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The Two Sticks Prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on All Four Levels - Pashat

PaRDeS and the Two Sticks
The Two Sticks Prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on All Four Levels
Part 1 The Pashat
By
James Scott Trimm



In Judaism it is understood that there are four levels of understanding of a passage, which correspond to the four Hebrew letters that spell the Hebrew word PaRDeS (Paradise) The word PRDS is also an acronym (called in Judaism "notarikon") for:

[P]ashat (Heb. "simple") The plain, simple, literal level of understanding.
[R]emez (Heb. "hint")   The implied level of understanding.
[D]rash (Heb. "search")  The allegorical, typological or homiletically level of understanding.
[S]od (Heb. "hidden")  The hidden, secret or mystical level of understanding.

In this four part study I will relate the understanding of the prophecy of Ezekiel 37 on each of the four levels.

Ezekiel 37 reads:

15 And the word of YHWH came unto me, saying:
16 And you, son of man, take you one stick, and write upon it: For Y’hudah, and for the
children of Yisra’el his companions. Then take another stick, and write upon it: For
Yosef, the stick of Efrayim, and of all the House of Yisra’el, his companions.
17 And join them for you, one to another into one stick, that they may become one, in
your hand.
18 And when the children of your people shall speak unto you, saying, Will you not tell
us what you mean by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the stick of Yosef,
which is in the hand of Efrayim, and the tribes of Yisra’el his companions, and, I will put
them unto him, together with the stick of Y’hudah: and make them one stick … and they
shall be one, in My hand.
20 And the sticks whereon you write, shall be in your hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the children of
Yisra’el from among the nations where they are gone, and will gather them on every side,
and bring them into their own land.
22 And I will make them one nation, in the land; upon the mountains of Yisra’el, and
one king shall be king to them all. And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall
they be divided into two kingdoms, any more, at all.
(Ezekiel 37:15-22 HRV)

 

THE PASHAT

After the time of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms known as the two Houses of Israel.  The Southern Kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Judah.  The Northern Kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Israel.  This Northern Kingdom was also often called "Ephraim" after its most prominent tribe.  2Kings 17 tells us of how the Assyrian king Sargon II took the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom captive in 723 BCE and resettled them so that "none was left except the tribe of Judah" (17:18).  These came to be known as "the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel".  They were divorced by YHWH (Jer. 3:8 ) but there was yet a promise of an eventual reunion of the two houses of Israel ( Is. 11:11-12; Jer. 3:6-18; Hosea 1-3; Amos 9:8-10; Obad. 15-21; Micah 2:12-13; 5:3-15; Zech. 8:13; 9 & 10; Ezekiel 34-37 esp. 37 ).

Part of the reason that the split took place is that Ephraim would not be under the authority of Judah.  As a result they rebelled and established their own authority, their own priests and their own sanctuary.  They also mixed the true religion of Torah with paganism.

What became of these “Lost Ten Tribes”?  The apocryphal book of 4th Ezra (2Esdras) tells us that they went to a region known as “Artzaret”, but this is of little help in actually locating them, because this is simply a contraction of the Hebrew phrase meaning “another land”:

39: And whereas you saw that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him;
40: Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Hoshea the king, whom Shal’man’eser the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land.
41: But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt,
42: That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
43: And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river.
44: For Elyon then showed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over.
45: For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Artzaret.
(2nd Ezra 11:39-46 (13:39-46)  HRV)

(“Artzaret” in Hebrew means “another land” compare Deut. 29:27(28))

The first century Jewish writer Josephus seems to have known something of them, he says only that they were “beyond the Euphrates” and had a large population in his day:

    …the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates until
    now, and are an immense multitude, and not to
    be estimated by numbers.
    (Josephus; Ant. 11:5:2)

According to the Midrash Rabbah the Lost Ten Tribes migrated beyond a river known as the "Sabatyon"

The ten tribes were exiled to within the region
of the river Sabatyon…
(Midrash Rabba, Sh'lach 16).  

The identity of this river has remained a mystery.  The primary clue to the identity of the mysterious Sabatyon river is also found in Midrash Rabbah which quotes Rabbi Akiba as saying:

      ...the river Sabatyon carries stones the whole
     week but allows them to rest on the Sabbath.
     (Genesis Rabbah 11:5)

Similarly the Talmud says:

    Let the river Sabatyon prove that the
    Seventh day is the Sabbath.
    (b.Sanh. 65b)

The prophet Ovadyah (Obadiah) speaks of the destination of the House of Israel as follows:

    And the captivity of this host of the children of Yisrael,
    that are among the Kena’anites, even unto Tzarfat, and
    the captivity of Yerushalayim, that is in Sepharad, shall
    possess the cities of the South.
    (Ovadyah 1:20)

Where is Tzarfat?  Tzarfat is the Hebrew word for “France”.  In fact, if you were reading a newspaper in Israel today, and it referred to France, the word used would be “Tzarfat”.

Rashi’s commentary to Ob. 1:20 says: "Tzarfat is the kingdom of France.”

Recently research has been conducted by Orthodox Jewish Israeli scholars which traces the migrations of these Lost Ten Tribes.  Two of these scholars are John Hulley (Yochanan ben David) and Yair Davidy.

The late John Hulley published a paper in the Israeli journal B'Or Ha'Torah (In the light of Torah) in which he traced the migrations of these "Lost Tribes" north west, across the Bosphorus straits between the Mediterranean and the Black sea.

Yair Davidy has written three books under the Rabbinic approbation of Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Abraham Feld.  These are The Tribes; Ephraim and Lost Israelite Identity.  Yair Davidy's thoroughly documented research has shown that the Lost Ten Tribes, which had been transplanted to the outskirts of Assyria came to be known as the Sakeans (they were previously known as Yitzakheans or in Aramaic Isakeans). These Sakeans are known to have migrated northwest and made their way into Europe to become the Scythians (S'kitheans) and Saxons (Saksons). Davidy's research has shown that other tribal groups of the Lost Ten Tribes also emerged in Europe under names similar to those of the Tribe of Israel, such as: Galics (Galileans); Danes (Dans); Cimereans (Simeons); Goths/Gots (Gads "Gad" is pronounced in Hebrew as "God").

In the Pashat level the two sticks represent the reunion of the Two Houses of Israel.  As the text itself reveals:

21 And say unto them, Thus says the Adonai YHWH: Behold, I will take the children of
Yisra’el from among the nations where they are gone, and will gather them on every side,
and bring them into their own land.
22 And I will make them one nation, in the land; upon the mountains of Yisra’el, and
one king shall be king to them all. And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall
they be divided into two kingdoms, any more, at all.
(Ezekiel 37:21-22 HRV)

(To be Continued in Part 2)

 

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Views: 715

Comment by will brinson: ferguson on January 15, 2016 at 9:49pm

Great stuff. The real/true Israeli people need to hear this. Please keep up the good work James.

Comment by Brad Lee Fitzsimmons on January 18, 2016 at 1:19am

Simply awesome!

Comment by K Porth on February 2, 2016 at 12:54pm
Comment by K Porth on February 2, 2016 at 12:55pm

P'shat is King!

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