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How Many Tribes do the Jews Represent?
10-30-2009, 04:43 PM (This post was last modified: 04-07-2013 11:06 AM by Vic.)
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How Many Tribes do the Jews Represent?

There is much discussion in differing perspectives on who the Jews today are. Many websites, including both Christian and Messianic, strive to show that the "Jews" are only of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and often include Levite. The OT shows us that the remnant of all tribes which remained faithful to God were taken into Judah. We see that even during the time of Rehoboam's reign [1000 BCE] those from all tribes joined themselves to Judah.

[some of the following information is taken from:
http://www.seekgod.ca/hr/hrfaqs2.htm

2Chronicles 11:16 And after that, 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.

2Chronicles 15:9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the sojourners with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they came over to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.


During the deportation of the ten tribes, some of them were left behind, intermarried with the Assyrians and became the Samaritans. They have not forgotten who they are after these 2000 plus years.

By the time of Ezra [600 BCE] and Nehemiah [500 BCE], those of the tribes that had been scattered to Assyria and Babylon that wished to return did so.


Ezra 2:70 So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their towns, and all Israel in their towns.

Ezra 6:16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy,

Ezra 6:21 And the children of Israel, who had come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

Nehemiah 5:8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, who were sold unto the nations; and will you even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.


After the exile of both kingdoms, and following the return from Babylon, there followed a return of the exiles as one not two kingdoms. Note Nehemiah makes reference to those that were sold to the nations, not just Babylon. When Babylon fell to Persia, the whole empire that had previously been under the Assyrians also came under Cyrus. Therefore not just those exiled to Babylon returned but any of those that wished to do so that were had been there from the Assyrian exile. Also, offerings were made for Israel after they returned not just for Judah.

Ezra 8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, who had come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve male goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.

By the time of Jesus we see that there were Jews from every tribe in existence and they weren’t lost, they knew who they were. ALL of Israel was scattered abroad, not just the northern tribes. Jesus also referred to Pharisees and scribes as Jews. Were all Pharisees from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levite?

Luke 2:36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;

Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I [Paul] also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

In the NT the term “Israel” and “Jew” are synonymous and refer to all twelve tribes, as it noted in these texts. All twelve tribes kept the feasts, not just the tribe of Judah.

John 2:13 And the Jews’ [2453] passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 7:2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.


G2453
Ἰουδαῖος
Ioudaios
Thayer Definition:
1) Jewish, belonging to the Jewish nation
2) Jewish as respects to birth, origin, religion

The Jewish nation is all twelve tribes.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Matthew 27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.

John 18:31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.


From Acts 2, it is evident that all the tribes were found all over. As Acts 2 states, “Jews” from many countries had come to celebrate Pentecost, one of the three required feasts for men to attend. This means Jews from all 12 tribes, not one house or the other.

Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

James wrote to the twelve tribes that were scattered, note scattered, not “lost”. To those that like to twist this to mean that James was somehow writing to the lost tribes, would have meant ten tribes not twelve. And how would James have known they existed if they were lost - how would the letter ever reach them?

The Jews today consider themselves to be one nation comprised of all twelve tribes. Many Jews know which tribe they are affiliated with, especially the Levites due to their priesthood and the future institution of the third Temple according to Judaism.

From a Jewish website:


Quote:“The tribulations of exile and dispersion have blurred the delineation of Israel into its twelve tribes. Today, most Jews have no certain knowledge as to which tribe they belong. But the concept of "one nation," distinguished by various tribal identities, remains.”

“How, indeed, do a people comprised of various tribes, each with its own character, temperament, talents and vocation, achieve union as "one nation"?

One approach is to focus on our "interdependence": to appreciate that since we share a common goal--namely, to build for G-d "a dwelling in the physical world"--and since we each have a crucial role to play in the achievement of this goal, our various "tribes" and types complement and fulfill one another to create a single people. In other words, our differences themselves are what unite us. Since the entity "Israel" and what it stands for would be incomplete were any one "tribe" missing from the equation, no Jew is fully Jewish without his relationship with every other type of Jew.”

http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cd...Tribes.htm

Taken from another website giving the history of Israel:

Quote:“In Biblical Israel, the tribes were organized into a northern and a southern kingdom, and the southern kingdom developped a distinct identity as the "Jews" as 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and sent its populace into exile. Many Israelites from the northern kingdom fled to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. At this point in time Judah's population melded into a conglomerate of people from all the Israelite tribes. In 586 BC the nation of Judah was conquered by Babylon. About 50 years later, in 537 BC the Persians (who conquered Babylon 2 years before) allowed Jews to move back to Jerusalem. By the end of this era, members of the tribes seem to have abandoned their individual identities.

Today's Jews are mostly descended from the Israelites of the Kingdom of Judah, and thus are often identified as Israelites. Note that over time people joined the Jews, and married with the descendants of the Israelites. The number of converts is not trivial, but not so large as to swamp out the origin. It is thus fair to say that Jews today are descendants of those Israelites who lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, along with many converts who joined them.

Jews today are not descendants from only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone, but in fact are descendants of Israelites from all the other tribes of Israel (see below), as well as the converts to Judaism who joined them.

Most people believe that the southern Kingdom was only populated by the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, but this is not exactly so. Prior to King Saul, Israel was divided by its tribes with certain leaders from various tribes becoming judges of the tribe or surrounding tribes to fight the enemies of Israel. This is reflected in the book of Judges. Saul was selected as king, but after he acted rashly, the Bible says that God rejected his kingship and sought one who would replace him. David was then selected to be king, and his descendants were to rule over the House of Israel. For two generations, Israel had been united first under David for 33 years and remained so under Solomon for 40 more years.

Eventually, Israel suffered a civil war in 922 BC which split it into two parts. Jeroboam, Solomon's assistant, rejected the leadership of Solomon's son Rehoboam who wanted to tax the people heavily and this led to the revolt of the northern tribes and to the establishment of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel. It consisted of nine landed tribes: Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad, and some of Levi (which had no land allocation). This makes ten tribes, which later became known as "the lost ten tribes". However, Manasseh and Ephraim technically count as just one full tribe, so there were really eight full landed tribes, and part of one tribe without land. Samaria was its capital.
Judah, the southern Kingdom, had Jerusalem as its capital and was led by King Rehoboam. It was populated by the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon (and also some of Levi). Simeon and Judah later merged together, and Simeon lost its separate identity.

In 722 BC the Assyrians, under Shalmaneser, and then under Sargon II, conquered Israel (the northern Kingdom), destroyed its capital Samaria, and sent the Israelites into exile and captivity. Much of the nine landed tribes of the northern kingdom become "lost." However, what is less commonly known is that many people from the conquered northern kingdom fled south to safety in Judea, the Southern Kingdom, which maintained its independence.

Thus, Judah then was populated with Israelites from Judah, Benjamin, Shimeon, some of Levi, and many from all of the other tribes as well. Today's Jews are descended from the inhabitants of this kingdom.”

http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclop...of_Israel/

The Jews today agree that they are descended from all twelve tribes and do not differentiate tribal affiliation in order to be called a Jew.
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