ISRAEL - The ‘Ten Lost Tribes’

Arno Froese

Israeli and American archaeologists are working to shed light on what happened to the Israelite city of Hadid and its surroundings after Assyria conquered the ancient Kingdom of Israel and deported its inhabitants in the eighth century BCE. The research aims to provide new insights on the life of people who were forced to resettle, which was common in antiquity.

“Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it... And the king of Assyria carried Israel away unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (II Kings 18:9-11). That moment marked the beginning of the exile of the Ten Lost Tribes, the vast majority of whom would never come back to be part of the Jewish people.

In Tel Hadid, the archaeologists uncovered two clay tablets dating back to the beginning of the seventh century BCE. They carry several names, probably Akkadian and Aramean, and only a single name appears to be Israelite. The tablets offer insights on the cultural affiliation of those living there at the time. But at the same time, other elements featured by the site, like the architecture, still looked local, not influenced by foreign customs, Koch said.

“I asked myself if perhaps we have not looked in the right place,” he said. “And there is another issue: After the first newcomers arrived from their land, what happened to the second or the third generations living in Hadid? Did they maintain some of their traditions, or were they influenced by the local ones? For example, we know that Jews in Babylonia adopted Babylonian names.”, 24 June 2020

Arno's commentary

Although there is no such thing as the ten lost tribes of Israel, a great number of Israelites, who were led captive into the Assyrian Empire, did remain there and lost their Jewish identity. Second Chronicles 11:14-16 reads: “For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord: And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.” A remnant migrated to Jerusalem and became Jews.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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