TW Viewpoint | What Happened to the Davidic Line of Kings?

May 27, 2022 | Michael Heykoop

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David, the most famous king of Ancient Israel was promised a dynasty that would live on forever. His son, Solomon, succeeded David and extended the boundaries of the great nation. However, upon Solomon's death, the nation was divided in two. Only two tribes remained loyal to the Davidic line which continued to rule from Jerusalem for centuries until the great city fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. The heir to David's throne, Zedekiah was taken captive and his sons were killed before his very eyes. When Zedekiah later died in captivity it appeared as though this promise had run its course and the Davidic Dynasty had come to an end.

If you were on the cusp of failing to live up to a promise given long ago, would you draw attention to it? Only a short time before Zedekiah was taken captive, the ancient scholar Jeremiah records this promise:

"For thus says the LORD: 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel ...'" (Jeremiah 33:17).

Jerusalem's fall to Babylon left the region in a turbulent state. Jeremiah had been in prison for his proclamations of Jerusalem's coming destruction. The Babylonians gave control of the region to Gedaliah, making him governor. He not only released Jeremiah from prison, but also presented him with provisions and what was likely a monetary gift. Jeremiah continued to live in the region until a man named Ishmael led an insurrection, killing Gedaliah.

Johanan, who had served under Gedaliah and had even warned him of Ishmael's treachery, then gathered the remnants of the military together in an effort to restore order. They forced Ishmael to flee, but were still worried that the Babylonians would seek retribution for the death of the man they had left in charge—Gedaliah. Because of this fear, Johanan led a band of survivors to Egypt, out of the reach of the Babylonian army.

A partial listing of those taken to Egypt was recorded by Jeremiah. They include Jeremiah and his assistant, a man named Baruch, but it also lists characters that bring our story back to the Davidic line "the king's daughters." Remember, Zedekiah's sons had been killed. We were not previously told what had happened to his daughters, but here we find them alive and accompanying Jeremiah to Egypt. It is important to note that Israelite law at the time did include a provision for inheritances, such as the throne, to pass through daughters if the previous holder did not have any sons.

Now is when it is helpful to glean a little more information on this man, Jeremiah. His writings open with the inclusion of a commission which he wholeheartedly viewed as being given to Him by God.

"See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant." (Jeremiah 1:10)

Most of our records for Jeremiah's career show him delivering a powerful message of warning to a nation on the brink of collapse. The meaning of his commission "to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down" is fairly clear. While he would not be doing the destruction himself, he bore witness to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the fall of the house of Judah. More curious however, is the final item mentioned, he was also to build and to plant.

One logical interpretation of this commission connects it with the promise that was reemphasised shortly before the fall of Jerusalem and the death of Zedekiah: that David would never lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel. The wording of this is worth examining, the northern portion, called the house of Israel had been taken captive nearly 200 years beforehand, around 722 BC. We track the migration of those northern 10-tribes in our Viewpoint titled "Where are the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel?"

If Jeremiah was to witness the uprooting of the Davidic dynasty, then his commission also requires him to oversee the re-establishment or re-planting of that David line in a nation which included the descendants of the nation of Israel. It is very interesting to note that various Irish myths describe Jeremiah travelling to Ireland accompanied by his assistant and a princess who then marries an Irish prince.

One of the most amazing legends in Irish history links the biblical prophet Jeremiah with the Emerald Isle. Oxford-educated Mary Rogers recounts several versions of the Jeremiah story. Each version tells of Jeremiah fleeing from Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian conquest. One account makes "Jeremiah flee to Ireland with Tea Tephi, eldest daughter of Zedekiah" (Prospects of Fermanagh, 1982, pp. 31–32). (Zedekiah was the last king to occupy the throne of Judah). Other accounts have Jeremiah and a princess or princesses and a man named Barak or Baruch leaving Egypt for the "Isles of the West" (The Book of Tephi, Goodchild, 1897, p. 4). ["Behind the mists of Ireland"]

While one must use caution when referring to myths and legends as supporting evidence, the fact that a dynasty which still maintains a throne today would arise from the same region as these myths should not be overlooked. We'll soon be publishing another Tomorrow's World Viewpoint which will examine this later dynastic line. Be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell to ensure you don't miss another video from Tomorrow's World Viewpoint.

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