Ten Lost Tribes
||This article may contain original research. (September 2007)|
|Tribes of Israel|
The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel, and which disappeared from biblical and all other texts after the kingdom was destroyed in about 722 BCE by Assyria. Many groups have traditions concerning the continued hidden existence or future public return of these tribes.
This is a subject based upon written religious tradition and speculation.
In declaring his unabashed conviction that "the Lost Tribes are indeed nothing but a myth", Tudor Parfitt writes that,
The continued belief in the Lost Tribes is unabated... The present writer does not believe that the Ten Tribes are still to be found and accepts their disappearance as a historical fact that requires no further proof.
He also states that,
...this myth is a vital feature of colonial discourse throughout the long period of European overseas empires, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, until the later half of the twentieth. (Ibid, p.1)
In medieval Rabbinic legends the concept of the ten tribes who were taken away from the House of David (who continued the rule of the southern kingdom of Judah) becomes confounded with texts describing the Assyrian deportations leading to the belief in the "Ten Lost Tribes".
The recorded history differs from this legend: no record exists of the Assyrians having exiled people from Dan, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun or western Manasseh. Descriptions of the deportation of people from Reuben, Gad, Manasseh in Gilead, Ephraim and Naphtali indicate that only a portion of these tribes were deported and the places to which they were deported are known locations given in the accounts. The deported communities are mentioned as still existing at the time of the composition of the books of Kings and Chronicles, and not wholly assimilated into the Assyrian populace.
Twelve Tribes 
According to the Hebrew Bible, Jacob (who was later named Israel; Gen 35:10) had 12 sons and at least one daughter (Dinah) by two wives and two concubines. The twelve sons fathered the twelve Tribes of Israel.
- When the land of Israel was apportioned among the tribes in the days of Joshua, the Tribe of Levi, being chosen as priests, did not receive land (Joshua 13:33, (14:3). However, the tribe of Levi were given cities. Six cities were to be refuge cities for all men of Israel, which were to be controlled by the Levites. Three of these cities were located on each side of the Jordan River. In addition, 42 other cities (and their respective open spaces), totaling 48 cities ,were given to the Tribe of Levi. (Numbers 35)
- Jacob elevated the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh (the two sons of Joseph by his Egyptian wife Asenath) (Genesis 41:50) to the status of full tribes in their own right, replacing the Tribe of Joseph (Joshua 14:4). Each received its own land and had its own encampment during the 40 years of wandering in the desert.
Thus, the two divisions of the tribes are:
Division according to apportionment of land in Israel:
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According to the Bible, the Kingdom of Israel (or Northern Kingdom) was one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy (also called the Kingdom of Israel), which came into existence in about the 930s BCE after the northern Tribes of Israel rejected Solomon's son Rehoboam as their king. Nine landed tribes formed the Northern Kingdom: the tribes of Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manasseh. In addition, some members of Tribe of Levi, who had no land allocation, were found in the Northern Kingdom. The Tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam, and formed the Kingdom of Judah (or Southern Kingdom). Members of Levi and the remnant of Simeon were also found in the Southern Kingdom.
According to 2 Chronicles 15:9, members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon "fled" to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah. Whether these groups were absorbed into the population or remained distinct groups, or returned to their tribal lands is not indicated.
In c. 732 BCE, the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III sacked Damascus and Israel, annexing Aramea and territory of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh in Gilead including the desert outposts of Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. People from these tribes including the Reubenite leader, were taken captive and resettled in the region of the Khabur River system in Assyria/Mesopotamia. Tiglath-Pilesar also captured the territory of Naphtali and the city of Janoah in Ephraim and an Assyrian governor was placed over the region of Naphtali. According to 2 Kings 16:9 and 15:29, the population of Aram and the annexed part of Israel was deported to Assyria.
Israel continued to exist within the reduced territory as an independent kingdom subject to Assyria until around 720 BCE, when it was again invaded by Assyria and the rest of the population deported. The Bible relates that the population of Israel was exiled, leaving only the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Simeon (that was "absorbed" into Judah), the Tribe of Benjamin and the people of the Tribe of Levi who lived among them of the original Israelites tribes in the southern Kingdom of Judah. However, Israel Finkelstein estimated that only a fifth of the population (about 40,000) were actually resettled out of the area during the two deportation periods under Tiglath-Pileser III and his successor Sargon II. Many also fled south to Jerusalem, which appears to have expanded in size fivefold during this period, requiring a new wall to be built, and a new source of water (Siloam) to be provided by King Hezekiah. Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 30:1-11 explicitly mentions northern Israelites who had been spared by the Assyrians in particular members of Dan, Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher and Zebulun and how members of the latter three returned to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem at that time.
The Jewish tradition held until modern times that all the population of the kingdom was deported by Assyria, never to be heard of again. They are considered the Ten Lost Tribes.
Some evidence exists of a continuing identification in later centuries of individual Israelites to the Lost Tribes. For example, in Luke 2:36 of the New Testament, an individual is identified with the tribe of Asher. In recent years many groups have claimed descent from these Lost Tribes, some of which have been upheld by Israel's rabbinic authorities.
However in 2 Kings 17:34 it says of the newly exiled Israelites that were in Assyria; To this day they persist in their former practices. They neither worship Yahweh nor adhere to the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands that Yahweh gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. The medieval rabbi and biblical commentator David Kimhi explains that this is in reference to the tribes that were exiled, and that they remained in their ways, neither accepting a monotheistic God nor in adhering to any of the laws and regulations that were common to all Jews.
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The Hebrew Bible does not use the phrase "Ten Lost Tribes", leading some to question the number of tribes involved. However, 1 Kings 11:31 states that the kingdom would be taken from Solomon and give ten tribes to Jeroboam:
And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee.
But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
The Lost tribes are those that formed the northern Kingdom of Israel after the dissolution of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 930 BC. The tribes of Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon were parts of the northern kingdom, a total of Ten.
The Tribe of Simeon was believed to be part of the northern Kingdom of Israel and thus part of the "Ten Lost Tribes." The Tribe of Simeon was located entirely within the land of Judah. (Joshua 19:1) Their land location, however, never constituted an allegiance to Judah.
The prophecy said that there would be Ten Tribes ascribed to Jeroboam and that only the tribe of Judah would be left to be under their realm of rulership 1 Kings 11:31. The tribe of Benjamin would align to Judah, as seen when they were mustered to battle for the reconstitution of all the tribes under Rehoboam 1 Kings 12:21. Later, the Levites would be ousted from among the Northern Tribes by Jeroboam, and even from their dwellings, due to Jeroboam setting up from the lowest of moral men to priestly offices that would not abide by the rights assigned by Yahweh, but would abide by the standard set up by their new King, Jeroboam 1 Kings 11:31 2 Chronicles 11:14. This would constitute the Ten Tribes to the North & the three Tribes that made up Judea (Judah).
Religious beliefs 
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The concept of the "Ten Lost Tribes" originally began in a religious context, based on biblical sources, not as an ethnological idea. Some scientists have researched the topic, and at various times some have made claims of empirical evidence of the Ten Lost Tribes. However, religious and scriptural sources remain the main sources of the belief that the Ten Lost Tribes have some continuing, though hidden, identity somewhere.
There are numerous references in biblical writings. In Ezekiel 37:16-17, the prophet is told to write on one stick (an ancient reference to scrolls) (quoted here in part) "For Judah..." and on the other (quoted here in part), "For Joseph..." (the main Lost Tribe). The prophet is then told that these two groups shall be someday reunited.
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in your hand.—Ezekiel 37:16-17, HE
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS") has extensive teachings regarding the gathering of Israel and the restoration of the ten tribes. One of their main Articles of Faith written by Joseph Smith Jr. is as follows: "We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory." (LDS Articles of Faith #10)
Regarding the Ezekiel 37 prophecy, the LDS Church teaches that the Book of Mormon is the stick of Ephraim mentioned and that the Bible is the stick of Judah, thus comprising two witnesses for Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is purported to be an ancient record written on plates made of gold by descendants of Joseph, and translated by Joseph Smith Jr. circa 1830. The LDS Church considers the Book of Mormon one of the main tools for the spiritual gathering of Israel.
There are also discussions in the Talmud as to whether the Ten Lost Tribes will eventually be reunited with the Tribe of Judah, that is, with the Jewish people.
Lost tribes 
17th- to mid-20th-century theories 
Since at least the 17th century both Jews and Christians have proposed theories concerning the Lost Tribes, based to varying degrees on biblical accounts. An Ashkenazi Jewish tradition speaks of these tribes as Die Roite Yiddelech, "The little red Jews", cut off from the rest of Jewry by the legendary river Sambation "whose foaming waters raise high up into the sky a wall of fire and smoke that is impossible to pass through".
The Portuguese traveller Antonio de Montezinos returned to Europe with reports that some of the Lost Tribes were living among the Native Americans of the Andes in South America. Menasseh ben Israel, a noted rabbi and printer of Amsterdam, was excited by this news. He believed that a Messianic age was approaching, and that Jewish people being settled around the world was necessary for it.
In 1649 Menassah published his book, The Hope of Israel, in Spanish and in Latin in Amsterdam, including Montezinos' report of the Lost Tribes in the New World.  An English translation was published in London in 1650. In it Menasseh argued, and for the first time tried to give scholarly support in European thought and printing, to the theory that the native inhabitants of America at the time of the European discovery were descendants of the [lost] Ten Tribes of Israel. He noted how important Montezinos' account was,
"...for the Scriptures doe not tell what people first inhabited those Countries; neither was there mention of them by any, til Christop. Columbus, Americus, Vespacius, Ferdinandus, Cortez, the Marquesse Del Valle, and Franciscus Pizarrus went thither..."
He wrote on 23 December 1649:
In 1655, Menasseh ben Israel petitioned Oliver Cromwell to allow the Jews to return to England in furtherance of the Messianic goal. (Since the Edict of Expulsion in 1290, Jews had been prohibited by law from living in England.) With the approach of 1666, considered a significant date, Cromwell was allegedly interested in the return of the Jews to England because of the many theories circulating related to millenial thinking about the end of the world. Many of these ideas were fixed upon the year 1666 and the Fifth Monarchy Men who were looking for the return of Jesus as the Messiah; he was expected to establish a final kingdom to rule the physical world for a thousand years. Messianic believers supported Cromwell's Republic in the expectation that it was a preparation for the fifth monarchy—that is, the monarchy that should succeed the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman world empires.
Mixed in with all of this was a background of general belief that the Lost Ten Tribes did not represent ethnic Jews who partially formed the ancient Kingdom of Judah, but tribes who maintained a separate capital at Samaria. Some have attempted to dismiss this complicated saga by stating that it is nothing but Supersessionism. However, the ideas behind these various competing theories are far more complicated, especially when Sabbatai Zevi, the "messiah" claimant and his supporters postulated that he represented groups in addition to those identified as being Jews. However, Zevi lost his credibility to all but the Donmeh when he converted to Islam and became an apostate to Judaism in 1666.
During the latter half of the 18th century, variations on this same theory were advocated by some who believed that the British Empire of nations was a manifestation of ancient prophecies recorded in the Book of Genesis predating both the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah.
Others believe that the Lost Tribes merged with the local population. For instance, the New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia states,
"In historic fact, some members of the Ten Tribes remained in Palestine, where apart from the Samaritans some of their descendants long preserved their identity among the Jewish population, others were assimilated, while others were presumably absorbed by the last Judean exiles who in 597-586 BC were deported to Assyria...Unlike the Judeans of the southern Kingdom, who survived a similar fate 135 years later, they soon assimilated..."
All Samaritans, in one form or another, see themselves as descendants of the original Hebrews. The Samaritan community in Israel and the Palestinian territories numbers about 600. These people, who still struggle to keep their ancient traditions, live in what was the capital of Samaria - Nablus and the town of Holon. They claim to be authentic descendants of the Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh that were not exiled.*
Beta Israel of Ethiopia 
The Beta Israel (also known derogatorily as Falashas) are Ethiopian Jews. Some members of the Beta Israel as well as several Jewish scholars believe that they are descended from the lost Tribe of Dan, as opposed to the traditional story of their descent from the Queen of Sheba.
Igbo Jews 
According to recent research based on the dynastic tradition of the Oyo-Yoruba, the ancient kings mentioned in this tradition are Israelite, Assyrian and Babylonian rulers. The deportation of the Ten Lost Tribes is remembered in the tradition preserved by the palace bards of Oyo as the Igboho exile.
The Lemba people (Vhalemba) from Southern Africa claim to be descendants of a lost tribe that fled from what is now Yemen and journeyed south. DNA testing has genetically linked the Lemba with modern Jews. They have specific religious practices similar to those in Judaism and a tradition of being a migrant people with clues pointing to an origin in West Asia or North Africa. According to the oral history of the Lemba, their ancestors were Jews who came from a place called Sena several hundred years ago and settled in East Africa. Sena is an abandoned ancient town in Yemen, located in the eastern Hadramaut valley, which history indicates Jews inhabited in past centuries. Some research suggests that "Sena" may refer to Wadi Masilah (near Sayhut) in Yemen, often called Sena, or alternatively to the city of Sana'a, also located in Yemen.
Other ethnic groups 
Some groups believe that they are descended from one of the Lost Tribes, but don't know which one. These include:
Persian Jews 
Persian Jews claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim. Persian Jews (also called Iranian Jews) are members of Jewish communities living in Iran and throughout the former greatest extent of the Persian Empire.
Pashtuns of the Afghanistan and Pakistan region 
Written sources 
A thirteenth century Persian book, the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, states that in the 7th century a people called the Bani Israel settled in Ghor, southeast of Herat, Afghanistan, and then migrated south and east. These Bani Israel references are in line with the commonly held view by Pashtuns that when the twelve tribes of Israel were dispersed, the tribe of Joseph, among other Hebrew tribes, settled in the region. Hence the tribal name 'Yusef Zai' in Pashto translates to the 'sons of Joseph'. This is also described extensively in great detail by Makhzan-i-Afghani, a historical work from the 17th Century by Nehamtullah, an official in the royal court of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. A similar story is told by Iranian historian Ferishta.
The Bani-Israelite theory about the origin of the Pashtun is based on Pashtun traditions; the tradition itself is documented in a source titled Makhzan-i-Afghani, the only written source addressing Pashtun origins. It was written in 1612, by Nematullah Harvi, a scribe at the court of Mughal Emperor Jehangir of Mughal Empire. Nematullah compiled his book on the order of Khan Jehan Lodhi of the Lodhi dynasty, a Pashtun noble and a courtier of the Emperor Jehangir.
Some sources state that the Makhzan-i-Afghani has been discredited by historical and linguistic inconsistencies. The oral tradition is believed to be a myth that grew out of a political and cultural struggle between Pashtuns and the Mughals, which explains the historical backdrop for the creation of the myth, the inconsistencies of the mythology, and the linguistic research that refutes any Semitic origins. Other sources disagree strongly with the hypothesis that the Pashtuns have Israelite origins.
Central Asia 
Bukharian Jews 
Bene Ephraim of South India 
Bene Israel of India 
The Bene Israel (Hebrew: "Sons of Israel") are a group of Jews who live in various Indian cities, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad. Prior to their waves of emigration to Israel and still to this day, the Bene Israel form the largest sector of the subcontinent's Jewish population, and constitute the bulk of those sometimes referred to as Pakistani Jews. The native language of the Bene Israel is Judæo-Marathi, a form of Marathi. Most Bene Israel have now emigrated to Israel.
In 2010, Amir Mizroch in the Jerusalem Post referred to the theory that even Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be descending from the lost tribe of Efraim. Shahnaz Ali, a senior research fellow at the Indian National Institute of Immunohematology in Mumbai, has started studying the blood samples that she collected from Afridi Pathans in Malihabad, in the Lucknow district in Uttar Pradesh, India, to check their putative Israelite origin.
Bnei Menashe of India 
The Bnei Menashe (from northeast India) claim descent from the lost Tribe of Manasseh. Their oral traditions depict them as originally going from the Persian Empire into Afghanistan. (They may have been in the Persian Empire because it occupied the lands of Assyria when it conquered Babylonia.) According to their traditions, they then went to China, where they encountered persecution, then pressed on to India and Southern Asia. DNA tests to determine whether or not they originate from the Middle East has yielded mixed results.The Israeli government has recognized them as one of the lost tribes and made them eligible for immigration under the Law of Return.
Kashmiri people of India 
The theory that the Kashmiri people of India descended from the Ten Lost Tribes was first suggested by Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī, an 11th-century Muslim scholar, and remains widespread among Kashmiris to this day. The theory is based on similarities between Kashmiri place names and Hebrew words and place names mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, physiognomy, and local traditions. According to one Kashmiri tradition, the Israelites' 40 years of wandering in the desert actually covered the ground from Asia to Kashmir, and Kashmir is in fact the Promised Land.
In 1899 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, advanced the theory that Jesus had survived the crucifixion and traveled to Kashmir to find and preach to the lost tribes of Israel. Ahmad claimed that Jesus lived in Kashmir, had children, died at the age of 120, and was buried in Srinagar.
Kaifeng Jews 
According to some historical sources, a Jewish community has existed in Kaifeng, China from medieval times until the present day. In 2009, Chinese Jews from Kaifeng arrived in Israel as immigrants.
According to historical records, a Jewish community with a synagogue built in 1163 existed at Kaifeng from at least the Southern Song Dynasty until the late nineteenth century. A stone monument in the city suggests that they were there since at least 231 BC.
Speculation regarding other ethnic groups 
Scythian / Cimmerian Theories 
Several theories claim that the Scythians and/or Cimmerians were in whole or in part the Lost Tribes of Israel. These are generally based on the belief that the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which had been deported by the Assyrians, became known in history as the Scythians and/or Cimmerians. Various points of view exist as to their modern descendants.
The 19th-century British scholar George Rawlinson wrote:
We have reasonable grounds for regarding the Gimirri, or Cimmerians, who first appeared on the confines of Assyria and Media in the seventh century B.C., and the Sacae of the Behistun Rock, nearly two centuries later, as identical with the Beth-Khumree of Samaria, or the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel.
E. Raymond Capt, a British Israelite, claimed similarities between King Jehu's pointed headdress and that of the captive Saka king seen to the far right on the Behistun Inscription. He also posited that the Assyrian word for the House of Israel, Khumri, which was named after Israel's King Omri of the 8th century BC, is connected phonetically to Gimirri(Cimmerian).
Critics of the Israel / Scythian theory argue that the customs of the Scythians and Cimmerians differ from those of the Ancient Israelites. In addition, the greater body of research on the history of ancient populations does not provide support for the purported links between these ancient populations.
British Israelism variant 
British Israelism (also known as 'Anglo-Israelism') is the theory that people of Western European descent, especially Britain and the United States, are descended from the lost tribes of Israel. Adherents argue that the deported Israelites became Scythians / Cimmerians who are ancestors of the Celts / Anglo-Saxons of Western Europe. The theory arose in England, whence it spread to the United States. During the 20th century, British Israelism was promoted by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Armstrong argued that this theory provided a 'key' to understanding biblical prophecy; he felt called to proclaim these prophecies to the 'lost tribes' of Israel before the coming of the 'end-times'. The Worldwide Church of God no longer teaches the theory, but some offshoot churches such as the Philadelphia Church of God, the United Church of God, and the Living Church of God continue to teach it. It is inconsistent with the findings of modern genetics, which show no Middle Eastern connection for traditional cultures in England.
Brit-Am variant 
Brit-Am, sometimes confused with British Israelism, is an organization centered in Jerusalem, and composed of Jews and non-Jews. Brit-Am, like British Israel, identifies the Lost Ten Tribes with peoples of West European descent, but does so from a Jewish perspective, quoting both biblical and Rabbinical sources. It uses Rabbinical Commentary supplemented by secular theories that posit the Lost Tribes / Scythian / Cimmerian connection, which are believed to have been ancestors of current Western European cultures and nations. An example of Brit-Am scholarship may be seen from its treatment of Obadiah 1:20 [in Hebrew Obadiah mentions the Sepharad, believed by some to refer to Iberian Jews], where the original Hebrew as understood by Rabbinical Commentators such as Rashi and Abarbanel is referring to the Lost Ten Tribes in France and England. Brit-Am also believes that "Other Israelite Tribes gave rise to elements within Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, France, Holland, and Belgium" and that "The Tribe of Dan is to be found amongst part of the Danish, Irish, and Welsh." Brit-Am also believes that the Khazars were descended from the Ten Tribes and quotes Jewish and non-Jewish sources that were contemporaneous with them.
Other variants 
Other organizations teach other variants of the theory, such as that the Scythians / Cimmerians represented in whole or in part the Lost Ten Tribes. One such theory posits that the lost Israelites can be defined by the Y-DNA haplogroup R, which consists of much of Europe and Russia, which is in contrast to British Israelism and Brit-Am, which believe the Israelites became only Western Europeans. It should be noted that the genetic findings postulated by this and other theories are typically inconsistent with the findings of generally accepted research in archeology, anthropology and population genetics.
Some have promoted the notion that the Kurds represent a Lost Tribe. Some claims have been made regarding a genetic relationship between the Kurds and the Jews on the basis of a similarity between Kurdish Y-DNA and a Y haplotype, the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH), that is associated with the Jewish priesthood. But, Y-DNA testing of 95 Muslim Kurds showed that only one sample (1.05% of the Kurds tested) matched the so-called Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH), consisting of six specific Y-STR values.
Erroneous statements have associated typical Kurdish Y-DNA with that of the Jews. They are based on several sources of confusion:
- The Cohen Modal Haplotype in its original form includes only six Y-STR markers, which with the scientific advances since that time, are now understood to be too few to adequately identify a unique, closely related group that shares common descent from one relatively recent paternal ancestor. The same six marker values can be found by random mutations in other populations that are only remotely related. They are thus identical by state, but not identical by descent. The 6-marker CMH cannot be used as a clear indicator of Cohen genetic ancestry, without additional data. Its presence is not considered grounds for probable Jewish ancestry in a given population.
- The most common (modal) 6-marker haplotype of the Kurds is only one step from the CMH, but these same six marker values, which were found to be the "Kurdish modal haplotype," have been found to be the most common haplotype amongst a wide variety of J2 Y chromosomes, wherever they may be found, in ethnic groups of the Middle East or in Europe. It does not indicate a close relationship with the Cohanim priesthood, or with the Jews except as among Semitic peoples.
- The 2001 paper by Nebel found a somewhat greater similarity between the Y-DNA of the Kurds and the Jews than between the Jews and the Palestinians. But, this study did not compare Jews with other non-Kurdish Iraqis, or with the people of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, or other nearby lands. The available data indicates that all these peoples are closely related, with the Jews and Kurds making up just two per cent of a diverse family of Middle Eastern peoples in this region.
"It is in fact in Japan that we can trace the most remarkable evolution in the Pacific of an imagined Judaic past. As elsewhere in the world, the theory that aspects of the country were to be explained via an Israelite model was introduced by Western agents."
In 1878, Scottish immigrant to Japan Nicholas McLeod published Epitome of the Ancient History of Japan. McLeod drew correlations between his observations of Japan and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
The civilized race of the Aa. Inus, the Tokugawa and the Machi No Hito of the large towns, by dwelling in the tent or tabernacle shaped houses first erected by Jin Mu Tenno, have fulfilled Noah's prophecy regarding Japhet, "He shall dwell in the tents of Shem."(McLeod, 1878. p. 7)
Several other authors have followed McLeod in speculating about parallels between Japanese and Israelite rituals, culture and language in an attempt to support the hypothesis. Arismas Kubo, an ordained Christian minister, has translated McLeod's book into Japanese, and has published a number of works on the topic. In his article, "Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes: Japan," he asserts that many traditional customs and ceremonies in Japan are very similar to those of ancient Israel. He postulates that perhaps these rituals came from the Jews through members of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who might have come to ancient Japan.
Jon Entine emphasizes that DNA evidence shows there were no significant ancient links between Japanese and Israelite peoples.
There is a theory that the Irish, or that Insular Celts as a whole, are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes. Proponents of this theory state that there is evidence that the prophet Jeremiah came to Ireland with Princess Tea Tephi, a member of the Israelite royal family. Proponents of this theory point to various parallels between Irish and ancient Hebrew culture. For example, they note that the harp, the symbol of Ireland, also plays a role in Jewish history, as the musical instrument of King David. Some maintain that the Tribe of Dan conducted sea voyages to Ireland and colonized it as early as the period of the Judges under the name Tuatha Dé Danann.
Aspects of this theory are also sometimes cited by adherents of British Israelism, as one possible explanation of how the Ten Lost Tribes might have reached the British Isles. However, British Israelism takes many forms, and does not always use this hypothesis as its main narrative.
General dispersions, via Media region 
This theory begins with the notion that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are the sons of Joseph, who had been in captivity (Genesis 37 through 45) and bore them with the daughter of the Pharaoh's Priest, Asenath (Genesis 41:45-52). The Tribe of Levi was set apart to serve in the Holy Temple (Numbers 1:47-54 2:33 3:6-7). The arrangement of the Tribes was given in Numbers 2.
Some biblical and Talmudic testimony says that much of the population of the "lost" tribes was reunited with the rest of the Israelites when they, too, were exiled and, later, returned to the Land of Israel. Over the years, many hid their Jewish or Israelite identities during tribulations, crusades, and continual exiles, and they have scattered around the whole earth and are believed to have assimilated into the much larger non-Jewish population.
Genetic testing has been conducted on representatives of at least two groups, the Lemba in Africa and the Bnei Menashe in India, in attempts to verify claims of descent from the "lost ten tribes". A relatively high proportion of Lemba males, particularly those of the Buba clan, have been shown to have the Cohen Modal Haplotype, an indicator of common ancestry with some Jews (as well as with other Semites.) Together with the tribe's oral traditions, this evidence provides some support for their tradition. The males of the Bnei Menashe showed no DNA evidence of connections to the Middle East. The smaller portion of the women's sample showed some association with the Middle East; researchers think it might have been an indication of intermarriage during the years of migration.
In 1953, the American writer Nathan Ausubel wrote:
There are quite a number of peoples today who cling to the ancient tradition that they are descended from the Jewish Lost Tribes: the tribesmen of Afghanistan, the Muslim Berbers of West Africa, and the six million Christian Igbo people of Nigeria. Unquestionably, they all practice certain ancient Hebraic customs and beliefs, which lends some credibility to their fantastic-sounding claims.[importance?]
Other traditions 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
See also 
- Schisms among the Jews describes some of the early background to the split between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
- The Shavei Israel organization seeks to find "lost Jews."
- Assyria destroyed the Kingdom of Israel and caused the Ten Tribes "to become lost."
- Babylonia and Assyria were global powers that confronted the Israelites in ancient times.
- The Babylonian captivity was inflicted by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.
- Jewish diaspora
- Timeline of Jewish history
- History of the Jews in China
- History of the Jews in India
- Abrahamic religions - deals with Judaism, Christianity and Islam and a few other faiths
- Richard Reader Harris wrote The Lost Tribes of Israel in 1908 and was a major promoter of British Israelism, the belief that people of Western European descent are also the direct lineal descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes
- Joseph Wolff - the so-called "Eccentric Missionary", the son of a rabbi who converted to Christianity, who in 1828 set off on extensive travels through Asia in search of the Ten Tribes
- United States in Prophecy
- Assyria and Germany in Anglo-Israelism
- Bruder, Édith: Black Jews of Africa, Oxford 2008.
- Lange, Dierk: "Yoruba origins and the 'Lost Tribes of Israel'", Anthropos 106 (2011), 579-595.
- Parfitt, Tudor: The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of a Myth, London 2002.
- Weil, Shalva: Beyond the Sabatyon: the Myth of the Ten Tribes, Tel Aviv 1991.
- Jacobovici, Simcha, Quest for the Lost Tribes, 2003.
References and notes 
- Lost Tribes of Israel program on NOVA, Original broadcast date: 02/22/2000
- Parfitt, Tudor (2003). The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of a Myth. Phoenix. pp. 1, 225.
- "Ten Lost Tribes". Jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
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- Lester L. Grabbe, Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? (New York: T&T Clark, 2007): 134
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- David Kimhi. Commentary on 2 Kings 17:34
- Moses Rosen. "The Recipe" (published as epilogue to The Face of Survival, 1987).
- Méchoulan, Henry, and Nahon, Gérard (eds.), Menasseh Ben Israel. The Hope of Israel, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987 - ISBN 0-19-710054-6, p. 101 and passim.
- Wilensky M. (1951). "The Royalist Position concerning the Readmission of Jews to England", The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 397–409
- Menassah ben Israel, The Hope of Israel (London, 1650, English translation), scanned text online at Oliver's Bookshelf, accessed 10 May 2013
- Moses Rosen. "The Recipe" (published as epilogue to The Face of Survival, 1987). Nathan Ausubel. Pictorial History of the Jewish People, Crown, 1953.
- Stanford M Lyman, "The Lost Tribes of Israel as a Problem in History and Sociology," International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume 12, Number 1 / September 1998
- Part of the Lyman article and a similar article can be read online in the book, Roads to Dystopia, at Roads to Dystopia
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- Lemba of South African Jews, - San Diego Jewish Journal March 2004.
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- Afghanistan and Israel, britam.org
- Ehrlich, M. Avrum Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture ABL-CIO October 2008 ISBN 978-1-85109-873-6 p.84 
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- Ackerley, Chris; Clipper, Lawrence Jon (1984). A Companion to Under the Volcano. UBC Press. pp. 385–386. ISBN 0774801999.
- "The Lost Jews of Kaifeng", Jewish Holiday
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- George Rawlinson, noted in his translation of History of Herodotus, Book VII, p. 378
- Maurits Nanning Van Loon. Urartian Art. Its Distinctive Traits in the Light of New Excavations, Istanbul, 1966. p. 16
- E. Raymond Capt, Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets, Artisan Pub, 1985 ISBN 0-934666-15-6
- (Greer, 2004. p57-60)Greer, Nick (2004). The British-Israel Myth. p. 55.
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- (Greer, 2004. p57-60)Greer, Nick (2004). The British-Israel Myth. p. 62.
- "The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy". Retrieved 2009-01-14.
- Parfitt, T: The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of a Myth, London, 2002, p. 52-65.
- Parfitt, T: The Lost Tribes of Israel: The history of a myth, London, 2002, p. 57.
-  Orr, R: "How Anglo-Israelism Entered Seventh-day Churches of God: A history of the doctrine from John Wilson to Joseph W.Tkach."
-  "Transformed by Christ: A Brief History of the Worldwide Church of God"
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- "The Khazars and the Scottish," by Yair Davidiy, britam website, accessed 10/3/08.
- Hanok. "Israelite and Noahic Haplogroup Hypotheses". Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- Almut Nebel et al., "The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East", Am. J. Hum. Genet. 69:1095–1112, 2001
- Cinnioglu et al., Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia, Hum Genet (2004) 114 : 127–148
- Di Giacomo et al., Y chromosomal haplogroup J as a signature of the post-neolithic colonization of Europe, Hum Genet (2004) 115: 357–371
- Parfitt, Tudor (2003). The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of a Myth. Phoenix. p. 158.
- Epitome of the ancient history of Japan N. McLeod
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- "久保有政 - Wikipedia" (in (Japanese)). Ja.wikipedia.org. 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
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- Joe Entine, Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People
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- Lost Tribes article at BritAm.org
- United States and Britain in Prophecy article at Trumpet Magazine website
- The origins of the Lemba "Black Jews" of southern Africa: evidence from p12F2 and other Y-chromosome markers., PMC 1914832, PMID 8900243
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- Nelson, Russell M. (November 2006). "The Gathering of Scattered Israel". Liahona (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Michael Riff. The Face of Survival: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Past and Present. Valentine Mitchell, London, 1992. ISBN 0-85303-220-3
- Menassah ben Israel, The Hope of Israel (London, 1650, English translation), scanned text online at Oliver's Bookshelf
- British-Israel Church of God website
- Biblical History, The Jewish History Resource Center — Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Database of Jewish communities at Beit Hatefutsot in Tel Aviv. - Overview of many hypotheses about the Ten Lost Tribes.
- Brit Am Israel
- Christian, Messianic, and Jewish research on the Ten Lost Tribes
- Bnei Menashe Website
- What happened to the 10 lost tribes? video feature from Jerusalem
- United Israel Lost Tribes Research
- Anglo-Israel The History of the Ten "Lost" Tribes by David Baron, "intended primarily as a thorough examination and debunking of Anglo-Israelism"
- British-Israel basics