During the reign of Jeconiah, Nebuchadnezzar II personally laid siege to Jerusalem. King Jeconiah was frog-marched to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar looted all the treasures of the temple of Yahweh and deported the army, the craftsmen, and all the leading citizens of Jerusalem.
The poor were allowed to stay behind and work the land. Nebuchadnezzar appointed the uncle of Jeconiah as king and changed his name to Zedekiah. But later Zedekiah also rebelled against Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar and his whole army marched to Jerusalem and lay siege.
King Zedekiah attempted to escape the city but he was captured and brought before Nebuchadnezzar. The sons of Zedekiah were slain before his eyes, and after that Zedekiah was made blind, bound in chains, and frog-marched to Babylon. The temple was razed to the ground.
Every house in Jerusalem was destroyed, beginning with the palace of the king. The walls of the city were also torn down and every surviving inhabitant was exiled to Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar had answered Zedekiah’s defiance by wiping Judah from the face of the Earth.
Nebuchadnezzar deported fifty thousand Jews to Babylon. Only a very few of the poorest people and a handful of renegade army officers remained behind, hidden in the Judean hills, but these soon fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians, leaving the land entirely vacant.
After a time the Babylonian forces withdrew and hill brigands multiplied in their wake. But among the Jewish diaspora in Egypt there appeared a priest Lael of the tribe of Levi who came bearing the Golden Gift and a commission to preserve a remnant from downfallen Judah.
Lael came with his wife Sariah. Elam his eldest son came also with him, and he with his wife Serach. But Lael’s second son Jemuel found he a wife named Iscah from among the Judahite refugees, and his third son Rosh married a young woman Sela from the tribe of Benjamin.
From the tribe of Judah scattered in Egypt did Lael gather to himself Abner and his wife Tabitha, as well as Abner’s son Asa and Asa’s wife Jemima. Also of the tribe of Judah did Josiah and his wife Keturah join Lael, together with Josiah’s son Tobiah and his wife Susanna.
Of the remnants of Benjamin scattered to Egypt in exile there also joined Lael and his group one Zethan with his wife Atara, Jabez and his wife Keziah, as well as Rimon the elder son of Jabez with his wife Dinah, and also Asher the younger son of Jabez with his wife Leah.
Then Lael and his followers left Egypt and reached the downfallen southern kingdom in much faster time than Moses and his forty years of wandering. Every dwelling had been looted by the Babylonians and later completely cleaned out by thieves from the neighboring kingdoms.
Lael led the way through the charred debris and stone littering Jerusalem until he stood in the place built by Hezekiah that was called the Pool of Siloam. Then Lael descended the underwater stairs until he was completely immersed, and he came not again out of the water.
One by one, Lael’s followers overcame their fear and entered the water. When they emerged from the pool again, things had changed. They were surrounded by trees rather than stone. Strangers attended to them with dry linen and new clothing to replace their soaked rags.
When the strangers revealed their Issacharite origin Lael’s travelers rejoiced because they knew them to be fellow sons of Israel who had been lost for more than a century. The Issacharites said Yahweh himself had ordained a reflowering of the House of Israel in that place.
On the second day a delegation from the tribe of Asher joined Lael’s group after a trek down the vale of the river Nanki from their city of Alnitar. The Asherites provided shields for the men among the new colonists crafted from the otherworldly trees that grew in the south.
The shields of the Asherites were hard enough to withstand the strokes of any axe or blade and to turn away all arrows, since the trees that had been used to make them could be cut only by fire. Yet the gifts were lighter than ones of comparable size made of bronze or iron.
On the third day men and women of the lost tribe of Zebulun arrived after paddling downriver from their homes in the city of Eltan. Their boat carried much food, wine, and many small tools and diverse goods as gifts, that Lael’s group might begin their colony in Haaretz.
On the morning of the fourth day Lael and his growing group of travelers went east until they reached the river Sabik and made camp. On the other bank Hadraniel, king of Hamar, arrived from the city of Menkant to speak with Lael and he was accompanied by not a few courtiers.
Then Lael’s group carefully forded the perilous river Sabik to join Hadraniel. The king commanded his small flock of livestock slaughtered for a feast as the heavenly southern kingdom of Israelites joyfully welcomed the remnant of the southern tribes of earthly Israel.
In the morning King Hadraniel led the group overland and ever higher to a shoulder of Mount Menkant. Here they were met by Naphtalis out of the city of Wazol bearing precious stones for the women and girls traveling with Lael to wear and for the men to later trade for goods.
At dawn on the sixth day King Hadraniel and his entourage took their leave. Lael led his people further east until the Wall of God began to loom over them. They crossed the upper reaches of the river Arhena and entered the land of the tribe of Dan in the kingdom of Nath.
In Fatho the Danites made a gift of much silver and gold, and pack animals to carry them. With the giving of many thanks Lael turned northwest over the saddle between Mt. Fatho and the Wall of God. His folk were drenched in mist as they passed the famed Hundred Cataracts.
By the evening of the seventh day Lael’s travelers reached the city of Kabark, home of the tribe of Gad. The city folk brought forth the bounty of the rich farms of their land which were watered by canals leading from man-made Lake Enkaa like the threads of a spider’s web.
At noon on the next day day Lael and the colonists arrived at Enkaa Dam. A delegation of Israelites from the tribe of Reuben met them bearing baskets of delicious fresh fruit of a kind none of the travelers from Judah had ever tasted before, as they were native to Heaven.
On the ninth day when Lael reached Adjara, Lael’s own nephews, cousins to his sons Elam and Jemuel and Rosh, provided more pack animals for their goods, and two of the asses bore sufficient arms for twelve men, lest Lael run afoul of men or nephilim of the House of Bellon.
The Levites of Adjara offered thanksgiving to Yahweh that the children of Israel had been reunited in Heaven, yet their joy was tempered by news that Lael had found no living remnant of the tribe of Simeon among the people of the southern kingdom who took refuge in Egypt.
Within Adjara lay the heavenly temple of Yahweh which men of the whole House of Israel had been building for a century. Those of Lael’s party who had never before seen it wept tears of joy at the sight of the new temple mixed with tears of lament at the memory of the old.
King Thausael of Hadal arrived with his entourage from among the tribe of Manesseh, and they bore the Ark of the Covenant. The relic had been withdrawn when Chokhmah feared the House of Judah was too weak to protect it from the marauding armies of the Babylonian empire.
And Chokhmah had given commandment that the Ark should pass into the safekeeping of Lael and his sons until the temple was sanctified, that they may both preserve the stone tablet of the Abrahamic covenant and secure the White Scroll of Leliel contained within the chest.
King Thausael laid upon Lael and his three sons a charge to bear the Ark on two gold-plated staves through rings in the side of the artifact. And when they were not actively carrying the Ark they were to set the ends of the staves through four stones pierced with holes.
Every time Lael paused, said King Thausael, the four stones were to be set on pillars of greater stones gathered from the ground around the encampment. The king said the Ark must never touch the ground, and save for the lid the Ark must never be touched by man nor beast.
Then Lael was bid to pass through Eliath Wood to a choice land prepared for him. But Lael would never be abandoned or forgotten, assured King Thausael, because the oracles of Yahweh came only through the Ark, and ever men of the House of Israel would come seeking for them.