Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

France Identified As Reuben

The Ribuari Franks founded the Kingdom of France. The name Ribuari is another form of Reuben. The symbols of France were the fleur de lis, the cock, and the rising sun. These are all associable with Reuben who was represented by the rising sun or by mandrakes. The characteristics of Reuben as implied by the Zohar also fit the French.

by Yair Davidy

France is identified by us with the Tribe of Reuben. There may also be descendants of Reuben elsewhere in Europe.

Most of our research is concrete. We tend to concentrate on the literal meaning of Scripture. Occasionally we also refer to the opinion of the Sages. Even then however this is usually done in order to clarify passages in Scripture or lend depth to our understanding of them.

The Identification of Reuben With the French

We have identified the sons of Reuben as primarily being amongst the French. The reasons for this identification are manifold:

(1) The region of France in general was one where both Scripture and history indicate a portion of the Ten Tribes to have been.

(2) The word for France in Hebrew is Tserafat.

(3) The Book of Obadiah places the Ten Tribes in this area.

Obadiah 1:20: "And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south."

In Hebrew in the light of different commentaries this should be rendered as:

Obadiah 1:20: "And this first exile of the Ten Tribes of Israel [Rashi] who dwell from the Canaanites [of GERMANY, Iben Ezra; AND HOLLAND, Jewish sources quoted by Calvin], even unto Zarephath [FRANCE, Rashi, Iben Ezra, Radak, Abarbanel, Daat Sofrim; AND ENGLAND, Abarbanel] and the captivity [OF THE JEWS] of Jerusalem in Sepharad [SPAIN, Targum Yehonatan] shall possess the cities of the south".

The ancient inhabitants of France were known as Galatae or Galaadi implying men from Gilead which was the area Reuben (together with Gad and half-Manasseh) had dwelt in.

The Ribuari Franks founded the Kingdom of France. The name Ribuari is another form of Reuben.

The symbols of France were the fleur de lis, the cock, and the rising sun. These are all associable with Reuben who was represented by the rising sun or by mandrakes.

The names of the sons of Reuben are similar to those of groups that settled in France. Chanoch became the Chauci or Hugo which was a name given to the Franks; Palui (Phalui) became Falia (Phalia) in Germany whence the Franks invaded Gaul; Chetsroni became the Chassuari and the Istaevones (Sicambri) both of whom were branches of the Franks; Carmi became the Carini who were also a section of the Franks in Gaul. The characteristics implied by these names reflect aspects of French culture. "Hanoch" means "Inauguration", or "Education"; "Phalu" means "Distinction"; "Hetzron" denotes "Dweller-of-the-Courtyard"; and "Carmi" is derivable from "Cerem" meaning "Vineyard".

Characteristics associated with Reuben in general are those associated with the French: Romantically inclined, passionate, aspiring to leadership, empathy with others, excelling in many areas but seldom achieving predominance, etc.

The position of France relative to other Israelite groups is similar to that of Reuben in Biblical times in regards to other Israelite Tribes, i.e. to the east of Ephraim and Menasseh, south of Gad, etc.

France in the Holy Land

In The Tribes we said:

"Some points of interest are that: The sons of Reuben were destined (Zohar, VaYechi, 551, Sulam Edition) to wage war in the LAND OF ISRAEL against (or for) Jerusalem. It was the French 'Franks' who led the Crusaders of Europe (1069-1270) in their attempts to conquer the Holy Land and Jerusalem. The French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799 offered to restore Palestine to the Jews. Whether Bonaparte had been genuine in his intention or not, it was the French together with the British who created the political climate which made possible the Balfour Declaration and ultimately the State of Israel. French Gentile volunteers fought on the Jewish side in Israel's War of Independence (1948-1949)."

We noted above that, "the sons of Reuben were destined (Zohar, VaYechi, 551, Sulam Edition) to wage war in the LAND OF ISRAEL against (or for) Jerusalem" and we suggested that this was fulfilled by the Crusades.

The Crusades were only a prototype of what could take place later.

The Zohar indicates that in the Last Days Reuben will fight against Jerusalem in the Land of Israel and Reuben will be punished for this. This will be associated with a world-wide war immediately preceding the Messianic Era.

The Psychological Background of Reuben

Reuben physically was the firstborn son of Jacob:

Genesis 29:31: "And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb: but Rachel was barren."

Genesis 29:32: "And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me."

Reuben was the firstborn. Leah was the mother of Reuben. The sister of Leah was Rachel who also married to Jacob. At that time she was barren but later God cured her and she bare two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was to displace Reuben and to receive the right of the firstborn in his place.

Reuben seems not to have borne any grudge against Joseph and attempted to save him from his other brothers.

The Bible tells us some facts concerning Reuben:

(1) He was the physical firstborn.

(2) Reuben found mandrake plants in the field and brought them to his mother (Genesis 30;14). This shows respect for one's mother. As a result of these mandrakes Leah hired the attentions of her husband Jacob and conceived another son Issachar.

(3) According to the simple meaning of Scripture Reuben committed adultery with the concubine of his father.

Genesis 35:22: "And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:"

Commentators point out that immediately after this incident it says that the quorum of tribes remained twelve. This included Reuben. They say that Reuben did something else such as moving the bed of his father from one tent to another and this was counted as if he slept with the wife of his father. Whatever the case the literal meaning says that Reuben slept with Bilhah and this is how in some cases the authorities related to the incident in question. When a woman was suspected of committing adultery and was being persuaded to confess (Numbers 5:19-24) then the case of Reuben would be brought up. It would be pointed out that everyone is subject to temptation and even the greatest of men had fallen in this matter.

Reuben would be adduced as an example. Jacob favored Joseph the firstborn son of his favorite wife Rachel. Later the brothers became jealous of Joseph partly because Joseph had provoked them with his dreams of grandeur. The brothers seized Joseph and intended to slay him. Reuben prevented them.

Genesis 37:22: "And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again."

Reuben then went away and in the meantime the brothers sold Joseph to a caravan of Ishmaelites going down to Egypt. Reuben returned and discovered that Joseph was not there. He was quite distraught.

Genesis 37:29-30: "And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?"

It may be that Reuben as the physical firstborn would have been held responsible by his father for the well-being of Joseph. It has been suggested that Reuben as the firstborn should have exercised authority and directly prevented the brothers from laying hands on Joseph. Instead he resorted to subterfuge intending nevertheless to restore Joseph to his father.

Joseph went down to Egypt, was enslaved, then imprisoned, then rose to become the effective ruler of Egypt. A famine visited Egypt and Canaan where Jacob and his sons dwelt. In Egypt Joseph had laid up stores of grain. The brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. They left their youngest brother Benjamin behind in the Land of Canaan. Benjamin was the son of Jacob and Rachel. Rachel had passed away. She had been the most beloved wife of Jacob. Jacob was deeply attached to Benjamin since he thought only he was left of his children from Rachel. He had been led to believe that Joseph had been slain by a wild beast. The brothers in Egypt were taken before Joseph. Joseph knew them. They did not recognize him. Joseph gave them grain, took one of the brothers (Simeon) hostage, and sent the brothers off. Joseph told them that next time they came they would have to bring Benjamin with them. When the brothers heard this they were upset. They said to themselves that this tribulation had visited them due to their sin against Joseph. Reuben reproved them:

Genesis 42:22: "And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required."

The brothers returned to their father. After a period the grain they had brought with them began to run out. There was a need to return to Egypt to buy more. The brothers understood that only with Benjamin present would Joseph allow them to buy more grain. Jacob did not want Benjamin to go with them. Reuben offered his own two sons as surety to Jacob that nothing would befall Benjamin.

Reuben said to him:

Genesis 42:37: "And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: Deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again."

From these words has arisen the Jewish folk expression, "The Foolish Firstborn" (see Rashi). The sons of Reuben were also the sons (i.e. grandsons of Jacob) and what advantage could Jacob gain by killing them? Jacob refused the request of Reuben and so they tried to hold out a little longer. In the end there was no choice and so Judah persuaded Jacob to let Benjamin go with them:

Genesis 43:8-9: "And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; That we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. I will be surety for him; Of my hand shalt thou require him: If I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever."

From the above we obtain a composite picture of Reuben: Reuben was emotional, lusty, he had empathy for others, self-sacrifice, and a sense of responsibility. Despite his sin with Bilhah he did show respect for both his father and mother. He was also quick to apportion blame on others, a user of subterfuge, and given to exaggerated bursts of emotion with accompanying far-fetched declarations. He attempted to assert himself but had trouble being taken seriously.

Reuben in Prophecy

When Jacob came to depart from this world he blessed his children including Reuben.

Genesis 49:2-4: "Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; And hearken unto Israel your father. REUBEN, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: UNSTABLE AS WATER, thou shalt not excel; Because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; Then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch."

The word translated above as excel can also mean "remain over", "continue on".

The word translated as "unstable" can also mean impetuous.

The words translated as "THY FATHER'S BED" can also be understood as saying "the places of laying down of your father", or "the layings down of your father". The Zohar has its own explanation concerning the deeper meaning of the above blessing.

The Zohar and the Psychological Destiny of Reuben

The Zohar is a collection of mystical writings. It was revealed in ca. 1305 C.E. but purports to be a collection of sayings from the ca 100s C.E. and later. It does contain ancient material and deep insights into Biblical passages. The Zohar is quite large and extends over several volumes. A lot of it is obscure and very easily misunderstood. In the past it was forbidden for anyone who was unlearned or under forty years of age to learn it. Nowadays times have changed and courses in the Zohar and related literature are open to anyone and quite popular. The Zohar contains predictions and observations that only became clear in the modern era. Even so, great men in the past, based on their understanding of the Zohar, made mistaken assumptions. We will try to avoid doing the same. We are not predicting anything just analyzing a passage and leaving it open for speculation.

The Zohar comments on the above verses concerning Reuben:

"Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob. Rabbi Chaya said: Everything should have been his and everything was taken away from him. The Commentary: Matok MeDevash ('Sweeter than Honey' in Hebrew) says that Reuben was conceived from the first seed of Jacob.

"In Hebrew THE BEGINNING OF MY STRENGTH is 'reashit oni' which can also mean 'the first of my sexual might.' According to this, the first ejaculation of Jacob was on his wedding night. Jacob thought he was marrying Rachel but her sister Leah had been put in her place. Only on the morning after the wedding night did Jacob realize he had been tricked,

Genesis 29:21-25: "And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; And he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah."

"The Commentator says: 'Reuben should have been fit to receive everything including the Firstborn Rights, Priesthood, and Royalty. Everything was taken away from him since Jacob had his mind on Rachel when he married'."

In other words whatever Reuben later did the deeper reason lay in the fact that his father did not psychologically relate directly to him even at the time of his conception. Perhaps his sin with Bilhah reflected an unconscious grudge against his father?

The Zohar continues:

"Royalty was given to Judah, the Firstborn Rights to Joseph, Priesthood to Levi, there was nothing left over for Reuben as it says, UNSTABLE AS WATER, THOU SHALT NOT EXCEL [the word for excel 'totar' can also mean 'left over'].

The Zohar goes on and explains how Jacob requested that God help Reuben despite everything and that Reuben was accorded some peripheral preeminence in some respects.

The Zohar and the Predicted Attempt of Reuben to Conquer the Holy Land

After the above character analysis of Reuben, the Zohar goes on:

"The descendants of Reuben were destined to wage two wars in the Land of Israel. One [The first War] when they came up out of Egypt, as its says,

'THE BEGINNING OF MY STRENGTH, for they went before their brothers into battle. THE EXCELLENCY OF DIGNITY in the Assyrian Exile [of the Lost Ten Tribes] for the Children of Gad and the Children of Reuben were exiled before all their brothers. They suffered from many troubles and until now they have not yet returned from Exile.

'[The second War] AND THE EXCELLENCY OF POWER: At the time when the Messianic King shall be aroused in the world, the Reubenites shall go out and wage battles in the world. They shall consider taking over the ROYAL RULERSHIP but they will not remain in control, as it says, UNSTABLE AS WATER, THOU SHALT NOT EXCEL.

"The Commentary: Matok MeDevash explains: Since Reuben will be victorious over other peoples he will think that it is fit that he rule over all Israel. The Rulership however belongs to Judah therefore Reuben will not continue in it. Since he was overduly impetuous even a small portion of the Royal Rulership will not remain with him."

The Zohar goes on:

"What is the reason that nothing will remain for him? Not even in a small portion of the world? Since THOU WENTEST UP TO THY FATHER'S BED and also considered going up again [i.e. he lusted after Rachel] by which ; THEN DEFILEDST THOU IT: HE WENT UP TO MY COUCH.

"Another explanation: UNSTABLE AS WATER, THOU SHALT NOT EXCEL, For the sons of Reuben will wage wars in the world and defeat many peoples. They will not remain in a position of rulership however. Why is this? THOU WENTEST UP TO THY FATHER'S BED: They are destined to wage war in the Holy Land, as it says THOU WENTEST UP TO THY FATHER'S BED This is Jerusalem. THY FATHER'S BED by 'FATHER' is meant the Ancient Progenitor of Israel. It says [in Hebrew] 'the places of laying down of your father.' Why does it not say, [in the singular] 'the place of laying down of your father?' This is because Jerusalem was rebuilt twice. The third time will be in the time of the Messiah. This is why it says 'places of laying down' in the plural. In this verse ['UNSTABLE AS WATER, THOU SHALT NOT EXCEL'] is revealed a blessing [Metok MeDevash says that they will wipe out many peoples like a flood of waters]. As it was when Israel first entered the land [when Reuben preferred to inherit east of the Jordan rather than in the heart of the land itself] so too will it be in the time of the Messiah when Reuben will try and obtain some control, over the land and will not succeed.


We have seen that the Zohar says that Reuben will fight all over the world, i.e. participate in a world war. Reuben will also fight in the Holy Land and attempt some kind of permanent control over it and over Jerusalem. He will not succeed. His attempt is spoken of disparagingly as if his contribution and interference will not necessarily be positive ones. What actually will happen we do not know. Better people than we are have made mistakes in this direction. The simple meaning however of the passage does fit the French according to their national disposition and past history. The French were heavily involved in Lebanon. For a time they ruled over Syria. They have always been struggling to increase their influence in the Middle East anyway they can. This explains much of French policy in this area. The French assisted Israel when nobody else did. Later when the USA extended the hand of friendship to the "Jewish" State the French appeared to have abandoned her.

How things will turn out only time can tell but the scenario presented by the Zohar concerning Reuben does fit France as we know her. The characteristics of Reuben as implied by the Zohar also fit the French. The Zohar emphasizes that Reuben along with the rest of the Ten Tribes has not yet returned.

Jewish Rabbinical Sources confirm the plain meaning of the Bible. The Lost Ten Tribes have not returned but they are destined to do so.


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