Migrations of the Lost Tribes of Israel
by F.M. Nithsdale
One of the difficulties in introducing British Israel teaching to newcomers is to answer the question, "How did the Israelites get from Palestine to Britain?" - followed by, "What historical proof is there?" We are usually told, that if our contention is correct then, surely professional archaeologists and historians would have discovered and published these things.
We must admit that there are an increasing number of books on archaeology and ancient history available these days. Few if any, make a connection between peoples living in Palestine in Biblical times and peoples living in the British Isles, either before or after the days of Jesus.
Two very important points must be made before we can start our investigation. Firstly, we must bear in mind that it is the will of Almighty God that the ten-tribed House of Israel should be "lost", and should lose their identity until such times as He would reveal their whereabouts. Secondly, we can say that many learned scholars over the last 150 years HAVE researched these things and published many books giving their findings and conclusions - that the "Ten Lost Tribes" now dwell in North West Europe, especially the British Isles. It is to be regretted that some early writers on the "Identity" did rather let their imaginations run away with them - allowing sceptical scholars and critics to dismiss the subject on the grounds that it has no firm foundation in historical fact. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of collated evidence on this subject in British Israel literature such as "The Bible Research Handbook".
However, archaeology and history are on-going disciplines and new insights are being discovered, as witness the increasing number of new books on these subjects. Not that any of these books support our teaching, they do not, except unwittingly! It is left to Identity believers themselves to read the new material and search out any new evidence there may be.
This article is an attempt to present the most up to date evidence on the question posed above - "How did the Israelites get from Palestine to Britain?"
We start, of course, with the Bible, and the most important historical fact is that in 880 BC the Kingdom of David and Solomon was divided into two separate kingdoms (Fig. 1). This fact must be borne in mind because the histories of these two kingdoms are quite separate, both in the Bible and subsequent history. Any attempt to make sense of the Bible or secular historical records without this prime fact will be doomed to failure.
The two kingdoms existed side by side for c200 years. The descendants of David continued to reign over the Southern two-tribed Kingdom of Judah with its capital at Jerusalem, while the Northern ten-tribed Kingdom of Israel with a capital at Samaria, had various ruling dynasties.
During this 200-year period, the history of these two kingdoms was recorded in the Bible. Neither kingdom remained faithful to the Lord their God, and in spite of repeated warnings from the prophets, the people, and many of their rulers, became increasingly pagan. The inevitable happened and the preordained sentence of punishment (Lev.26, v18) fell on the Northern Kingdom. This "seven times" punishment took the form of banishment from the Promised Land and the instrument God used was the mighty empire of Assyria (Fig. 2). Three Assyrian kings were involved in the subjugation and deportation of Israel, Tiglath-Pilesar, Shalmaneser and Sargon II. Not only are these deportations detailed in the Bible but the Assyrian records confirm the Biblical account.
For example, there is the Black obelisk of Shalmaneser in the British Museum which reports the "Tribute of Iaua of Bit Humri", that is the "Tribute of Jehu of the House of Omri". Omri was one of the kings of Northern Israel and he is shown on this Assyrian monument kneeling in submission before the Assyrian king. It is by studying monuments like these and the many thousands of Assyrian letters and documents in the British Museum that British Israel scholars have solved the mystery of exactly what happened to deported Israel.
As we have seen from Shalmaneser's Obelisk, the Assyrians called the Israelites "Humri" or "Khumri" - their way of saying "Omri". However this name soon disappears from the Assyrian records. Within 15 years of the deportations in precisely the identical area into which Israel had been placed, we have the first appearance of a people called "Gimira" in the Assyrian records. This name "Gamira" or "Gamir" is evidently a corruption of the Assyrian "Khumri", formed by reversing some of the letters, in this case IR for RI. Such inversions were common in the writings of the time.
Omri in Hebrew characters would start with the letter AYIN which in old Hebrew was pronounced GHAYIN with a soft sound as in the Scottish "loch". So "Omri" would have been pronounced GHOMRI by the Israelites themselves and written by the Assyrians KHUMRI and then later inverted to KHUMIR or GAMIR.
In the year 707 BC an Assyrian frontier port reported that armed forces of Uratu were invading the area into which Israel had been placed 15 years earlier. The attack was halted by the eastern group of GIMIRA who put up a strong resistance. So here we have Israel - in Media - very much alive and well. The report states, "When the king of Uratu came into the land of Gamir (or Gamira) his army was routed."
Back in Palestine, Israel's sorry tale of mass deportations was not yet at an end. In 700 BC the Assyrian king Sennacherib struck northward towards Jerusalem on his way back from an invasion of Egypt (Fig. 4). In 2 Kings 14 v13 we read, "Now in the 14th year of Hezikiah did Sennacherib, king of Assyria come up against the fenced cities of Judah and took them." This event is recorded also by the Assyrian king on wall plaques in his palace and on a Prism which is now in the British Museum (Fig. 5). Note that the Prism details the number of captives on this occasion - 200,150 men women and children - deported to join the Israelites already in Media.
Still remaining in Palestine were the rest of the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin and most of the tribe of Levi. They had Jerusalem for their capital and a descendant of David as their king. However, neither the sorry tale of their deported brethren, nor the warnings of the prophets availed to turn them from their wickedness. In fact, we are told that their idolatrous behaviour became worse than that of the Northern Israelites.
About 130 years after the fall of Samaria, punishment fell upon the Kingdom of Judah when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon attacked Jerusalem. Finally, Jerusalem was destroyed and most of the people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon. The Babylonians destroyed Solomon's Temple and carried all the treasure and artefacts away to their own land. This "Captivity" lasted for 70 years as prophesied by Jeremiah (2 Chron. 36). Many of these Judahites settled happily in Babylon and had no desire to return to a ruined Jerusalem. Others - patriots - longed for their own land. Then Cyrus, the Persian King who had conquered Babylon, gave permission for those who wished to return, to do so.
48,000 Judahites, Benjaminites and Levites returned under Ezra and Nehemiah whose nominal lists of workers includes none from Northern Israel. These, who returned from Babylon, became the ancestors of the Jews of the times of Jesus. We must note that during the 450 years between the return from Babylon and the times of Jesus, many non-Israelites especially Edomites, had become Jews by religion (for example, Herod was an Edomite, called an "Idumean" in the New Testament).
So the situation is now this, the ten-tribed House of Israel plus 200,000 from the two-tribed House of Judah were deported to Assyria and seemingly "lost". Part of the House of Judah returned from their captivity and their descendants, the Jews, continued to live in Judea until New Testament Times.
One clue to the whereabouts of the "lost" Israelites (from a secular source) is given by the Jewish general and author Josephus, who, in his book "Antiquities" (AD.70), said: "There are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the Ten Tribes are beyond Euphates and are an immense multitude, not to be estimated by numbers".
We must imagine these multitudes of Israelite people, displaced refugees, uprooted from their own land, herded away hundreds of miles into alien territory. Their surroundings change, they hear different language, they appear to lose the art of writing, their very way of life changes and they are called by different names by their captors. Seemingly the Lord's great plan for His chosen servant Nation has dissolved into thin air - but let us see what actually did happen.
In the reign of Sargon II, an Assyrian intelligence report told the King that there were people called GIMIRA (we recognise them as deported Israelites) located just west of the upper Euphrates, north of the Taurus mountains. Others were further east in Media (Fig. 6).
In the Apoccrypha (2 Esdras 13) we are told how some of the Ten Tribes escaped from Assyrian control via the upper Euphrates valleys. Later they became notorious in Asia Minor when they overthrew King Midas of Phrygia (Fig. 7). These were the western group of GIMERA or CIMMERIANS, called KIMMEROI by the Greeks - another version of the Assyrian KHUMRI.
In the second year of Esar Haddon of Assyria (679 BC) another group of GIMERA were defeated by his forces and were pursued westward into Asia Minor (Fig. 8).
Some of them settled in the Sinope area on the Black Sea, some migrated across the Sea to settle in the Crimea and in Arsereth (see 2 Esdras 13). On one of their forays they captured the city of Sardis (Fig. 9). Finally about 600 BC, King Alyattes of Lydia drove them out of Asia Minor altogether. Their movements were westward - ever westward.
Most of the western CIMMERIAN group migrated up the Danube valley and settled as CELTS in central Europe between 500 BC and 100 BC (Fig. 10).
Others moved north and west into sparcely inhabited regions of the Baltic, where they were given yet another name by the Romans - CIMBRI, a name probably derived from CIMMERIANS. These people were the ancestors of the Picts and Jutes (Fig. 11).
Small numbers of Israelites followed Phoenician trade routes from the port of Miletus or the South West coast of Asia Minor (Fig. 12). Some settled for a time in Spain then moved on to Ireland.
Now we have seen that most of the Western group of the "lost" Israelites were forced right through Asia Minor into Central Europe and finally to the shores of the North Sea; but the Eastern group were still dominated by Assyrian powers and their successors, being threatened by Babylonians and Medes from the south (Fig. 13).
This eastern part of Israel although known as GIMIRA was also known to the Assyrians as ISKUZA, a name derived from the name ISAAC - one of the names ancient Israel used to describe themselves, "sons of ISSAC".
In 573 BC, ISKUZA are mentioned for the first time in any historical document, locating them in Media in the very place where some of Israel had been put in captivity. Since the GIMIRA and the ISKUZA appear in the same place at the same time, it is reasonable to infer that they were one are the same people. And of course the Greeks had a word for these ISKUZA - they called them SCUTHAE or SCYTHIAN. The Persian name for the ISKUZA was SAKKA also based on ISAAC wit the emphasis on the last syllable "ISS-SAAK".
The inscriptions on the great rock carving at Behistan in northern Iran are repeated in three languages, Old Persian, Susian and Babylonian. The people who are called "SAKKA" in Persian are called "GIMIRA" in Babylonian, thus proving the to be one and the same people.
Root SK derivatives
The Israelites did call themselves the House of Issac or ISAAKA. The basic root of ISAAK, SAKKA, SKUTHAE, ISKUSA and SCYTHIAN is SK in each case.
After the fall of the Assyrian capital Nineveh in 612 BC, the main body of Scythian Israelites came under such pressure from the Medes that they were forced northwards through the Dariel Pass in the Caucasus mountains and into the steppe region of southern Russia (Fig. 14).
As wave after wave of these people were forced through the Caucasus, the leaders in the west crossed the rivers Don and Dniper and came into contact with CIMMERIAN Israel groups who had earlier moved across the Black Sea, thus pushing them westward along the valley of the Danube into Central Europe (Fig. 15).
Although the Scythians established themselves in the area of southern Russia from the 6th to the 3rd centuries BC, they found themselves squeezed between a people advancing from the east - the Sarmatians - and the CELTS, already occupying Central Europe to the west. Consequently, they were forced northward towards the North Sea and the Baltic (Fig. 16). This group formed the last of the migrating Israelites to arrive in these Islands. The Anglo-Saxon group from the area now called Germany arriving between 400 and 600 AD.
Others moving northwards through Jutland became known as Danes and Vikings. Others settled for a time in northern France and were known as Northmen or Normans. These Normans arrived in the 11th century, the last large group, finally completing the regathering of what Sir Arthur Keith, world-famous ethnologist, described as one family - NOT a racially mixed group.
In exile, the Nation of Israel became divided into two main groups, one in the upper Euphrates area and the other in Media. These two groups migrated by different routes and at different times. Thus, they arrived here in comparatively small groups over a long period of time - finally fusing in to one Nation, which we now call the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.