Replied by SPGC
on Friday, September 07 2012, 01:47 PM
The design of the banner of Judah (as do most of the designs of the other banners) comes from Genesis, in this case Chapter 49, vs 8 to 12 – where Judah is described as a Lion’s whelp. The device for Judah shows a lion, usually lying down; quite often a crown and sceptre are also shown. The lion is said to refer to the vigour and nobility of Judah; the sceptre is an emblem of kingship, so too is the crown. The Royal House of David is descended from Judah.
Though in our Royal Arch Regulations the colour of the banner is not specified, the Oral Law in the Tradition of Judaism describes the colour of the ensigns as being that of the colour of the precious stones on the breast plate of the High Priest. In the Constitutions and Laws of the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland the colour of Judah’s banner is given as crimson.
Not only is the ensign of Judah an emblem of kingship, and (in Scotland) the colour of the First Principal’s robe, it is the chief tribe as, when the tribes were on the march, it was the one placed at the head. So it is the most appropriate ensign with which to constitute the candidate ‘a Prince and Ruler in Israel’.
The order in which the banners are placed comes from the Authorised Version of the Bible, Numbers Chapter 2. Verse 2 says -
Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch (his tent) by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house; far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
The following verses say that on the east side were Judah, Issachar and Zebulun; on the south side were Reuben, Simeon and Gad; on the west side were Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin; and on the north side were Dan, Asher and Naphthali.
In the Royal Arch the ensigns are placed in the same order, but for practical reasons we do not put any ensigns in the east or west. We place Judah in the north-east and then Naphthali, Asher, Dan, Benjamin and Manasseh. Issachar is placed in the south-east and next is Zebulun, then come Reuben, Simeon, Gad and Ephraim.
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