-Israel” identity. One of the most famous scholars of the middle ages was RABBI MOSES BEN MAIMON, usually called MAIMONIDES; a philosopher, astronomer, and physician, who lived from 1135 to 1204 A.D. So famous and respected was he among the Jewish people for his learning, that they called him, “The Second Moses.” He stated, “I believe the ten tribes to be in various parts of West Europe.”
In the early 19th century, MOSES EDREHI was a distinguished rabbi, scholar, teacher, and firm believer in the existence of the “Lost Ten Tribes” in the lands of the West. Born in Morocco, he taught both modern and oriental languages, as well as religion, in Amsterdam and England. He also spent years in the old libraries of Europe researching the fate of the lost tribes. In his book entitled, “An Historical Account Of The Ten Tribes,”(1836) he states, ‘Orteleus, that great geographer, giving the description of Tartary, notices the kingdom of Arsareth, where the Ten Tribes, retiring, succeeded [other] Scythian inhabitants, and took the name Gauther [Goths], because they were very jealous for the glory of God. In another place, he found the Naphtalites, who had their hordes there. He also discovered the tribe of Dan in the north, which has preserved its name. …They further add, that the remains of ancient Israel were more numerous here than in Muscovy and Poland – from which it was concluded, that their habitation was fixed in Tartary [ie Scythia] from whence they passed into neighbouring places … it is no wonder to find the Ten Tribes dispersed there; since it was no great way to go from Assyria, whither they were transplanted, having only Armenia betwixt them.” (pp. 90-92) Yes, looking from Assyria northwest beyond Armenia and the Caucasus is Europe, ancient Scythia. Edrehi later finds lost Israel, among other places, in France and Spain, quoting Obadiah 17:23, “And the captivity of the host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites [i.e., Phoenicians], even unto Zarephath (France), and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad (Spain)…” (page 266)
MODERN JEWISH PROPONENTS
In 1993, Hebrew scholar YAIR DAVIDY published in Jerusalem his book, “The Tribes,” which was the result of years of study on the question of the lost tribes of Israel. He states, “Descendants from the Tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) seem to have been especially concentrated in the nations who settled the British isles and, through them, amongst all English-speaking peoples of British origin. These peoples have played a unique role in history over and beyond that of the other Israelite nations as a whole. This historical record was appropriate to the character of their forefather, JOSEPH.” (p. 387)
THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA
Perhaps no greater authority exists as to the Jewish position on this subject, than ‘THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA,’ published in several editions beginning in the 1890’s by Funk & Wagnalls, Inc. Under the subject, “TRIBES, LOST TEN,” we read the following:
“The identification of the Sacae, or Scythians, with the Ten Tribes because they appear in history at the same time, and very nearly in the same place, as the Israelites removed by Shalmanesar, is one of the chief supports of the theory which identifies the English people, and indeed the whole Teutonic race, with the Ten tribes.” (Vol. 12, p. 250)
In continuing to discuss this question, they state, “…the Sacae, or Scythians, who, again, were the Lost Ten Tribes.” (ibid.)
EVIDENCE WHICH CONFIRMS SCRIPTURE
Related information identifying Israel in the world today will be found in our companion tracts, “ANCIENT HEBREW SEA MIGRATIONS,” and “THE HEBREW-CELTIC CONNECTION”. Evidence of ancient Hebrew sea voyages and settlement of Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain, and Denmark is confirmed by leading archaeologists. All of this is of more than passing interest for the Christian, for Bible prophecy spoke of Israel comprising “many nations,” and “a company of nations.” We believe that these and other prophecies have been indeed fulfilled!