Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Following the Line of King David of Israel

Nadene Goldfoot
King David 1010-970 BCE
King Solomon 961-920 BCE,  had 900 wives

King David was king of Israel, but when his son, King Solomon, from Bathsheba died, the kingdom split in two and Solomon's son, Rehoboam (933-917 BCE) by his Ammonite wife, Naamah,  remained ruler with Jerusalem which the tribe of Judah kept as their main city and religious center in their new state of Judah.

David was the youngest son of Jesse and daughter of Ithra of the tribe of Judah; and had at least 10 wives and at least 1 concubine. He also was said to have had 22 sons and 1 daughter.  

 Here are the wives.  Michal was the daughter of King Saul, Israel's first King and son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin who David replaced.  One of Saul's sons, Jonathan, died in battle.  Ishbosheth, the remaining of 3 sons,  became Saul's successor  for a while over part of the country when he died.  The prophet, Samuel, chose David to be the king instead.  He had married Ahinoam of Jezreel, mother of David's oldest son, Amnon and Tamar who Amnon fell in love with; Abigail, mother of Adonijah and Daniel the 2nd, Maachah from Geshur, mother of Absalom-3rd son-who killed Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, Merab; Haggeth, mother of Adonijah-4th son and killed by David for wanting to marry Abishag, David's concubine;  Abital, mother of Shephatiah, Eglah, mother of Ithream, and Maacah..

Jeroboam,(933-912 BCE)  stayed with the dissidents of Israel and remained as their king.  He was from the tribe of Ephraim and had acted as a superintendent of forced labor during the reign of Solomon in his building projects but later led the revolt against the burden imposed on the people by the monarchy like the high taxes.  To combat the influence on the Temple which stayed in Davidic hands, he set up new shrines at Bethel and Dan with a similar cult, but centered around the symbols of golden calves.  The Bible and Talmudic sources are violently hostile to Jeroboam who "sinned and caused Israel to sin."

Their last king was Hoshea (730-721 BCE) and that's when the Assyrians attacked and carted off 10 of the 12 tribes.  Judah was in the south and was unable to come to the other's aid fast enough, evidently.

King Amon (638-637 BCE) He became king at age 22 in succession to his father, Manasseh, and ruled for 2 years before being killed by conspirators.
King Josiah (637-608 BCE) His father, Amon, had been murdered and so the people had to have Josiah crowned king though he was only 8 years old.  When he was 21, he began a program of religious reform, and removed the foreign cults which had taken hold in Judah and he re-established the pure monotheistic religion of Judaism.

Jehoahaz (originally Shallum) (608 BCE) He was the son of Josiah but was only king for 3 months.  He was crowned after his father was killed fighting the Egyptians.  He belonged to the pro-Babylonian paraty since he was deposed  and arrested by Pharaoh Necoh and died in captivity in Egypt.

King Jehoiakim (originally ELIAKIM)  ruled in Judah from 608-598 BCE  He was the son of King Josiah.  He was made king by Pharoah Necoh in succession to his brother Jehoahaz.  For 3 years he was the subject to Egypt, but after the defeat of Necoh at the battle Carchemish in 605 BCE, he became a Babylonian vassal.  In 601, he joined the pro-Egyptian party in Judah in opposition to the advice of the prophet Jeremiah who depicts Jehoiakim as a tyrannical oppressor.  Joehoiakim died while Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians in 598 BCE.

King Jehoiachin (originally Coniah or Jeconiah) son of Jehoiakim, ruled from 598-597 BCE. starting at the age of 18 during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.  He reigned for 3 months and 10 days only before giving into Nebuchadnezzar.  He was then taken to exile in Babylonia and remained in detention until the okay was given from Evil-Merodach in 561 BCE when he was released.
The kingdom of Judah continued on till Babylonia attacked it in 597-586 BCE led by Nebuchadnezzar.

 Zedekiah was the last king of Judah from 597-586 BCE.  He was the son of Josiah
ZERUBBABEL, born in Babylonia about 480 BCE, was the grandson of King JEHOIACHIN, so was a man from the Davidic line.    He was one of the first Jews to return to Judah from Babylon with the okay from King Cyrus, the Persian ruler.  The Jews had been exile from their Judean home for 50 years.  Supposedly he had been the bodyguard of King Darius who gave him the permission to rebuild Jerusalem, but this is conflicting with other accounts found in the bible.  Darius had inherited his throne from King Cyrus.

He was appointed as satrap after the death of SHESHBAZZAR who could have been Shenazzar, grandson of Jehoiachin, but others identify him as Zerubbabel.  He was appointed by Cyrus over Judah in 538 BCE and trusted with the Temple vessels which he returned from Babylon to Jerusalem.  He also laid the foundation for the building of the 2nd Temple as told in Ezra.    He set up a proper altar, re-established the festivals, and took steps toward the rebuilding of the Temple.  He was the last satrap of Davidic descent in Jerusalem.  After his time, the high priest increased in influence, possibly as a consequence of Persian apprehension concerning the  renewal of the Davidic Dynasty.  Some believe he was removed from office and recalled to Persia.

Shealtiel was of the Davidic line.  He supposedly was the son of King Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and was made 2nd king in exile following his father.  There is conflicting text in the Hebrew Bible as to whether Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel or of Shealtiel's brother Pedaiah.                         
Nehemiah lived in the 400s BCE and was of the Davidic line and was one of the earliest and most prominent Achamenid-appointed governors of Judah.  He was serving as the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I of Persia who ruled Babylonia then and overheard about the terrible conditions in Jerusalem.  He asked permission from the king to go there, and he was appointed the governor in 444.  He organized the repair of the walls, finished in 52 days despite interference by the neighboring peoples.  He was into social reforms and got people to observe the Sabbath again and cancelled debts owed by the poor.  The leaders had to promise him to keep the Temple regulations and pay their tithes.  Security was an issue then as now, so he had 1/10th of the people to live in Jerusalem.  After 12 years, he returned to Susa, Persia, but later went back to Jerusalem to renew his drastic work.
From  433 to 432 BCE he took steps against mixed marriages along with EZRA, the prophet.  He kept working on rebuilding Judah.  His memoirs form the main body of the Book of Nehemiah which is a continuation of the Book of Ezra in the Hagiographa.  The prophet Ezra was the son of Seraiah, and a Levite. He was a member of the priestly family of Zadok and served as a scribe for the Persian government.  He led a new party 60 years after Zerubbabel back to Jerusalem.  In 458 he received permission from Artaxerxes I of Persia and went to Jerusalem with 1,754 returning exiles.  It took Ezra and Nehemiah to persuade the people to keep the Torah and observe the Sabbath and sabbatical year, pay their dues, and reject marriages with gentiles in 444 BCE.  Artaxerxes had exiled many Jews to Hyrcania.  
In the time of ROMAN rule, all the people holding office of Nasi (prince) after Shemaiah claimed Davidic lineage through Hillel, who was rumored to have maternal lineage from the Davidic line.  Hillel was called The Elder and lived in the 1st century BCE.  He founded the school called "House of Hillel." He started his own dynasty that lasted until the 5th century CE.  He was born in Babylonia but settled in Judah and earned his living by manual labor while studying with Shemaiah and Avtalyon.  He was appointed president of the Sanhedrin and with his friend Shammai, were the last of the pairs or Zugot of scholars.  He was noted for his humility and of being lenient.  He is also known for writing the Golden Rule-which in his writing is in the negative.  DO NOT DO TO OTHERS THAT WHICH YOU WOULD NOT HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.

RASHI -aka Rabbi Solomon Yitzhaki 1040-1105 from Troyes, France had a school in Worms, Germany.  He had a detailed genealogy chart connecting to king David.  He earned his money from his vineyard and taught the Torah.  He is about the best Torah commentator there is.  Our prayer books have notations throughout of how he interpreted words and phrases.  Many people are descendants from him.

We have heard of the Queen of Sheba visiting King Solomon and returning pregnant along with her ladies in waiting.  Their 13th century treatise asserts descent from Israelites who returned with the Queen of Sheba.  Her son was Menelik.  These returning Judeans were from the tribes of Dan and Judah.

 Worms, Germany was a very important center of Rabbis.  The Rabbi of Worms, aka Eleazar ben Judah of Worms aka Eleazar Rokeah (1160-1238) was connected to Rashi, and therefore was connected to King David.  He also was a codifier and Kabbalist and liturgical poet, born in Mainz, Germany.  His wife and 2 daughters were slaughtered before his eyes in his own home by intruding Crusaders in 1196.  

Jehiel Heilprin,aka Jehiel ben Solomon Heilprin (c 1660-1746) was a rabbi at Glusk, White Russia and Minsk.  He had a wide secular education and was a student of Kabbalah,  author of Seder Ha-Dorot (The Order of the Generations) (Karlsruhe, 1769), had a similar genealogy and listed his descent from Rashi, Johanan Ha-Sandler, Rabbi Gamaliel the Elder in the title page of his book.

Possible descendants of Heilprin were Angelo . Heilprin (1853-1907) US geologist, paleontologist and explorer, son of Michael Heilprin (1823-1888) author and journalist of Polish birth, went to Hungary in `1842 and became secretary of the Ministry of the Interior's press office.  He settled in the US in 1856 and taught in Jewish schools in Philadelphia and was active in the anti-slavery movement.  Louis Heilprin (1851-1912) was an editor, and son of Michael also.  He wrote the Historical Reference Book in 1884 and others.  

"Heilprin has been changed to many spellings.  It is also Halpern, Heilbronn, Heilbrunn, Heilperin, Heilbron, Heilbroner, Heilperin, Heilpern, Heilborn, Halperin, Helpern, Alpron, , Galpern, Heilprun, Galperin, Halpaer, Helpern."  This is a German name taken from the town of Heilbron in Wurttemberg.  All Jews with this name are not always related.  It is thought that many Jews of Austria, Germany and Russia assumed these when ordered to take family names in about 1800.  In Pinsk, Russia, Samuel Halpern was a rabbi.

 There area 4 distinct branches of the Heilprin name.
1. Zebulon Heilprin, 16th century, whose son, Moses of Brest-Litovsk was the father in law of Samuel Edels.
2. Rabbi Jehiel Heilprin of Lithuania (1660-1746).  He's a descendant of Solomon Luria, who traced his genealogy back through Rashi (1040-1105).
3. A Heilprin branch is also related to the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism.
4. Many Heilprins of Russia claimed in 1900 descent from the 4th branch.
Relative include Katzenellenbogen, Hurwitz, Horovitz, Jaffe, Wahl, Hennigson, Ornstein, Kaminski, Epstein and Raphael.  Jewish Encyclopedia has charts on 3 branches.  Other encyclopedias have information as well.
 Solomon ben Jehiel Luria, aka Maharshal (c 1510-1573) was a rabbi and codifier.  He was in Poland and Lithuania communities, the last in Lublin.
Isaac ben Solomon Luria (1534-1572)  was born in Jerusalem and educated in Egypt.  He lived in Safed , Palestine from 1570 and was famous for his saintly character.  He identified ancient graves in the Galilee.  He was a kabbalist.
                                                         Heilprin Tree

Today we have autosomal DNA tests that can tell if people are related or not-of course with any help one may have from family trees.  Family Tree DNA, 23&Me and ancestry.com sell autosomal testing.  At Family Tree DNA there is already a group called Halpern & Branches that is made up of people of these descendants and are  found through this dna test.

The Rabbi of Worms, Eleazar, tells us that the family received "secrets" orally from the Babylonian scholar, Aaron, son of Samuel.  We don't know if this could have been the Kalonymus family of Italy or not, but was one of the 8th to the 11th centuries.

"Judah Lowe (in Hebrew: Liva) the Elder, of Prague, was the great-great-grandfather of Judah Lowe (Liva), known as the MaHaRaL of Prague (1525-1609), the creator of the legendary Golem. The inscription on the gravestone of Judah Lowe the Elder said that he was a descendant of King David."  

Judah Low ben Bezalel, aka Der Hohe rabbi Low aka the Maharal was a Kabbalist and scholar.  He was the chief rabbi of Moravia from 1553 to 1573.  He settled in Prague where he stayed until he died except for 2 times from 1584-8 and 1592-8 in Posen.  He was greatly admired and was active in education.  

Tanna Johanan Ha-Sandler aka The Shoemaker (2nd century, who was a descendant of King David). This record was lost in the "Swiss War" of 1499,  was born in Alexandria in the 2nd century and a pupil of Rabbi Akiva  and managed to survive the Hadrianic persecutions and taught his teacher's traditions.  

The Kalonymus family could have been a descendant of King David.  They supposedly came from Onkelos, the great translator of the Bible, and was called Kalonymus.  It's the name of many medieval Jewish families. The family flourished in southern Italy from where some of its members were moved by one of the Carolingian emperors to the Rhine cities in Germany.  They thought Charlemagne was the king responsible for the move, but now thought it was really Charles the Bald, who lived in the 2nd half of the 9th century.

The Kalonymus family gave the Jews in Germany leaders of the communities.  At the time, Crusaders were slaughtering Jews and this was being written about in chronicles where this information was found.
Many of the most prominent halakhists and talmudic scholars of the time were members of the Kalonymus family.  The political and cultural life of the Jews in Germany between the 9th and 13th centuries was dominated by the family.

One famous person was Kalonymus of Lucca who lived in Italy in the 9th century.  Moses ben Kalonymus lived in Italy but moved to Mainz and influenced the students in Germany, especially Simeon ben Isaac, Kalonymus ben Judah ha-Bahur (the Younger) a student in Mainz at the end of the 11th century and the beginning of the 12th who witnessed the persecutions of 1096, who was martyred with his whole community; and Kalonymus ben Isaac ha-Zaken the Elder, a communal leader and halakhist and founder of the branch of the Kalonymus family which had most influenced German Jews during the 12th and 13th centuries and more.

The Rabbi of Worms, Eleazar, wrote:  "I, Eleazar ha-Katan, received the true versions of the prayers form my father and teacher, Rabbi Judah, son of Rabbi Kalonymus, son of Moses, son of Rabbi Judah, son of Rabbi Kalonymus, son of Rabbi Moses, son of Rabbi Kalonymus, son of Judah.

Today there is a museum started by Susan Roth, who traced her family to King David,  called King David Private Museum & Research Center in Tel Aviv.  You can check to see if you have a name leading to King David.

A Sephardic Rabbi had a book, Yashir Moshe, written by Rabbi Moshe Dayan in 1879 in Aleppo, Syria, where the Dayan family and many other Syrian Jewish clans had lived for centuries, until forced to flee after Israel’s creation in 1948. From the book, Dayan learned that his family was related to King David, not through an exilarch, but through a brother of an exilarch. Some of the same information, he discovered, was included in an entry in the Encyclopedia Judaica.
“DAYYAN, Syrian family claiming descent from King David,” it reads. “The Dayyan family’s origin can be traced to a branch of the house of Josiah Hasan ben Zakkai, brother of the exilarch David (?917-940). One of his descendants, Solomon ben Azariah, settled in Aleppo, and his family there occupied the position of Nasi, the title of the House of David. The first to be known with the family name is Moses Ben Saadiah Dayyan in the 16th century…”
Josiah ben Zakkai was born in the first part of the 10th century and was a Babylonian exilarch.  His brother, David, was deposed from the office of exilarch by Saadyah as the  result of a quarrel and Josiah was appointed in his stead.  The caliph intervened in favor of David, and Josiah was banished to Chorassan where he died shortly afterward. 
 Saadyah ben Joseph (882-942) was a Gaon and left his native Egypt in 915 and wandered through Palestine and other countries.  He was on his way to Babylonia in 921 and got into a controversy with the Palestinian gaon Aaron ben Meir on a calendar question.  He was appointed gaon of the academy of Sura at a time of crisis in 928 and in 930 deposed by the exilarch David ben Zakkai, his former patron, who he had criticized.  
One factor to know is that "Luria could not test himself since, despite his surname, he is related through the female line. “When a male would marry a Luria daughter he would drop his surname and take hers because the Maharshal was so famous and people wanted to be linked to him,” he says."  So you may have problems tracing ancestors if your surname came from the female and not the male. " explained Dr. Jeffrey S. Malka  a retired physician, genealogist and author of Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World
Bennett Greenspan, president and CEO of Family Tree DNA,  has conducted some of the Davidic studies.  Greenspan said, "To find a unique chromosomal marker shared by men who believe they are descended from King David, it is necessary for two who don’t know they are related to each other to have matching chromosomal markers.  Greenspan says he has found such a chromosomal match between descendants of different branches of the al-Hashimi family that claim descent from the founder of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. I wonder if they carry the Y haplogroup of J1c3d.  
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Finding Our Fathers by Dan Rottenberg p. 240.
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