Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (26 November 2017, 8 Kislev, 5778)
How and why did the two nations of Israel and Judah first split and did they ever unite again?
After the death of King Solomon the northern Ten Tribes under Jeroboam ben Nebat separated and created their own kingdom of Israel. This was in ca. 930 BCE according to conventional dating. Rabbinic Chronology places it at ca. 500 BCE. (All dates given henceforth are the conventionally accepted ones). In the south we had the Kingdom of Judah with the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Levi and minority representatives of the other tribes. In the north there was Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Reuben, Asher, Zebulon, and Issachar. The Tribe of Simeon was in the south and southeast but pertained to the northern polity.
The Assyrians in ca. 732-722 BCE conquered the northern Kingdom and exiled all its inhabitants to different sections of the Assyrian Empire. Some of the Israelite Exiles eventually became part of the Cimmerian and Scythian federations. They gained control of the Assyrian Empire for ca. 28 years. An attempt was made to re-unite part of the Israelites in their Scythian mode with the Kingdom of Judah. Scythian -Israelite colonies were established at Beth-Shean and Megiddo where a stele testifies to the suzerainty of King Josiah ben Amon of Judah (608-629 BCE). King Josiah and the Israelite-Scythians cooperated. Eventually King Josiah was killed fighting on behalf of the Scythians against an advancing Egyptian army at Megiddo. The Israelite-Scythian settlers returned to their places of Exile, lost control of the Assyrian Empire, and then together with the Medes and Babylonians participated in the destruction of Assyria. Much later an offshoot of the Ten Tribes mainly of the Tribe of Simeon but with rulers from Manasseh gave rise to the Khazars some of whom converted to Judaism in ca. 800 CE. The King of the Khazars had been a Descendant of David as confirmed by the name applied to the Khazars by their Arab opponents (see Polak, "Kazaria [Hebrew], 1949). A minority of Jews today are descended from them. Most of the Ten Tribes however had already migrated to Western Europe where they completely lost all remembrance of their ancestry