The Messiah son of Ephraim and the Tribe of Dan
Mikkel Kragh of Denmark sent us several questions concerning DAN and the Messiah son of Joseph. In researching the answers we came across sources of importance to all of us.
A Hebrew-language article "Dan ben Yaacov. Kavim le-Demuti" ("Dan son of Jacob. An Outline of his Personality") https://tora.us.fm/tnk1/sofrim/efrati/dan.html by Rabbi Baruch Efrati points out several points of interest concerning Dan.
Rabbi Baruch Efrati studied at Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem and serves as a rabbi in Efrat (between Bethlehem and Hebron). He is a prolific and much-read writer on Torah issues and heads the "Derech Emunah" (Way of Torah) movement of young Israeli Orthodox rabbis.
The following notes roughly paraphrase what Rabbi Efrati wrote.
Both Judah and Dan are likened to a "Lion's Cub" i.e. "a Young Lion,"
Genesis (NASB) 49:
9 JUDAH IS A LIONS CUB; FROM THE PREY, MY SON, YOU HAVE GONE UP. HE CROUCHES, HE LIES DOWN AS A LION, AND AS A LION, WHO DARES TO STIR HIM UP?
Deuteronomy (NASB) 33:
22 OF DAN HE SAID, DAN IS A LIONS CUB; HE LEAPS OUT FROM BASHAN.
Rabbi Avraham Iben Ezra (ca. 1089-1164, see RABBIS QUOTED) said (Numbers 1:19) the most formidable Israelite warriors were from the Tribes of Judah and Dan. That is why Judah went first when they marched and Dan went last - to protect the rear.
The mother of Dan and Naphtali was Bilhah the handmaiden of Rachel. Rachel had given Bilhah to her husband, Jacob, in the hope that she too would be blessed. Rachel hoped that by virtue of enabling Jacob to beget more children she would have children of her own. And so it came about.
Rachel bore to Joseph two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.
Genesis (NASB) 30:
3 THEN SHE SAID, HERE IS MY FEMALE SLAVE BILHAH: HAVE RELATIONS WITH HER THAT SHE MAY GIVE BIRTH ON MY KNEES, SO THAT BY HER I TOO MAY OBTAIN A CHILD. 4 SO SHE GAVE HIM HER SLAVE BILHAH AS A WIFE, AND JACOB HAD RELATIONS WITH HER. 5 BILHAH CONCEIVED AND BORE JACOB A SON. 6 THEN RACHEL SAID, GOD HAS VINDICATED ME, AND HAS INDEED HEARD MY VOICE AND HAS GIVEN ME A SON. THEREFORE SHE NAMED HIM DAN ("Judgement"). 7 AND RACHELS SLAVE BILHAH CONCEIVED AGAIN AND BORE JACOB A SECOND SON. 8 SO RACHEL SAID, WITH MIGHTY WRESTLING I HAVE WRESTLED WITH MY SISTER, AND I HAVE INDEED PREVAILED. AND SHE NAMED HIM NAPHTALI.
Genesis (NASB) 30:
22 THEN GOD REMEMBERED RACHEL, AND GOD LISTENED TO HER AND OPENED HER WOMB. 23 SO SHE CONCEIVED AND GAVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND SAID, GOD HAS TAKEN AWAY MY DISGRACE. 24 AND SHE NAMED HIM JOSEPH, SAYING, MAY THE LORD GIVE ME ANOTHER SON.
Joseph therefore indirectly came into being through the birth of Dan the son of Bilhah who was given to Jacob by Rachel.
Rabbi Efrati suggests this is symbolic of the Future Reign of the Messiah son of Joseph which will come about with the help of Dan.
On the other hand, the Messiah son of David, who will follow after the Messiah son of Joseph will also receive input from Dan.
Midrash Breishit Rabbah:
THE FUTURE MESSIAH SON OF DAVID WITH HAVE A FATHER FROM JUDAH AND A MOTHER FROM DAN.
Samson had a father from Dan and a mother from Judah. Samson in some ways was a forerunner of the future Messiah son of David.
A reference was made to the book "Kol HaTor" by Rabbi Hillel Rivlin (1757-1838) saying that the Messiah son of Joseph will be helped by a Prince of Dan. This book, "Kol Ha-Tor", was only published in the 1980s and then only in stages. It is claimed that previously it had existed in manuscript form. Its authorship has been disputed. At the least it may well contain later insertions. It is therefore good to find a similar source but from a much earlier period.
Rabbi Efrati quotes from Rabbi Isaiah HaLevi Horovitz (c.1555-1630, see HOROWITZ, RABBIS QUOTED) ), author of "Shnei Lukot HaBrit" ("The Two Tablets of the Law" re Torah shebictav, Torat Chaim) who in turn quotes from the "Zohar" (Balak), concerning the heroic deeds that SarIah son of Dan will perform in the Wars of the Messiah son of Joseph.
The basic outline of the Zohar may have been written down in ca. 300 CE but its final form (as we now know it) was determined close to the time of its revelation in ca. 1200 CE.
In the relevant passage the Zohar refers to the Messiah son of Ephraim whom Rabbi Efrati evidently understands to mean the Messiah son of Joseph. Ephraim was the son of Joseph.
The Zohar (Balak 194;b) says:
THIS IS SARIAH WHO WILL COME TO HELP THE MESSIAH SON OF EPHRAIM, AND HE HIMSELF IS FROM THE TRIBE OF DAN. HE IS DESTINED TO TAKE VENGEANCE IN WARS AGAINST THE OTHER NATIONS.
From this we see that the Tribe of Dan will help contribute to the forces that enable the Messiah son of Joseph to express himself and save all of Israel.
Indications are that in the End Times both Judah and the Ten Tribers will be oppressed by the Forces of Edom and other Heathens. The Messiah son of Joseph (i.e. MBJ) will lead a war against the oppressors, defeat them, and take vengeance upon them both on behalf of the Ten Tribes and for the sake of Judah. MBJ will initiate a reconciliation of the Ten Tribes with Judah. A portion of the Ten Tribes under MBJ will return to part of the Land of Greater Israel. Later MBJ may, or may not, be killed in war, The Messiah son of David (MBD) will appear and complete the reunification of Judah with the Ten Trbies. The SHELOH (HOROWITZ, QUOTED ABOVE) understands the Zohar to indicate that Dan, after assisting MBJ to fight his wars, will after that also be of asssitance to MBD to reveal himself. MBD will enable every Israelite to know what Tribe they pertain to. Through MBD all of Israel will be taught the way they should go in and how to worship the Almighty.
Eventually the Kingdom of Heaven will spread from Jerusalem to cover the earth.