Jews and the West Bank (11 February, 26 Shevet, 5778)
Judah and Samaria. Are Judea and Samaria the homeland of the Jewish people?
1. Conquering ALL the Promised Land: Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh
2. Dividing the Land
3. Exile by Assyria of the Ten Tribes
4. Members of the Ten Tribes who Attached Themselves to Judah
5. The Samaritans
6. The Northern Israelite Subjects of King Josiah of Judah
7. The Tribes of Israel and Judah and the Present-Day Jews
8. The Obligation of Judah to Settle the Land Both for its own Sake and as a Preparation for the Return of all the Tribes
At present the State of Israel controls part of the Promised Land. This incldues the region known as the West Bank or alternately as Judah and Samaria. The west bank is the area of Judah and Samaria. This region is partally settled by Jewish settlers and partly by Arab Palestinians. It is the area over which most pressure is being exerted upon the State of Israel to let go i.e. to turn it over to the Arabs. Such a move would endanger the whole country. It is also forbidden by the Bible. This region in ancient times belonged to both Judah and to the Ten Tribes. Judah has the right to it at least until the Ten Tribes return, are identified to which Tribe each one belongs to, and the Land is once again divided by Prophecy between all the Tribes of Israel. To understand this properly we need to refresh our knowledge of what happeneded in the past.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. Israel) were the forefathers of the Israelite nation. Israel had 12 sons who became the 12 Tribes of Israel. They went down to Egypt, where they were oppressed, and later set free. Mosess led the Israelites out of Egypt. In the Wilderness they received the Torah. Before entering Canaan Moses died and Joshua took his place in conquering the Promised Land. The first portions the Israelites hadÂ conquered of the Promised Land were east of the Jordan. These were inherited by the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh (Numbers 34:14, Deuteronomy 3:12, 16). These Tribes were exhorted to continue the conquest of all the Land together with the other Tribes.Â
Joshua (NASB) 1:
12 To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land. 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15 until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.Â
Â The Hebrew Tribes then crossed the Jordan and conquered the south and center which included the future areas of Judah and Samaria. These areas belonged to the Tribes of Judah, Ephraim and [the other half of] Manasseh. Reuben, Gad, and Half-Manasseh had already received the regions east of the Jordan. That left the "remaining seven tribes"Â (Joshua 18:1-4) which were Simeon, Benjamin, Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun, Issachar and Dan. After the Tribes had each received its inheritance 48 cities with their surrounding lands were allocated to the Tribe of Levi (Joshua 21:1-41, cf. Numbers 35:7). Levi was the Tribe of Priests.
The 12 Tribes of Israel portioned the Land of Israel between them. This included Judah and Samaria. The first king was Saul from the Tribe of Benjamin. After Saul came David and after him Solomon. Following the death of Solomon the Israelite Tribes were divided into two kingdoms (1-Kings 12:16-19). The Kingdom of Judah was in the south centered on Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel, also referred to as Samaria, was in the north with its capital in the city also known as Samaria.
The Assyrians attacked the northern Kingdom and exiled its inhabitants in stages.
The Exiles included Israelites from east of the Jordan:
26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day.
There was an Exile of the Tribes in the north:
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and he took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
Finally there followed the Exile of those who remained in the vicinity of Samaria:
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
The Assyrian King Sennacherib also exiled a portion of the Jews of Judah who joined the Ten Tribes and became part of them.
The Hebrew inhabitants of Samaria had been exiled. Before the exile of Samaria many from the Northern Kingdom had moved to Judah. After the fall of Samaria more Israelite refugees also entered Judah. This is confirmed by Biblical hints, Midrashim, and archaeological findings. The population of Judah therefore included many from the Northern Ten Tribes though the bulk of them had been taken away by the Assyrians. In the south Judah was the dominant Tribe so all inhabitants of the region were named after Judah. That is where the name "Jew" comes from.Â The Ten Tribes exist but they are not aware of their ancestry and do not keep the Law. In the future this will change. For the present the only section of the Israelite nation that is recognizable is the Jewish People.
The Jewish People encompass the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi IN ADDITION TO representatives of all the other Tribes. God gave the ALL the Land to the Israelite Tribes. The Jews are responsible for their own lands and the lands of the rest of Israel now in their possession.
In addition there was also a people known as Samaritans. They were originally pagans who had been brought into the land by the Assyrians. Samaria is where the Samaritans lived when the Assyrians settled them. The Samaritans however were not Israelites. They were descendants of heathens who received aspects of the Mosaic Codes but combined them with pagan beliefs and worship. That is why the Jews kept a distance from them. The Samaritans had been brought in from other nations to take the place of the former Israelite inhabitants who had been exiled, cf 2-Kings 17:6, 24-29.
Scripture tells us:
Â 2-Kings 17:
Â 24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.Â
Judah was to the south and included the area of Benjamin north of Jerusalem. Samaria had belonged to the Tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh and Issachar. The Ten Tribes had been mostly exiled but representative portions were also to be found with Judah.
The presence of elements from those tribes who had previously been in Samaria is mentioned in the Bible. King Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah and the rest of the Israelite area about 100 years after the Ten Tribes had been exiled.
Josiah purified the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, "even unto Naphtali" of idolatry.
Concerning Josiah and the destruction of pagan idols we are told;
1-Chronicles (NASB) 34:
4 They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 Then he burned the bones of the priests on their altars and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins, 7 he also tore down the altars and beat the Asherim and the carved images into powder, and chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
We see from the above that King Josiah destroyed all the idols in the region of Jerusalem and Judah as well as "In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins" (1-Chronicles 34:6).
This affirms that the cities of Samaria were then in ruins and presumably uninhabited.Â
We are also told:
9 They came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the doorkeepers, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Notices that contributors to the Temple Fund were mentioned as from "Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel."
We see from this that there was a small remnant from Manasseh and Ephraim and also of other tribes together with Judah
We see how there were some members from the Ten Tribes with Judah even after the overwhelming majority of them had been erxiled by Assyria.Â They were a minority representation. The main Tribal bodies of the Ten Tribes had been exiled. Those few who remained with the Jews are generally subsumed together with Judah. Later the Jews of Judah were also exiled by the Babylonians. After ca. 70 years the Persians conquered the Babylonians and allowed those of the Jews who wished to return to Judah to do so. The Midrash Seder Olam says that numerically the Jews who returned from Babylon were 80% from the former Kingdom of Judah (i.e. Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) and 20% minority remnants from the Northern Tribes.
Nachmanides points out that in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah are found lists of the families who returnedÂ to the Land of Israel from Babylon. ONLY families from the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi are mentioned. This is despite the fact that remnants of the other Tribes were there. The Lost Ten Tribes were destined to reach their Tribal Expression in Exile. Therefore, as far they are not mentioned by Scripture among the returnees even though physically some of them were there.
Nachmanides (1194-1270) commented on this in "The Book Redemption" (Sefer Ha-Gaulah"):
"Those from the Tribes of Ephraim and Shimeon from Israel that were present with Judah were they who dwelt in the Land of Judah or perhaps to some degree also those who had dwelt in their own territories adjoining Judah and had fled to Judah. They are referred to in a general sense as from Israel [in 2-Chronicles 35:18] and not by their specific tribes since they represented only a small portion of their tribe. These are they who returned under Ezra with the Jews from Babylon. They were not expressly mentioned by their tribes since they were attached to Judah. They all settled in the cities of Judah. There was no Redemption for the Ten Tribes who remained in exile."
It should be emphasized that most of the Ten Tribes did not return. They will do so in the End Times, as prophesied.
21 Then say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.Â
The Completeness of the Exile
The Stages of Exile
The Present-Day Jews at Present Represent ALL ISRAEL since for the time being they are the only ones still recognizable as such.
This had been predicted by the forefather Jacob.
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Rabbi Manasseh ben Yisrael explained (in line with other Rabbinical authorities) this verse from the Hebrew to mean:
10 The scepter [Hebrew: "shevet" i.e. Tribe or Staff of Being a Tribe] shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh [i.e. the Messiah] comes,
And to him shall be the obedience [Hebrew : "kehast" i.e. ingathering] of the peoples [i.e. other tribes of Israel.]
ThisÂ explains Rabbi Manasseh ben Yisrael meant that the Sign of being a Tribe would not depart from Judah but it would be missing from the other Tribes. Judah would ALWAYS be recognizable as Belonging to Israel and being mainly of the Tribe of Judah.
This would continue until the Messiah ["Shiloh"] appears and heÂ would make known to all the rest of Israel what tribe they belong to.
Just as King Josiah of Judah reigned over all of the lands of the other Tribes so too must the Jews of today endeavor to do so.
There is a Positive Commandment to conquer ALL the Land of Israel.
Members of ALL the Israelite Tribes have an obligation to help conquer and settle with Israelites ALL the Land of Israel.
This is regardless as to whether the areas in question pertain to their own Tribe or not. This does not mean that under all and any circumstances Israel needs to attack its Gentile neighbors. It does however imply that once the Lands have come into the hands of Israel and Israel needs them and can make use of them they should not be surrendered.
In our time Judah is the fore-runner going before the other Tribes to prepare the way. Judah needs to be strengthened and encouraged.
11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you,
When I restore the fortunes of My people.
Jeremiah (NASB) 33:
7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and will rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me. 9 It will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.10 Thus says the LORD, Yet again there will be heard in this place, of which you say, It is a waste, without man and without beast, that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, 11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say,
Give thanks to the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
and of those who bring a thank offering into the House of the LORD. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first, says the LORD.
The Captivity of the Jews (Judah) and of the Lost Ten Tribes (Israel) will return and be rebuilt in the Land of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates. We will be forgiven for our sins and purified of the impurity caused by our bad habits, harmful surroundings, and past lifestyles, and the crippling spiritual hang-ups these have caused us.
Micah 4:8 predicts that in the end times at the beginning of the return "THE FIRST DOMINION" in the final return of Israel shall be "TO THE DAUGHTER OF JERUSALEM" meaning descendants of Judah.
6 In that day, declares the LORD,
I will assemble the lame
And gather the outcasts,
Even those whom I have afflicted.
7 I will make the lame a remnant
And the outcasts a strong nation,
And the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
From now on and forever.
8 As for you, tower of the flock,
Hill of the daughter of Zion,
To you it will come
Even the former dominion will come,
The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
In addition to Micah 4:8 quoted above, Hosea 6:11 says that Judah will lead the way for the other Tribes and prepare the path for their return.
11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, When I restore the fortunes of My people.
Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer (1795-1874) noted that this verse refers to the End Times when Judah (i.e. the Jews) will prepare the way for the Return of the Ten Tribes..