HISTORIC PROOF OF ISRAEL’S MIGRATIONS
Pastor Bertrand L. Comparet,A.B., J.D.
In my lecture called “ISRAEL’S FINGERPRINTS” I have sketched briefly for you some of the Bible’s evidence that the Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Germanic people of today are the living descendants of the ISRAEL of the Bible. This evidence was in the form of many Bible prophecies of Israel’s future which have been accurately fulfilled by these nations and by no others. If the people who have actually done all the things which God said Israel would do and who have received the exact blessings which God said He would give to Israel, if they are not Israel, how could God be so greatly mistaken? No, God was not mistaken, He knew what He would do and for whom He would do it. By making good all His prophecies and promises, He has identified these nations as Israel.
But there are some people that won’t believe God and will not accept His identification of these nations. In fact, one clergyman with whom I discussed this, a minister of a church in this country, wrote to me demanding to know “what other historians of the time, in what books, chapters and verses, record their migrations into Northern and Western Europe and the British Isles?” He is but one of many skeptics who ask this and to these skeptics the answer is, “Yes, various historians of those centuries have traced various steps of this migration.”
What I propose to do for you now is to trace this migration historically. Remember that, within the time limits which must necessarily be fixed on such a talk as this, I can only “Hit the high spots”. You know how large a library can be filled with history books, so I can’t quote them all verbatim. But I will have time enough to show you that the historians have traced this migration from Israel’s old Palestinian home into the European homes as the Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and Germanic peoples. Not under their old names, of course, but that also is the fulfillment of God’s prophesy that He would “call His servants by another name.” Surely you now know that the Bible Identifies Israel and only Israel, as God’s servants.
The migration of the Israelites covered about 12 centuries, during which time they were mentioned by various historians, writing in different languages, during different centuries so therefore mentioned under different names. Even today, if you were to read a London newspaper, a Paris newspaper and a Berlin newspaper, all dated about the end of 1940, you would find that the British newspaper said that in that year France was invaded by “the Germans;” the French newspaper said that the invasion was by “Les Allemans”; and the German newspaper said that the invasion was by “der Deutsch”, yet all three were talking about the same people and the same invasion. Likewise, we must not be surprised to find that the Israelites were given different names in the Assyrian, Greek and Latin languages. Likewise, even in the same language names change from century to century, just as today we never speak of “Bohemia”, as it was called a century ago, but only of “Czechoslovakia.
You remember that the original 12 Tribed nation of Israel broke up into two nations upon the death of King Solomon, about 975 B.C.. The northern 2/3 of the land, containing the ten tribes, kept the name “Israel,” while the southern 1/3, containing the Tribes of Benjamin and Judah, with many of the Levites, took the name of “Judah” after the royal tribe. From that time on, they kept their separate existence until they were finally merged into a vast migration, as we will see.
Most of the kings of the 10 Tribed northern kingdom of Israel were distinguished more for their wickedness than for any ability. However, OMRI, who reigned from 885 to 874 B.C. was a vigorous and able King. Although as wicked as the others and his reign was considered, among the other nations of western Asia, as the foundation upon which the national identity thereafter rested. The language of that day spoke of a family, a Tribe, or even a whole nation as a “house” or household. If you have read your Bible much, you must surely remember God’s many references to the “House of Israel” or the Kingdom of Judah. But, the phrase was also used in those days to refer to a nation as the “house” of a great king who ruled it. The Assyrians, among others, began calling the 10 Tribed Kingdom of Israel “The House of Omri”. In Hebrew, “house” was “bahyith” or “bayth”, in English usually spelled “BETH” and pronounced “BETH”. In the related Semitic languages of Assyrian, this was “BIT”. The Hebrew “OMRI” was in Assyrian sometimes written “HUMARI”, sometimes KUMRI
With this preface in mind, let’s start tracing the Israelites from their Palestinian homeland, in the Assyrian conquest and deportation. In II Kings 15:29, we read, “In the days of Pekah, King of Israel, came Tiglath-Pileser, King of Assyria, and took Ijon and Abel-beth-maachah and Janoa and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali and carried them captive to Assyria.” In Chronicles 5:26, it says, “And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria and he carried them away, even the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh and brought them unto Halah and Habor and Hara and to the River Gozan, unto this day.”
Confirmation of this is found in inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser which archeologists have dug up and are in our museums today. One of these says: “The cities of Gala’za (probably Assyrian for Galilee), Abilkka (probably Assyrian for Abel-beth maacha), which are on the border of Bit Humria, the whole land of Naphtali in its entirety, I brought within the border of Assyria. My official I set over them as governor. The land of Bit Humria, all of its people, together with all their goods, I carried off to Assyria. Pahaka their king they deposed and I place Ausi as king.” In confirmation of this change in kings, we read in II Kings 15:30, “And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against PEKAH son of Remaliah and smote him and slew him and reigned in his stead.
The conquest thus has begun in the northeastern and northern parts of the kingdom about 740 B.C. then worked southward, down to the heavily fortified capital city of Samaria, which was captured about 721 B.C.. Another king of Assyria reigned by that time. II Kings 18:9-11 records it as follows: “And it came to pass in the 4th year of King Hezekiah (of Judah), which was the 7th year of Hoshea, son of Elah, King of Israel, that Shalmanezer, King of Assyria, came up against Samaria and besieged it. And at the end of 3 years they took it, even in the 6th year of Hezekiah, that is the 9th year of Hoshea, King of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the King of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan and in the cities of the Medes.” We know that king Shalmanezer died toward the latter part of this siege and the final conquest and deportation were carried on by his successor, King Sargon II. In confirmation of this, an inscription of Sargon II says, “In the beginning of my reign, the city of Samaria I besieged, I captured. 27,280 of its inhabitants I carried away.”
The deportation of a whole nation naturally took a considerable period of time. The journey had to be organized, with adequate supplies for each convoy on each stage of the journey and proper organization of the places selected to receive them. We know that Sargon II did not hold “the cities” of the Medes” east of the Zagros mountains until a few years after 721 B.C., so about 715 to 712 B.C. is the correct date for the deportation to Media. The places to which Israel was deported by the Assyrians can be summed up in brief as constituting an arc or semi-circles around the southern end of the Caspian Sea.
This deportation took in the entire population of the ten northern Tribes constituting the nation of Israel. From this point on, the separation into Tribes is apparently lost and it is as a nation that the Kingdom of Israel moved into its Assyrian captivity.
This left the other two Tribes still living in the southern Kingdom of Judah. Assyria and Egypt were the two giant empires of that day, each seeking domination over all the smaller and weaker nations. Assyria had driven Egyptian influence out of western Asia, back to the continent of Africa and had made all the smaller nations surrounding Judah into vassal states paying heavy tribute to Assyria. The brutal and rapacious character of the Assyrians made them no friends and their vassal states were always hopefully looking for any means of escape from Assyrian power. Egypt kept the hope of revolt alive by offers of military assistance to those who would rebel against Assyria. The death of a king seemed the most opportune time for revolt, since his successor would need time to get his power organized and might even face some competition at home for his throne. Therefore, when King Sargon II of Assyria died, about 705 B.C., revolts began in western Asia, the Kingdom of Judah under King Hezekiah taking part in it, in the hope of military aid from Egypt. (Although the prophet Isaiah warned that the revolt would fail.)
The new king of Assyria, Sennacherib, set about recovering his empire. One rebellious city after another was reconquered with the hideous cruelty characteristic of Assyria. In 701 B.C., Sennacherib’s huge army invaded the kingdom of Judah. Midway through it, they paused briefly to defeat the Egyptian army, then moved on to besiege Jerusalem. None of the smaller cities of Judah were able to resist. II Kings 18:13 and Isaiah 36:1 say that “In the 14th year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.” Then followed the siege of Jerusalem, which was ended when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night, and Sennacherib gave up the siege and fled back to his own land.
In confirmation of this, Sennacherib’s own record of this says, “I then besieged Hezekiah of Judah, who had not submitted to my yoke, and I captured 46 of his strong cities and fortresses and innumerable small cities which were round about them, with the battering of rams and the assault of engines and the attack of foot soldiers, and by mines and breaches made in the walls. I brought out there from 200,150 people, both small and great. Hezekiah himself, like a caged bird, I shut up within Jerusalem his royal city.” Ancient Kings were boastful of their victories, but never of their defeats. So King Sennacherib tactfully fails to state how the siege of Jerusalem ended. But he does confirm the capture of all the other cities of Judah and the deportation of 200,150 people.
Remember that all the people of the 10 northern Tribes were already settled around the south end of the Caspian Sea, in the Assyrian deportation of Israel. Now, to them was added a large portion of the 2 southern Tribes of Benjamin and Judah; so that the Assyrian deportation included all of the ten Tribes and a substantial representation from the other two. These were the people who became your ancestors and mine when they moved into Europe.
Over the years, the increasing numbers of the Israelite Tribes expanded northward along both sides of the Caspian Sea. They were not basically city builders but farmers and herdsmen. Probably in the earlier part of their stay here, the Assyrians sternly discouraged the building of cities which would naturally be fortified centers of resistance. As they were moved into this area, herded along as prisoners, robbed of all their belongings, they had to make themselves brush shelters or booths where they stopped for any length of time. Here in the southwest our Indians call such a brushy shelter a “wickiup”; the Hebrews called it a “soocaw” applying the name also to a tent. It was the only house a nomad owned. The plural of “soocaw” was “succoth”. Gradually this was slurred over into “South”, used of a tent dweller or nomad and finally became Sythian”.
The great carving on the Behistun Rock made about 516 B.C. carried inscriptions showing the many different nations who were tributary to King Tarius I of Persia. These inscriptions were written in Old Persian, in Median and in Assyrian. They showed that among these were a Sythian nation called in Assyrian and Babylonian “Gimiri”, which means “The Tribes”. From “Gimiri” was derived the name of the “Cimmerians”, who settled somewhat to the north and into the Ukraine. But the Behistun Inscriptions also stated that these people were called “Sakka” in Persian and Median. Already the later names are beginning to evolve.
The great Greek historian HERODOTUS, who lived from 484 to 425 B.C., and was generally called “The Father of History”, speaking of these people says, “The Sacae, or Scyths, were clad in trousers and had on their heads tall, still caps rising to a point. They bore the bow of their country and the dagger: besides which they carried the battleaxe or sagaris. They were in truth Amyrgian Scythians, but the Persians called them Sacae, since that is the name which they give to all Scythians.” Incidentally, some of the magnificent carved walls of the ancient ruins of the Persian Palace at Persepolis show illustrations of those Sacae, in their trousers and pointed caps, bringing tribute to the Persian King.
We are now getting further clues to these people. Herodotus says that the Scythians or Sacae first appeared in that land in the seventh century B.C., which is the same period in which the Tribes of Israel were settled there by their Assyrian conquerors. Their use of the battle axe as a weapon is a carry over from their history as Israel. In Jeremiah 51:20, God says of Israel, “Thou art My battle axe and weapons of war, for with thee will I break in pieces the nations and with thee will I destroy Kingdoms”. We will see later that the name evolved from SAKKE to SAXON; and it is noteworthy that the battle axe was the great weapon of the Saxons.
These Scythians or Sacae lived up to God’s description of Israel as His battle axe and weapons of war. They became a military people of great power, who did much to break up ancient nations. The Greek geographer and historian STRABO, who lived between 63 B.C. and about 21 A.D. says: “Most of the Scythians, beginning from the Caspian Sea, are called ‘Dahae Scythae’ and those situated more towards the east, “Massagatae’ and ‘Sacae’; the rest have the common name of ‘Scythians’, but each tribe has its own peculiar name. The Sacae had made incursions similar to those of the Cimmerians and Trares, some near their own country, others at a greater distance. They occupied Bactriana, and got possession of the most fertile tract in Armenia, which was called after their own name, Sacasene. They advanced even as far as the Cappadocians, those particularly situated near the Euxine Sea (Today called the Black Sea), who are now called ‘Pontici.'”
This was but the early part of their expansion. When a century had elapsed since their deportation to this land of Scythia, they had grown strong enough to begin the long series of harassing wars against their conquerors, the Assyrians. They lacked the strength to capture the powerfully fortified group of cities about the Assyrian capitol and in turn, their nomadic habits make it easy for them to retreat before a too powerful Assyrian army. But, generations of this constant warfare wore down the Assyrians “bled them white”, so that when the Medes finally overran Assyria and captured Ninevah in 612 B.C., their victory was a fairly easy one against the exhausted Assyrians.
From this point on, I could refer you to just one historical work which fully traces the Scythians on to their settlement in England as the Anglo-Saxons. “A History of the Anglo-Saxons” by Sharon Turner does a magnificent job of this. As most of you know, I am a lawyer by profession. A lawyer soon learns to distinguish between the man who actually knows the facts and the man who is merely repeating heresay, that is, gossip and rumor he has heard from others. How do we know whether these others actually know what they are talking about? Unless a man has seen the occurrence with his own eyes, his ideas on the subject are no better than the accuracy of the information he has received.
Now, no historian in our times can have any personal knowledge of what happened 2,000 years ago, so his writings can be no better than the source material he has obtained from people who lived and wrote at a time when accurate information could still be had. Most modern history books are based on rather scanty documentation from early sources, as it is so much easier for one historian to copy from another. But Sharon Turner’s “History of the Anglo-Saxons” is one of the most thoroughly documented historical studies ever produced and its reliability is beyond question. He traces the Anglo-Saxons of Britain back to the Scythians; unfortunately, he doesn’t go the one step further and trace the Scythians back to Israel; but, we can do that from other sources.
Let us go back to the Scythians, as the people of Israel became known in the land to which they were deported. Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian who lived in the times of Julius and Augustus Caesar, says this: “The Scythians anciently enjoyed but a small tract of ground, but (through their valor) growing stronger by degrees, they enlarged their dominion far and near and attained at last to a vast and glorious empire. At the first, a very few of them, and those very despicable for their mean origin, seated themselves near to the River Araxes. Afterwards, one of their ancient kings who was a warlike prince and skillful in arms gained to their country all the mountainous parts as far as to Mount Caucasus. Some time afterwards their posterity, becoming famous and eminent for valor and martial affairs, subdued many territories. Then turning their arms the other way, they led their forces as far as to the River Nile, in Egypt.”
Other historians record that BLOND SCYTHIANS made an expedition against Palestine and Egypt about 626 B.C.. The town of Scythopolis, in the Jordan Valley, is named for a settlement on this raid. But to continue with Diodorus Siculus he wrote, “This nation prospered more and more and had kings that were very famous: from whom the SACANS and the Massagetae and the Arimaspians and many others called by other names derive their origin amongst others. There were two remarkable colonies that were drawn out of the conquered nations by those kings. The one they brought out of Assyria and settled in the country lying between Paphlagonia and Pontus. The other was drawn out of Media, which they placed near the River Tanais which people are called Sauromatians.”
Note how God’s destiny for these people worked. They would not leave behind any pockets of their people in the lands where their conquerors had settled them. But, when they had gained great power, they came back and picked up any who remained, taking them into the migrating mass. Likewise, history records that they raided Babylon, after its overthrow by the Medes and Persians, carrying off with them such of the people of Judah and Benjamin as were not going back to Jerusalem.
Even in early times, before the final mass movement into Europe, the Scythians had begun their march to their new homelands, where some of them had already arrived before the beginning of the Christian era. Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian who lived from 23 to 79 A.D., says this: “The name ‘Scythian’ has extended in every direction, even to the Sarmatae and the GERMANS. But this ancient name is now only given to those who dwell beyond those nations and live unknown to nearly all the rest of the world. Beyond (the Danube) are the peoples of Scythia. The Persians have called them by the general name of Sacae, which properly belongs only to the nearest nation of them. The more ancient writers give them the name of Aramii (Arameans). The multitude of these Scythians is quite innumerable. In their life and their habits they much resemble the people of Parthia (Persia). The Tribes among them that are better known are the Sacae, the Massagetae, the Dahae, etc..
Others have noted this early migration into Germany. For example, Herodotus mentions a migration and settlement of a people he calls the Sigynoe, who themselves claimed to be colonists from Media and who migrated as far as the River Rhine. (Remember that among the places the Israelites were resettled were “the cities of the Medes”?)
Also note that Pliny the Elder said that “The more ancient writers give them the name of Aramii”, that is, “Aramean”, in modern language called Syrian. In Deuteronomy 26:5, every Israelite was commanded to confess that “A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there with a few and became a nation, great, mighty and populous.” Hence, such ancient writers could correctly identify the Israelite Scythians as “Arameans”, for they had come from a land which was part of Syria.
Among the Tribes of the Scythians, the Massagetae attracted the notice of all the ancient historians, by their numbers and warlike ability. Those who described them in more detail divided them into the Massagetae and Thyssagetae. The “Getae” part of the name soon evolved into “Goth”. The Massagetae were the Greater Goths and the Thyssagetae were the Lesser Goths. Thus we already find among the Scythians names we can identify as the people who later conducted the great migrations into Europe. The Goths, as we know, were later called “Ostrogoths”, meaning “East Goths” and “Visigoths” meaning “West Goths”.
Now to go back a few centuries, the Sacae were allies of the Medes and Persians in the attack upon Babylon in 536 B.C.. Remember that God had said that Israel was “My battle axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.” So God had used Scythian Israel to maintain constant war against Assyria for nearly a century, until Assyria was too weakened to resist the Medes and Persians. Then God used Scythian Israel, the Sacae, to help in the conquest of Babylon, when its time had come. Later, King Cyrus of Persia was foolish enough to try to conquer his former allies the Sacae, but he was killed in the battle. King Darius also tried to conquer them, but they being a nomadic people retreated before his massive armies until he gave up and retired.
Professor George Rawlinson says that the original development of the Indo-European language took place in Armenia which, you will remember, was at that time occupied by “Scythian” Israel. Certainly from these people we can trace the introduction of this language into Europe.
This powerful and increasingly numerous people thereafter spread further north, both east and west of the Caspian Sea. To the west of it, they penetrated into the Volga and Don River Valleys as the Sauromatians and the Royal Scyths, nomadic peoples. To reach these lands, they had come up through the Caucasus Mountains by a great pass which is today occupied by the Georgian Military Road. Perhaps the Communists have changed the name of this pass in recent years, but from ancient times until within our own lifetimes this pass was known as “The Pass of Israel”. The White Race of Europe is often called “Caucasian” because the ancestors of many of them did thus come out of the Caucasus Mountains.
When Alexander the Great began his great marauding expedition across western Asia and as far as India, he had to skirt the edge of the lands held by the Scythians. In his limitless vanity and ambition, he wanted also to conquer them. But, it is recorded that their ambassadors said that they would never surrender to him, that they were nomadic peoples who, if they could not resist, could retreat indefinitely before his armies. They had no wealthy cities for him to conquer and loot. Alexander invaded their lands long enough to fight one severe battle with them, defeating the Scythian forces he met. But, this was evidently just a lesson to them not to attack the flanks of his forces, for he led his forces out of their territory and never returned to the attack.
Remember that Israel is “God’s battle axe and weapons of war.” They had already weakened Assyria and as allies of the Medes and Persians had helped overthrow Assyria and Babylon. They had beaten off attempts of the Persians to conquer them. In the article “Scythians”, Chambers Encyclopedia (1927) records that “The Scythians, after about 128 B.C. overran Persia, routed several Persian armies and levied tribute from the Persian Kings. During the first century before and the first century after Christ, hordes of Scythians, having overthrown the Bactrian and Indo-Greek dynasties of Afghanistan and India, invaded northern India and there they maintained themselves with varying fortune for five centuries longer. The Jats of India and the Rajputs have both been assigned the Scythian ancestry.”
Madison Grant writes that “Ancient Bactria maintained its Nordic and Aryan aspect long after Alexander’s time and did not become Mongolized and receive the sinister name of Turkestan until the seventh century (A.D.). The Saka were the blond peoples who carried the Aryan language to India.”
A land so vast and not the original home of the Israelite Scythians, but already having some inhabitants when they were settled there, must of course show varying types of people. The Nordic or Aryan Israelite Scythians conquered these other races. While some speak of a Mongoloid type found in some parts of Scythia, ancient writers pretty well agree that the dominant Sakka or Massagetae Scythians were a Nordic people. Dr. Hans Gunther, professor at Berlin University, in his “Racial Elements of European History”, published in the 1920s writes: “The investigations into the traces left behind them by that wide spread Nordic people, the Sacae (Scythians), with its many tribes, are well worthy of attention. It had been living on the steppes of southeastern Europe and spread as far as Turkestan and Afghanistan and even to the Indus.
The ancient writer such as Polemon of Ilium, Galienos, Clement of Alexandria, and Adamantios, state that the Sacae were like the Celts and Germans and describe them as ruddy-fair. The Scythian tribe of the Alans are also described as having a Nordic appearance. Ammianus (About A.D. 330-400) calls them ‘almost all tall and handsome, with hair almost yellow and a fierce look.'”
We have seen that the names of the Massagetae and the Thyssagetae evolved into Goths, the Ostrogoths (or east Goths) and Visigoths (or west Goths). The historian Ptolemy, who died about 150 A.D., mentions a Scythian people, descended from the Sakae, by the name of SAXONS, who had come from Media. Albinus, who lived in the first century B.C., also says, “The SAXONS were descended from the ancient Sacae in Asia and in process of time they came to be called SAXONS.” Prideaux reports that the Cimbrians came from between the Black and Caspian Seas and that with them came the ANGLI.
We are now well into established European history. By the beginning of the 4th century A.D., many of the Goths were already Christians. In the 4th century, there were several collisions between Visigoths and Rome and in 410 the Visigoths became the masters of Italy and captured Rome. Later, they moved on into Southern France and northern Spain where they settled permanently. The Ostrogoths settled in what is modern Hungary about 455 A.D., under Theodoric the Great. They conquered Italy about 493 and set up an Ostrogoth kingdom in Italy which however, was short lived. Their descendants are the fair skinned and blond Italians of northern Italy. But the Goths had ended the Roman Empire. God’s battle axe” again destroying the kingdoms of the Babylonian order of empires.
The Angli and the Saxons moved up the Danube Valley and settled in Germany and along the Baltic shores, as is well known. From there, the Jutes, Angles and Saxons colonized England after the Roman legions were withdrawn in A.D. 408.
Actually, the earliest waves of migration penetrated to the farthest edges of the European continent, partly because they could move through nearly empty lands, without meeting any people strong enough to effectively resist them, partly because they were pushed farther by the later waves of Israelite migration coming behind them. Hence, we find the settlement of the Scandinavian Peninsula pretty well completed before the arrival of the Jutes, Angles and Saxons along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.
The Tribes that settled along the shores of the Baltic were a great maritime people, as some of the Israelites had been, even when still in Palestine and as God had prophesied. The Jutes, Angles and Saxons came from within the Baltic Sea, but their ocean borne raids on England were heavy and continuous. Later, by invitation of the British, they settled along the eastern shores, in East Anglia, Mercia, Northunbria, Sussex, Wessex, Essex and Kent.
William the Conqueror invaded England in 1056, with the Normans. They were actually Vikings who had settled on the coast of France in the province of Normandy. “Norman” really being derived from “Norseman”.
So we see that the migrations of Israel, first into Scythia, expanding there, then gaining the names of Goths, Angli and Saxons. Under those names moving into their present European homelands, is a well established historical fact. There is also the fascinating story of the early migrations by sea, but that is another subject in itself.