A good detective relies on facts, but realize circumstantial evidence can also hold nuggets of truth that must be explored if History is to confess what she knows. Most legends and oral history of a people, though likely embellished through time, is nonetheless built on a grain of truth, like the pearls we find in oysters. We must do all we can to extract the factual truth from such grains, no matter how small.
GAD’S SONS ERI, ARELI AND ARODI
In Genesis 46:16 we read that three of the sons of Gad are named Eri, Areli and Arodi.
As stated earlier…
Num. 26:1-4, 15-18 And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt… The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites: Of Ozni (Ezbon), the family of the Oznites (Ezbonites): of Eri, the family of the Erites: Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites. These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.
These verses tells us that at least a portion of all of Gad’s sons left with Moses and the rest of the children of Israel during the Exodus, despite the legend of a pre-exodus-exodus from Egypt by Gad’s son Eri, Areli and Arodi.
The legend and oral tradition goes that while in Egypt living among many other nations who also resided there to escape the famine that a portion of Gad’s son Eri, his younger brothers Areli and Arodi, along with Eri’s wife, Ishamal and other relatives Ijaw (believed possibly to be an offspring of Zebulun), Edo, Igala, Idoma (Possibly and likely descendants of Esau/Edom) saw the coming persecution of the future Egyptian bondage prophesied by God to Abraham in his dream during the covenant between the parts (Gen. 15) and left with an Arab man named Oduduwa (a Babylonian and said father of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria) and his relatives and journeyed further down into Africa crossing the Nile River into Sudan (Old Ethiopia) to Chad and eventually Lokojia which is now the present day Nigeria by way of River Benue and then through the River Niger where they eventually landed in Aguleri in what is known today as Nigeria around 1305 BCE (Igbo History by Victor M.C. Eyisi pg. 2-3, 49)
This man, Oduduwa who is the Father of the Yoruba people, it should be noted here that one of his clans, the Ijebu (sounds like Igbo) indeed have Igbo traits in regards to their business saavy. It is believed that this clan is related to the Igbo in some way. Also, in Yorubaland is a town called Oke-eri, notice; “Eri” is in the name. So could have one of Eri’s descendants settled there and married into the Yoruba people?
Another theory in Igbo origins states that the Igbos originated in “Schechenigbo” between Bethlehem and Hebron on the road that runs through Cairo in Egypt. This also reiterated in the book “The History of the Igbos as Revealed to Innocent Okorie, A Stigmatist” who, while in a trance like state during the Holy Week reported that Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus) came to him and told him that the Igbos and the Efiks first arrived in Nigeria in 638 BCE after the exile of the Israelites in 718 BCE. And that the original town of the Igbos was Schechenigbo in Judea.
Ogbuefi Madubueze Enemmou said on Radio Nigeria Enugu National Station on July 13, 1996 that in Nri, there is a long standing tradition of a man called Eri who fell from heaven, and this Eri was a contemporary of Moses and lived during the reign of the 5th Pharaoh but left with an entourage before the Exodus and went across the Nile into the Sudan and eventually made their way south and settled where the Anambra and Niger rivers meet.
“The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA trained amateur Jewish Historian and Rio Hondo Police Academy trained Forensic investigator Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, who resides in Los Angeles and has researched this subject for more than 15 years at the UCLA libraries in Los Angeles, "the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed -the last leader of the Umayyads- and his Qaysi-Arab supportes defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambatyon Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon. It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16. Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16)."”-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igbo_Jews
The Igbo (also rendered: Ibo, Ibu, Ebo, Ebu, Obu etc.) tribe of Nigeria has staked claim to be the descendants of the Israeli tribal patriarch Gad. But some Swedes, Spaniards and Arabs among other peoples claim to be of Gad as well. So who is right? Who is of Gad? Can all, if any of them be of Gad? Remember Gad had sons who became the head of the clans of Gad and these clan heads could have scattered all over the world after the Assyrian captivity instead of sticking together.
Gen. 35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these [are] the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
From this verse we may also be able to determine some of the possible genetic features of a child of Gad. We know that Noah had three sons; Hamm, Shem and Japheth.
Gen. 6:10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
I believe Noah was an albino:
And now, my father, hear me; for to my son Lamech a child has been born, who resembles not him; and whose nature is not like the nature of man. His colour is whiter than snow; he is redder than the rose; the hair of his head is whiter than white wool; his eyes are like the rays of the sun; and when he opened them he illuminated the whole house. When also he was taken from the hand of the midwife, His father Lamech feared, and fled to me, believing not that the child belonged to him, but that he resembled the angels of heaven. And behold I am come to you, that you might point out to me the truth. – Enoch 105:10-12
The shocked reaction of Noah’s father would indicate everyone up to that point was born one color; black. This was “strange”, not normal.
Albinism is simply an absence of melanin. This would set things up nicely for what we call today, “ethnic diversity” to come into the world. If Noah, as a white albino man was a new phenomenon, we can assume there was no one else around like him and thus he married a black woman. Who I believe according to the wide range of color and ethnicities in the world today had:
Hamm – A Black Man – Father of all the African dark skinned, Hammitic Peoples. Shem – A Brown Man – Father of all the Semitic (Jew/Hebrew) and Arab Peoples. Japheth – A “White” Man – Father of what is called “Caucasian” Peoples.
A tradition according to which both Semites and Hammites were dark skinned and Japhethites being the only fair skinned son of Noah, is found in Rabbinic Hebrew Tradition as well. According to the 8th century Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer 23 said that Shem was “black and comely” and Hamm was “black as a raven.”
We know that Jacob and Leah were of the descendants of Shem, but we do not know for certain the identity of Zilpah the handmaid, and thus she could very when have been black, a Hammite either by a Hammitic wife of Laban or they were Hammitic slaves acquired in Canaan. If so, this means Gad and Asher would have been darker than their other brothers.
Ignorant and racist white supremacists will try to indoctrinate folks with the propaganda that Canaan, Noah’s grandson from Hamm, was cursed by being turned black. This is a ludicrous notion we have just debunked. Ironically, white was considered a curse, for it was representory of the dreaded skin disease called leprosy, this was one of the key identifying factors in the Levites being able to diagnose this malady the Israelites which would mean for white to show up noticeably on someone’s skin, that person would have to be of a dark complexion as the first Israelites were!
Also, it is interesting to note that the stone representing Gad (as well as the other Tribes) in the Priestly shoulder stones was made of onyx, which is black (Ex. 39:6-7). In December 1997 a onyx stone found at the palace of Obu-Gad, the traditional site where Gad’s son Eri settled was found an onyx stone that bore the Paleo-Hebrew inscription “GAD” upon it which the King Solomon Sephardic Federation confirmed the authenticity of the inscription.
And if Gad was black, it would stand to reason that when they left they would have naturally gravitated to a place with people that shared similar genetic features as they so they would blend in and not appear to be strangers of the land.
Eze Chukwuemeka-Eri of Obu-Gad of Aguleri tells of a legend that Eri was not as dark as the people whom they met that inhabited this land before them and that Eri had a pointed (Semitic/Arab-like) nose. Such features became known as a symbol of beauty in early Igboland. The Igbo word “ERInma” means a child of beauty and great prospect. Both of these features speak of the Semitic features, but with a change in climate and with the sons of Gad marrying Canaanite (Hammitic) women (Jasher 45:9-11) Eris children would have more resembled the indigenous people of Nigeria.
Also, even if Gad was originally lighter, after generations living in Nigeria they would have turned a darker skin tone so as to adapt to their environment, as well as it could be expected that some would have intermarried with the dark people who were indigenous to that area of the African continent.
Also, the name of the first man “Adam” is Hebrew for a dark shade of red and many Black Hebrews do have a reddish tint to their complexion, a rich mahogany type of color which may also attest to their genetic linkage to Gad and to Israel. Also, in flying over the land of Nigeria I did notice the earth was a reddish-brown color.
“(Israel) include those whose skins range from the lightest to the darkest in clors and within it a broad range of cultural diversity is represented.” – Donin H.H. (1972): To Be a Jew – Italics mine
We also must take into consideration all the black peoples, the daughters of Hamm which intermarried with the sons of Shem to produce a range of color in Israel. Moses married Zipporah the Midianite who was a descendant from Midian a child of Keturah and Abraham who according to Jewish tradition is Hagar, an Egyptian Princess given to Abraham and Sarah (the first Egyptians were of Cush a black man a son of Hamm) who converted and was remarried to Abraham after the death of Sarah. This would mean also that Ishmael would have been black also. Later, Moses also married a Chushite, an Ethipoian Black woman (Num. 12). Then there is the legend and rumor of King Solomon having a sexual encounter with the Queen of Sheba which was black.
It stands to reason that many lost tribes eventually took on the ethnic physical traits of the peoples they ended up settling around in the diaspora. Simcha Jacobovici also known as the Naked Archeologist has a documentary produced by A&E called Quest for the Lost Tribes in which he went about trying to determine where the lost tribes taken into Assyrian Captivity ended up. As a result he found documented and physical evidence of Jews of Indian and Chinese ethnicity!
In the Jerusalem Post article “Black Jews in America” April 2, 1999, Page B4 it says, “Black Jews in America trace their heritage back to those Jews in America who fled from Jerusalem into Africa after the destruction of the First Temple 2500 years ago… they intermarried with local tribes as did Jews in most parts of the world, taking on new physical features (as in the case of the Igbos of Nigeria). Jews around the world tend to look like the communities in which they are found. Jews in China look Chinese, Jews in Poland look Easter European, Jews in Ethiopia look Ethiopian.”
Prof. O. Alaezi in his book “Ibo Exodus” said what the Chiefs at Obu-Gad told him concerning Eri’s appearance, “Eri, the founder of Agulueri, who I was told was so handsome with very light skin, beautiful brown eyes and pointed nose that his name became a symbol of beauty, strength the respect of Iboland. This is exemplified in such Ibo names as Erinma (a child of beauty and great prospect) born by some people in Iboland, especially females in southern Iboland.”
It should come as no surprise that the Igbo people of Nigeria are of Gad. Other African tribes such as the Lemba of Ethiopia claimed to be of Levi and DNA tests confirm the presence of the Cohen gene in their DNA, proving them to be the descendants of Levi and Aaron.
Gen. 46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.
The Igbo’s in Nigeria are said to come from Eri, Adodi, Areli and possibly Ezbon (Because Ezbon is a common Igbo name). So it is very possible other peoples around the world who claim to be from Gad are of Gad also.
According to Igbo Scholars and Authorities, Eri is said to have had six children; Agulu, Atta, Oba, Igbo, Meneri and his only daughter, Adamgbo. Eri. He blessed and then settled each of his children in different places and left his firstborn at Obu-Gad (Compound/Camp of Gad) where Eri ended up settling and building a throne and altar in honor of his father Gad unto YHWH, the G-d of His father.
Some say Eri had seven children and the seventh was named Edozie who became the father of the Edo people.
Agulu inherited Eri’s Ofo (scepter) to rule over his brothers and thus established the Agulerian dynasty. Adamgbo also stayed at Obu-Gad in Aguleri to help her brother. Agulu had three wives; Ada, Omali and Eke. He ended up having four sons from these three wives; Ivite (which by the way closely resembles the word Ivrite which is Hebrew word for the Hebrew Language), Igboezunu, Enugu and Ezaim which are today components of the modern day town of Aguleri. Agulu is said to have live 140 years.
Atta was settled to the north in what is known today as Umekete in Aguleri, later Atta made his way to Igala in Kogi State. Atta’s kingdom was raided by the Agala where Igala takes its name, but the Agala agreed to leave Atta’s throne to Atta’s descendants. Agala (Igala) was said by one oral tradition to be the nephew of Eri and his father is the father of the Igala people, although some say the Igala come from the father of the Yoruba people who was Oduduwa. One of Atta’s offspring was named Umu-ulu.
Oba’s settlement was south of Eri called Ugwu Ogodo (Ogodo hill), Edom ended up take over Oba’s kingdom. The territories of the modern day Edo and Benin tribes of Nigeria is said to originally belong to Oba.
Igbo resided in a place which used to be known as Mbito and is known today as Aguleri. Igbo was said to have developed the art of herbal medicines. Such places as Igboetti, Igbooda, and Igboeze were formed by Igbo’s descendants.
Menri occupied a place east of Eri (Obu-Gad) called Okpu. Menri is said to have founded Nri, Enugu, Ukwu, Amanuke Nawfia and Enugu-Agodi, and Igboukwu.
Agulu before he died took the Ofo given to him by his father Eri to his third son Enugu and that Enugu’s descendants should hold and pass down the Ofo and have the rights of kingship and to be able to appoint other kings. But neither Eri, Agulu or Enugu made themselves kings during their life, but were content to be the elder, cultural and spiritual leader of their people.
The Aguleri dynasty can be traced back to Engugu’s son and hence from there all the way back to Eri, the son of Gad.
Eze Anyiamigbo (Ezeora); Ezeora I (1087-1036 BCE) Eze Agwuve Ezeora II (1033-958 BCE) Eze Ojemba Ezeora III (955-895 BCE) Ezenochiugo Ezeora IV (475-388 BCE) Eze Onyeagwanam Ezeora V (387-247 BCE) Eze Nkwukwu Ezeora VI (242-131 BCE) Eze Honwagwu Ezeora VII (130 BCE-43 CE) Eze Aghaegbulem Ezeora VIII (40-48 CE) Eze Akidigbo Ezeora IX (50-144 CE) Eze Okwuatu-Egwu Ezeora X (147-238 CE) Eze Ugam Ezeora XI (239-309 CE) Eze Gbujie Ezeora XII (315-394 CE) Eze Ilora Ezeora XIII (398-452 CE) Eze Dibie Olome Ezeora XIV (495-553 CE) Eze Gbukamadu Ezeora XV (555-655 CE) Eze Echiebuke Ezeora XVI (657-733 CE) Eze Onamadianyi Ezeora XVII (737-827 CE) Eze Nwaukpala Ezeora XVIII (831-913 CE) Eze Kwutulumuj Ezeora XIX (916-1001 CE) Eze Idumba Ofomeke Ezeora XX (1007-1095 CE) Eze Adidiesi Ezeora XXI (1100-1176 CE) Eze Nwaesi Idu Ezeora XXII (1177-1240 CE) Eze Obanaidu Ezeora XXIII (1246-1310 CE) Eze Chinweze Ezeora XXIV (1313-1367 CE) Eze Nwaokpalaora Ezeora XXV (1370-1446 CE) Eze Ezem Ezeora XXVI (1448-1530 CE) Eze Ezechi Ezeora XXVII (1534-1608 CE) Eze Ezemailo Ezeora XXVIII (1613-1684 CE) Eze Erimeli Ezeora XXIX (1691-1752 CE) Eze Ogodougbo Ezeora XXX (1760-1820 CE) Eze Mabam Ezeora XXXI (1826-1860 CE) Eze Ekwo/Eze Chizor Ezeora XXXII (1866-1910 CE) The Slave trade disrupted the line and was almost lost. Also around the turn of the century there was also a leadership crisis in Aguleri which gave rise to the Idigo Dynasty. Eze Chiezie Ejor (Idoga) Ezeora XXXII (1958-1968 CE) Eze A.E. Chukwuemeke-Eri Ezeora XXXIV (1976-Present) The Biafrian War disrupted the line and was almost lost.
Eri is listed in Gen. 46:16, Num. 26:16-18 as a descendant of Gad and this name is still in the official title of the King of the Ebo people today in Nigeria; His Royal Majesty Eze (King) A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri.
In Aguleri, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria is where the King resides and it is officially called Obu-Gad, meaning, “The Palace/Compound/Camp of Gad.” It has been frequented by Rabbi’s and Jewish scholars and archeologists alike. Found next to the palace is the ancient stone throne of the Igbos which at the foot of it is a Paleo-Hebrew inscription made from a specific seas shell used as ancient currency which reads, “Give” or “Gift.” Eri built it in honor and as gift to his father Gad and to YHWH the God of Gad. I have been there myself and can personally verify this to be true.
Also on the palace grounds are three trees joined above ground by the roots to form a concave fence under which is said to lie the second Igbo-King who died during a time when the people were off working in the fields and when the rivers overflowed their banks during the rainy season it prevented their return home. When they finally made it they discovered their King had been dead a few days and so they buried him quickly very close to the palace and shortly thereafter these three trees miraculously sprang up to for a memorial like headstone. I too have seen this and can verify this as well.
After I returned from Igboland I discovered that Igbo ancient traditional burial sites have always been marked with the planting of the Ogulisi Tree to mark the head of the grave, it served as a tombstone, a memorial if you will. “Those trees are as old as Aguleri itself… That tree does not just grow anyhow. Wherever you see it in Aguleri, it shows that somebody whose memory the people cherished and whose bones should not be tampered with had been buried there.” – Prof. O. Alaezi, “Ibo Exodus” pg. 62-63
When Eri trekked from Egypt to Nigeria he took his younger brothers Arodi and Areli (Gen. 46:16) along with him. When they arrived and settled in Nigeria they lived in harmony with each other and worked together to develop one language, tradition and culture. Eventually Arodi and Areli left their older brother Eri to branch out on their own. Arodi is the father of the Arochukwu kingdom and was developed industrious pursuits in the land, such crafts and manufacturing. This tradition still carries on today through the Igbo people who live in Aba Ngwa which has the nickname, “the Taiwan of Nigeria.”
Arodi is also is said to have developed the Nsibidi writing system made of glyphs which aided in developing trade among all the peoples of Nigeria and the surrounding areas. The further development of this unique indigenous language was stunted and died when the British came to colonize Igboland.
It is believed by some that the descendants of Arodi are the peoples and tribes of; Ibibios, Efik, Anang, Ogoni, Afikpo, Abakariki, Umon, Yako, Nembe, and Arochukwu.
Notice Yako, is very close to the Hebrew Name for Jacob which is Ya’akov.”
The Efik people were often referred to as Efik Eburutu. Eburutu being a corruption of the word “Hebrew,” and Ututu which is one of the early settlements of the Efik people in the coastal southeastern part of Nigeria.
The Adodi/Idigo Dynasty:
HRH Ezenwanne Idigo (1900-1910 CE) HRH Eze Rapheal Akwuba Idigo II (1910-1960 CE) HRH Eze Alphonsus Ezeudu Idigo III (1960-1995 CE) HRH Eze Christopher Nwabun Nwanne Idigi IV (Igwe Ogalagidi II) of Aguleri town (1995-Present)
Areli when he departed from Eri and the Obu-Gad kingdom went on to become the father of the Owerri. Other descendants of Areli is said to include the people and tribes in Umuahai, Diobu, Okigwe, Orlu, Ohoada, Mbiaeri, Mbaise, Nkwere, Eleele and Port Harcourt.
Eri’s Son: Menri
Nnamoko Ogbodudu (Enugu-Agu?), one of Menri’s descendants is said to have been consecrated priest during the first year of Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I. He was then sent away with bronze family heirlooms inherited from Eri, Gad and Jacob (Israel) in order to find a safe place for these items so they wouldn’t be taken by raiders or invaders. He found a secure place know today as Agulu Lake.
Nnamoko married Mgbankwo and had a son he called, Agulu and is the founder of the town named after him.
Nnamoko’s second son was Diani and is the ancestor of the Umudiani, the first to settle in Aguukwu land.
Nnamoko’s third son was Nwankwo ancestor of the ones who settled in Umunwankwo known today as Enuguukwu land.
Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I crowned Nnamoko a Nri (King) around 1090 BCE. After, Nri Nnamoko relocated from Agulu Lake to what is today known as Oraeri in Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State of Nigeria. This is where he gave his first son Agulu a Bronze Mogen David (Star of David) which was unearthed in Agulu 500 feet underground in 1917. This event was commemorated by the Star of David being minted on Nigerian kobo coins.
The Eze Nri Dynasty of Oraeri:
Nri Nnamoko – Eze Nri I Nri Avo – Eze Nri II Nri Agu – Eze Nri III Nri Nnakwa – Eze Nri IV Nri Bike – Eze Nri V Nri Ochife – Eze Nri VI Nri Ezulu – Eze Nri VII Nri Ochife II – Eze Nri VIII Nri Ezegwo – Eze Nri IX Nri Ofia – Eze Nri X Nri Okubalu – Eze Nri XI Nri Ezudemba – Eze Nri XII Nri Ezenwosu – Eze Nri XIII Nri Ezizundu – Eze Nri XIV Nri Abraham Ezekonkwo – Eze Nri XV Nri Joe M.C. Obiakor – Eze Nri XVI
Nri also was a town Kingdom in Agu-ukwu land founded by Obuka, son of Ifikwanim who was said to have discovered the yam and coco-yam. Ifikwanim was a son of Menri. Obuka was said to be like Eri in many ways, was blessed by Eri and made a priest. He married two women; Agbomma and Adaora and had seven sons and a daughter. The people desired to have a king and chose Obuka son of Ifikwanim and he took on the Nri title of king. His kingship was consecrated and approved by Eze Agwuve Ezeora II in Aguleri where Obuka went to be blessed and take an oath of office. Obuka was said to be the first to call the wives of leader by the title “Lolo.” Also, Obuka established a unique tradition that the last male born child becomes the next Eze Nri.
Nri Ifikwanim (Obuka) fought for justice and human rights and against superstition. He did away with the Osu caste system and forbid the killing of twins and dwarves and made dwarves the messengers of the rulers thus ridding such people of the Osu stigma. He also was seen as a cleanser of the land and he and his descendants still are called to towns in Igboland to clear them of abominations (Ikpu aru).
Ijaw was a traveling companion of Eri, Areli and Adodi as they fled Egypt. Oral tradition states that Ijaw is a son of Zebulon who was the 10th son of Israel (Jacob). However, Ijaw is not listed in any Canonical Biblical genealogies. But this should come as no surprise as one person could go by different names and it may be that Ijaw was known by another name in Biblical Writ. Or it could be Ijaw was a son of one of Zebulun’s sons, and there for not recorded in any Biblical genealogy. He was said to be the water scout and river navigator of the group, and even today the Ijaw tribe and land can be found near water.