Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Ten Tribes - Found!
Eric Cline (From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible) approaches the lost tribes theme from three angles, the biblical account, the Neo-Assyrian inscriptions and the archaeological remains.
"[W]e know that between the efforts of Tiglath-pileser III, Shalmaneser V, and Sargon II, more than 40,000 people were carried off from 733 to 720 BC... Archaeologists say that at least five times and perhaps nearly ten times that many people were living in the region during that time... Either way, 80 to 90 percent of the Ten Tribes of Israel would have been left to either stay on the land or flee to Judah... [E]xcavations... provide evidence for a tremendous explosion of growth not only in the city of Jerusalem but in all of Judah... just after the fall of Israel's northern kingdom"
Referring to the much used apocryphal passage in 2 Edras and comments by Josephus (both first century) Cline notes: "Clearly, by the first century AD (if not long before), the myth of the Ten Lost Tribes had already begun."
The mysterious land of Arzareth (2 Edras) is not a placename but "a corruption of two Hebrew words, Eretz Aheret, and simply means "another land.""
"This deportation and repopulation, known in politically correct terms as "population exchange" was a standard and very deliberate practice of the Neo-Assyrians."
"So what happened to the so-called Ten Lost Tribes of Israel? The answer is simple: They are not lost and never were. Yes, the northern kingdom of Israel itself officially ended by 720 BC, when it was incorporated into the Neo-Assyrian Empire. And yes, inhabitants of Samaria and Israel were indeed deported... However, only 20 percent... at most, were sent into exile."
"Even if 40,000 people were taken into exile and 80,000 fled south to Judah, at least 100,000 more - and perhaps as many as 230,000 people - would have remained in what was once Israel's northern kingdom... the fate that befell [Israel]... mirrors exactly the fate that would befall the people of Jerusalem and Judah a little more than a century later..."
"[E]ven if 40,000 people were carried off... this number pales in comparison with the number of people reportedly deported from Judah... Sennacherib says that he deported 200,150 people from its cities and villages..."
The detail can best be appreciated by reading the book, but hopefully there's enough here to whet the appetite of some readers for a discussion of this subject that has much greater credibility than anything churned out from those that still promote the racist ideologies of Herbert W Armstrong and his jingoistic predecessors.