Do you like solving riddles? Then look up Ezekiel, Chapter 17. There God gives to the prophet Ezekiel a riddle to speak to the house of Israel. It is about a cedar tree, and the solution of the riddle is given in the same chapter, verses 11-21. A great eagle (Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon) came and took Johoiachin, king of Judah, a prisoner to Babylon (v. 3-4). Then Nebuchadnezzar set up Zedekiah (“the seed of the land”) in Jerusalem, subject to him (hence “a low tree”) (v. 5-6). But Zedekiah broke his oath with Nebuchadnezzar, and sought aid of Egypt (the “other great eagle”—v. 7). God had warned Israel not to turn to Egypt for help, and Zedekiah is therefore told (v. 20) that he too will be taken to Babylon. (For the history of these events, read: II Kings 24:10-20; 25:1-7 and 22-30; Jer. 37:1-8; Chapter 41: 43:47).

God then tells Ezekiel (17:22) that He will take “the highest branch of the high cedar” (that is, the heir to the throne) and plant it. He says, “I will crop off from the top of his young twigs (children) a ‘tender’ one (a daughter), and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent (that is, at the head of a great kingdom.”) In the next verse God tells Ezekiel this great kingdom is Israel. We know that both Israel and Judah were gone from the land of Palestine then, so we must conclude that Israel is somewhere else.

Continuing, we read that this daughter of the king shall establish a royal house (v. 23), and all shall know that God has “brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree; dried up the green tree and made the dry tree to flourish.” What can this mean?

Notice that in Jer. 43:6, the king’s daughters are taken with Jeremiah and the rest to Egypt. Tradition says that Jeremiah, Baruch the scribe, and the elder princess (Tea Tephi) arrived in Ireland from Egypt, via Spain; and that the princess married the king of Ireland. Now, who was this king of Ireland?

I Chron. 2:3-15 gives us the genealogy of the twin sons of Judah, named Pharez and Zerah (or Zarah). Pharez was the ancestor of David (v. 15); and so of Zedekiah and his daughters. However, the Bible nowhere gives the descendants of Zerah (beyond the first generation-v. 6). Two of Zerah’s sons (Calcol and Dara or Darda) are mentioned in ancient writings as the founders of Troy (near the “Darda-nelles”); and they later built New Troy in Britain (on the site of the present London). It has been established that this king of Ireland was of the Zarah line, Zarah of the scarlet thread (see Gen. 38:30). Perhaps you have heard, too, of the “red hand of Ulster” – possibly traceable to this scarlet thread.

Thus God exalted the Zarah line to rulership in Israel instead of the Pharez line. “The dry became green, and the green became dry.”