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26So the God of Israel roused the spirit of King Pul of Assyria—the spirit of King Tillegath-pilneser of Assyria—and he carried them away, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.  1Chronicles 5/26 Tanakh JPS 1985.

“In the days of King Pecah of Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth- maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor—Gilead, Galilee, the entire region of Naphtali, and deported all the inhabitants to Assyria.”     2Kings 15/29 Tanakh JPS 1985.

“In the ninth year of Hoshea, the King of Assyria captured Samaria.  He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, at the [River] Habor, at the River Gozen, and in the towns of Media.”     2Kings 17/6 Tanakh JPS 1985.

“The king of Assyria brought [people] from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and he settled them in the towns of Samaria in place of the Israelites; they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its towns.     2Kings 17/24-35 Tanakh JPS 1985.

21The king of Babylon had them struck down and put to death at Riblah, in the region of Hamath. Thus Judah was exiled from its land.     2 Kings 25/1 Tanakh JPS 1985.

23“Thus said King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has charged me with building Him a House in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any one of you of all His people, the Lord his God be with him and let him go up.”      2Chronicles 36/2 Tanakh JPS 1985.

2The first to settle in their towns, on their property, were Israelites, priests, Levites, and temple servants, 3while some of the Judahites and some of the Benjaminites and some of the Ephraimites and Manassehites settled in Jerusalem;     1 Chronicles Chapter 9/2-3 Tanakh JPS 1985.

59The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer—they were unable to tell whether their father’s house and descent were Israelite:     Ezra Chapter 2/59 Tanakh JPS 1985.

70The priests, the Levites and some of the people, and the singers, gatekeepers, and the temple servants took up residence in their towns and all Israel in their towns.     Ezra Chapter 2/70 Tanakh JPS 1985.

1When the seventh month arrived—the Israelites being settled in their towns—the entire people assembled as one man in Jerusalem.     Ezra Chapter 3/1 Tanakh 1985.

7Some of the Israelites, the priests and Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants set out for Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, 8arriving in Jerusalem in the fifth month in the seventh year of the king.     Ezra Chapter 7/7-8 Tanakh JPS 1985.

12“Artaxerxes king of kings, to Ezra the priest, scholar in the law of the God of heaven, and so forth. And now, 13I hereby issue an order that anyone in my kingdom who is of the people of Israel and its priests and Levites who feels impelled to go to Jerusalem may go with you.     Ezra Chapter 7/12-13 Tanakh JPS 1985.

25and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, the contribution to the House of our God which the king, his counselors and officers, and all Israel who were present had made.     Ezra Chapter 8/25 Tanakh JPS 1985.

29Guard them diligently until such time as you weigh them out in the presence of the officers of the priests and the Levites and the officers of the clans of Israel in Jerusalem in the chambers of the House of the Lord.”     Ezra Chapter 8/29 Tanakh JPS 1985.

1When this was over, the officers approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the land whose abhorrent practices are like those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.     Ezra Chapter 9/1 Tanakh.

JPS 1985While Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the House of God, a very great crowd of Israelites gathered about him, men, women, and children; the people were weeping bitterly. 2Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel of the family of Elam spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God by bringing into our homes foreign women from the peoples of the land; but there is still hope for Israel despite this.     Ezra Chapter 10/1-2 Tanakh JPS 1985.

5So Ezra at once put the officers of the priests and the Levites and all Israel under oath to act accordingly, and they took the oath.     Ezra Chapter 10/5 Tanakh JPS 1985.

25Of the Israelites: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Izziah, Malchijah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah; 26of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Elijah; 27of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza; 28of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai; 29of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Ramoth; 30of the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh; 31of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Isshijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, and Shimeon; 32also Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah; 33of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei; 34of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, and Uel; 35also Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluhu, 36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasai, 38Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph; 43of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.     Ezra Chapter 10/25-43 Tanakh JPS 1985.

6Let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to receive the prayer of Your servant that I am praying to You now, day and night, on behalf of the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins that we Israelites have committed against You, sins that I and my father’s house have committed.     Nehemiah Chapter 1/6 Tanakh JPS 1985.

10When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard, it displeased them greatly that someone had come, intent on improving the condition of the Israelites.    Nehemiah Chapter 2/10 Tanakh JPS 1985.

6These are the people of the province who came up from among the captive exiles that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had deported, and who returned to Jerusalem and to Judah, each to his own city, 7who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: 8the sons of Parosh—2,172; 9the sons of Shephatiah—372; 10the sons of Arah—652; 11the sons of Pahath-moab: the sons of Jeshua and Joab—2,818; 12the sons of Elam—1,254; 13the sons of Zattu—845; 14the sons of Zaccai—760; 15the sons of Binnui—648; 16the sons of Bebai—628; 17the sons of Azgad—2,322; 18the sons of Adonikam—667; 19the sons of Bigvai—2,067; 20the sons of Adin—655; 21the sons of Ater: Hezekiah—98; 22the sons of Hashum—328; 23the sons of Bezai—324; 24the sons of Hariph—112; 25the sons of Gibeon—95; 26the men of Bethlehem and Netophah—188; 27the men of Anathoth—128; 28the men of Beth-azmaveth—42; 29the men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth—743; 30the men of Ramah and Geba—621; 31the men of Michmas—122; 32the men of Bethel and Ai—123; 33the men of the other Nebo—52; 34the sons of the other Elam—1,254; 35the sons of Harim—320; 36the sons of Jericho—345; 37the sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono—721; 38the sons of Senaah—3,930.     Nehemiah Chapter 7/6-38 Tanakh JPS 1985.

61The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer—they were unable to tell whether their father’s house and descent were Israelite:     Nehemiah Chapter 7/61 Tanakh JPS 1985

72The priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel took up residence in their towns. When the seventh month arrived—the Israelites being [settled] in their towns—     Nehemiah Chapter 7/72 Tanakh JPS 1985.

17The whole community that returned from the captivity made booths and dwelt in the booths—the Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua son of Nun to that day—and there was very great rejoicing.     Nehemiah Chapter 8/17 Tanakh JPS 1985.

1On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the Israelites assembled, fasting, in sackcloth, and with earth upon them. 2Those of the stock of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.         Nehemiah Chapter 9/1-2 Tanakh JPS 1985.

3These are the heads of the province who lived in Jerusalem—in the countryside of Judah, the people lived in their towns, each on his own property, Israelites, priests, Levites, temple servants, and the sons of Solomon’s servants, 4while in Jerusalem some of the Judahites and some of the Benjaminites lived:     Nehemiah Chapter 11/3-4 Tanakh JPS 1985.

20And the rest of the Israelites, the priests, and the Levites in all the towns of Judah ved] each on his estate.     Nehemiah Chapter 11/20 Tanakh JPS 1985.

25As concerns the villages with their fields: Some of the Judahites lived in Kiriath-arba and its outlying hamlets, in Dibon and its outlying hamlets, and in Jekabzeel and its villages; 26in Jeshua, in Moladah, and in Beth-pelet; 27in Hazar-shual, in Beer-sheba and its outlying hamlets; 28and in Ziklag and in Meconah and its outlying hamlets; 29in En-rimmon, in Zorah and in Jarmuth; 30Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages; Lachish and its fields; Azekah and its outlying hamlets. They settled from Beer-sheba to the Valley of Hinnom. 31The Benjaminites: from Geba, Michmash, Aija, and Bethel and its outlying hamlets; 32Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35Lod, Ono, Ge-harashim. 36Some of the Judahite divisions of Levites were [shifted] to Benjamin.     Nehemiah Chapter 11/25-36 Tanakh JPS 1985.

47And in the time of Zerubbabel, and in the time of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions of the singers and the gatekeepers, and made sacred contributions for the Levites, and the Levites made sacred contributions for the Aaronites.     Nehemiah Chapter 12/47 Tanakh JPS 1985.

17I censured the nobles of Judah, saying to them, “What evil thing is this that you are doing, profaning the sabbath day! 18This is just what your ancestors did, and for it God brought all this misfortune on this city; and now you give cause for further wrath against Israel by profaning the sabbath!”     Nehemiah Chapter 13/17-18 Tanakh JPS 1985.

 

Commentary:

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the ½ tribe of Manasseh, and the north Kingdom of Samaria (also called Israel and Ephraim) were deported north-west of Babylon (Iraq) and to the towns of Media (Iran) and the Kingdom of Judah was deported to Babylon (Iraq).

Go’zan was a district in Mesopotamia 300 miles north-west from Babylon watered by the modern Khabour, a branch of the Euphrates. It is called Habor in 2Kings 17/6.

Halah has probably been discovered at a place called “the castle” near the Khabour 300 miles north-west of Babylon.

Media was bounded on the north-east by the Caspian Sea; north by the Araxes river; east by Parthia and Hyrcania; on the south by Persia and Susiana; on the west by Assyria and Armenia. It is now included in Persia which is today Iran. It was 700 miles from Jerusalem.

Babylon was built on both sides of the Euphrates river about 540 miles from Jerusalem. The modern town Hillah occupies a part of the ruined site which was 276 miles south of Nineveh. Present-day Hillah is a city in central Iraq on the Hilla branch of the Euphrates River 62 miles south of Bagdad. It is located close to the ancient city of Kish.

Judahites and Benjaminites alone are not Israel though all references to Israelites would include them. All of Israel had returned together to Jerusalem and Judah mindful of all the imported gentiles in the Kingdom of Samaria, many of whom tried to stop the building of the second Temple. There is no biblical record of the deportation of the gentiles from the north Kingdom and return of any of the twelve tribes to those lands.

Jerusalem is within the lands of Benjamin which lands are considered part of the Kingdom of Judah since that is where the Kings of Judah ruled from. That is why there is an emphasis on Judahites and Benjamites in the accounts of the return of the twelve tribes of Israel to the lands of Judah and Benjamin.

 
“The first to settle in their towns, on their property, were Israelites, priests, Levites, and temple servants, 3while some of the Judahites and some of the Benjaminites and some of the Ephraimites and Manassehites settled in Jerusalem;”

 

Ephram and Manasseh were not lost tribes. There never were lost tribes according to the Jewish bible.

“When the seventh month arrived—the Israelites being settled in their towns—the entire people assembled as one man in Jerusalem.”

“So Ezra at once put the officers of the priests and the Levites and all Israel under oath to act accordingly, and they took the oath.”

When the people Israel gather as one man it is all twelve tribes and the Levites. Thirteen tribes.

“5Fear not, for I am with you: I will bring your folk from the East, Will gather you out of the West; 6I will say to the North, “Give back!” And to the South, “Do not withhold! Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth—” Isaiah 43/5-6 Tanakh JPS 1985. As Rashi commented “to the north wind, “Give the exiles who are in the north.” and “to the south: which is a strong wind, “Do not refrain from blowing strongly to bring My exiles.”

Isaiah’s prophesy is to all exiles returning by the words of G-d “Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the end of the earth”. The return of the exiles to the land of Israel given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by covenant and partitioned among the twelve tribes of Israel by Moses and Joshua is not just the Babylon exiles of Judah. They were the last to be deported to a well known place in Assyria where all the exiles were and by this time scattered far and wide throughout Assyria along many different rivers. The “Babylon exiles” are all twelve tribes.

The sins of the Babylon exiles were forgiven and remembered by G-d no more. This forgiveness included all twelve tribes. “But now thus said the Lord—Who created you, O Jacob, Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, You are Mine. Thus said the Lord, Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I send to Babylon; I will bring down all [her] bars, And the Chaldeans shall raise their voice in lamentation. I am your Holy One, the Lord, Your King, the Creator of Israel. I am about to do something new; Even now it shall come to pass, Suddenly you shall perceive it: I will make a road through the wilderness And rivers in the desert. It is I, I who—for My own sake—Wipe your transgressions away And remember your sins no more.”    Isaiah 43/1, 14-15, 19 and 25 Tanakh JPS 1985

“In its widest acceptation, Chaldea is the name of the whole of Babylonia, owing to the fact that the Chaldeans had given more than one king to the country. In the strict sense, however, their domain was the tract at the Northwest end of the Persian Gulf, which was often called by the Assyro-Babylonians mat Tamtim, “the Land of the Sea,” a province of unknown extent. When these tribes migrated into Babylonia is uncertain, as is also their original home; but as they are closely related to the Arameans, it is possible that their first settlements lay in the neighborhood of the Aramean states bordering on the Holy Land.”     (bibleatlas.org/chaldea.htm)

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