Brit-Am Tribal Identifications|
Difficulties and Justifications.
Brit-Am proves from Scripture and History that the Lost Ten Tribes settled in the West and that certain peoples came to have a dominant Hebrew element amongst them. This strongly contributed towards the formation of their national character. Not only that but we have been able to identify specific peoples with particular Israelite Tribes
In our book "The Tribes" we speak of this at length.
A new edition of this work is in progress.
Israelite Tribal Identity is one of the strong points of Brit-Am research.
Our findings have been frequently confirmed and strengthened by new research results.
There are those however who have a problem with accepting the principle of Tribal Identification. To their minds, saying that a certain nation is largely or partly descended from Israel is one thing. Saying that a specific Israelite Tribe dominated them and that from a Biblical viewpoint they may be identified as that tribe is going too far! The following article examines some of the difficulties Tribal Identification encounters along with an explanation of the rationale that nevertheless justifies these identifications.
Difficulty of Historical Accuracy and the problem of Known Intermixing.
This argument states that historical records may be mistaken or misleading and at all events that much intermixing must have taken place. The identifications (assuming they were once correct) would therefore not necessarily have remained valid.
This is a good point.
On the one hand, there are definite cases where tribal identifications may be misleading.
The Goths moved from north of the Black Sea to western Europe. Historians say that by the time they reached the west only about half of them derived from the original stock. The rest came from other peoples who had attached themselves to them.
So too in the history of Scythia and Central Asia we find peoples constantly switching names, adopting names of those they conquered, or were conquered by, or who dwelt in the region before them, or federated with them, etc. Sometimes the same people seem to have changed their name several times within a relatively short period.
Peoples also intermarry and inter-mix, change their religion, language, and identity, etc.
On the other hand, in many cases individual groups did not intermix with others, kept themselves apart, lived in relatively isolated circumstances, and can be identified as Israelite Tribes who retained their cohesion. This was prophesied and is discussed below.
The Tribes Were Each to Become Individual Nations, Each One in Their Own Right!
There were actually 13 Tribes. Levi was scattered amongst the other Tribes. Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh. A quorum of 12 Tribes is maintained in Scripture by various differences in counting.
The Tribes split into two: The Kingdom of Israel in the north encompassed 10 tribes.
The Kingdom of Judah in the south included the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
Later they were joined by most of Levi and by minority remnants of the other Tribes.
The northern Ten Tribes (i.e. all those in the Kingdom of Israel) were each different in a National communal sense from each other.
This differentiation had been indicated in the Blessing of Isaac to Jacob.
# May God Almighty bless you,
And make you fruitful and multiply you,
That you may be an assembly of peoples [Genesis 28:3] #
Commentary HaNatziv [Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin,1816 - 1893]:
an assembly of Peoples. [Hebrew: Kahal Amim]: An Assembly [Hebrew, "Kahal"] is ten...and Amim [Peoples] denotes peoples who are recognizable in their individual folk distinctions even though they may be under one government and speak the same language....Yacob was being told that from the Seed of Jacob would emerge Ten Peoples. This means that each Tribe would have its own mannerisms and be a people in its own right. This is despite them having one Law [Torah] and one king. They would nevertheless be differentiated in their ways of life.
Only the Tribe of Benjamin and the Tribe of Judah had one shared way of life while Levi was encompassed by all the other Tribes.
The Tribe of Joseph had a folk culture common to both Ephraim and Mannasseh.
This is the meaning of an Assembly of Peoples [Kahal Amim].
Explanation of the Natziv Commentary:
The word Kahal in Hebrew means Assembly. It was understood in Rabbinical Exegesis that strictly speaking Kahal meant an assembly of ten (Numbers 14:26 Sanhedrin 74;b) It was prophesied that Israel (Jacob) would become an Assembly of Peoples. The Natziv understood this portion of the blessings to refer to the Ten Tribes as distinct from the Kingdom of Judah i.e. the Jews.
From Jacob came Twelve tribes. These split into two sections. One section comprising two tribes became the Kingdom of Judah. The other section of Ten Tribes formed the Kingdom of Israel. These in the eyes of the Natziv are the Kahal Amim (Assembly of People) referred to in the blessing to Jacob. The Ten Tribes each were to become separate nations in their own right, every one distinguished in its characteristics from the other. This is the meaning of the blessing an Assembly of [Ten] Peoples.
If we can trace the Israelite Ancestry of different Peoples there is no reason why we should not also be able to show their Tribal affiliations.
Tribal Allocation goes through the male line. Our understanding of Biblical and Rabbinical sources is that the exiles would be located in certain specific regions concentrated in their own communities.
Different Tribes Tended to Stay Together.
Tribal identification is possible on a Scriptural and an historical basis. We can locate certain Tribes or elements (such as Tribal Clans) from them and trace their migrations.
Different tribes tended to stay together and even to re-coalesce after separation.
Not only that, but various Tribal Groupings presaged in Scripture tended to repeat themselves in history, e.g. Tribes that in the Land of Israel neighbored each other tended to do the same in their migrations and re-settlement in the west.
Until about 150 years ago more than 90% of world population would marry those who were within walking distance of their place of birth.
Peoples did keep together.
Specific Tribal Allocations.
We trace the Lost Ten Tribes to specific Peoples in the West.
We have identified Israelite Tribes as being concentrated amongst the peoples of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, the whites of South Africa, Canada, USA, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland.
All together we have 20 polities in which the Ten Tribes may be identified as being present in significant numbers.
Out of these 20, 8 may be considered British or offshoots of the British, or of British and Dutch (SA) together. We identifiy these as Ephraim and count them as one.
That makes 13. Out of the 13 the USA together with the British is part of the Tribes of Joseph. The USA is Manasseh, Britain is Ephraim.
Iceland is together with Norway; Luxembourg with the Netherlands and/or Belgium.
Belgium is a combination of ca. 60 % Dutch and the rest French-Belgae. We may count it together with the Netherlands.
That leaves 10. Issachar is found concentrated in two places, Finland and Switzerland which are therefore counted as one.
That leaves 9.
There were 10 Lost Tribes but they included Simeon who was scattered in several places though here and there in recognizable enclaves.
Asher: Ireland (with many from Dan, Naphtali, Simeon, Judah, and Joseph).
Northern Ireland - Ephraim today, in the past Manasseh.
Scotland- Ephraim today, in the past Manasseh.
England - Ephraim.
Wales - Dan, Simeon, Ephraim.
New Zealand - Ephraim.
Australia - Ephraim.
The whites of South Africa - Ephraim, Zebulon, and others.
Canada - Ephraim.
Manasseh: USA (though possibly with a numerical majority from Ephraim and the presence of many from all the other tribes).
Belgium - Mostly in Judah but also amongst the Normans, and the Walloons (French-Speaking Belgae) who in addition include elements from Reuben.
Flemish in Belgium (Tribal identification not certain).
Denmark, elements in Wales and Ireland.
In our book "The Tribes. The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples" we speak of these matters at length.
Maps of Importance.
Parallels to DNA and Related Studies.
We are doubtful concerning many aspects of DNA findings.
Nevertheless we may learn much from them.
We are strong critics of DNA Theory.
In the past the experts would present DNA findings in a way that suggested a contradiction to Brit-Am belief.
Nowadays the latest studies tend to confirm Brit-Am researches.
DNA claims that despite much intermixing people from specific regions often have their own definite DNA markers.
In other words a common ancestry exists that may in the aggregate still be traced.
DNA has much to offer but it is findings are constantly being revised and occasionally overturned. When taking DNA into consideration, it is difficult to decide where to draw the line between proven fact and speculation.
Whether DNA findings are correct or not the basic principle still holds according to Biblical and Historical studies: There are national characteristics. In many cases these reflect the predicted attributes of particular Israelite Tribe that historically became dominant in the considered nation.
Concerning the determination of Israelite Ancestry in general see our article:
End Times Identifications.
Conventionally accepted historians do not say that any of the constituent elements of the USA and Britain were Israelite minorities or majorities.
They identify all of them (except for the Jews) as Gentiles of originally pagan origin but long since converted to Christianity.
Nevertheless historical studies do enable us to identify historical groups as of Israelite descent.
The Bible tells us that each Tribe will have its own blessing and its own national destiny (cf. Genesis ch. 49, Deuteronomy ch. 33).
This will be especially apparent in the End Times:
[Genesis 49:1] And Jacob called his sons and said, Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days.
If peoples may be identified as of Israelite Descent then why should an identification of their specific tribe also not be possible?
It is true that for individuals a definite Tribal allocation may be difficult but in the aggregate we can say which groups were dominant in certain areas. In many cases we may obtain a reasonably reliable indication as to which Tribe a specific ethnic group pertained to.
Biblical Prophecy in the Light of Rabbinical Commentary
Our identifications of different peoples with Israelite Tribes are based on the Bible.
We find the names of Tribes, of Tribal Clans within the Tribes (Genesis ch.46, Numbers ch.26), of important families, and Tribal heroes throughout the Bible.
We then find amongst groups we otherwise believe to be Israelite these same names repeated.
Very often they are arranged in the same relative family and clan hierarchies as prevailed in Biblical Times.
In addition to the simple literal message of the Bible, we also rely on the meaning of Hebrew Names in the Bible, the correct translation from the Hebrew Bible of Biblical passages, and Rabbinical Commentaries on the Bible. From all these and additional sources we can re-create Tribal Profiles.
These findings frequently fit Brit-Am Tribal Identifications to an amazing degree of exactness.
The Rabbinical Scholars from which we often derive this information were not adherents of Brit-Am, British Israel, or anything similar to it.
In most cases their results were published centuries before we came along!
The Rabbinical results were often reached long before the confirming Prophecies even came to fruition!
The Rabbinical Sages were working in a vacuum with the sole aim of understanding the inner import of Scriptural Passages.
They probably knew nothing about Brit-Am type concepts, though some of them may have.
Nevertheless the results confirm Brit-Am understandings.
These results help strengthen our belief in the Bible. Since we all have the frailties of human beings anything that affirms our Biblical faith is worthwhile.
Brit-Am Identifications Exemplified by Historical Reality are Especially Obvious in the Case of Joseph.
Scriptural passages concerning Promises given to Israelite Tribes according to Brit-Am understandings correspond with historical and geographical realities.
This is apparent in the case of nearly all of the Tribes. It is especially pertinent in the case of the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Ephraim we identify with Britain and her offshoots.
Ephraim according to his name was to be aristocratic. It was predicted that Joseph, and especially Ephraim, would rule over other peoples. This came to pass through the British Empire.
Manasseh we identify with the USA.
Manasseh according to his name was to focus on the principle of Responsible Representation.
Manasseh was ruled by the Presidential System of Government rather than the autocratic monarchical one.
The first born son of Manasseh was named Machir.
The name America is derived from the Hebrew Ha-Machiri meaning literally the People of Machir.
The name Machir in Hebrew connotes Capitalism and the USA became the world's foremost Capitalist nation and promoter of the Capitalist System.
Manasseh was to become great AFTER Ephraim. Manasseh was in some ways to be greater than Ephraim had been. Manasseh was to be especially stronger in the materialist sense.
All of these (and other) conditions the USA fufilled. The promises and indications concerning Manasseh in effect give us a succinct and accurate description of the USA!
The USA initially emerged from the British. They broke away from Britain and set up their own system. They grew to greatness in some measure due to British protection and investment.
They replaced the British Empire as the foremost world power in a seamless manner, as the natural successor. The USA came to greatness subsequent to the British. The greatness of the USA was especially apparent in the material sense.
The USA fulfilled most of the promises given to Israel and the tasks laid upon Israel.
One of the tasks of the Ten Tribes and especially of Joseph was to elevate themselves and to bring the rest of mankind forward with them.
This is what the Ten Tribes did. Each one in their own way. The Danish, French, Dutch, and others all had Empires of their own. They all helped advance their subject peoples. Through their influence and example, coercion, investment, research, and interest, all the Ten Tribe nations contributed to the advancement of humanity, each in their own way.
The British Empire and after that US world hegemony did more than any other element in world history to civilize the rest of the world.
Even now, they still do.
[All this is despite some very severe criticisms that may with justice be levelled against both the British and the Americans!]
The above comments, in light of the Biblical Promises as clarified in Rabbinical and Brit-Am sources, are further proof of descent from Joseph.
The Case of America.
Let us take the USA as an example both of identifications made and the difficulties involved.
Is the USA any different?
In the beginning people from the Western parts of the British Isles were the most dominant. They accounted for more than 80% of the early population of the USA. They came from areas where the names of Tribal Clans and other factors mainly parallel those of the Tribe of Manasseh. The very name America is derived from the Hebrew "Ha-Macheri" meaning literally "The People of Machir". Machir was the first-born son of Manasseh. The name Manasseh in Hebrew (as explained by Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch) means Responsible Representation. It was a struggle for this principle that gave rise to the USA and which forms the guiding rule of the US Constitution. The USA has fulfilled the role of Joseph and especially that of Manasseh as clarified by Biblical Analysis and studies in accompanying Rabbinical Sources.
The ethnic constituency of the USA however changed. Instead of settlers from the western parts of the British Isles being in the majority others came to the fore. Immigrants from Germany were especially important. Nevertheless these too are often Israelite and they also on the whole pertain to Ephraim and Manasseh.
It is true that America is a melting pot and that immigrants arrived from all over the earth.
Nevertheless certain ethnic groups were predominant especially at the beginning.
Even now distinctions may be made:
Largest Ethnic / Racial Groups in the U.S.
Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau Report issued in June 2004
Ancestry Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total population 281,421,906
% of Population (year 2000)
African American 8.8
American Indian 2.8
Other ancestries 1.6
French Canadian 0.8
Puerto Rican 0.9
Today, the German, Irish, and English (after the Afro-Americans) contingents form the largest contingents.
The German immigrants to the USA were mostly of Israelite origin whereas those Germans who remained in Germany were not, as we explain in our works.
Taking these together with the other groups we identify as Israelite we still get more than 40%.
Amongst the others there may also be those who should be classified as Israelites. Afro-Americans are at least 20% white. How many of these should be regarded as Israelites is another question.
Amongst the Hispanics may be found those of Gothic and Jewish origin.
We do not have to have all the answers.
We may say that a substantial proportion of the US population derives from peoples in which Israelite Tribes were dominant.
Those who come from other places may in many cases also be Israelites obeying an ancestral urge to re-unite with their Hebrew Kinfolk.
Not only that but qualitatively the Israelite elements still play a commanding role in US life.
If you read books like "Born Fighting. How the Scots-Irish Shaped America" by James Webb (2004), you would be likely (in lieu of additional information) to think that the Scots-Irish determined what being an American is and still practically run the show?
Most US Presidents have indeed been of Scots-Irish stock.
The statistics however show only 1.5% of Scots-Irish origin!
In the United States Census, 2000, 4.3 million Americans claimed Scots-Irish ancestry.
James Webb suggests estimates that the true number of Scotch-Irish in the USA is more likely to be in the region of 27 million.
What if they were not?
What if the official statistics give a correct impression?
Would it mean much?
They played their role in history. They derived from Manasseh. They helped create the USA as a nation that in Biblical terms played the role given to Manasseh.
Most descendants of Manasseh are probably today in the USA.
That is what we need to know.
For these and other reasons we may therefore identify the USA as Manasseh from the point of view of Prophecy.
Other Israelite Tribes are also present. There may numerically be even more from Ephraim than from Manasseh in the USA.
Nevertheless the USA is still primarily the nation through which Manasseh obtained expression whereas Britain and her offshoots belonged more to Ephraim.
These explanations are not complicated. They are not irrational. They make sense. They are paralleled by recognized demographic, genealogical, and sociological phenomena.
If the Bible says something then it is true and it will also be reflected in concrete reality.
The Germans and other Continental Europeans who came to the USA were mostly descended from Israelites whereas they who stayed behind, on the whole, were not.
Most Israelite Tribes are to be found amongst the US population. Numerically Ephraim may be predominant.
Nevertheless from a Biblical point of view the USA pertains to Manasseh.
There may be a majority of non-Israelites today in the US population. Nevertheless Israelites are there and they were determinant elements in forming the nation and making it what it is. Through the USA promised blessings to Ephraim and Manasseh were fulfilled and part of the destined taskwork of the Ten Tribes was carried out.
The Dilemma of the Private Person and Israelite Ancestral Identity.
No individual may be absolutely sure that they descend from the Ten Tribes though in most cases a fair enough estimation may be made.
Uncertainty exists and Divine Providence so wanted it to.
The individual needs to submerge themself in the collective Israelite Tribal whole and find their identity in that way.
It may be that the regions your ancestors came from have been identified by us as those in which Israelites settled. This does not automatically imply that you are definitely an Israelite. It does however heighten the probability. An inner instinct together with increased knowledge may lead one to be almost sure that they belong to the Hebrew Race. This may be. It may be highly probable in numerous cases. Even so, absolute certainty does not exist. This is how Divine Providence wanted it. This uncertainty is there for a reason.
It suggests that all those who are aroused in this direction need to help further the work on this matter. It also suggests that a certain degree of humility is needed. Misconceptions must be avoided. Divine Providence has set this possibility in place. We need to recognize it for what it is and and live with its presence. Efforts need to be made to spread the knowledge and to increase recognition as to what it involves. Perhaps the Almighty wants you to deepen your awareness?
The Future Tribal Identification of Each Individual Israelite.
In the future the Israelites will inherit Lands within the region of great Israel according to their Tribes (Ezekiel ch.48).
The stranger who was not born an Israelite but identifies with them will receive a portion according to what Tribe he dwelt amongst (Ezekiel 47:23).
In the end times the Israelite Tribes will return and be identified as distinct entities.
The Messiah will identify which Tribe each Israelite belongs to.
The Messiah (or a process emanating from him) will bring about the definite Tribal allocations for each and every one of us.
In the time of the King Messiah, when his kingdom shall be settled and all Israel gathered unto him, he will establish the family relationship of everyone according to the divine spirit of inspiration upon him. As it says, AND HE SHALL SIT AS A REFINER AND PURIFIER OF SILVER: And he shall begin with the Tribe of Levi, as it says AND HE SHALL PURIFY THE SONS OF LEVI, AND PURGE THEM [Malachi 3:3]. He will establish the family relationship of Israel according to their tribes, only. He will make known who belongs to this tribe and who belongs to that one.
Rambam: The Laws of Kings and Their Wars, chapter twelve, item 6.
A List of Brit-Am Articles on this subject.
Amiable Aiming. Your Brit-Am Israelite Goals.
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