THE HISTORY OF THE TEN "LOST" TRIBES: ANGLO-ISRAELISM EXAMINED, by DAVID BARON

PART II.

THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE TEN "LOST" TRIBES.

ARE THE TRIBES LOST?

But now discarding the whole heap of Anglo-Israel fiction, let us glance at the question of the so-called" lost "Ten Tribes in the light of Scripture history and prophecy. Anglo-Israelism first of all loses the Ten Tribes, for whom it claims a different destiny from the "Jews," whom it supposes to be descendants of the Two Tribes only, and then it identifies this "lost" Israel with the British race. But there is as little historical ground for the supposition that the Ten Tribes are lost, in the sense in which Anglo-Israelism uses the term, as there is Scriptural basis for a separate destiny for "Israel" apart from "Judah."

The most superficial reader of the Old Testament knows the origin and cause of the unfortunate schism which took place in the history of the elect nation after the death of Solomon. But this evil was to last only for a limited time; for at the very commencement of this new and parenthetical chapter of the nation’s history it was announced by God that He would in this way afflict the seed of David, but not for ever (1 Kings 11:39).

A separate kingdom, comprising Ten of the Twelve Tribes, was set up under Jeroboam in B.C. 975, and its whole history, of about 250 years, is one long, dark tale of usurpation, anarchy, and apostasy, unrelieved by the occasional gracious visitations of national revival which light up the annals of the Judean kingdom under the House of David.

After many warnings and premonitory judgments the kingdom of the Ten Tribes was finally overthrown in the year B.C. 721, when its capital, Samaria, was destroyed, and the bulk of the people carried captive by the Assyrians, and made to settle in "Halah and Habor, and by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes" (2 Kings 17:6; 1 Chron. 5:26).

Now I would beg you to notice two or three facts.

I. The kingdom of "Judah" after the schism consisted not only of Judah and Benjamin, but also of the Levites who remained faithful to the House of David and the theocratic centre.* Even those who were in the northern cities forsook all in order to come to Jerusalem, as we read in 2 Chron. 11:14: "And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah, . . . and the priests and Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their suburbs and their possessions, and came to Judah and Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord."

* According to Grätz, "History of the Jews," vol. 1, p. 186, the tribe of Simeon, which was merely a subsidiary of that of Judah, also remained faithful to the House of David; but this is doubtful.

II. Apart from Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, there were in the southern kingdom of Judah after the schism many out of the other Ten Tribes whose hearts clung to Jehovah, and the only earthly centre of His worship which He appointed. Immediately after the rebellion, we read that "after them" (that is, following the example of the Levites) "out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek Jehovah, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Jehovah, God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah" (2 Chron. 11:16).

In every reign of the kingdom of Israel numbers of the religious and more spiritual of the Ten Tribes must have seceded and joined "Judah." This we find to have been more especially the case during the times of national revival in the southern kingdom, and in the reigns of those kings who feared and sought the Lord.

Thus, for instance, we read of Asa, that "he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, with the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon; for they fell to him out of all Israel in abundance, when they saw that Jehovah his God was with him, so they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem; . . . and they entered into a covenant to seek Jehovah God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul" (2 Chron. 15:9-15).

There are also several other mentions of "the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah" and were subjects and members of that kingdom.

III. The final overthrow of the northern kingdom took place, as we have seen, in the year B.C. 721; but when we read that the "King of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria," we are not to understand that he cleared the whole land of all the people, but that he took the strength of the nation with him. There were, no doubt, many of the people left in the land; even as was the case after the overthrow of the southern kingdom by the Babylonians later on (1 Kings 25:12). The historical proof for my assertion is found in the fact that about a century after the fall of Samaria, we find in the reign of Josiah some of Manasseh and Ephraim, "and a remnant of all Israel," in the land, who contributed to the collection made by the Levites for the repair of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, and joined in the celebration of the great Passover in the eighteenth year of that zealous and promising young king.

These were the component elements of which the southern kingdom of "Judah" was made up, when it, too, reached the stage, when, on account of its idolatries and apostasy from the living God, "there was no more remedy" (or "healing"—2 Chron. 36:16). It consisted, as we have seen, of Judah, Benjamin, Levi, and many out of all the other Ten Tribes of Israel, "in abundance."

Jerusalem was finally taken in B.C. 588, by Nebuchadnezzar—just 133 years after the capture of Samaria by the Assyrians. Meanwhile the Babylonian Empire succeeded the Assyrian. But although dynasties had changed, and Babylon, which had sometimes, even under the Assyrian régime, been one of the capitals of the Empire, now took the place of Nineveh, the region over which Nebuchadnezzar now bore rule, was the very same over which Shalmaneser and Sargon reigned before him, only somewhat extended.*

* See 2 Kings 23: 29, where the King of Babylon is called "King of Assyria."

The exact location of the exiles of the southern kingdom we are not told, beyond the Scripture statements that all the three parties of captives carried off by Nebuchadnezzar (that in the first invasion in the reign of Jehoiakim, B.C. 606;. and in the second, in the reign of Jehoiachin, B.C. 599; and in the final overthrow of Jerusalem, in the reign of Zedekiah, B.C. 588), were taken "to Babylon" (2 Kings 24 and 25; Daniel 1).

Now Babylon stands not only for the city, but also for the whole land, in which the territories of the Assyrian Empire, and the colonies of exiles from the northern kingdom of" Israel" were included. Thus, for instance, we find Ezekiel, who was one of the 10,000 exiles carried off by Nebuchadnezzar with Jehoiachin, by the river Chebar in the district of Gozan—one of the very parts where the exiles of the Ten Tribes were settled by the Assyrians more than a century previously.

With the captivity the divisions and rivalry between "Judah" and "Israel" were ended, and the members of all the tribes who looked forward to a national future were conscious not only of one common destiny, but that that destiny was bound up with the promises to the House of David, and with Zion or Jerusalem as its centre, in accordance with the prophecies of Joel, Amos, and Hosea, and of the other inspired messengers who ministered and testified more especially among them until the fall of Samaria. This conviction of a common and united future, no doubt facilitated the merging process, which cannot be said to have begun with the captivity, for it commenced almost immediately after the rebellion under Jerohoam, but which was certainly strengthened by it.

Glimpses into the feeling of the members of the two kingdoms for one another, and their hopes and aspirations for unity, we get in the writings of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, who prophesied during the period of exile. The most striking prophecy in relation to this subject is Ezek. 37:15-28:

"The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel, his companions (that is, those of Israel who before the captivity fell away from the Ten Tribes and joined the southern kingdom): then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel, his companions: and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." Then follows the Divine interpretation of this symbol: "Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions, and I will put them with him (or literally, I will add them upon, or to him), namely, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. And the sticks whereon thou wriest shall be in thy hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus satin the Lord God, Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God. And My servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land which I have given unto Jacob My servant, wherein your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and David My servant shall be their prince for ever" (Ezek. 37:20-25, R.V.).

Now let it be remembered that the foreground and commencement of the restoration and future of this great prophecy, especially to all the exiles at that time, was the restoration from Babylon, or "Assyria," as it was sometimes called.

As a matter of fact, these prophecies, and particularly Ezek. 37:15—28, set forth not one single act or event, but a process which, commencing with the prophet’s own time, extends into the distant future, and ends in the final goal of the blessed condition of Israel under Messiah’s reign in the millennial period. thus, while the full visible manifestation of that unity, symbolised by the two sticks becoming one in the prophet’s hand, will only be realised after the final regathering of the whole nation in their own land, and when the true "David," namely, Messiah, "David’s greater Son," shall be both King and Prince over them for ever—the merging and uniting process commenced, as a matter of fact, before the Babylonian captivity, was accelerated in the exile, when in their like sorrows and troubles the hearts of the people were doubtless drawn to one another in mutual sympathy and love.

The point, however, to be noticed in this and other prophecies is the clear announcement which they contained that the purpose of God in the schism—as a punishment on the House of David—was now at an end, and that henceforth there was but one common hope and one destiny for the whole Israel of the Twelve Tribes—whether they previously belonged to the northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes, or to the southern kingdom of the Two Tribes—and that this common hope and destiny was centred in Him Who is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the rightful Heir and descendant of David.

In like manner Jeremiah, in his great prophecy of the restoration and future blessing (chaps. 30 and 31), links the destinies of "Judah" and "Israel," or Israel and Judah together; and speaks of one common experience from that time on for the whole people. "For lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will turn again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and Judah" (Jer. 30:3, 4, R.V.).

Daniel also, towards the end of the seventy years’ captivity, includes not only the men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem in his intercessory prayer, but "all Israel that are near, or far off, from all the countries whither Thou hast driven them," who, he confesses, were alike involved in sin and judgment, and equally cast on the mercy of God on the ground of promises made to the fathers.

Now let us go a step farther. Just seventy years had elapsed since the first band of captives were carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in the year B.C. 606. "That the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, that he issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying: Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia, the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem that is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah."

This proclamation, which was in reference to all the people "of the Lord God of heaven," was issued in the year B.C. 536, two years after the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus, and was, we are told, promulgated "throughout all his kingdom," which was the same as that over which Nebuchadnezzar and his successors reigned before him, only again somewhat extended, even as the kingdom of Babylon was identical with that of Assyria, as already pointed out. Indeed, Cyrus and Darius I are called indifferently by the sacred historians by the title of "King of Persia" (Ezra 4:5), "King of Babylon" (Ezra 5:13), and "King of Assyria" (Ezra 6:22).

The first response to this proclamation was a caravan of "forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven, and two hundred singing men and singing women," who, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, who was a lineal descendant of the royal house of David, and of Joshua the high priest, made their way from "Babylon to Jerusalem."

Now the leading spirits of this returned party of exiles were, no doubt, "the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites"; at the same time they included "all those" from all the other tribes without distinction, "whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:5).

They are no longer counted after their tribal origin, but in families, and after the cities to which they originally belonged, which, for the most part, are not easy to identify; hence it is difficult to say how many belonged to "Judah," and how many to "Israel "—but that there were a good many in this company of those who belonged to the northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes, is incidentally brought out by the mention of two hundred and twenty-three men of Ai and Bethel alone. Now, Bethel was the very centre of the ancient rival idolatrous worship instituted by Jeroboam, and, though on the boundary of Benjamin, belonged to "Ephraim."

Between the first organised large party of immigrants under Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the second under Ezra, a period of fifty-eight years elapsed; but we are not to suppose that in the interval there were no additions to the community, which now represented the whole united nation in Jerusalem. We read, for instance, incidentally, in Zech. 6:9, 15, of a party of four prominent men who arrived in Jerusalem in B.C. 519 as representatives of the "captivity" (that is, of those who still remained in those parts where they were exiles), bringing with them a present of silver and gold for the Temple, the building of which was resumed about five months before, as a result of the stirring appeals of Haggai. This shows that there was continual intercourse and communication between the community in Palestine and the majority of the people who were still "Babylon"; and we may be certain that little parties and individuals, "whose spirit God had raised," continually found their way to the holy city.

In B.C. 458, Ezra, "the scribe of the law of the God of heaven," in accordance with the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, organised another large caravan of those whose hearts were made willing to return to the land of their fathers. Part of this most favourable royal proclamation was as follows: "I make a decree that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites in my realm, which are minded of their own free will to go up to Jerusalem, go up with thee"; and in response to it "this Ezra went up from Babylon, . . . and there went up (with him) of the children of Israel, and of the priests and of the Levites, and the singers and the porters, and the Nethinim, unto Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king" (Ezra 7:7).

This party consisted of about one thousand eight hundred families; and apart from the priests, Levites, and Nethinim, was made up of "the children of Israel," irrespective of tribal distinctions, from all parts of the realm of "Babylon," or Assyria, now under the sway of the Medo-Persians.

The narratives contained in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, under whose administration the position of the restored remnant became consolidated, cover a period of about 115 years, and bring us down to about B.C. 420. Jewish history during the second period of the Persian supremacy is wrapped somewhat in obscurity; but we know that nearly throughout the whole period of its existence it was more or less friendly to the Hebrews. There was certainly no revocation of the edicts of Cyrus and of Artaxerxes permitting those "which were minded of their own free will" to go and join their kinsfolk in Palestine; and that there were many other large and small parties of exiles who did so, subsequent to those mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah, may he taken for granted.*

* "It is inconceivable," says Dr. Pusey, "that, as the material prosperity of Palestine returned, even many of the Ten Tribes should not have returned to their country."

Anyhow, it is a fact that the remnant in the land grew and grew until, about a century and a half later, in the times of the Maccabees, and again about a century and a half later still, in the time of our Lord, we find "the Jews" in Palestine, a comparatively large nation, numbering millions; while from the time of the down-fall of the Persian Empire we hear but very little more of the Israelite exiles in ancient Assyria or Babylon.

By the conquest of Alexander, who to this day is a great favourite among the scattered nation, the regions of ancient Babylonia and Media were brought comparatively near, and a highway opened between East and West. From about this time settlements of "Jews" began to multiply in Asia Minor, Cyprus, Crete, on the coasts and islands of the Aegean; in Macedonia and other parts of Southern Europe; in Egypt and the whole northern coast of Africa; whilst some made their way further and further eastward as far as India and China. There is not the least possibility of doubt that many of the settlements of the Diaspora in the time of our Lord—both north, south, and west, as well as east of Palestine—were made up of those who had never returned to the land of their fathers since the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles, and who were not only descendants of Judah, as Anglo-Israelism ignorantly presupposes, but of all the Twelve Tribes scattered abroad (James 1:1).

As a matter of fact, long before the destruction of the second Temple by Titus, we read of currents and counter-currents in the dispersion of the "Jewish" people. Thus Artaxerxes III., Ochus, on his way to re-conquer Egypt, "having taken Apodasmus in Judea, conveyed the Jewish population into Hyrcania near the Caspian Sea." When he made himself master of Egypt we read of his finding Jews there, and, being incensed against them on account of a stubborn defence against him of places entrusted to their keeping, "he sent part of them into Hyrcania, in the neighbourhood of the country which the tribes already inhabited, and left the rest at Babylon"; while soon after many thousands were taken to Egypt by Alexander; and Ptolemy Soter, one of his chief generals, who had become King of Egypt, and had invaded Syria and taken Jerusalem in B.C. 301, carried off one hundred thousand of them, and forced them to settle chiefly in Alexandria and Cyrene.

THE CONDITION OF THINGS AT THE TIME OF CHRIST.

To summarise the state of things in connection with the Hebrew race at the time of Christ, it was briefly this:—

I. For some six centuries before, ever since the partial restoration in the days of Cyrus and his successors, the descendants of Abraham were no longer known as divided into tribes, but as one people, although up to the time of the destruction of the second Temple, tribal and family genealogies were for the most part preserved, especially among those who were settled in the land.

II. Part of the nation was in Palestine, but by far the larger number were scattered far and wide, and formed innumerable communities in many different lands, north and south, east and west.* But wherever dispersed and to whatever tribe they may have belonged, they all looked to Palestine and Jerusalem as their national centre, and, with the exception of those (and they were no doubt many) who bad ceased to cherish "the hope of Israel" and were gradually assimilating with their Gentile neighbours, were all one in heart with their brethren in the Holy Land. "They felt they were of the same stock, stood on the same ground, cherished the same memories, grew up under the same institutions, and anticipated the same future. They had one common centre of worship in Jerusalem, which they upheld by their offerings; and they made pilgrimages thither annually in great numbers at the high festivals." Thus Philo could represent to the Roman Emperor Caligula that "Jerusalem ought not to be considered only as the metropolis of Judea, but as the centre of a nation dispersed in infinite places, who were able to supply him with potent succours for his defence. He reckoned among the places that were still stored with Jews, the isles of Cyprus and Candia, Egypt, Macedonia, and Bithynia, to which he added the empire of the Persians, and all the cities of the East, except that. of Babylon, from whence they were then expelled."

* Thus Strabo (quoted by Josephus in "Ant." 14. 7, 2) could already say in his day that "these Jews had already gotten into all cities; and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this race and is not mastered by it."

There is ample confirmation on this point in the New Testament. Thus, for instance, we are incidentally told in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, that among the representatives from the Diaspora who were found in Jerusalem at that memorable feast of Pentecost—who were doubtless there also during the previous Passover, when the crucifixion took place—were "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phyrgia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and parts of Libya and Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, Cretans and Arabians": all of them either Jews or proselytes miraculously hearing in their own tongues the mighty works of God.

Here it is to be noted that, at the commencement of the Christian era, we find in this motley and cosmopolitan Jewish crowd representatives from Israelitish settlements in the very parts where they were carried by the Assyrians and Babylonians some seven centuries before, but who are all called "Jews," and all alike regarded Jerusalem as their national metropolis.*

* "Everywhere we have distinct notices of these wanderers," says Dr. Edersheim; "and everywhere they appear as in closest connection with the Rabbinical hierarchy of Palestine. Thus the Mishnah, in an extremely curious section, tells how on Sabbaths the Jewesses of Arabia might wear their long veils, and those of India, the kerchiefs round their head, customary in those countries, without incurring the guilt of desecrating the holy day by needlessly carrying what, in the eyes of the law, would be a burden; while in a rubric for the Day of Atonement we have it noted that the dress’ which the High Priest wore ‘between the evenings’ of the great feast—that is, as afternoon darkened into evening—was of most costly Indian stuff."

III. The name of "Jew" and "Israelite" became synonymous terms from about the time of the Captivity. It is one of the absurd fallacies of Anglo-Israelism to presuppose that the term "Jew" stands for a bodily descendant of "Judah." It stands for all those from among the sons of Jacob who acknowledged themselves, or were considered, subjects of the theocratic kingdom of Judah, which they expected to be established by the promised "Son of David "—the Lion of the tribe of Judah—whose reign is to extend not only over "all the tribes of the land," but also "from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."

"That the name ‘Jew,’ writes a Continental Bible scholar, "became general for all Israelites who were anxious to preserve their theocratic nationality, was the more natural, since the political independence of the Ten Tribes was destroyed." Yes, and without any hope of a restoration to a separate national existence. What hopes and promises they had were, as we have seen, linked with the Kingdom of Judah and the House of David.

Anglo-Israelism teaches that members of the Ten Tribes are never called "Jews," and that "Jews "are not "Israelites"; but both assertions are false. Who were they that came back to the land after the "Babylonian" exile? Anglo-Israelites say they were only the exiles from the southern kingdom of Judah, and call them "Jews." I have already shown this to be a fallacy, but I might add the significant fact that in the Book of Ezra this remnant is only called eight times by the name "Jews," and no less than forty times by the name "Israel." In the Book of Nehemiah they are called "Jews" eleven times, and "Israel" twenty-two times. As to those who remained behind in the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of the Persian Empire, which included all the territories of ancient Assyria, Anglo-Israelites would say they were of the kingdom of "Israel"; but in the Book of Esther, where we get a vivid glimpse of them at a period subsequent to the partial restoration under Zerubbabel and Joshua, they are called forty-five times by the name Jews," and not once by the name "Israel" !

In the New Testament the same people who are called "Jews" one hundred and seventy-four times are also called "Israel" no fewer than seventy-five times. Anglo-Israelism asserts that a "Jew" ‘is only a descendant of Judah, and is not an "Israelite"; but Paul says more than once: "I am a man which am a Jew." Yet he says: "For I also am an Israelite." "Are they Israelites ? so am I" (Acts 21:39; 22:3 Rom. 11:1; 2 Cor. 11: 22; Phil. 3:5).

Our Lord ‘was of the House of David, and of the tribe of Judah after the flesh—"a Jew"; yet it says that it is of "Israel" that He came, who is "over all, God blessed for ever" (Rom. 9:4, 5). Devout Anna was a "Jewess" in Jerusalem, yet she was "of the tribe of Aser." But enough on this point.

IV. From the time of the return of the first remnant after the Babylonian exile, sacred historians, prophets, apostles, and the Lord Himself, regarded the "Jews," whether in the land or in "Dispersion," as representatives of "all Israel," and the only people in the line of the covenants and the promises which God made with the fathers.

At the dedication of the Temple, which was at last finished "on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year in the reign of Darius the king," they offered "for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he-goats according to the number of the tribes of Israel" (Ezra 6:17).

Similarly, on the arrival of Ezra with the new caravan of immigrants, they "offered burnt-offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, . . and twelve he-goats for sin-offering" (Ezra 8:35), showing that the returned exiles regarded themselves as the nucleus and representatives of the whole nation. In the post-Exilic prophets we have no longer two kingdoms, but one people—one in interests and destiny, although they had formerly for a time been divided.

To show that. the revived nation was made up of members of the Northern as well as the Southern kingdoms, the prophet Zechariah calls them by the comprehensive name of "Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem" (Zech. 1:19); or, "the house of Judah and the house of Joseph" (Zech. 10:6). In the prophecy occasioned by the question addressed by the deputation from Bethel, in reference to the continuation of the observance of the fasts, he says: "And it shall come to pass that as ye were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing; fear not, and let your hands be strong" (Zech. 8:13).

Here the formerly two houses are included; together they are for a time among the nations "a curse," and together they shall be saved, and be "a blessing."*

* Some have supposed that the 14th verse of Zechariah 11—"And I cut asunder mine oilier (or ‘second ‘) staff, even Bands (or ‘Binders ‘), to destroy the brotherhood between Judah and between Israel"—foreshadowed another division between the Ten Tribes and the Two Tribes subsequent to the partial restoration from Babylon, and after the coalescence of the people before and in the Exile—as a punishment for their rejection of their true Shepherd the Messiah, which is symbolically set forth in that chapter. But this is a mistake. The (achavah), "Brotherhood," which was to be destroyed "between Judah and between Israel," is not to be understood in the sense "that the unity of the nation would be broken up again in a manner similar to that in the days of Rehoboam, and that two hostile nations would be formed out of one people," although the disruption of national unity which took place in the days of Jeroboam may be referred to as an illustration of that which would occur again in a more serious form. "The schism of Jeroboam had a weakening and disintegrating effect on the nation of the Twelve Tribes, and the dissolution of the brother hood here spoken of was to result in still greater evil and ruin; for Israel, deprived of the Good Shepherd, was to fall into the power of the ‘foolish,’ or ‘evil,’ shepherd, who is depicted at the close of the prophecy."

The preposition (bain), which is twice repeated, has the meaning not only of "between," but also of "among," and the formula, House of Judah and House of Israel, or simply, "Judah and Israel," is, as we have had again and again to notice, this prophet’s inclusive designation of the whole ideally (and to a large extent already actually) reunited one people. I think, therefore, that we may rightly render the sentence "to destroy the brotherhood among Judah and among Israel"—that is to say, among the entire nation. The consequence of it would be the fulfilment of the threat in the 9th verse: "Let them which are left eat every one the flesh of another"—solemn and awful words, which had their first literal fulfilment in the party feuds and mutualy destructive strife, and in the terrible "dissolution of every bond of brotherhood and of our common nature, which made the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans a proverb for horror, and precipitated its destruction.’

Malachi, nearly a century later, when the people in the land had become a prosperous nation, and when, in consequence, the majority was rapidly falling into a state of religious formality and godlessness, addresses them as "Israel" or "Jacob," which surely includes all his descendants, in contrast to Esau and his descendants (Mal. 1:1-3).

Continued

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