Scripture and Scholars say...


1 Ki. 14:15, God “shall scatter” Israel “beyond the river,” not all in one place.

2 Ki. 10:32, “In those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel...” –before their final complete exile.

2 Ki. 17:6, The Assyrian king “captured Samaria and exiled Israel”

Deut. 29:28, “cast them into another land, as it is this day”

Isa. 5:26 “the end of the earth”

Isa. 11:11-12, “the four corners of the earth”

Isa. 27:13 (Vulgate), “those lost from the land of Assyria”

Isa. 49:9, “say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” An address to the lost ten tribes according to Jewish midrash “Pesikta Rabbati 31:10”

Isa. 49:21, (Ten Tribes:) “where had they been?”

Jer. 15:4, “I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth”

Hos. 2:14, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,” not a return to Canaan.

Hos. 8:8, “Israel is swallowed up now among the nations”

Hos. 9:17, “wanderers among the nations”

Ezra 1:15, ONLY “Judah and Benjamin” returned; remaining ten tribes did not return

“Israel and Judah... developed more or less independent of the other, Israel in the north and Judah in the south; and only gradually did circumstances bring them together, and then came the inevitable clash of interests, religious as well as political.” –"Hebrew Origins," Theophile James Meek, 1936, p.76

“Israel as a kingdom was never restored from Assyria, as Judah was from Babylon after 70 years.” –Jamieson, Faucett, Brown Commentary, p.650

“There never was a real return from the exile, although some individuals doubtless returned...the captivity of Israel did not actually terminate at 538 [B.C.], nor, in fact, ever.” –Geo. Ricker Berry, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, “Was Ezekiel in the Exile?” pp.89, 92 (Journal of Biblical Literature 49 (1930)

“Many of the towns in southern Judah and Simeon were not reoccupied after the exile. This process was quite as disastrous as it is portrayed in the Old Testament...” –Thos. Davis, “Shifting Sands,” Oxford Univ. Press, 2004

“That the Redeemer comes ‘from Zion’ [Isa. 59:20] for Israel implies that Israel is in exile...” –G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” Baker Academic, 2007, p.674

“The exile, into all lands, among all nations, was as irrevocably decreed as was the destruction of the city.” –Charles C. Torrey, Yale University, Journal of Biblical Literature 56 (1937), p.206

“...the returnees came only from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin —the exiles in Babylon. The ten tribes did not return...the loss of the [ten] tribes marked the greatest demographic defeat inscribed in Jewish memory since Biblical times.” –Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, “The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History,” Oxford Univ. Press, 2009, pp.17, 117

“Evidently it was a token return...” –Frank Moore Cross, Harvard University, “A Reconstruction Of The Judean Restoration,” Journal of Biblical Literature 94 (1975), p.15

“The tree of Israel, grown from one root with various branches, was cut into pieces.” –John Calvin, cited in Boer, “John Calvin,” pp. 190-191

“The ten [tribes] which had previously been carried away being scattered among the Parthians, Medes, Indians, and Ethiopians never returned to their native country, and are to this day held under the sway of barbarous nations.” –Sulpitius Severus (circa. 360-420 A.D.), Severus, Sacred History, bk ii, ch. Ii, in Schaff, et al., transl. Sulpitius Severus

“Jewish people often thought that ten of the twelve tribes were lost and would be restored only in the end time.” –Craig Keener, “A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew,” Eerdmans, 1999, p.315

The ten tribes’ not returning opened “a huge wound that does not heal.” –Talmudic Haga, Sefer Ha-Berit Ha-Hadash

"The prophecy of a restored and reunited Israel and Judah...was never actually to be fulfilled... Intransigence on the part of both...produced separate and irreconcilable societies that were never able to reunite." -Bruce Vawter, "Amos, Hosea, Micah, With An Introduction To Classical Prophecy," p.81

 

 

 

 

 

The Spartan Israelites

early Hebrew migration to greece

The witness of the Apocrypha and Flavius Josephus
concerning Hebrew colonization of early Greece


Introduction:

           An important and fascinating correspondence took place between the Jewish high priest and the king of the Spartans (Lacedemonians) of Greece. The date of this correspondence has been commonly assigned by Palmer, Grimm and others, to B.C. 330-309. It provides evidence that the early inhabitants of Greece were in fact Israelites.

            In the Apocryphal book of First Maccabees chapter 12, verses 5-23, we read:

            “And this is the copy of the letters which Jonathan wrote to the Lacedemonians: Jonathan the high priest, and the elders of the nation, and the priests, and the other people of the Jews, unto the Lacedemonians their brethren send greeting: There were letters sent in times past unto Onias the high priest from Darius, who reigned then among you, to signify that ye are our brethren, as the copy here underwritten doth specify. At which time Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent honourably, and received the letters, wherein declaration was made of the league and friendship, lest we should become strangers to you altogether, for there is a long time passed since ye sent unto us. We therefore at all times without ceasing, both in our feast, and other convenient days, do remember you in the sacrifices which we offer, and in our prayers, as reason is, and as it becometh us to think upon our brethren, and we are right of your honour. As for ourselves, we have had great troubles and wars on every side, forsomuch as the kings that are round about us have fought against us. Howbeit we would not be troublesome unto you, nor to others of our confederates and friends in these wars. For we have help from heaven that succoureth us, so as we are delivered from our enemies, and our enemies are brought under foot. For this cause we chose Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater the son of Jason, and sent them unto the Romans, to renew the amity that we had with them, and the former league. We commanded them also to go unto you, and to salute you, and to deliver you our letters concerning the renewing of our brotherhood. Wherefore now you shall do well to give us an answer thereto. And this is the copy of the letters which Onias sent: Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham. Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity. We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are ours, and ours are yours. We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise.”

Flavius Josephus

            We reproduce the passage from Flavius Josephus further relating to this kinship of the Jews of the Maccabean age with the Spartans. It includes an answer to the above letter of Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest:

            “Jonathan having thus gotten a glorious victory, and slain two thousand of the enemy, returned to Jerusalem. So when he saw that all his affairs prospered according to his mind, by the providence of God, he sent ambassadors to the Romans, being desirous of renewing that friendship which their nation had with them formerly. He enjoined the same ambassadors, that, as they came back, they should go to the Spartans, and put them in mind of their friendship and kindred.* So when the ambassadors came to Rome, they went into their senate, and said what they were commanded by Jonathan their high priest to say, how he had sent them to confirm their friendship. The senate then confirmed what had been formerly decreed concerning their friendship with the Jews, and gave them letters to carry to all the kings of Asia and Europe, and to the governors of the cities, that they might safely conduct them to their own country. Accordingly, as they returned, they came to Sparta, and delivered the epistle which they had received of Jonathan to them; a copy of which here follows: ‘Jonathan, the high priest of the Jewish nation, and the senate, and body of the people of the Jews, to the ephori and senate, and body of the people of the Lacedemonians, send greeting. If you be well, and both your public and private affairs be agreeable to your mind, it is according to our wishes. We are well also. When in former times an epistle was brought to Onias, who was then our high priest, from Areus, who at that time was your king, by Demoteles, concerning the kindred that was between us and you, a copy of which is here subjoined, we both joyfully received the epistle, and were well pleased with Demoteles and Areus, although we did not need such a demonstration, because we were well satisfied about it from the sacred writings, yet did not we think fit first to begin the claim of this relation to you, lest we should seem too early in taking to ourselves the glory which is now given us by you. It is a long time since this relation of ours to you hath been renewed; and when we, upon holy and festival days, offer sacrifices to God, we pray to Him for your preservation and victory. As to ourselves, although we have had many wars that have compassed us around, by reason of the covetousness of our neighbours, yet did not we determine to be troublesome either to you or others that were related to us;+ but since we have now overcome our enemies, and have occasion to send Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater the son of Jason, who are both honourable men belonging to our senate, to the Romans, we gave them this epistle to you also, that they might renew that friendship which is between us. You will therefore do well yourselves to write to us, and send us an account of what you stand in need of from us, since we are in all things disposed to act according to your desires.’ So the Lacedemonians received the ambassadors kindly, and made a decree for friendship and mutual assistance, and sent it to them.”    (An exerpt from Antiquities xiii.5 by Flavius Josephus)

Notes:

* The ambassadors claim “brotherhood” and “kindred” with the Spartans, but only “friendship” with the Romans.

+ “to you or to others that were related to us” - Jewish opinion did not exclude Israelite origin to other nations, but claimed it.

 

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