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Brit-Am Now no. 1370
The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel Movement

22 July 2009, 27 Tammuz 5769
1. Are Jews just from Judah??
2. Christian ??? on the Messiah son of Joseph
Goldberg posts Query about JP article
and the Exiles to Assyria and Babylon


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1. Are Jews just from Judah??
Letter received in reaction to
Yair Davidiy interviewed on the Tamar Yonah Show.
Download from the Brit-Am Site
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Israel National News

Content: My wife thinks all 12 tribes are Jews, i thought they were just judah, i think the apostle paul called himself a jew and he was a benjamite.. is the tribe of benjamin jewish?? also the levites must be considered jewish, there are levis, levins, cohans, that are jewish today and must be from the tribe of levi, so at least 2 tribes, levi and judah are considered jews.. answer me if you can, very interesting....
Brit-Am Reply:
The Jews are named after former subjects of the Kingdom of Judah.
The Kingdom of Judah contained the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Benjamin, the Levites, and small representative minorities from all the other Tribes members of whom had moved to Judah.
The Kingdom of Judah was named after Judah and Judah was the representative Tribe.
Members of the Kingdom of Judah remained Jewish in religion and did not lose their identity.
All Jews today either descend from former inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah or later attached themselves to Jews from the Kingdom of Judah, identified with them,  and accepted the Jewish religion.

One source [Midrash Seder Olam] says that in the Time of Ezra (beginning of Second Temple Period) about 20% of the Jewish people were from the other Tribes
APART  FROM Judah, Benjamin, and Levi who comprised the remaining 80%.
Judah contains representatives of all the Tribes but the other tribes are in a marked minority and Judah is the one who determines the general characteristics of the Jewish people and therefore the Jews in Scripture are referred to as Judah.
Even so, in addressing the Jews as a whole it would be possible to refer to the twelve tribes being amongst them EVEN THOUGH  the majority are amongst the Lost Ten Tribes.
Incidentally the Lost Ten Tribes on their side also contained representatives of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi but these are a minority not the determining elements amongst them.

Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman ("Nachmanides"), 1194-1270,
  #Let me clarify the matter for you. You have already noticed that in the Second Redemption [i.e. the redemption of Ezra, the First Redemption was the coming out of Egypt]. Only those returned who had been exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. ..These are Judah and Benjamin as well as the Cohanim [priests] who dwelt in Jerusalem and who pertained to the Kingdom of Judah. This was as it was written concerning the initial split of the Kingdom between the northern ten tribes and the Kingdom of Judah, "having Judah and Benjamin on his side" (2-Chronicles 11;12), "And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts" (2-Chronicles 11;13): [i.e. The Levites moved southward to Judah. The southern Kingdom of Judah then encompassed the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi].
... all the Kingdom of Israel was exiled to Assyria but the Kingdom of David [i.e. Judah] remained as it was until
Nebuchadnessar exiled them to Babylon. The Kingdom of David included Judah and Benjamin. It says, "There was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (2-Kings 17;18). This indicates the Kingdom of the Tribe of Judah that included the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
         #It also appears from the simple meaning of the text, that before the exile of the northern country by
Senacherib there were gathered into the cities of Judah people from the neighboring tribes of Menasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon and these then dwelt in the heritage of Judah... Those from the Tribes of Ephraim and Shimeon from Israel that were present (2-Chronicles 35;18) with Judah were they who dwelt in the Land of Judah or perhaps to some degree also those who had dwelt in their own territories adjoining Judah and had fled to Judah. They are referred to in a general sense as "from Israel" (in 2-Chronicles 35;18) and not by their specific tribes since they represented only a small portion of their tribe. These are they who returned under Ezra with the Jews from Babylon. They were not expressly mentioned by their tribes since they were attached to Judah. They all settled in the cities of Judah. There was no Redemption for the Ten Tribes who remained in exile.

2. Christian ???  on the Messiah son of Joseph
ON wrote:

Very interesting.  I wondered why the Messiah did not come from Joseph since he had the birthright.

[The New Testament] seems to be saying the Messiah doesn't have to be the seed of David (since, according to his genealogy, he would not be the seed of David through his father's line, which was required to be heir to the throne).

The following scripture says the right of king shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes, so the scepter will depart from Judah when Shiloh comes and he does not have to come from Judah. Also, the people will gather to him.

Genesis 49:
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

It goes on to say (my interpretation) that Joseph is blessed more than all his other brothers. It sounds like the Messiah/Shiloh (and possibly other kings) will come from Joseph because of the words "branches, arms, shepherd, stone, crown".

22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
23 The archers have sorely grieved him and shot at him, and hated him:
24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Moses blessed the tribe of Joseph prophesying:

Deuteronomy 33:
17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth.

Horns may refer to kingdoms, power. If Joseph has the birthright (which includes the Melchizedek priesthood) why doesn't the Messiah come from him?

1 Chron. 5:
  1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
  2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)
Have you heard of the Book of Mormon?  It talks about the gathering of Israel through Joseph here in America. (2 Nephi 3)

Brit-Am Reply:
The Brit-Am Ten Tribes Movement as a general rule NEVER discusses theology.
We are not looking for points in common or for evangelical type get together.
We avoid discussion about Christianity or anything else.
Your posting however brought up a few points it is worth clarifying:
When we speak of Messiah son of David and Messiah son of Joseph we are in fact translating from the Jewish usage in the Hebrew tongue by which "Messiah" (Mashiach) means in this context "Annointed One".
In principle we could have numerous "Annointed Ones".
In practice in the Jewish understanding of the Bible there will be ONE future Messiah son of David.
It is considered an Article of Faith to believe in his eventual coming.
In addition there will also be a future leader of the Ten Tribes known as Messiah son of Joseph.
This is not an Article of Faith just something that certain Sages spoke about.
Some sources also speak of several such "Annointed Ones" who in the future will be instrumental in bringing about the Coming Redemption:
These include a Messiah son of Ephraim, a Messiah son of Menasseh, a Messiah son of Dan, etc.
These sources are not authoritative but they are on the whole respected.
No-one really knows.
If it is not stated expressly in the Bible we may take it or leave it.
As for
"the gathering of Israel through Joseph here in America"
This is acceptable. Nevertheless other areas of the world such as the British Isles etc remain Israelite domains.
Eventually the Greater Land of Israel will be divided amongst all the Tribes of Israel.
There will be a return to the Land.
Whether this return will entail the coming back of all Israelites or just a certain portion of them (as some suggest) is another matter.

3. Amnon Goldberg posts Query about JP article
and the Exiles to Assyria and Babylon
Subject: Jerusalem Post article
Anything of note in this Jerusalem Post article?
Brit-Am Reply:

The article is interesting. It speaks mainly about the exile of Judah that came after the Exile of the Ten Tribes.
It does however as an aside also mention the previous Israelite Exile as we have noted below and replied to.
Info gathering on the exiled

Extracts (Remarks concerning the Ten Tribes are found at the end of the article and have been highlighted):
King Jehoiachin was only 18 years old and had occupied the throne of Judah barely three months when he was led off into Babylonian captivity in 598 BCE together with his wives, his mother, his servants, his eunuchs and thousands of "the chief men of the land."
But what happened to them when they reached Babylon? And what happened there to the tens of thousands of others who joined them in exile when the First Temple was destroyed a decade later? The Bible tells us of the return to Judah half a century later but virtually nothing of what the expellees experienced in Babylon itself. It tells us even less about the fate of the northern tribes of Israel - the "10 lost tribes" - which had been marched out of history by the Assyrians a century earlier.

However, scholars have been able to gain a measure of access to these missing years from cuneiform documents unearthed in Iraq in the last century, including a trove illicitly dug up in the final years of Saddam Hussein's regime and only now nearing publication. The documents are innocuous - business records, land deeds, tax accounts - but together are able to shed light, feeble but suggestive, on this central period in Jewish history

"We have been able to make history out of dry documents," says Prof. Israel Eph'al of the Hebrew University, an epigrapher and historian of the ancient Near

The major source regarding the exiles in Babylonia to date is a cuneiform archive found in the 1890s by a University of Pennsylvania expedition at the site of ancient Nippur. The area, 180 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, has seen heavy fighting since the Allied incursion in 2003. The archive consisted of extensive business records maintained by the Bit Murashu family over three generations. The business details are mundane, but the people and communities mentioned in the more than 700 documents depict a rural region in which 30 percent of the population has non-Babylonian names, according to a study by Prof. Ron Zadok of Tel Aviv University.

In fact, only 3 percent of Bit Murashu clients had clearly Jewish names, mainly names that began or ended with "yahu," a theophoric element that embeds the name of the Hebrew God. Since some exiles are known to have adopted Babylonian names, clouding their ethnic origin, the actual figure might be higher than 3 percent.

A promising new cache of documents attesting to
the Jewish presence in Babylon has come to light only in the past decade after the cuneiform tablets, apparently illicitly excavated in the wake of the first Gulf War, reached private collectors in the West who made them accessible to scholars. Among the settlements inscribed on these documents is al-Iahudu, the City of Judah, a name used in antiquity as a designation for Jerusalem. Some 120 individuals bearing Jewish names have been identified among the 600 persons mentioned in the documents. Two-thirds of the Jewish names are from al-Iahudu and the rest from nearby. The contents of only three of the approximately 100 documents have been published so far, but the rest are expected to be published within a year or so. The site of al-Iahudu has been tentatively identified by an American scholar as ancient Borsippa (today's Birs Nimrud) on the Euphrates, about 110 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.

THE MOST dramatic evidence of the communal cohesion maintained by the Jewish exiles in Babylon is the way those who returned to Zion organized themselves. (It is not clear what percentage of the exiles chose to return to Judah after Babylon fell to the Persians and what percentage chose to remain.) Those whose families had been associated with the Jerusalem temple before the exile now identified themselves once more as priests, singers, gatekeepers and temple servants in anticipation of the rebuilding of the temple, as described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Others organized themselves by town of origin.

"These are the people who came up from among the captive exiles in Babylon, and that returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own city" (Ezra 2:1).
The Jews are the only ethnic group among the many in Babylonian exile known to have returned to their homeland, except for one other group from Neirab in northern Syria. The Jews who remained behind in Babylonia were without exception the only group to preserve their identity and way of life down through the ages until their dispersal in the current generation. Babylonian Jewry would not only survive and prosper for 2,500 years but would for centuries serve as the spiritual center of world Judaism, the place where the Babylonian Talmud was forged. The Jewish community in Babylon would be strongly reinforced a few centuries after the exile, notes Eph'al, when many residents of Judah fled eastward during the Roman period to escape severe drought and famine.

The difference between the Babylonian exile and the Assyrian exile is stark. Both nations exiled populations to punish them or to forestall the possibility of revolt. But the Assyrians, described by Eph'al as creators of "the world's first empire," also needed manpower to service their rapidly expanding realm. Their aim was to harness the exiles to this task as efficiently as possible and this meant exploiting them as individuals rather than as communities. "The Assyrian kings were determined to assimilate the deported populations," says Eph'al. "They enforced mingling of the populations and their 'Assyrianization.'"

UNLIKE THE Babylonians, the Assyrians depleted conquered areas entirely of their original population and replaced them with deportees from elsewhere, as was done in Samaria after the Israelites were uprooted.

The exiles were not treated as prisoners of war once the transfer was completed but as productive assets. They made the 1,000-kilometer trek from Israel and Judah to Assyria and Babylon over several months, not in a straight line across the desert but via the Fertile Crescent. The route crossed the Euphrates at Carchemish, on the Turkish-Syrian border of today. They traveled in groups of less than 1,000, says Eph'al, with administrators along the way charged with providing them with food. "We have a letter from a district governor complaining that many more people arrived than he had been told to prepare provisions for."

Some of the exiles to Assyria, particularly craftsmen and builders, were settled in new cities. Others were directed to sparsely settled rural areas. Parts of the defeated Israelite army were incorporated directly into the Assyrian army. Fifty captured chariots and their drivers were integrated as an organic unit into the Assyrian armored corps under King Sargon. One cuneiform tablet identifies an Israelite named Hilkiah as being in charge of scores of soldiers. Some scholars have identified a group of soldiers in Sennacherib's elite royal guard, depicted in an Assyrian relief in the king's palace, as Judahites because their dress resembles that of the Jewish defenders of Lachish shown in another relief in the same building. In some of the Assyrian records, titles are added to Jewish names like "holder of reins," "charioteer," "guardsman" (bodyguard to the king), or "chief accountant." Many were settled around the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, near present-day Mosul in northern Iraq.
Over the course of several generations under Assyrian rule, the Israelites - the bulk of the Jewish people - were in effect killed off as Jews with kindness. There is scholarly speculation that some managed to join the Jews of Babylonia to the south or even the returnees to Jerusalem. The bulk, however, simply disappeared into the population mass of Mesopotamia, a loss to Jewish demography that would grow exponentially with the millennia. In time, the legend of the "lost tribes" would lead to claims that they were progenitors of the Afghan Pashtuns, Japanese, Ethiopian Jews, the English or even American Indians. A less fanciful if more jarring notion is that the lost Israelites stayed put in Mesopotamia and that their DNA lies just below the skin of many of the current inhabitants of Iraq and Iran, perhaps even that of some of the current leadership.
Further Brit-Am Reply:
The article does not indicate that new information has come to light concerning the Exiles from Samaria i.e. the Ten Tribes.
We too in our works have shown in detail alongside referenced documentation how the Israelites were absorbed into the Assyrian colonization system, into the army and administration, etc.
We also show how for a short time the Israelites actually took control of the Assyrian Empire and how they became identified with the Scythians and related peoples.
See especially our publications:

The Tribes - The Israelite Origins of Western People


See also:
Lost Israelite Identity. The Hebrew Origin of Celtic Races
(now out of print)


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