Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
See Also:Â Afghanistan. Are the Pashtun/Afghan people the lost tribes of Israel?
The question was:
Is the Pashtun the lost tribe of Israel?
(27 February, 2018, 12 Adar, 5778)
I have studied the subject of the Lost Ten Tribes for a good portion of my life. We have started a movement,Â, to encourage further study. We understand the Lost Ten Tribes to be primarily among a portion of the Western Peoples, mostly those on the coasts of Europe.
Â We were asked,
Is the Pashtun the lost tribe of Israel?Â
Â The Pashtuns are also known as Pathans and Afghans. We did not find enough evidence to say that the Pashtun descend from Israel. Nevertheless, we may be wrong. Consider the following and make your own decisions:
A. FOR.Â Here are points that indicate their possible Israelite origins:
1. Biblical Sources.
Â The researcher and public affairs activist,Â Aryeh Galin, made the following observation (we do not know if he originated it or received if from someone else):
Zephaniah (KJV) 3:
Â 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia [Cush] my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
The word translated asÂ EthiopiaÂ in Hebrew isÂ Cush. This word can relate not only to Ethiopia and Africa but also to India, Central Asia, and the area adjacent to it. The Aramaic Targum (Translation) of Yehonatan translated "Cush" here to be "Hodu" i.e. India and Central Asia in Classical thought.
The expression above in Zephania, "the daughter of my dispersed" in Hebrew is "Bat(i.e. daighter)- Putsi." The word "Putsi" could easily etymologically have become "Pashtu" or "Pathan" or anything else along those lines.
2. Local traditions. The Afghans have written histories of a late date saying they descend from Israelites.
3. Customs.Â Various reports claim the Afghans keep some Jewish customs. These reports may have been exaggerated but there are enough of them to warrant acceptance.
B. AGAINST.Â Here are points against identifying the Pashtun/Afghan peoples as Israelites.
1. The passage from Zephania 3:10 needs to be examined. Most Ephraimite criteria concerning the Afghans are lacking. SeeÂ C. Ephraimte CriteriaÂ below.
2. Local Traditions. According to Bellew and others the original Afghan tradition said that a people known as Beni Yisrael and Assakan had previously lived in the area before the Pathans etc moved in. The Afghans were therefore referred to occasionally by surrounding peoples as Beni Israel in remembrance of the people who had lived there before them. Legends concerning the Ten Tribes were to be found throughout the whole region. Other peoples in the area adopted them as well as the Afghans. The Afghans had a practice of taking the myths of others and adopting them for themselves. They also claimed to be descended from Esau and Rome, from the soldiers of Alexander, from cousins of Mahomed, etc.
3. Historically it appears that in the neighboring region of Sakastan before Islam there was a local movement of Judaizing, and adopting Jewish customs. Some offshoots of the Nestorian Church also did this. Later Jews, or converts to Judaism, probably from Persia came to the area and were forced to become Moslems. They were adopted into the Pathan Tribal confederation. In such groupings customs and traditions of one section are believed to have spread to the rest.
C. Ephraimite Criteria
Â In our own studies we use the following points as rules of thumb to determine whether or not a certain people may be descended from Israelites.
Â 1. Blessings: Economic and Physical Blessings as promised to Israel in Scripture.Â
Â 2. Indications of Scripture.
Â 3. Groundwork: Historical, Archaeological, and Related Proofs showing paths of migration.
Â 4. Judah: Affinity with the Jews.
Â 5. Originality: Innovation and Intellect.
Â 6. Bravery, Military Prowess.
Â 7. Empathy: The Doing of Social Justice.
Â 8. Israelite Self-Identification.
Â 9. Family Connection. To what degree is there a known linkage to other peoples already identified as Israelites. How do they connect?
Â 10. Tribal Affiliation. What Israelite Tribe(s) may they be associated with?
The Afghans appear to be lacking in Points 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10.
Â It may be debated as to how valid the Ephraimite criteria really are. Whatever the case, they are consistent with the sources and so far have worked for us.