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  • The ten lost tribes

    The twelve original tribes of Israel were:
    1. Reuben
    2. Simeon
    3. Levi
    4. Judah
    5. Issachar
    6. Zebulun
    7. Dan
    8. Naphtali
    9. Gad
    10. Asher
    11. Joseph
    12. Benjamin
      • Ephraim
      • Manasseh


    But on the account that Joseph's territorial inheritance was split between his two sons (Ephraim and Manasseh), the total count is technically thirteen; I will be using this number, so please don't get confused.

    The story in Scripture is this:

    When the Kingdom of Israel split during the reign of Rehoboam (Solomon's son), God promised to give to Jeroboam "ten tribes" for his portion [1 Kings 11.31,35], which became the Northern Kingdom of Israel (as opposed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah). Though these "ten tribes" are never explicitly named in this context, a counting of Reuben, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and Manasseh is usually accepted for nine of them, with either Levi (which did not have its own territory, but was given cities within the other tribes' territories) or Simeon counted for the tenth. Thus, when Assyria came against the Northern Kingdom, and exiled the people, they fell into history as the "ten lost tribes" of Israel, not to be heard from again until "the end times".

    Later, Babylon came upon the Southern Kingdom, and a great deal of its peoples (counted from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) were exiled as well. Nearly all Jews and Christians accept that these people traced from the Southern Kingdom of Judah (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) returned, while the other tribes, from the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Ephraim and Manasseh) have disappeared into history. Supposedly.

    But can these "ten lost tribes" really be considered lost, Scripturally or historically? This view requires assuming that absolutely no one from any of the twelve tribes married to another person from another of the twelve tribes, and that no one from one tribe's region moved to another tribe's region. This is proven untrue in Scripture, where we see for a fact that at least a small number of Ephraim and Manasseh lived in Judah [1 Chronicles 9.3], and the tribe of Simeon was given land in the south, within the region that became the kingdom of Judah [Joshua 19.1]. This means that even if every person of the tribes in the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled and subsequently lost their tribal identity, there were still six of the tribes (Judah, Benjamin, Levi, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon) accounted for in Judah, which means that, up to this point, only seven tribes (Reuben, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun) could be considered "lost" (still under the assumption that every single person from those tribes was taken into exile and dispersed). But there is still more to consider.

    1 Chronicles 5.26: So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.

    Luke 2.36: And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.

    The book of Chronicles (1 and 2) were written during the same time that the book of Ezra was written, which was after the Babylonian Exile. Yet, the author of Chronicles clearly knows the location of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (already accounted for), and it is not in the least bit unreasonable to presume that at least some of the people from those tribes moved back from those regions ("Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan") to their ancestor's lands (whether it be back in the North, or with the other tribes in the South). Likewise, by the time of Christ, centuries after both the Babylonian Exile and the Assyrian Exile, there were still people known from the tribe of Asher. This turns the entire situation around. Up to this point:
    • 6 tribes known to comprise the Southern Kingdom of Judah
      • Judah
      • Benjamin
      • Levi
      • Ephraim
      • Manasseh
      • Simeon

    • 2 other tribes' known in the time of return from exile
      • Reuben
      • Gad

    • 1 other tribe known during the time of Christ
      • Asher


    This leaves only four tribes yet unaccounted for: Dan, Naphtali, Issachar, and Zebulun.

    The point to made is this: Just because "ten tribes" comprised the citizenry of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, does not mean that the entirety of every one of those "ten tribes" was lost in the exile, or even that any of the tribes was even "lost". Ezra's accountance in his book, and Peter's proclamation at Pentecost may be used to argue that, indeed, all of Israel (every tribe) was accounted for by the time end of the Babylonian Exile and even up to the time of Christ.

    Ezra 2.70: Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

    Ezra 10.5: Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

    Acts 2.36: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

    "All the rest" and "all the house" of Israel were accounted for in either case. In my opinion, if any tribes were actually "lost", it was a maximum of four tribes, and that's only under the assumption that (a) no one of those four tribes lived in a region of Israel that was left unharmed, (b) none of those four tribes ever lived in Judah and returned from the Babylonian Exile.

    Thoughts?
    To This Day

  • #2
    The tribe of Levi was set aside for priestly duties and did not inherit as did the other 12 tribes. therefore the correct number would still be 12.

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually the 12 tribes have never been lost.
      God know's where each one is, and will establish his covenant with them.
      In the tribulation the 144000 who are sealed during the tribulation are of the 12 tribes of Israel. Revelation 7:

      Comment


      • #4
        Revelation 7: And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

        5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

        6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

        7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

        8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

        You see the tribe of Dan is missing from the Book of Revelation
        The LORD is my Miracle

        G_d was gracious He has shown favor


        Hope is a seed
        God plants in our hearts
        to remind us
        there are better things ahead.
        -Holley Gerth

        Comment


        • #5
          Mark, have you analyzed this by inheritance and the promises of God? I'm not sure the point is purely a genetic one. When the Northern Kingdom was conquered, the lands were re-populated with other conquered peoples to completely destroy the national identity of conquered lands. God said that Israel was removed from His sight. II Kings 17:18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. (The whole chapter should be read.) That would account for the ten lost tribes, removed out of God's sight. Levi didn't have inheritence so they would not be included. Even though other tribes dwelt with Judah they submitted to Judah's King. God remained with Judah only, because of promise. The royal lineages were kept accurate and the Levitical system kept in place up until the destruction of Jerusalem which was after God kept His promise in Jesus Christ.

          God Bless!
          Watchinginawe

          I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

          Comment


          • #6
            actually I agree it was Thirteen as Manasseh and Ephraim each had inheritance of their own, and Joseph really wasn't specifically mentioned.

            However, as you said that would be 13, and I've always understood that to mean, that Judah, Simeon, and part of Levi lived together. Why? Because Simeon always had its inheritance within the area of Judah. They often fought together too if I recall correctly.

            Comment


            • #7
              I find it very sad people think 10 tribes are lost. Scripture plainly tells us some from the 12 returned to Jerusalem. When you read from people about them being lost it usually ends with being carried away captive by the Assyrians. Why don't they go on the tell of the Assyrians being under Cyrus (the anointed one) that let Israel, not Judah, return home? Did their Messiah come and say...here I am, hey, where is everyone? The disciples didn't ask about restoring an Israel that didn't exist! Also, James wrote to the 12 tribes scattered (Act 8:1; Act 11:19).

              Comment


              • #8
                I believe only a remnant came back from the Babylonian captivity. And that a lot of the ones who didn't come back became assimilated into the local populations. I also believe that the 'lost tribes' descendants will be brought back to the holy land during the millennium.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by markedward View Post
                  The twelve original tribes of Israel were:
                  1. Reuben
                  2. Simeon
                  3. Levi
                  4. Judah
                  5. Issachar
                  6. Zebulun
                  7. Dan
                  8. Naphtali
                  9. Gad
                  10. Asher
                  11. Joseph
                  12. Benjamin
                    • Ephraim
                    • Manasseh
                  But on the account that Joseph's territorial inheritance was split between his two sons (Ephraim and Manasseh), the total count is technically thirteen; I will be using this number, so please don't get confused.

                  The story in Scripture is this:

                  When the Kingdom of Israel split during the reign of Rehoboam (Solomon's son), God promised to give to Jeroboam "ten tribes" for his portion [1 Kings 11.31,35], which became the Northern Kingdom of Israel (as opposed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah). Though these "ten tribes" are never explicitly named in this context, a counting of Reuben, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and Manasseh is usually accepted for nine of them, with either Levi (which did not have its own territory, but was given cities within the other tribes' territories) or Simeon counted for the tenth. Thus, when Assyria came against the Northern Kingdom, and exiled the people, they fell into history as the "ten lost tribes" of Israel, not to be heard from again until "the end times".

                  Later, Babylon came upon the Southern Kingdom, and a great deal of its peoples (counted from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) were exiled as well. Nearly all Jews and Christians accept that these people traced from the Southern Kingdom of Judah (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) returned, while the other tribes, from the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Ephraim and Manasseh) have disappeared into history. Supposedly.

                  But can these "ten lost tribes" really be considered lost, Scripturally or historically? This view requires assuming that absolutely no one from any of the twelve tribes married to another person from another of the twelve tribes, and that no one from one tribe's region moved to another tribe's region. This is proven untrue in Scripture, where we see for a fact that at least a small number of Ephraim and Manasseh lived in Judah [1 Chronicles 9.3], and the tribe of Simeon was given land in the south, within the region that became the kingdom of Judah [Joshua 19.1]. This means that even if every person of the tribes in the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled and subsequently lost their tribal identity, there were still six of the tribes (Judah, Benjamin, Levi, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon) accounted for in Judah, which means that, up to this point, only seven tribes (Reuben, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun) could be considered "lost" (still under the assumption that every single person from those tribes was taken into exile and dispersed). But there is still more to consider.

                  1 Chronicles 5.26: So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.

                  Luke 2.36: And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.

                  The book of Chronicles (1 and 2) were written during the same time that the book of Ezra was written, which was after the Babylonian Exile. Yet, the author of Chronicles clearly knows the location of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (already accounted for), and it is not in the least bit unreasonable to presume that at least some of the people from those tribes moved back from those regions ("Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan") to their ancestor's lands (whether it be back in the North, or with the other tribes in the South). Likewise, by the time of Christ, centuries after both the Babylonian Exile and the Assyrian Exile, there were still people known from the tribe of Asher. This turns the entire situation around. Up to this point:
                  • 6 tribes known to comprise the Southern Kingdom of Judah
                    • Judah
                    • Benjamin
                    • Levi
                    • Ephraim
                    • Manasseh
                    • Simeon
                  • 2 other tribes' known in the time of return from exile
                    • Reuben
                    • Gad
                  • 1 other tribe known during the time of Christ
                    • Asher
                  This leaves only four tribes yet unaccounted for: Dan, Naphtali, Issachar, and Zebulun.

                  The point to made is this: Just because "ten tribes" comprised the citizenry of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, does not mean that the entirety of every one of those "ten tribes" was lost in the exile, or even that any of the tribes was even "lost". Ezra's accountance in his book, and Peter's proclamation at Pentecost may be used to argue that, indeed, all of Israel (every tribe) was accounted for by the time end of the Babylonian Exile and even up to the time of Christ.

                  Ezra 2.70: Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

                  Ezra 10.5: Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

                  Acts 2.36: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

                  "All the rest" and "all the house" of Israel were accounted for in either case. In my opinion, if any tribes were actually "lost", it was a maximum of four tribes, and that's only under the assumption that (a) no one of those four tribes lived in a region of Israel that was left unharmed, (b) none of those four tribes ever lived in Judah and returned from the Babylonian Exile.

                  Thoughts?
                  I agree.
                  15 characters.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just a note on Ephraim and Manasseh that I am not sure has been stated (scanned these posts):

                    Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, giving more honor to Ephraim than to Manasseh (his right hand on his head and a greater blessing) despite Ephraim being the younger. In the same way, he was simultaneously giving Joseph a double-portion (even though he was the next-to-the baby among his brothers) by claiming these two sons of Joseph as his very own. "Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine." (Genesis 48:5)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by watchinginawe View Post
                      Mark, have you analyzed this by inheritance and the promises of God? I'm not sure the point is purely a genetic one. When the Northern Kingdom was conquered, the lands were re-populated with other conquered peoples to completely destroy the national identity of conquered lands. God said that Israel was removed from His sight. II Kings 17:18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. (The whole chapter should be read.) That would account for the ten lost tribes, removed out of God's sight. Levi didn't have inheritence so they would not be included. Even though other tribes dwelt with Judah they submitted to Judah's King. God remained with Judah only, because of promise. The royal lineages were kept accurate and the Levitical system kept in place up until the destruction of Jerusalem which was after God kept His promise in Jesus Christ.

                      God Bless!
                      Well - we see God speak of Israel and Judah reuniting again through Jeremiah - and this was about 100 years after the destruction and dispersion of the nothern 10 tribes, Israel.

                      Jeremiah chapter 3: [14] Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
                      [15] And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
                      [16] And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
                      [17] At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
                      [18] In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.


                      This is a clear picture of God reuniting Israel and Judah during Christs' 1,000 year reign (v 17)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by markedward View Post

                        "All the rest" and "all the house" of Israel were accounted for in either case. In my opinion, if any tribes were actually "lost", it was a maximum of four tribes, and that's only under the assumption that (a) no one of those four tribes lived in a region of Israel that was left unharmed, (b) none of those four tribes ever lived in Judah and returned from the Babylonian Exile.

                        Thoughts?
                        We also see Josiah go up into former Israel, Assyrian territory, and dismantle the altars of Baal and burn the priests bones. This certainly makes it seem like there were still plenty of people from the 10 northern tribes up there operating as Jews. And Josiah saw it as his business to purge them the same as he was purging Judah. This was about 100 years after the fall of Israel. So I believe the 10 northern tribes still had operating communities and were never completely dispersed by Assyria. I think there are people now - in modern Israel and other parts of the world that have an idea that they are of one of the northern tribes. But I have not done research on it......

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by stupes View Post
                          This is a clear picture of God reuniting Israel and Judah during Christs' 1,000 year reign (v 17)
                          Hebrews 8.8-12 quotes a passage from Jeremiah as well, about how God would form a "new covenant" with Judah and Israel. According to the author of Hebrews, this "new covenant" was formed by Christ at his crucifixion and resurrection.

                          Your logic is that since both Judah and Israel are mentioned in Jeremiah 3, they must both be existent at the time that Jeremiah 3 is fulfilled.

                          Consistently, your logic would then dictate that since both Judah and Israel are mentioned in Hebrews 8, they must both be existent at the time that Hebrews 8 is fulfilled. And the author of Hebrews says that Hebrews 8 was fulfilled in his past...
                          To This Day

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jacob/Israel could not give Joseph (his favorite son) a double portion as an inheritance because Joseph was not first born. Judah was to recieve the firstborn status as Reuben defiled his position...first by letting Joseph become "killed" and then by sleeping with (I can't remember which one of Jacob's wives)

                            So...since Jacob could not give Joseph the first-born status, even though he truly deserved it, he did what he could. He adopted both of Joseph's sons as his own sons and gave them each their own full share as an inheritance in the family. (This was in a day and time when self meant nothing and legacy meant everything...a completely alien thought as what is common today)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by markedward View Post
                              Hebrews 8.8-12 quotes a passage from Jeremiah as well, about how God would form a "new covenant" with Judah and Israel. According to the author of Hebrews, this "new covenant" was formed by Christ at his crucifixion and resurrection.

                              Your logic is that since both Judah and Israel are mentioned in Jeremiah 3, they must both be existent at the time that Jeremiah 3 is fulfilled.

                              Consistently, your logic would then dictate that since both Judah and Israel are mentioned in Hebrews 8, they must both be existent at the time that Hebrews 8 is fulfilled. And the author of Hebrews says that Hebrews 8 was fulfilled in his past...
                              Agreed - I think Hebrews 8 was partially fulfilled in the past for those of Israel and Judah that accepted the new covenant, Christ. This is the remnant I believe Paul refers to in Romans 10 and 11. And this is the same audience that the author (certainly Paul) was speaking to in the Hebrew's epistle. So I believe that God has kept a remnant of believers of the new covenant in each tribe. I don't know this - I just have a hunch - by using your type of logic here.

                              But I also believe that the Jeremiah 3 prophecy (and many other's like it by all the prophets) will not be fully complete until Jesus' 1,000 year reign on earth, after Daniel's 70th week is complete and God accomplishes those 6 great goals of His. This prophecy is the completion of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David - when Jerusalem will be called the throne of the Lord and Judah will walk with the house of Israel.

                              Also - the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews is not the Epistle to Judah or Jerusalem - hints that the author could have written it to more than just the southern tribes.

                              I can't wait to meet Abraham - that guy was the man.

                              Comment

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