A Comparison of the Sages of Judah with those of the West (30 November, 2014, 8 Kislev, 5775)
Amongst the Jews of Judah we find the social class of the Pharisees and the Sages. The so called Celts of Britain, Ireland, and Gaul had the Druids. From a sociological point of view many parallels exists between the Sages and the Druids. Originally they had both belonged to the same class of officers and captains that administered the Oral Tradition among the Hebrews. When the Ten Tribes separated themselves from Judah the northern section became Druids while those who remained developed into the Sages. In the End Times Judah and the Ten Tribes shall re-unite.
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1. Introduction. The Sages and the Druids
2. The Sages of Judah. Pharisees
3. King Jeroboam of Israel and the Bull Calves
4. TheÂ Druids and Human Sacrifice
5. The Description of the Druids by Julius Caesar
6. Comparisons Between the Druids and the Sages (Pharisees).
Sources and Quotations
Appendix. What About the Levites?
Levites and Israel
1. Introduction. The Sages and the Druids
Moses received the Torah and gave it, along with an explanation,Â to the Children of Israel.
The Torah was given to ALL the Community and to all the Tribes. It involved communal and all-Israel encompassing functions. It was not left to every individual to decide how the commandments were to be kept. A central authority was required.
See: "Collective Responsibility and Rabbinical Authority"
Keeping the Law
The Need for the Ten Tribes to Re-Unite with Judah
#3. Rabbinical Authority from the Time of Moses
The How of Keeping the Commandments was given over to the Sages:
Deuteronomy 17:8-13, Moses appointed 70 elders who were to help him decide matters of Law.Â The authority given to the elders continued from generation to generation, and from Rabbi to Rabbi, right down to our time (Numbers 11:16-17).
In addition local judges and captains were appointed.
21 You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.
These officials performed a voluntary service. They had to adjudicate in minor issues and refer more weighty matters to an authority over them.
Our of all this a class of people emerged. This class must have existed throughout ALL Israel.
The nation of Israel split into two separate sections.Â One part went to Judah and the other to the Ten Tribes.
The class of adjudicators amongst the Jews (Judah) became the Sages, whereas those of the Ten Tribes became the Druids!
2. The Sages of Judah. Pharisees.
The Sages of Judah are mostly known to us from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah , the return from exile in Babylon, the Second Temple period, and the era immediately following. They overlapped with the Prophets. The Sages had existed alongside the Prophets but with the eclipse of Prophecy they came more tot he fore.
The Sages gave rise to the Talmud and related literature such as the Midrashim, etc.
In the New Testament and the writings of Josephus we hear of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were in effect a voluntary association whose members were learned and who undertook to live in stricter observance beyond the minimal requirements. Most of the Sages may have belonged to the Pharisee group but not necessarily all of them.
The Sages as a class were marked by learning, belief, and observance.
In Jewish Literature the Sages are sometimes referred to as Chazal. This is an acronym in Hebrew (Chocameini Zicron Le-Bracah) meaning Our Wise Me, May their memory be Blessed.
3. King Jeroboam of Israel and the Bull Calves
After the Ten Tribes separated fromÂ Judah they turned to idol worship.
The Israelites had previously been subjected to the Egyptians and then redeemed under the leadership of Moses.Â They had however still retained an attachment to Egyptian pagan ways as may be seen by the sin of the Golden Bull Calf. This occurred when Moses left the Israelites to go up to Mount Sinai and receive the Torah. The mixed multitude induced Aharon, the brother of Moses, to take their gold jewelry and cast it into a fire. From this they made a golden bull calf. The Prophet Moses from the Tribe of Levi had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses intermediated between them and the Almighty. The golden calf was at first intended as a replacement for Moses and not of God (Exodus 32:1-4). When Moses returned he broke the idol into pieces (Exodus 32:20) and punished the primary culprits (32:28). Later in the land of Israel two similar Golden Bull Calves were set up by King Jeroboam son of Nebat from the Tribe of Ephraim.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jeroboam had led a rebellion of the Ten Tribes who seceded from Judah and the ruling House of David. The King of JudahÂ against whom the rebellion took place was Rehoboam son of King Solomon. Before that, Jeroboam had initially fled from Solomon to Egypt which gave him refuge (1-Kings 11:40). When Solomon died Jeroboam returned and led the rebellion. Consequently Jeroboam became king of the separate Kingdom of Israel as distinct from the Kingdom of Judah in the south. The separate Kingdom of Israel adopted aspects ofÂ Egyptian religion and culture as confirmed by archaeological findings.Â The Kingdom of Israel is identified with the House of Joseph. The Patriarch Joseph had married an Egyptian woman who bore his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.Â There was therefore an Egyptian element within Joseph.Â The inhabitants of the northern Kingdom of Israel numbered ten out of the original 13 or 12 (depending on how they are counted) Tribes. They were to be exiled and lose their identity. They were to converge in separate waves of migration on Western Europe. The Isles of Britain became dominated by elements from the Tribes of Joseph. Ancient Britain reveals ongoing contacts with Egypt.Â
Â Â Â
2Â As they called them,
Â Â Â Â Â So they went from them;
Â Â Â Â Â They sacrificed to the Baals,
Â Â Â Â Â And burned incense to carved images.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The early inhabitants (i.e. the so-called "Celts") of Ireland, Britain, and Celtic Europe worshipped the sun-god "bel" who is another form of "baal". In Canaan, Baal had been worshipped locally under different forms. In this sense there were numerous "baalim" (in the plural) though others could consider them all variations on the one theme.Â There are also indications that at one stage the God of Israel was confused with "baal" and vice-versaÂ in the eyes of the Early Hebrews.
The Ten Tribes lead by Jeroboam son ofÂ Nebat from the Tribe of Ephraim had previously seceded from the House of David and Jerusalem. They set up their own Kingdom which is referred to as the Kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam established the worship of golden bull-calves in Dan and Beth-el. The aim of Jeroboam had been to wean the Israelites away from Jerusalem and to prevent their re-unification with Judah.Â
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. Also he went out from there and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.'
28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!'
29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.
31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
2Â Now they sin more and more,
Â Â Â Â Â And have made for themselves molded images,
Â Â Â Â Â Idols of their silver, according to their skill;
Â Â Â Â Â All of it is the work of craftsmen.
Â Â Â Â Â They say of them,
Â Â Â Â 'Let the men who sacrifice [Or those who offer human sacrifice]Â kiss the calves!'Â
ACCORDING TO THEIR SKILL also translated (KJV) as OWN UNDERSTANDING. Hebrew, "Citvunam" i.e. Ce-TeVunam from the root "binah" meaning understanding. This word "Citvunam" could also be understood to say, "as they wrote" (from the root "CaTaV") i.e. they concocted a theology of their own and propagated it.
Â They say of them,
Â 'Let the men who sacrifice [Or those who offer human sacrifice]Â kiss the calves!'
The last part of this verse has the expression in Hebrew:
Zovchai Adam Egalim Yishakoon.
"Zovchai Adam" is literally "Sacrifices of Men"
This could mean "Men who offer sacrifice" BUT the more simple meaning would be "The sacrificers of Men".
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Celts of the west practiced human sacrifice and in some instances were also cannibals. This was remarked upon by contemporaries and has been confirmed by archaeological findings.
KISS THE CALVES. "Egalim" is the plural of bull-calves. These were the metallic calves of the Northern Kingdom.
At first these calves were made of gold but the Assyrians in their incursions may have taken them away.
The replacements were apparently made of silver.
Their worshippers would kiss these idols. The Cimbri carried the metal statue of a bull with them in theirÂ migrations.
They may also have offered up human sacrifice to them!
The rationale behind human sacrifice is not much different from that used in our day to justify abortions.
4. TheÂ Druids
The Ten Tribes movedÂ toÂ the west. and are to be found amongst Western Peoples.
The same social grouping that in Judah gave rise to the Sages must also have existed in the separate Kingdom of Israel.
In addition King Jeroboam had "made priests from every class of people"Â (1-Kings 12:31).
Â "from every class of people" is a translation of the Hebrew "me-ketseh ha-am" meaning "from the extremities of the people".Â This expression has been explained to mean both fromt he highest class of the people and from the most debased amongst them (Daat Mikra Commentary).
After the Ten Tribes were exiled remnants of this class still existed and in the west reasserted themlseves.
They became the Druids.
Druids were not some kind of romantic good-natured wise magicians from a legendary fairyland.
Druids were pagans. They worshipped numerous gods especially Bel who was a form of the Canaanite Baal.
They practised human sacrifice. Their cult included self immolation over Indian "suttee" type pyres.
Epigraphic and archaeological evidence also indicates a cult of cannibalism in some places.
Druids were bad people.
It isÂ good that they disappeared.
Nevertheless, there may have been something positive about them.
In addition to the idolatrous heathenism there may have been remnants of Hebrew ancestry in their worship.
We find Druids amongst the Celts in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul and later as refugees from the Romans and Christians in Scandinavia.
We find Druids amongst peoples we otherwise identify as descended from the lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
The Ten Tribes ofÂ Israel descend from the northern section of the Israelite Nations that separated itself from Judah, Jerusalem, the House of David and the Temple Service.
4. TheÂ Druids and Human Sacrifice
We saw above that Hosea 13:2 may be understood as referring to human sacrifice amongst the Northern Israelites, ' Let the men who sacrifice [Or those who offer human sacrifice]Â kiss the calves!'
Written reports of foreigners along with archaeological findings indicate that not only did the Druids sacrifice human beings but they may have also practised ritual cannibalism.
Compare the extracts below:
Druids Committed Human Sacrifice, Cannibalism?
James Owen in London for National Geographic News
March 20, 2009
Julius Caesar, who led the first Roman landing in 55 B.C., said the native Celts "believe that the gods delight in the slaughter of prisoners and criminals, and when the supply of captives runs short, they sacrifice even the innocent."
First-century historian Pliny the Elder went further, suggesting the Celts practiced ritual cannibalism, eating their enemies' flesh as a source of spiritual and physical strength.
... Perhaps the most incriminating evidence is the 2,000-year-old, bog-mummified body of Lindow Man, discovered in [Cheshire, just north of Wales] England in the 1980s. Lindow Man's manicured fingernails and finely trimmed hair and beard suggest that he may have been of high status possibly even a Druid himself.
At least one thing appears nearly certain about the ancient twentysomething: He was the victim of a carefully staged sacrifice.
Recent studies have revealed that Lindow Man's head had been violently smashed and his neck had been strangled and slashed.
"You've got a rope tightened round his neck, and at the moment where the neck was constricted, the throat was cut, which would cause an enormous fountain of blood to rise up," said archaeologist Miranda Aldhouse-Green, an archaeologist at Cardiff University in Wales and an expert on the Druids.
Another clue lay inside the body's well-preserved gut: pollen grains from mistletoe, a plant that was sacred to the Druids. (Romans wrote that Druids cut mistletoe from trees with golden sickles.)
Lindow Man's death is dated to around A.D. 60, when the Romans launched a new offensive in the island of Great Britain, currently part of the United Kingdom.
...Other grisly clues come from a cave in Alveston, [south Gloucestershire, just to the east of southern Wales] England.
Skeletons belonging to as many as 150 people and dating back to about the time of the Roman conquest were discovered in 2000.
Druids may have killed the victimswho show evidence of skull-splitting blows in a single event. ...
The Alveston cave bones hint at something even more sinister - cannibalism.
A human thighbone in the cave had been broken open in exactly the same method people use to get at the nutritious bone marrow of nonhuman animals.
5. The Description of the Druids by Julius Caesar
The Romans encountered druids in Gaul and Britain. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and began the Roman encroachment in Britain. In his description of these activities he gives us a description of the druids as he was informed about them. We suggest that the account of Caesar on this issue be read and in the blight of this that the druids be compared tot he Sages of Judah.
Judlius Caear, The Gallic Wars
6.13 Throughout all Gaul there are only two orders of men who are of any rank and dignity: for the common people are held almost in the condition of slaves, who dare to undertake nothing, and are not admitted to any councils. The greater part, when they are pressed either by debt, or the large amount of their tributes, or the oppression of the more powerful, give themselves up in vassalage to the nobles, who possess over them the same rights without exception as masters over their slaves. But of these two orders, one is that of the Druids, the other that of the knights.
The Druids are engaged in things sacred, conduct the public and the private sacrifices, and interpret all matters of religion. To these a large number of the young men come for instruction, for Druids are held in great honor among them. They make the decisions on almost all controversies, public and private; and if any crime has been perpetrated, or if a murder has been committed, or if there is any dispute about an inheritance or any property boundary, these same persons decide it. They decree rewards and punishments. If anyone, either in a private or public capacity, does not submit to their decision, they exclude him from their sacrifices. This among them is the most heavy punishment. Those who have been thus excluded are counted as impious and criminal: all shun them, and avoid their society and conversation, to avoid receiving some evil from their contact. No justice is administered to these outcasts, when they seek it. No dignities are bestowed on them.
Over all these Druids one presides, who possesses supreme authority among them. Upon his death, if any individual among the rest is pre-eminent in dignity, he succeeds; but, if there are many equal, an election is made, or sometimes they contend for the presidency with arms. They assemble at a fixed period of the year in a consecrated place in the territories of the Carnutes [between the Seine and the Loire rivers, in the region of modern Chartres, Orleans and Blois], which is reckoned the central region of the whole of Gaul. All who have disputes assemble in that place from every part, and submit to their decrees and judgments. This institution is supposed to have been invented first in Britain, and then brought over from
there into Gaul, and even now any who want to gain a more accurate knowledge of that system generally go to Britain to study it.
6.14 The Druids do not go to war, nor do they pay taxes with the rest. They have an exemption from military service and other duties. Induced by such great advantages, many choose to embrace this profession, and many others are sent to it by their parents and relations. They are required to memorize a great number of verses; accordingly some remain in the course of training for twenty years. Nor do they regard it lawful to commit these verses to writing, though in almost all other matters, in their public and private transactions, they use Greek characters. That practice of not writing their religious teachings they seem to me to have adopted for two reasons. First, they do not want their doctrines to be known among the mass of the people. Second, those who learn would devote themselves less to the efforts of memory if they could rely on writing. This objection to writing generally occurs to most men, that dependence on writing relaxes diligence in learning and employment of the memory. They try to promote, as one of their leading beliefs, that souls do not perish, but pass after death from one body into another, and they think that men who believe this are inspired with courage, the fear of death being disregarded. They likewise discuss and teach the youth many things about the stars and their movements, about the size of the universe and of our earth, about the nature of things, and about the power and majesty of the immortal gods.
Roman Descriptions of Ancient Britain
6. Comparisons Between the Druids and the Sages (Pharisees).
Below we give Comparisons with the Sages Listed in order of the quotation about the Druids from J. Caesar:
Both were a class amongst theÂ people more than a clique of priests.
Both dealt with public affairs as well as religious matters.
Both used as a primary means of coercion the weapon of public ostracism including exclusion from sacrifices.
Both were held in great honor amongst the people.
Â [The Sages however were both loved and hated, so may the druids have been.]
Both did not go to war, and were exempt from Military service. The Sages were not obligated by public corvees and presumably neither would the druids have been.
Exemption from taxes.
A long period of training.
Commitment to memory.
[Amongst the Sages originally it was forbidden to write down the Oral law. Reliance was placed mainly on memory. Later due to Roman persecution and the scattering of the Jews there was danger that the Oral law would be entirely forgotten. The prohibition was annulled and the Oral Law written down.]
The Druids believed in re-incarnation. Jews do not necessarily all believe in re-incarnation i.e. it is not an article of faith. Nevertheless,Â the concept is known and widely held though very few really pay much attention to it. [Jews care more about the practical application of the Law rather than in theological considerations.]Â There is a passage in Joseph indicating that the in Second temple times the idea was held cf.
14. ... the Pharisees are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their laws... They say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, - but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.
This has been understood to indicate belief in an Afterlife but it could also be understood as a reference to Reincarnation.
The great rabbinical Sage Rav Saadia Gaon condemned belief in reincarnation but others accepted it.
Astronomy and secular sciences.Â The Druids taught theirÂ apprentices the laws of astronomy and natural science.
The Sages did the same.
BHR-117. Brit-Am Historical Reports
#1.Â Amnon Goldberg:Â Ancients knew of Earth's Sphericity
...The sphericity of the Earth was known to educated men since ancient times, including Chazal [i.e. the Sages] : Yerushalmi Avoda Zara 3:1, Avoda Zara 41, Breishis R.63, Bamidbar R.13, Esther R.1, Zohar III:10, Zohar Chadash 1:15. Rava gives the Earth's circumference correctly as 6,000 parsah - 24,000 miles (Pesachim 94). Pythagoras, Parmenides, Eudoxus, Plato, Aristotle, Erastosthenes, Euclid, Archimedes, Strato and Ptolemy all knew the Earth to be a globe. This is not surprising since 'the Greeks obtained their knowledge of astronomy from the works of the Bnei Yissachar' (Rambam, Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh 17). "It is He who sits above the circle of the Earth, and its dwellers are like grasshoppers!" (Yeshaya 40).
R.Levi ben Gershon's astrolabe - "Jacob's Staff" - was a foundation of modern trigonometry,Â and was used as aÂ nautical quadrant for 400 years being the predecessor of the sextant.Â Without the the astronomical ephemeris of R. Avraham Zacuto who was known as 'the Map Jew', and the Catalan Atlas of the 'Masters of Maps and Compasses' - the cartographers Avraham and Yehudah Crescas of Majorca -Â Columbus, Magellan, Vespucci, Da Gama, Drake and countless other explorers would never have succeeded in their missions or even have returned home, seeing the difficulty in cartography of the numerous different methods of trying to accurately map a sphere on to a flat surface, witness the Mercator, Lambert, Albers, Winkel, Robinson, Mollweide, Azimuthal, Conic, Cordiform, Cylindrical, Orthographic, Orthophanic, Polar and Sinusoidal projections: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?" (Iyov 38).
Â Amnon Goldberg,Â Tzfas
Parallels between the Sages of Judah and the Druids of the west exist.
They may be coincidental.
they may emanate from a common historical background.
This latter possibility seems the more likely.
At all events the Ten tribes of Israel were of the same stock as the Jews and theirÂ Sages.
The TenÂ Tribes were to be found in part in the British Isles including Ireland and in Gaul and the west.
Druids were also to be found in these same areas.
It may be of interest to note that some sources (e.g. Ammianus Marcellinus) seem to indicate that the druids were considered relative newcomers to the Celtic area.
Bull sacrifice is twice depicted on the Gundestrop cauldron.
The bull turns up a lot in Druidic lore and it was sacrificed regularly at the Nemetons, the major druidic gatherings, which were held in Galatia, next door to Phrygia and in Ireland and Scotland.
Sources and Quotations
THE OLD TESTAMENT ROOTS OF CELTIC MYTHOLOGY
Foundations of Druidism in the Bible
[This source is interesting but some of its sources may be questionable.]
Druidism was the religion of the Celtic people that was administered by priests and priestesses called Druids. Remnants of Druidism still presently exist.
There is little first hand knowledge or the Druids or of their religion. The chief reason for this is that they taught their acolytes secret Druidical knowledge by word of mouth. None of this trusted knowledge was committed to writing; it was all learned through mnemonics.
The most important knowledge that exists of the Druids comes from the writings of Julius Caesar. Caesar was not only a warrior and statesman but a priest as well; therefore he was keenly interested in the Druidism and the Celtic people. Moreover, he was friendly with a pro-Roman Druid, Diviciacus, who shared with him many Druid beliefs, especially about their gods and life after death.
The name Druid means, "knowing the oak tree" in Caelic. It was within these groves that most assemblies and religious ceremonies occurred. The Druids also valued the trees for curative benefits. The mistletoe, which was seen as a sign from the Celtic Otherworld (their name of a place where after life was thought to exist) was used as a cure against poisons, infertility, and even used to cure animals....The Celts worshipped water gods and believed water to be sacred.
Like trees and water the Druids held some islands to be sacred too. One is the island of Mona, (also called Mon or Anglesey); the Romans destroyed the sanctuary there in 60 AD. It is thought that both Irish and British Druids periodically assembled in sacred strongholds. The Isle of Man, sacred to the sea god, Manannan, appears to have been viewed with similar solemnity. A stone discovered in the 19thcentury bore a Celtic inscription, written in Ogam (a cryptic writing used mainly for commemorative inscriptions on wood and stone), which translates: "The Stone of Dovadona, son of the Druid." This indicates Druids inhabited Man as late as the fifth and sixth century AD, and other discoveries and legends also indicate this. There is the discovery of the three sons of the fifth-century Irish King Erc buried on Iona. This preceded the coming of Saint Columba. It seems that one of Columba's brethren was sacrificed to build a monastery there. This indicates pagan beliefs and ceremonies still existed long after the coming of Christianity.
There are several descriptions of Druidic human sacrifices.
The Druids were said to be the keepers of traditional wisdom that was concerned with moral philosophy, natural phenomena and theology. They were skilled in the reading of omens, the interpretation of dreams, the conducting of sacrifices, the construction of a calendar, herbal medicine, astronomy and the composition of poetry. ...
Ammianus, a Roman historian (c. 330-395 B.C), said Druids "are uplifted by searching into things most secret and sublime."
... The Celtic belief in the gods was known by their personal names that rendered three kinds of information about an individual. This information was the person's "own" name, his identity; his "collective" name (the classics stated that the Celts knew themselves by the name of Keltoi, or Celtae); and his "ancestral" name -- which would, in the early period of these people, indicate which pagan god from which he was descended.
It seems that the Celtic Druidism lingered on into the twentieth century although there was evidence of it in the centuries before. An informant of Dr. Anne Ross, a native of Perthshire [Scotland], took her to the sacred square where the rites, described by Minister James Robertson of the same area, were performed. The informant remembered witnessing the rituals as a young girl before the First World War. In her description a bonfire was lit, the oatmeal pancake was made with much care. There was the darkened area "...'resembling the mark of a huge thumb' appeared." The cake was then sliced into pieces and placed in a bag. Onlookers drew pieces out of the bag. The person drawing the charred slice had to jump through the fires, and was then driven from the area with shouts and jeers. "'He was a kind of scapegoat,' the informant said, 'but in the old days, he or she would have been sacrificed.'"
Dr. Ross was told a similar story in Derbyshire in 1977, when she witnessed the lighting of the Beltain fires on May Eve under the pretext of burning rubbish.
After writing the above article showing the correspondence between the Sages as a social class and the Druids we received a copy of
"A Game-Changing Revelation. The HiddenÂ History of America & Great Britain" by Stephen Spykerman, 2 vols, NY, 2014.
In chapter 2 of this work the author speaks at length about the Druids and shows how they parallel the Levites in ancient Israel.
His description of the Druids is similar to our own only he goes into more detail quoting from Classical, British Israelite, and related sources.
The Levites served in the Temple , comprised the choir, and also served as administrators in general society.
The Levites in effect, as a social class, overlapped and intermerged with the Sages. This situation had already been preadumbrated in Scripture:
9 .. you shall consult with the levitical priests and the judge who is in office in those days; they shall announce to you the decision in the case.
Here we have the Levite, the Priest (Cohen), and the judge (i.e. the Sage) listed together.
The Levites, Cohens, and Sages all had to go through a stringent learning process and prove themselves worthy.
The difference between Levites and Cohens on the one hand and the Sages on the other was that becoming a Sage was not hereditary. Its standards were higher.
It could however be gained by effort and aptitude.Â
Originally the Levites were scattered in their own townships throughout all the Tribes of Israel.
The Levites consisted of Priests (Cohens) who were to perform sacrifices etc in the Temple and ordinary Levites who did other functions such as gatekeeping and singing in the Temple service.
They also taught the people the Law and acted as an auxiliary police force and border patrol.
[As stated above, the Levites as a tribe would have been closely associated with the Sages as a social class. The functions of the two overlapped and interlocked with each other. Traditionally, a good portion of the Sages from the very beginning had always belonged to the Tribes of Judah (Talmud, Yoma 26;a), Levi (Midrash Sifrei on Deuteronomy 33:8; Maimonides, Hicot Shemitah ve-Yovel, 13;10), and Issachar (Midrash Sifrei on Deuteronomy 33:18;Â Midrash, BaMidbar Rabah 2;10).
Judging from the division of the Land of Canaan in the time of Joshua, most of the Cohens (as distinct from other Levites) were concentrated in the south in areas that later pertained to what became the Kingdom of Judah. This may help explain why today amongst the Jews there appear to be more Cohens than Levites.
As we said the Levites acted as instructors to the people.
After Jeroboam led the northern Ten Tribes in setting up their own kingdom he appointed religious functionaries of his own and in effect demoted the Levites.
[1-Kings 12:31] AND HE MADE AN HOUSE OF HIGH PLACES, AND MADE PRIESTS OF THE LOWEST OF THE PEOPLE, WHICH WERE NOT OF THE SONS OF LEVI.Â
Consequently the Levites moved southward into the Kingdom of Judah.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
[2-Chronicles 11:5] AND REHOBOAM DWELT IN JERUSALEM, AND BUILT CITIES FOR DEFENCE IN JUDAH.Â
[2-Chronicles 11:13] AND THE PRIESTS AND THE LEVITES THAT WERE IN ALL ISRAEL RESORTED TO HIM OUT OF ALL THEIR COASTS.
[2-Chronicles 11:14] FOR THE LEVITES LEFT THEIR SUBURBS AND THEIR POSSESSION, AND CAME TO JUDAH AND JERUSALEM: FOR JEROBOAM AND HIS SONS HAD CAST THEM OFF FROM EXECUTING THE PRIEST'S OFFICE UNTO THE LORD:
[2-Chronicles 11:15] AND HE ORDAINED HIM PRIESTS FOR THE HIGH PLACES, AND FOR THE DEVILS, AND FOR THE CALVES WHICH HE HAD MADE.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
It appears from the aboveÂ that most of the Levites joined themselves to Judah.
The Druids amongst the Ten Tribes,Â toÂ Â the degree that they parallel the Levites, could be understood to represent descendants of those whom Jeroboam had chosen to replace them.
On the other hand,
Jewish Legends (such as those collated by Eldad HaDani) sometimes refer to sections of the Levites and the Children of Moses (who were also Levites) as being attached to the Lost Ten Tribes. One of these legends strongly suggested that the Lost Ten Tribes were in France and the British Isles and/or Ireland.
Perhaps these also were to be found amongst the Druids?
Did the Jews Know Where the Ten Tribes Are?
Jewish Traditions and Locating the Ten Tribes of Israel in the West.
THE SONS OF MOSES