Lost Israel Found
Jeremiah's escape to Ireland -- The Babvlonish captivity -- His treatment by the Jews, by Nebuehadnezzar -- Taking the ark and Jacob's stone out of the temple -- Going down to Egypt with Baruch and the women -- His flight thence to Ireland -- The marriage of Tephi to Eoehaid -- Crowned on Jacob's stone -- Transmitted down through every reign to Victoria, who was last crowned on it -- Now in Westminster Abbey -- Tephi's death and burial in Tarah -- Hebrew institutions established by Jeremiah.
Jeremiah's escape to Ireland
"See, I 'have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow; to build up and to plant." (Jer. 1:10.) Again, Ezk. 17:22: "Thus saith the Lord' I will also take of the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top most of his young twigs a tender one, and I will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent."
These passages of scripture are believed to teach what Jeremiah is about to do in Ireland.
It is necessary to refer now to Judah. Judah was still left in Jerusalem, after Israel was carried away captive into Assyria, for Judah's cup of bitterness had not yet become fulll. But he was fast following on the same course of idolatry practiced by Israel. Yet the "long-suffering" of God endured for all hundred and thirty years after Israel's captivity, when, Judah's cup being full, God sent Nebuchadnezzar, who utterly destroyed Jerusalem, burned the temple, and carried all the principal people to Babylon.
The Babvlonish captivity
The account of the Babylonish captivity is contained in 2 Kings, 25:1-20, and in the last chapter of Jeremiah; a brief account of which it may be well to look at.
By consulting the prophecy of Jeremiah, (Jer., chapters 36, 37, 38, 40,) it appears that he had been charged with a message to Judah, the sum of which was, that the iniquities of that nation had become so great that they were to be all sent to Babylon, where they would be cured of their idolatry.
Jeremiah's treatment by the Jews, by Nebuehadnezzar
This was their great sin, and this sin Jeremiah charged home upon them with great power. But they would not listen to the preaching of that prophet of God, but declared that they would not go to Babylon; and in their wrath thrust Jeremiah down into that deep pit, where it was found he would soon die, being sunk down in the mire.
He was therefore taken out and placed in the court of the prison, where he remained until the temple was destroyed.
Now it was that the first attack was made on Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. In this battle, the army of the Jews was defeated, the king, Zedekiah, taken, his eyes put out, his sons slain, and his daughters delivered into the care of Jeremiah. We find also that the King of Babylon charged Nebuzaradan, his chief captain, to look well to Jeremiah; to administer to all his wants; to give him liberty to dwell and to (go wherever he might wish; and that nothing should be withheld.
Also it is found that the temple was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar at that time, and all the sacred vessels taken out and carried to Babylon. These vessels are all numbered and specified, but no mention is made of the "Ark of the Covenant." (Ezra, 1:5-11.) So, also, when Cyrus, some seventy years after this, ordered all these vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple, to be returned to Jerusalem, no mention is made of the "Ark of the Covenant"! ( Ezra, 1:7-11.) Josephus also mentions the same things, but is silent respecting the Ark of the Covenant! Now why this silence?
This sacred vessel, the most highly prized of all the vessels of the temple, has no mention made of it. Why is this? If it had been in the temple, would it not most surely have been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, being an object of priceless value?
Taking the ark and Jacob's stone out of the temple
There seems but one answer possible to these
questions. Jeremiah, we know, had full liberty of the temple, which
Nebuchadnezzar had given him on his first approach to Jerusalem..
These Jeremiah took to himself he and Baruck, and preserved them for future use, of which mention shall be made hereafter.
Going down to Egypt with Baruch and the women
At the second invasion of Jerusalem the temple was burnt -- the king's house, and the very walls of the city destroyed, and all the principal people carried to Babylon. But Jeremiah with Baruck and a few others were left. These soon determined to go down to Egypt, although Jeremiah had told them that death would surely be the result. But all went down, yet none ever returned save Jeremiah and Baruck and the women. (Jer. 42:17, and 44:14 and 28.)
This is the last account the scriptures give of Jeremiah. But what shall he now do? Judah is carried away captive to Babylon; the beautiful temple is burned up with fire, and Jerusalem itself deserted and laid waste! What shall lie do? Whither shall he flee? Stay in Jerusalem he cannot, for all is gone!
The kingdom is utterly subverted, and all the
tribes of Israel are gone, utterly swept from the land given them by God,
and the whole land is desolate. But has Jeremiah finished his whole work
assigned to him? What was that work? Jer. 1:10 --''See, I have this day set
thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down,
and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant." Here, then, is his
commission. He is God's minister plenipotentiary, and as yet he has
been employed only in rooting up and throwing down; now he
Jeremiah's flight thence to Ireland
Now we shall find soon after this, according to the Irish records, that "a wise, holy man from the East came to Dan, bringing with him his scribe, Brugsch, [Barueh?] also a beautiful princess, daughter of a king." (B. C. about 525.)
Dan had now a regularly organized government, and Eochaid II was the reigning prince. This prince, when he beheld that beautiful damsel, said to Jeremiah: "I must marry that beautiful princess." Well, replied Jeremiah, on this ground alone: your government must be purged of all Baalism, and based on the divine law which I have here.
The marriage of Tephi to Eoehaid -- Crowned on Jacob's stone
-- Transmitted down through every reign to Victoria,
To this Eochaid assented, and so the marriage was ratified by Jeremiah, and Tephi was crowned on Jacob's Stone. Then this stone was given to them, to be transmitted down through every reigning flintily, as the "title-deed" to the land of Canaan.
In obedience to this injunction, the stone was transmitted down through every succeeding reign in Ireland to Fer:gus I, who took it over to Scotland, (B. C. 320,) and thence down through every reign to James VI, of Scotland, James VI, of England, and thus down through every reign to Victoria, the last who was crowned upon it; and this identical stone is now in Westminster Abbey!
Hebrew institutions established by Jeremiah.
In Ireland, Jeremiah established the "School of' the Prophets," the supreme judgeship, and several other Hebrew institutions, according to the Mosaic ritual. Thus did Jeremiah fulfill his commission, by "planting and building" -- for here was certainly established the Throne of David by the coronation of Tephi, the true lineal descendant of David himself -- and then laying the foundations of the government in strict accordance with the divine requirements. (See Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy.)
Tephi's death and burial in Tarah
But what became of this Queen Tephi? It is said that she died a few years after, leaving a family of young children, and that her death was mourned by all the people, in prose, in verse and in song, as none other has ever been mourned for. And as for poor Eochaid, his heart was so torn he said, "I must make a great mausoleum for my beloved queen;" and he did so, building a tomb in the center sixty feet square, ill which the body of' Tephi was placed, and over it was constructed a great mound, which he named "Tara," a pure Hebrew word, meaning "two tables."
And here, it is believed by some, was placed the Ark of the Covenant, together with its sacred contents. Now, as to the Ark of the Covenant, no one knows definitely what became of it. It seems to be acknowledged by all that it was known to have been in the temple before the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar, as also Jacob's stone; and that there is no mention made, in the enumeration of the articles taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, of the Ark of the Covenant, nor of Jacob's stone. The great inquiry, for a long time has been, "What became of the Ark?" But no answer has as yet been given which seems entirely satisfactory.
In II Maccabees this passage is found' "It was also contained in the same writing that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the Ark to go with him [Jeremiah ] as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up and saw the heritage of God. And when Jeremv came thither, he found a hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and altar of incense, and no stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremv perceived, he blamed them, saying, As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gathers his people together again and receives them into mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shown unto Moses." (II Maccabees, 2:1-8.)
This account purports to have been taken from the records of Jewish history, and the writer, whoever he may have been, in the history he has written has given the exact account of many things, in language similar to the account ill the Bible of the same events. It would seem, therefore, if credence is to be given to the writer in these things, it might be justly claimed as to the account given of the disposition of the ark, the tabernacle, etc. Why not? Incredible? Is this any more incredible than the wonderful events recorded as having transpired at Mt. Sinai? or the feeding the Israelites with manna? or the burying of Moses in the mount by the hand of God?
All these, you say, were miraculous manifestations, made for a special purpose. True; but would not the ark, etc., seem to require that same divine protection? It is, indeed, believed by some that the ark was transported to Ireland and there buried in Tarah. Perhaps it was; for in that belief an effort was made in England not long ago to raise a fund sufficient to buy Tarah, with the view of searching the tomb of Tephi and see if the ark could not be found; but of late that work seems to have ceased, either for the want of money or from the decline of evidence that the ark was ever brought to Ireland by Jeremiah.
But whatever became of the ark, can we think for a moment that it was destroyed? For myself, I cannot but believe it will yet be found, brought to light in God's good time, and in this I rest with the utmost confidence.