Are there ten tribes of Israel lost? I guess it depends on how you look at it. The Naked Archeologist did a movie and explored the topic, it was interesting. Back to the question – are the ten tribes of Israel lost? I don’t know where they are but Father God never lost them, He knows where they are. 2 Kings 17:7-23 tells the reasons why God put them out of His presence. Verse 23 states that at the time of the writing of Kings they were still in exile.
This was an interesting way for Assyria (and Babylon) to control a conquered nation. The “winners” would just make the population pack up their stuff and move them far away. 2 Kings 17:24 tells the story of who was brought in to take Israel’s place. They became known as the Samaritans in New Testament. But was everyone taken? Babylon in conquering Judah never seemed to take everyone (Jeremiah 52:28). 2 Kings 17:6, 18:11 tells us where they (Samaria) were taken and 1 Chronicles 5:26 adds that the east bank tribes were also taken to the same place – the Habor River.
Okay, the reason for this thought and post is what tribes were the Twelve disciples from? It would make sense that the Twelve are from those who returned from Babylon and that should have been the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. We do not know and are not told; the topic is never brought up in the Gospels. In the Gospels and Revelations, it seems like the Twelve will be judging the Tribes. Ezekiel divided the land around the New Temple/Jerusalem for the twelve tribes. Now, let us look and see what tribes are talked about after 2 Kings 17:23.
2 Chronicles 30 is the story of Hezekiah’s Passover, in verses 10, 11, and 18 other tribes are sent the message and invited to come to celebrate in Jerusalem. Actually, the proclamation went from “Dan to Beersheba”, or from the top to the bottom, or from north to the south of the country. That phrase is a code for all of Israel. Beersheba is at the bottom (south) of Judah near the land of Edom and Dan is in the north (See Judges). (To add to the drama 2 Kings 23:8 and Amos 8:14 talk about “a god” that was worshiped in Beersheba.) People from Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Issachar responded to the call and came to the Passover. Not all of the people were sent to the Habor River by the Assyrians, or some came back!
The one tribe that really makes me think is Simeon. Genesis 49:7 states that Levi and Simeon will be scattered in Israel. Levi is easy to see, they were given towns in Israel because of their work with the Tabernacle and Temple. The land Simeon received was inside Judah to the south of Jerusalem. But Jeroboam got ten of the twelve tribes in 1 Kings 11:31. Did Simeon move out?
The New Testament has Anna from the tribe of Asher talking to Mary and Joseph at the Temple. Paul is very proud to be from the tribe of Benjamin in Romans 11. And Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and there were priests in the Temple from Levi. So, several tribes are mentioned after the exile of the northern tribes.
I will still go with the idea that the tribes of Israel are not lost, the Father knows exactly where they are. As children of Abraham, they will come to Him when the time is right.
My take away. God’s people are everywhere some just still need to be found.