Lost Tribes of Israel??????????

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.

Leah the Overlooked

Leah is one Bible character that just seems to be overlooked or ignored.  I am writing this during the Christmas season which is part of the reason this is bugging me.  I do have a habit of disagreeing with popular preaching and she will be added to my growing list. (Lo Debar was not a dump, Mephibosheth was not pathetic, and Jesse was not cruel to David. Leah was the good faithful FIRST wife of Jacob who probably had “pretty eyes”.)  This Christmas season I have heard Rachel mentioned several times and Leah mentioned only once, and that was only because she was unloved.  So, please bear with me as I try to show you why Leah should be treated better!

Jacob – I know that he got the short end of the deal with Laban, but did he really have room to complain about deceptive practices!  He was not the poster child of fair-trade practices.  (By the way, Jacob was OLD when he took a liking to Rachel.)  It is also very plain that he did not ignore Leah, she had seven children (six boys and a girl).  All of Leah’s family came before the name change to Israel.  Yes, it still amazes me that from that point on he was called by both names.  That change has many foreshadows.

Rachel – She must have been good looking but her personality really did match Jacob’s – she was a thief (her father’s idols), a con artist (Ruben’s gourds), and a liar (faking her period before her father).  Leah is only mentioned in the Books of Genesis and Ruth (she was placed after Rachel), while Rachel is mentioned more times and made it into Jeremiah and Matthew.  She was the “loved one” but I still have a hard time seeing that she was the “better one”.  Because of her “loved” status people have heaped accolades on her but I shutter when they try to compare her to Ruth and Mary.  (Which by the way, Mary was a descendent of Leah and Jacob through Judah.)  Also, the fact that she was not taken to the family burial cave is a little perplexing.  It would seem that Jacob was grieving and set up a pillar over her grave, but he did not take the time to honor her with a trip to the only property the family owned at the time. I know she may have stunk by the time they made it there but he did not even try. 

Leah – Her exact role in Laban’s con of Jacob is never made clear, except that she went along with it and that Jacob could not tell the girls apart in the dark (okay, he was probably drunk).

At first, it bothered me that Leah was not mentioned more than she was in the Bible.  That was until I remembered that the genealogies in Matthew and Luke were really her family trees.  Boaz, Jesse, David, and Jesus are all her grandchildren, as were the majority of Jerusalem. 

It is probable that Leah took care of baby Benjamin and Joseph after the death of Rachel and that she was the “mother” in Joseph’s dream.  How long she lived and when she died is not told to us, only that she was buried in the cave with the rest of the family. 

Leah’s Sons – Please do not point to the behavior of the children as an indicator of how good the parents were.  If you read carefully the best one was Joseph and he may have had a pride problem before the trip to Egypt.  Leah’s children in order of their birth are Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah.  See the graphic in Marching Order.  

It is apparent that “true wives” versus servant girls and first-born and rights of the firstborn come in God’s planning in the Exodus story and occupying the Land.  Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are in the prominent position of first in the Exodus march and face east in the camp around the Tabernacle.  Rachel’s family of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin set out third and are on the west side of the Tabernacle.  This is not bad, but they are not in the lead.

After the kingdom was split into two parts the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (Aaron) are the ones that inhabit Jerusalem and protect the Temple.

A Thought – Like many things Leah and Rachel are types and shadows of things to come.  Leah the overlooked, the first wife of Jacob should/does represent present-day Judaism.  That would make Rachel a shadow of Christianity.  Okay, I am not sure how comfortable I am with that idea but God bless Leah the Overlooked and her part in the Family of God. 

Special pic is from the Ultimate Bible Collection – Leah_w_Rachel_67-63

Samuel and His Accomplishments

The Prophet Samuel who was raised by Eli, the priest of God, is a foundational person in the spiritual life of Israel.  He is the key spiritual figure between Moses and the prophets Elijah and Elisha.  His story is found in 1 Samuel chapters 1 through 25. Most people have heard at least one sermon about him and the references probably came from 1 Samuel: 1 -3; they are used a lot in meetings where young people are the target audience.  While studying his role in the anointing of the first two kings of Israel, Saul, and David, it became apparent just how important he really was to Israel.

We are not told how old he was in chapter 4 when Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas all die on the same day.  Nothing is mentioned of him until 1 Samuel 7: 3 when he is calling Israel to repent.  Verse two gives us a time stamp of twenty years that the ark was in Kiriath Jearim.  Why had it not been returned to Shiloh?

A possible reason is that there was no priest who was of age to carry on the proper worship at the Tabernacle or “Temple.”  Phinehas had sons (4:20 and 14:3) but who trained them in their duties as a priest?  I will guess that Samuel either did the training or at least had a hand in doing it; after all, he studied under Eli.  There needed to be an Aaronic priest to serve before the Ark, Samuel was from Ephraim. (Side note – If I was writing this as a novel the Benjamite in 4:12 would have King Saul’s father, Kish.)

While at Mizpah, where Samuel was leading Israel in their return to God, the Philistines attacked trying to keep them in slavery.  Samuel’s leadership was being put to the test and his response is a true act of faith.  He orders the people to continue in their “crying out to God” and he offers a sacrifice.  God responds to this “faith action” with thunder, “loud thunder” that caused the defeat of the enemy.  (I will assume there was a storm with lightning, but what if God just spoke at the enemy and they heard it as thunder.)

The next time reference is Chapter 8:1 and all it says is that Samuel is “old.”  This and the fact that Nahash the Ammonite king was threatening Israel (12:12) made the people think a “king” would be better.  The remaining years of Samuel’s life were spent in hearing about Saul chasing around after David trying to kill him.

The final reference to Samuel in the Book of Samuel is in chapter 28 after he is dead.  Saul breakers his own decree and the Law of God and consults a witch/medium.  Samuel comes “back” and rebukes Saul once more.

The other mentions of Samuel’s life and deeds are found in 1 and 2 Chronicles. 1 Chronicles 9:22 he and David assigned gatekeepers.  I could think that David just added or continued to what Samuel did since Samuel would have been dead when David got around to doing this.

In 1 Chronicles 26: 28 the things that Samuel had dedicated for the “Temple” were brought in when Solomon had finished the building.  So it seems that Samuel was honoring God with offerings even when the Ark was still in the Tent.

1 Chronicles 29: 29 states that Samuel was a writer/historian.  Other people probably took his work and that of other historians and wrote the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.  I have done parallel studies of these books and combined them into one manuscript.   

2 Chronicles 35: 18 mentions that Samuel was the last leader to celebrate Passover correctly.  He did his best to get Israel to honor God as described in the Law of Moses.

There is still more post to come from the study of the anointing of the first two kings, but I have developed a new appreciation for Samuel and his place in the Bible and the spiritual history of Israel.

Simeon – Where Did They Go?

Simeon – Where Did They Go?

In my post-Rehoboam/Jeroboam Legacy I wondered where the tribe of Simeon went too.TwelveTribesofIsraelebible While reading about the Meunites I followed a reference to 1 Chronicles 4:41 that states the men of Simeon attacked two places and took them over for their living areas: Gedor east of the valley and the hill country of Seir. The important thing here is it was done during the time of Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:9 gives the time stamps where this could be possible and it was just before Shalmaneser of Assyria conquered Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel and took Israel to the Habor River.habor_river

Maybe not a complete answer but it does clarify the mystery of Simeon a little better.



Map from http://www.biblestudytools.com/resources/maps/twelve-tribes-of-israel-map.html and eBibleTeacher.com.  and http://bibleatlas.org/full/habor_river.htm

Rehoboam/Jeroboam Legacy

In looking at Rehoboam and Jeroboam and the mess they left there are some things I have wondered about and then there are some “shadows” of their behavior that really are just scary. One thing that I will not find an answer for just because it does not appear to be there is the tribe of Simeon (see Simeon – Where Did They Go?). In Genesis 49:5 Jacob “scattered them” in Israel. When the land was divided by Joshua Simeon’s portion was in the middle of Judah’s territory. What happened when the Ten Tribes went to Jeroboam? They are mentioned twice after the split but before the exile of Samaria – 2 Chronicles 15:9 and 34:6. In 15:9 some have settled with Judah after seeing that the Lord was with them; King Asa has a covenant renewing in the third month on the fifteenth day of his reign. The 34:6 reference is to Simeon’s towns that Josiah removes idols from. It would seem they may have left their allotted portion and then just settled wherever they could but the Genesis 49 prophecy did come to pass.

Another thing I noticed was in Ezra and Nehemiah only Levites and families from Judah and Benjamin are mentioned. Some of the lists are for people from a town but they were towns from those two portions. Most all of the tribes are mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelations when the land is again handed out or they are sealed in the last days. (See List of Tribes)

Musing on these two things will show you the love of God and that He does expect obedience to Him and the Word He gave us. His love for the Northern and Southern kingdoms was rooted in Abraham (2 Kings 13:23) and He kept having mercy on both kingdoms. 2 Kings 17: 7 – 23 summarizes it all and should be a warning for all who claim God.

In Matthew and Luke, we find two family trees that are for the tribe of Judah leading to Jesus. Matthew’s tree is for Joseph and Mary’s is found in Luke and the common factors are David and Zerubbabel. Bathsheba is in David’s line because of Solomon and by extension in Mary’s line because of Nathan (1 Chronicles 3:5); Solomon started Rehoboam’s problems but sin and the world certainly took its toll on the King’s of Judah.

The chroniclers of the two kingdoms judged the kings with very interesting phrases. Judah’s kings were judged against David and if they followed his ways OR did they do “right in the eyes of the Lord” or did they “walk in the ways of the kings of Israel.” Israel’s measure was “they did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat” and if they did “evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

The wars and battles between the kings of the two kingdoms are legacies that still shadows the people of God today. True peace between the two really was out of the question. Jeroboam made the separation a matter of religion, add in a lot of pride and top it off with the forbidden pagan deities and war had to follow. But in all of that, the North seemed to be used by God to bring Judah to repentance or punish her for disobedience. Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 18 + 19 seemed to have a relationship with Israel but 19:2 clearly states what God thought about working with the enemy (people who did love Him). Having said that I also noticed that Father God sent two of the great prophets to Israel in order to get them to repent: Elisha and Elijah.

The Books of Kings and Chronicles are snapshots of the lives of the leaders of the people of God. Many of them are not real pretty. Closing the Temple, killing his children, ordaining anyone with the right price to be a leader of your church are just some of the sins they did. The people’s reaction to all of this is also recorded and is a lesson in its self. At times they were forced to follow God and at other times they rejoiced to see their leaders acting, as they should.   It would seem that the people followed their leader both in doing good and doing bad. But as you read the prophets it is easy to see that they just finally were going to do their own thing. Jeremiah and the women who made cakes to the “queen of heaven” show the degree that most of the people had sunk too. So where was the remnant? God always has a remnant! Did they have to go with the others or were they directed to flee and find safety? Were they the poor ones left in the Land? We know there were people in both Israel and Judah who still thought about God: they took care of prophets, wrote letters, wanted to hear about God and His plan for them and their families. We know these survived because there is still a Jewish nation/people!

Several of the kings of Judah did follow God and some of the kings of Israel at least showed an interest in the things of God. King Saul and kings Jeroboam and Jehu were offered a dynasty if only they would obey the Lord and follow His plan but these kings turned and did what they wanted to do. David had problems but the difference is he believed God AND acted on the promise by staying true to the Lord. So while Solomon’s kids were having varying success as king and Jeroboam’s family was eliminated quickly Nathan’s family was living in Bethlehem not knowing that the Christ would come through them.

A sad fact in our world today is that we still have leaders like Rehoboam and Jeroboam running things today. They may have a small church or a big one that really is not the question; do they have the heart to follow Jesus, a concern for people, and a plan to reach out to them with the Gospel?