Judaism

The Ten Tribes of Israel: Lost or Found?

In December, 1984, astounding news leaked to the world press. For over a year, the Israeli government had been secretly flying over ten thousand Ethiopian Jews out of their refugee camps in the Sudan to their new homes in the modern state of Israel. The Beta Israel, as they call themselves (Falashas in the Ethiopian language), claim that their Judaic faith originated after the Queen of Sheba returned from her famous visit to King Solomon, bringing with her the knowledge of the one true God. Rabbis in Israel, however, had another explanation—these Ethiopian Jews were descendants of the tribe of Dan, one of the mysterious lost tribes of Israel.

Occasionally an article will describe the Jewish customs of the Pashtu—an Islamic tribe in Afghanistan. They circumcise their sons on the eighth day, wear four-cornered garments, perform levirate marriages and wear traditional sidelocks and beards. These customs have convinced some researchers that the Pashtu tribe is a remnant of the ten lost tribes of Israel.

A prominent American radio and TV “evangelist” proclaimed for years that the ten lost tribes were not lost but had reappeared as the British and American peoples, whom, he claimed, were the inheritors of the promises to ancient Israel! These various ideas appearing in the twentieth century have again raised some important questions in the minds of many: what did happen to the ten tribes? Have some of them survived until today? Can we identify these tribes with any of the many ethnic groups living on planet Earth today? This post attempts to answer these and other questions by sifting through the myths and ideas of men to ascertain the scriptural and historical truth about the so-called lost tribes.

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