Where Are the "Lost 10 Tribes" Today?

Where did the northern 10 tribes of Israel go after their Assyrian captivity? They became known to historians as the "lost 10 tribes." What happened to them, and how do they fit in with the present peoples of the state of Israel?

We need to realize that Israel today includes far more territory than just this tiny modern Middle Eastern nation. Most people associate the name Israel with the Jewish state of that name. However, the Jewish people are descendants of primarily two of the 12 tribes that made up ancient Israel—Judah and Benjamin, along with a considerable portion of the priestly tribe of Levi.

After the reign of King Solomon, God caused the kingdom of Israel to divide into two separate nations because of Solomon's sins. The northern 10 tribes retained the name of Israel while the southern portion with its two tribes was called the kingdom of Judah. The word Jew is merely a shortened form of Judah. The first time the word Jews appear in the King James Version of the Bible, in 2 Kings:16:5-6, the northern nation of Israel is actually at war with the Jews! So clearly they are not one and the same people. 

After the time of Solomon, these two nations became two politically distinct geographical entities. The Jews are part of the Israelites descended from the patriarch Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. But he had other sons, and the descendants of 10 of them formed the northern nation of Israel, including the descendants of the patriarch Joseph.

Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. In due time their descendants became two great modern nations, one with an empire that stretched around the world. Joseph's descendants became the easiest to identify in contemporary history because the prophetic blessings they were to receive stand out so distinctly (see Genesis:49:22-26 and Deuteronomy:33:13-17).

The intriguing story of how the modern descendants of the patriarch Joseph eventually became Great Britain and the United States of America is told in our free Bible study aid The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy . Much of God's prophetic plan cannot really be understood without the national identifications carefully laid out in this publication.

Both Great Britain and the United States played major roles, one following the other, in the restoration (after nearly 2,000 years) of the Jewish people to nationhood in the Middle East in 1948. The Balfour Declaration in Britain (1917) was followed by U.S. President Harry Truman's crucial political backing in the late 40s. The destinies of all three nations—biblically known as Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh—are intertwined and will be a big part of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy at the time of the end, albeit in different ways.


Lafayette's picture

Why doesn't the UCG talk about the other 12 tribes in their literature? Surely, not everyone in this country is descended from Ephraim, Manassseh, and Judah are they? I would like to know more about the other tribes of Israel.

On my father's side I am Ephraim/Manasseh on my mother's side I am Reuben. Even though Reuben's history is less than steller and too arrogant for their own good I am proud of being French. Unfortunately, the French side of me resents the British and Americans claiming most of the glory when it comes to contributing to the world's betterment and freedom.

It was the French who first started Canada. The French were less prone than the British and the Americans were when it came to land grabbing from the Indians. Also forgotten was that three to four thousand Frenchmen lost their live in the American Revolution. The French were on the sides of the British and the Americans in both wars. It was the French that sided with the British first (not the Americans) when Germany invaded Poland. And by the way, the French flag is also red, white and blue.

Please, remember the rest of Israel.


Jengirl's picture

The tribe of Simeon was actually further to the south than Benjamin and Judah. This 2 tribes and 10 tribes tradition is not supported by basic geography. And, being unsupported, it crumbles as a foundation for all of that "two house" stuff.

Sabrina Peabody

Sabrina Peabody's picture

Are you saying that based on where the tribes were geographically doesn't prove that there was a separation of the tribes? The biblical account of the 12 tribes splitting into two kingdoms can be found around 1 Kings 12. That is what this article is referencing. After that point there were two distinct "nations" that functioned separately all because Solomon's successor, Rehoboam, took some bad advice.


tyler's picture

Can you justify your claim that Simeon was further south than Benjamin and Judah? As i understand it Simeon was not given a territorial inheritance in Israel due to the event with Shekem, and though Levi also was refused territorial holdings received the priesthood as a repayment for their loyalty to God and Moses during the golden calf incident. It also seems that Levi was with Judah in the division of the nations largely because Jeroboam set up a non-Levitical priesthood. the numbers 10 and 2 are not required for the 2 houses, so it does not follow that any "stuff" should be left unsupported by a lack of geographical logic. keep in mind that much of judah was scattered in the wars leading up to their final dispersion by the Chaldeans. The two houses can be substantiated, historically. The northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian Empire. The southern Kingdom much later by the Babylonian.


tyler's picture


I believe the reason that the other tribes are left out in the literature is because there is less shared with us in scripture as to what role they will play in the events of the end time.

In terms of national pride. Your history speaks for itself. As does ours, for good or ill. The purpose of identifying the US and Britain prophetically is not for self congratulation, but just to show how the condition of the world will be before the confrontation between God and the nations of the world, so that people who hear and believe may prepare themselves.

I love my country, and it is well that you do yours. But my citizenship is with God's kingdom that is to come and that is where i place my "pride"

Regardless of the nation anyone is born to they can through God's adoption become a part of the better country that Abraham longed for, and through the sacrifice of the Seed, become a part of that spiritual Israel, whose glory is far greater than that of those physical nations. Let him who glories glory in the Lord 1Cor1:31.

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