Aching Prosperity -> Group News and Articles -> Myths or Facts? Jeremiah’s tomb is in Ireland and the Celts descend from the ancient Lost Tribes of Israel

Myths or Facts? Jeremiah’s tomb is in Ireland and the Celts descend from the ancient Lost Tribes of Israel
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Written by
Pastor Ty Alexander
Updated 7/2/2023

There are popular legends that the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, is buried in a Loughcrew, Ireland tomb[1.1], and that the Celtic peoples who settled in the Irish and British Isles are descendants of the ancient Hebrews, and some even claim the ancient Tuatha Dé Danaan from Irish lore is actually the ancient Hebrew Tribe of Dan. I first heard of these legends decades ago when I started having interest in Irish culture, and in that time I also saw teaching from the church that backed-up the claims.

The legends say the Celtic people descend from ancient Jews that were exiled by the Assyrians – from the so-called Ten Lost Tribes of Israel after God took down the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:1-6). The legends also say Jeremiah took the daughters of King Hezekiah of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel) to Egypt and then to Ireland after Jerusalem and southern kingdom of Israel fell completely to King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, which was over 130 years after the northern kingdom fell.

Depending on the legend, Jeremiah married off the king’s daughters (one to an Irish king and one to an English king) or one daughter (to the High King of Ireland). Jeremiah also supposedly brought the ark of the covenant and stone pillow or pillar that Jacob, a forefather of the Jews, set as a memorial stone at Bethel (Genesis 28:18). This pillow is supposedly the Stone of Destiny (Lia Fáil) that is used in coronations for Ireland (at the Hill of Tara), Scotland, and Britain. And from this legendary ancient Jewish heritage in the kings of Ireland and Britain, the monarchs of the isles claim to be descended from the ancient Jewish bloodline of the Biblical King David.

In the years since I heard of these things, though, I never evaluated them and set them aside. It was only recently that I felt compelled to evaluate the legends and church teachings that back them up. First, I made an evaluation of the teachings and spiritual guidance that some ministers say came directly from God about the Lost Tribes. Being an elder minister who spent a great deal of my years evaluating church doctrine as being from God or not, it did not take long for me to see the so-called direct guidance from God and other teachings about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were full of erroneous assumptions and false teaching.

DNA evidence and archaeological evidence should back up Lost Tribe and Jeremiah migration claims as well. However, even with Britain’s extensive DNA studies of its ancient populations (geneticists studied ancient British DNA more than any other ancient sampling[1.2]), there is no evidence the ancient British or Irish peoples had any connection to ancient Jewish people. On the other hand, almost every modern Jewish population that was studied (representing about 90% of the world’s Jewish population) was found to have DNA ancestry from the Middle East[1.3], which is where the ancient Hebrews came from.

Irish and British studies of ancient populations have shown their ancestry is significantly from ancient Celtic peoples, like from France[1.2], and I have seen recent documentaries that show Celtic peoples were established in northwestern Europe, Ireland, and the British Isles long before the Jews were exiled. Some references report 1200 BC and others go as far back as 3000 BC.

The Biblical timeline for the Assyrian takeover of the northern kingdom of Israel is at about 722 BC[1.4], while the Babylonian destruction of the southern kingdom of Israel is at about 587 BC, dated from the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar from non-Biblical archaeological sources. So, even if we use the later-dated evidence of Celtic civilization in 1200 BC, it places the Celts in existence at about the time of the Exodus when the Jews fled slavery in Egypt. This is many centuries before the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles of the Jews from which the Celts supposedly came.

I have also seen documentaries dating the druids, the Celtic priesthood, which legends say descended from the ancient Jewish priesthood. They too corroborate by putting the druids far before Jeremiah or any of the Old Testament priesthood could have migrated to influence Celtic tradition and spiritualism.

And what of claims that the Irish Tuatha Dé Danann, which translates as Tribe or People of Danann, could be an Irish translation for the Jewish Tribe of Dan? When I brought the notion that Danann might be a form of Dan to my Irish Gaelic teacher, who had advanced studies at university in Ireland for both modern Irish and Old Irish, he said, no, Danann is not a form of Dan. In my own research, I considered maybe Danann could be an Ancient Hebrew form of Dan, but that too ran into a dead end. Hebrew does not modify names to make Dan into Danann and the Hebrew "an" suffix modifies words to mean "their," so if Danann was Hebrew, it would mean "their Dan" and Tuatha Dé Danann would mean "Tribe of Their Dan" if somehow Irish and Hebrew got mixed up.

Most scholars believe Tuatha Dé Danann refers to a people of a pagan Irish goddess named Danann, surmised to be a form of Danu, or more likely in my opinion, a contracted form of día Anu, which means "god/goddess Anu," since Anu is a goddess in Irish mythology while Danu is not.

In Irish mythology, the Tuatha Dé Danann have supernatural powers and some are considered gods. They were a people who were defeated by invaders and exiled to the underworld where they became the sídhe or fairyfolk. I would equate them to be similar to pagan gods and goddesses in other cultures, such as the well known Greek gods. However, some myths with these deities and people of the Danann may have come from real people and histories, since many texts record dates and history related to the Tuatha Dé Danann, like the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland or Annals of the Four Masters[1.5]. It is a Medieval text (1636 AD) that compiled much older Irish texts, which cannot be accurately dated.

This annal of Ireland gives a timeline of 1897 BC for the first high king of the Tuatha Dé Danann (a 17th Century Irish historian gives the date of 1477 BC for the same king[1.5]). These dates are in line with archaeological evidence for the ancient Celts, and as noted already, they far predate any possible migration of the ancient Jews or Jeremiah to Ireland. So based on this information, as well as linguistic evaluation, the Tuatha Dé Danann of ancient Ireland can't be the Tribe of Dan.

Furthermore, I must note that just because words from different languages look or sound the same does not mean they are related. Much of the Lost Tribe teachings I saw jumped to conclusions about similar sounding names and equated peoples, like the Israelites and Celts, to be equal just because some names or versions of names sound or look similar. Obviously, we must consider more evidence than that. In my studies of languages, I have seen many examples of words that look or sound alike in different languages, but they don't have the same origins or meaning. An interesting example is, Ireland's County Tyrone seems to be the same as the name Tyrone of Greek origin, but they come from totally different words (see Tyrone is not Tyrone for details).

Things are not looking good for these legends of the Jewish Lost Tribes or the tomb of Jeremiah in Ireland. Much of the legend of Jeremiah's tomb comes from a supposed autobiography of a Princess Tea or Teia Tephi who is supposed to be one of the daughters of the last king of Jerusalem when Jeremiah fled with his daughters to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:6-7). However, the Bible does not name the daughters and this autobiography, the Book of Tephi, has mysterious origins which I could not verify as being an authentic writing from the time of the Israelite exiles.

I had also prayed to the Lord about this Irish Jeremiah legend and what He pointed out to me was that there were multiple Jeremiahs in the Bible. I know of at least three different ones in scripture, and in fact, one was named in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 35:3) and another was the grandfather of the last king of Judah (2 Kings 24:18; Jeremiah 52:1). So even if someone named Jeremiah has a tomb in Ireland (which is not backed up by a name inscribed at the tomb), it was not the Old Testament prophet. In fact, the Bible refutes that Jeremiah the prophet went anywhere but to Babylon after Egypt because his very last statements in the Book of Jeremiah refer to the successor to King Nebuchadnezzar, King Evilmerodach (named Amel-Marduk outside the Bible) freed Jehoiachin, a king of the southern kingdom of Israel who Nebuchadnezzar imprisoned.

Jeremiah said Jehoiachin (some sources call him Jeconiah) was freed in his 37th year of exile in Babylon (Jeremiah 52:31). Since Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah to be king after Jehoiachin and Zedekiah reigned 11 years (2 Kings 24:18; 2 Chronicles 36:11) before Nebuchadnezzar completely destroyed the southern kingdom of Israel, Jeremiah would have to have been in Babylon for two decades or more after fleeing to Egypt with Hezekiah’s daughters to be witness to Jehoiachin’s freedom.

Both scripture and scientific evidence refute the legends of Jeremiah’s tomb and ancestry of the Celts (and many other peoples) coming from the Lost Tribes of Israel. And as for the ark of the covenant making its way to Ireland and the Stone of Destiny being from the Holy Land, I can say, they too have been refuted since geologists analyzed the Stone of Destiny as indigenous rock of Scotland and I have seen credible testimony that the ark of the covenant remains hidden in Jerusalem – something for another day’s discussion.

Update 7/2/2023 - In discussions about this article, someone noted the tomb in Ireland that is supposed to belong to Jeremiah is also called the Tomb of Ollamh Fodhla, which translates to Wise Sage. When I originally wrote this article, I had looked up the meanings for the Irish words and noted they mean Master/Learned Man (from ollamh) and Division/Share (from fodhla). But because this held no significance for the article, and because no words or names are carved at the tomb to validate a connection, and because I could not find any references to the title, Ollamh Fodhla, that came before the Jeremiah myths were perpetuated, I did not mention it.

However, when I looked further into the word, fodhla, today, I was reminded of a valid link I did forget to mention. It was in scripture that God guided me for the existence of other Jeremiahs in the Bible. The scripture God had me note was Jeremiah 35:3 where Jeremiah the prophet talks about gathering people from the Jewish house of the Recabites to prove a point. One of them was the son of Jeremiah, who was the son of Habazziniah. This must be a different Jeremiah than the prophet because his father was Hilkiah (Jeremiah 1:1).

What I forgot to mention in the first writing was that I saw an Ireland link in this scripture because it is numbered 353 from Jeremiah 35:3, and God has often reminded me of 353 as a reference to Ireland, because 353 is Ireland's telephone area code. So now we can see God orchestrated scripture to give a direct link to Ireland and this myth of Jeremiah's tomb there. This is a significant thing if you understand scripture and its numbering. God has made many links to the meaning of numbers and scripture and if you know the details of Bible numbering, you can understand that mankind cannot fake these links and mere coincidence cannot adequately explain them (see God's use of 222 in scripture for more).

God did these things on purpose, but furthermore, when I looked at the word fodhla today, because its modern definition of "division; part, portion; category"[1.6] did not make sense in the translation of Wise Sage, I found another clue from God. Fodhla does not appear necessary in Ollamh Fodhla because the word ollamh alone can be translated as Wise Sage, so I looked for Old Irish links and what I found was surprising. Fódhla is an alternate spelling for Fódla, a primary Irish goddess in mythology.

So this title Ollamh Fodhla can also mean Master Goddess, and knowing how God has deliberately worked the development of languages for many purposes (see The Meaning of Numbers for more examples), I see this as no coincidence that Ollamh Fodhla links to a primary or master goddess in Irish mythology. God has worked these links to further affirm that there is much myth and misconception in the notions of the Lost Tribes and an Irish tomb for the prophet Jeremiah, and it is further backed up by fodhla's modern definition of "part or category."

These Lost Tribe and Jeremiah tomb teachings belong in the category of myth and false teachings. And even more, Jeremiah 35:3, which links to Ireland's 353, goes with God's point of the Recabites being very faithful to their forefather's wish to abstain from alcohol and a life of ease in permanent homes (Jeremiah 35:5-10). This was to shame the rest of the Jewish nation because the Recabites listened to a family's traditional wish through generations while the rest of the Israelites did not listen to commands of God even when He tried to warn them many, many times (Jeremiah 35:13-16). Now today, we see God making further point with this scripture. God's wonders never cease!

[1.1] “Jeremiah’s Tomb”. Jah Publications. 1998. Retrieved 2023 Jun. 28.

[1.2] Franz Lidz. "3,000 Years Ago, Britain Got Half Its Genes From … France?". The New York Times. 2021 Dec. 22. Retrieved 2023 Jun. 28.

[1.3] Professor Steven Weitzman. "DNA and the Origin of the Jews". The Retrieved 2023 Jun. 28.

[1.4] "Introduction to Hosea". NIV Study Bible (NIV 1973, 1978, 1984). Page 1342. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan. 2002. Print.

[1.5] "Annals of the Four Masters". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2023 Jun. 30.

[1.6] "fodhla a form of fodhail". Foras na Gaeilge. Retrieved 2023 Jul. 2.

Aching Prosperity -> Group News and Articles -> Myths or Facts? Jeremiah’s tomb is in Ireland and the Celts descend from the ancient Lost Tribes of Israel


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