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Lost Ten Tribes

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Title: Lost Ten Tribes  
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Subject: Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Tribe of Zebulun, Tribe of Reuben, Tribe of Naphtali, Tribe of Ephraim, Tribe of Manasseh, Sargon II, Davidic line, Richard Brothers, The Plain Truth
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Lost Ten Tribes

For other uses, see Lost tribe.

The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel refers to those tribes of ancient Israel that formed the Kingdom of Israel, after the kingdom was destroyed in about 722 BCE by Assyria.[1] Many groups have traditions concerning the continued hidden existence or future public return of these tribes.

In declaring his 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.[2]

In medieval Rabbinic legends[3][4][5] 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".[6]

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.[7]

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 Numbers 35)
  • Jacob elevated the descendants of 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:

Traditional division:

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Issachar
  6. Zebulun
  7. Dan
  8. Naphtali
  9. Gad
  10. Asher
  11. Joseph
  12. Benjamin

Division according to apportionment of land in Israel:

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Judah
  4. Issachar
  5. Zebulun
  6. Dan
  7. Naphtali
  8. Gad
  9. Asher
  10. Benjamin
  11. Ephraim (son of Joseph)
  12. Manasseh (son of Joseph)
  • Levi (no territorial allotment, except a number of cities located within the territories of the other tribes)


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 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 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 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 Book of Tobit additionally records that Sargon had taken other captives from the northern kingdom to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, in particular Tobit from the town of Tishbe in Naphtali.

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 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.[10]

The 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.
—1 Kings 11:31
But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
—1 Kings 11:35

Religious beliefs

The concept of the Ten Lost Tribes originally began in a religious context, based on biblical sources, not as an ethnological idea. Some scientists, especially Dr. Shalva Weil, have researched the topic, and at various times some have made claims of empirical evidence of the Ten Lost Tribes and others refer to myths. 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 LDS Church believes The Book of Mormon to be a collection of records by prophets of the ancient Americas, written on plates of gold 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.[7]

Lost tribes

17th- to mid-20th-century theories

The increased currency of tales relating to lost tribes was brought about in the 17th century owing to the confluence of several factors. According to Parfitt
...As Michael Pollack shows, Menassah's argument was based on, 'three separate and seemingly unrelated sources: a verse from the book of Isaiah, Matteo Ricci's discovery of an old Jewish community in the heart of China and Antonio Montezinos' reported encounter with members of the Lost Tribes in the wilds of South America.'[11]

The Portuguese traveler 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.[12][13] 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.[12] 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..."[14]

He wrote on 23 December 1649:

... I think that the Ten Tribes live not only there ... but also in other lands scattered everywhere; these never did come back to the Second Temple and they keep till this day still the Jewish Religion...[15]

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 millennial 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.

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".[16]

Historians have generally arrived at the conclusion 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..."[17][18]

Bene Israel

The Bene Israel may be descended from the sea-faring Zebulun tribe.[19]

Bnei Menashe

Main article: Bnei Menashe

Some tribes in Mizoram and Manipour claim they are Lost Israelites.[20]


Beta Israel of Ethiopia

Main article: Beta Israel

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. They always longed for Jerusalem.[21] Numerous genetics studies, however, refute the possibility of a connection.[22][23][24][25][26]

Igbo Jews

Main article: Igbo Jews

The Igbo Jews of Nigeria claim descent variously from the tribes of Ephraim, Naphtali, Menasseh, Levi, Zebulun and Gad. The theory, however, does not hold up to historical scrutiny. Historians have examined the historical literature on West Africa from the colonial era and elucidated diverse functions which such theories served for the writers that proposed them.[27][28]


Main article: Lemba people

The Lemba people (Vhalemba) from Southern Africa claim to be descendants of several Jewish men who traveled from what is now Yemen to Africa in search of gold, where they took wives and established new communities.[29][30][31] DNA testing has genetically linked the Lemba with modern Jews and Muslim Semites.[32][33] 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.[32]


Persian Jews

Main article: 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

The Pashtuns are a predominantly Muslim people, native to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who adhere to their pre-Islamic indigenous religious code of honor and culture Pashtunwali.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36]

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.[37]

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.[37] Other sources disagree strongly with the hypothesis that the Pashtuns have Israelite origins.[38]

DNA studies

A number of genetics studies refute the possibility of a connection.[39][40]

Central Asia

Bukharian Jews

Main article: Bukharian Jews

There has been speculation that the Bukharian Jews are related to the Tribe of Issachar because a common surname among them is Issacharoff.[41]


Kaifeng Jews

Main article: Kaifeng Jews

Though not connected with any of the typical lore relating to claims of descent from lost tribes, as described above, Parfitt and other scholars consider the discover of a Jewish community by a Jesuit missionary in the early 17th century to have been important factor leading to the increased currency of theories and tales related to the Lost Tribes.

In 1605, Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci discovered a small community consisting of approximately ten to twelve families of Chinese Jews in Kaifeng, China.[42] According to historical records, a Jewish community in Kaifaeng built a synagogue in 1163, during the Southern Song Dynasty, which existed until the late nineteenth century.

The Americas

The United States, American Indians

In 1650, a British divine named Thomas Thorowgood, who was a preacher in Norfolk, published a book entitled Jewes in America or Probabilities that the Americans are of that Race,[43] which he had prepared for the New England missionary society. Tudor Prfitt writes
The society was active in trying to convert the Indians but suspected that they might be Jews and realized they better be prepared for an arduous task. Thorowgood's tract argued that the native population of North America were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes.[44]

In 1652 Sir Hamon L'Estrange, an English author writing on topics such as history and theology published an exegitical tract called Americans no Jews, or improbabilities that the Americans are of that Race in response to the tract by Thorowgood.

In response to L'Estrange, Thorowgood published a second edition of his book in 1660 with a revised title and included a forward written by John Eliot, a Puritan missionary to the Indians who had translated the bible into an Indian language.[45]

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 Behistun Inscription is often cited as a link between the deported Israelites, the Cimmerians and the Scythians (Saka).

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.[46]

Adherents point out that the Behistun Inscription connects the people known in Old Persian and Elamite as Saka, Sacae or Scythian with the people known in Babylonian as Gimirri or Cimmerian.

It should be made clear from the start that the terms 'Cimmerian' and 'Scythian' were interchangeable: in Akkadian the name Iskuzai (Asguzai) occurs only exceptionally. Gimirrai (Gamir) was the normal designation for 'Cimmerians' as well as 'Scythians' in Akkadian.[47]

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.[48] 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).[48]

Critics of the Israel / Scythian theory argue that the customs of the Scythians and Cimmerians differ from those of the Ancient Israelites.[49][50] 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.[51]

British Israelism variant

Main article: British Israelism

British Israelism (also known as 'Anglo-Israelism') espouses a theory that people of Western European descent, especially Britain and the United States, are descended from the lost tribes of Israel.

Tudor Parfitt, author of The Lost Tribes: The History of a Myth, states that the proof cited by adherents of British Israelism is "of a feeble composition even by the low standards of the genre." (Parfitt,2003. p. 61.)[52]

Other critics cite similar problems:
“When reading Anglo-Israelite literature, one notices that it generally depends on folklore, legends, quasi-historical genealogies and dubious etymologies. None of these sources prove an Israelite origin for the peoples of northwestern Europe. Rarely, if ever, are the disciplines of archeology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics or historiography applied to Anglo-Israelism. Anglo-Israelism operates outside the sciences. Even the principles of sound biblical exegesis are seldom used, for...whole passages of Scripture that undermine the entire system are generally ignored...Why this unscientific approach? This approach must be taken because to do otherwise is to destroy Anglo-Israelism's foundation.” (Orr, 1995)[53]

Adherents argue that the deported Israelites became Scythians / Cimmerians who are ancestors of the Celts / Anglo-Saxons of Western Europe.[54] The theory arose in England, whence it spread to the United States.[55] During the 20th century, British Israelism was promoted by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God.[56] 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'.[57] The Worldwide Church of God no longer teaches the theory,[58] 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.

British Israelism has also been refuted by the findings of modern genetics, which show no connection between Semitic people from the Middle Eastern and the people of the United Kingdom.

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.[59] An example of Brit-Am scholarship may be seen from its treatment of Obadiah 1:20[60] [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 Don Isaac Abrabanel is referring to the Lost Ten Tribes in France and England.[61] 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.[62]

Other variants

Other organizations teach other variants of the theory, including the claim 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 makes up much of the population of Europe and Russia,[63] which is in contrast to British Israelism and Brit-Am, which believe that 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.[64]

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.[65][66] It does not indicate a close relationship with the Cohanim priesthood, or with the Jews except 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.


Main article: Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestor Theory
Some writers have speculated that the Japanese people may be direct descendants of part of the Ten Lost Tribes. Tudor Parfitt writes that "the spread of the fantasy of Israelite origin... forms a consistent feature of the Western colonial enterprise",
"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."[67]

In 1878, Scottish immigrant to Japan Nicholas McLeod published Epitome of the Ancient History of Japan.[68] 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.[69] Arismas Kubo, an ordained Christian minister, has translated McLeod's book into Japanese, and has published a number of works on the topic.[70] 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.[71] 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.[40]

Other traditions

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the literal gathering of Israel, and the LDS Church actively preaches the gathering of people from the twelve tribes.[72] "Today Israelites are found in all countries of the world. Many of these people do not know that they are descended from the ancient house of Israel," the church teaches in their basic Gospel Principles manual. "The Lord promised that His covenant people would someday be gathered . . . God gathers His children through missionary work. As people come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ, receiving the ordinances of salvation and keeping the associated covenants, they become 'the children of the covenant' (3 Nephi 20:26)."

The church also teaches that "The power and authority to direct the work of gathering the house of Israel was given to Joseph Smith by the prophet Moses, who appeared in 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. . . The Israelites are to be gathered spiritually first and then physically. They are gathered spiritually as they join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and make and keep sacred covenants. . . The physical gathering of Israel means that the covenant people will be “gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise” (2 Nephi 9:2). The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh will be gathered in the Americas. The tribe of Judah will return to the city of Jerusalem and the area surrounding it. The ten lost tribes will receive from the tribe of Ephraim their promised blessings (see D&C 133:26–34). . . The physical gathering of Israel will not be complete until the Second Coming of the Savior and on into the Millennium (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37)."[73]

See also


  • 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 Sambatyon: the Myth of the Ten Tribes, Tel Aviv 1991.


References and notes



  • Michael Riff. The Face of Survival: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Past and Present. Valentine Mitchell, London, 1992. ISBN 0-85303-220-3

External links

  • (London, 1650, English translation), scanned text online at Oliver's Bookshelf
  • Biblical History, The Jewish History Resource Center — Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • 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

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