David Jay Jordan's
Israel Dispersions, Kumri, Kelts and Anglo-Saxons
(Reposted from http://www.orange-street-church.org)
Centuries before, upon the death of Solomon about 926BC, God's chosen nation had
become divided into two kingdoms: the northern ten-tribe kingdom of the House of Israel,
and the southern two-tribe Kingdom of Judah (1 Kings ch. 12). Then, in four invasions
between 762 and 676BC, the Assyrians conquered and deported the ten tribes and most of
the cities of the southern kingdom. (3) (Jerusalem itself was spared due to the prayers and
repentance of King Hezekiah, as related in 2 Kings ch. 19.) These captive Israelites were
transported hundreds of miles away northeast to the land of Media on the shores of the
Caspian Sea, in northern Mesopotamia. They never returned, becoming lost to history, as the
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia relates:
"The northern ten tribes had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians and have become
known as the lost tribes of Israel. The sole surviving identifiable tribe was Judah, and when
this was conquered by Nebuchadrezzar [a century later in 587BC], the captives became
known as Jews - a word that developed from 'Judeans'. The returning exiles were henceforth
known as Jews, and the name Judah was loosely used to refer to the region they occupied."
Thus the word 'Jew' was derived from the name of the tribe and kingdom of Judah which
suffered in the seventy year Babylonian captivity. But historians relate that the ten-tribe House
of Israel did not return to Palestine from their earlier Assyrian dispersion, but became lost to
These lost tribes are referred to in the apocryphal Second Book of Maccabees, written
between 50-100BC, long before the New Testament fall of Jerusalem and modern Jewish
'diaspora'. In chapter one, verse 27, we read, "Gather together our scattered people..." The
word 'scattered' is rendered in the Septuagint version by the Greek word, 'diaspora'. In the
New Testament, John ch.7 v.35 also recognises Israel as being 'dispersed', (again from the
Greek word, diaspora) long before the Roman conquest of AD70. Thus the dispersion of the
Lost Ten Tribes of Israel is the real 'diaspora' spoken of in both the Old and New Testaments.
Tracing The Lost Tribes
These Israelites in dispersion have often been referred to as 'lost tribes', but some historical bits of information give
indications of their existence during this time. The Biblical Book of Esther, for instance, tells the story of one group of
Israelites of the House of Judah during their captivity in the city of Susa, about 300 miles east of the city of Babylon.
Her crowning as Queen of Persia was about 480BC, a full century after the fall of Jerusalem (see Esther ch.2 v.6).
The Apocryphal book of Tobias, or Tobit, took place even earlier, "when he was made captive in the days of Salmanasar
king of the Assyrians" (ch. 1 v.2). This faithful man of the tribe of Naphtali lived in the city of Nineveh in the seventh
century BC, becoming a captive in 721BC in the third Assyrian conquest of the House of Israel. The Book of Tobit closes
with a prediction that "the destruction of Nineveh is at hand" (ch.14 v.8), which occurred in 612BC.
Another sighting of these lost tribes occurred about 500 miles northwest of Susa in the region of Behistun, where today
may be seen a giant rock carving high up a 1,700 foot sheer mountain face. Deciphered in 1835 by famed archaeologist,
Sir Henry Rawlinson, it was commissioned by the ancient Persian king, Darius Hystaspes, surnamed The Great. The
Behistun Rock carvings show King Darius recounting his battles with the Saka or Scythians.
King Darius places his left foot on the body of one rebel leader, while nine other rebel princes are led to him with hands
bound and a rope around their necks. The text is repeated in three languages, Persian, Susian (the language of the city
of Susa where Queen Esther lived), and Babylonian. By comparing the Persian and Babylonian versions of the text, we
know that these tribes were known to the Persians as Saka, and to the Babylonians as Gimirri. (6) The Behistun
inscription has been dated to about 516BC, over two centuries after the northern kingdom of the House of Israel was
dispersed by Assyria. 'Scythian', a Greek form of the name 'Saka', came to mean a wanderer or tent-dweller, and well
described the Israelites in dispersion far from their cities and homes in Palestine.
Israel was known by different names to different neighbouring peoples. One of the most popular archaeology texts found
in public libraries is The March of Archaeology by C.W. Ceram. He points out that the Assyrians referred to the
Israelites by the name of KHUMRI. Ceram says,
"One of [Sir Austen Henry] Layard's most interesting finds... is undoubtedly the 'Black Obelisk' of Assyrian king
Salmanasar III (859-824BC). This obelisk, about six and one half feet high and covered on all four faces with script and
reliefs... gives us vignettes of the clothing and customs of the peoples whom Salmanasar boasts of conquering... [In] the
second row of carvings, Kinsmen of Jehu, son of a man named KHUMRI, are shown bringing tribute consisting of metal
and vessels of silver and gold... KHUMRI was the Assyrian designation of the Jews..." (7)
This monument of the Assyrian king has pictures of conquered princes paying tribute, including 'Jehu, the son of
Khumri', a term designating him as an Israelite. This Assyrian name for Israel, Khumri, translates as 'House of Omri',
after an Israel king who gained fame for a new law-code he developed (Micah ch.6 v.16).
Continue to PART TWO Ten Missing Tribes