In the past, some believers in Israel Truth have told people that there are only two tribes present in the Jewish population. While this is true in a general sense, there are records in the Bible of Israelites from other tribes becoming part of the kingdom of Judah. This fact has been used by our critics to discredit us and to say that the Jews are all that are left of the people of Israel from the Old Testament.
I heard one radio preacher say the lost tribes of Israel are still in the land that used to be called Assyria. That would mean they are now Muslims. Other preachers have said the lost tribes returned with the Jews and became Jews. That statement is widely accepted, but it cannot be verified by scripture. Nehemiah recorded who returned to the holy land to establish the Jewish nation. “These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;” Nehemiah 7:6. Nehemiah gave their number as 42,360. The same number is mentioned in the book of Ezra. They were from the kingdom of Judah from the captives taken by the Babylonians, not from the captives taken by the Assyrians. There is no mention in the Bible of the lost tribes that were captured by the Assyrians returning to the holy land.
However, there were members of other tribes besides the tribes of Judah and Benjamin amongst the Jews. This is because there were members of other tribes living in Jerusalem and the cities of Judah when Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. Some of them lived there from the time of David. “And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh;” I Chronicles 9:3. Also, in the reign of Asa, king of Judah, some people from the kingdom of Israel came over to join the kingdom of Judah. “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” 2Chronicles 15:9. People of the tribe of Levi came over to Judah early in the history of the two nations. 2Chronicles 11:13-14. Later, in the time of King Hezekiah, it was recognized that there were people from both Israel and Judah living in the cities of Judah. “And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.” 2Chronicles 31:6.
It may be that some people from the tribes, other than Judah and Benjamin, came over to the kingdom of Judah because Judah had the true worship of God.
In the New Testament it is mentioned that Anna, who prophesied over the Christ Child, was from the tribe of Asher. Luke 2:36-38. Six hundred years before that some people of the tribe of Asher chose to worship at Jerusalem in the kingdom of Judah. “Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord. And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation.” 2Chronicles 30:11-13. It may be that some people from the tribes, other than Judah and Benjamin, came over to the kingdom of Judah because Judah had the true worship of God.
It is obvious from scripture that there were a few members of the ten tribes amongst the Jews and this may be true of the people who call themselves Jews today. This does not mean the lost ten tribes are gone forever and that the Jews are all that are left of the people of Israel. We believe the modern day Israelites are to be found as mostly the descendants of the people of northwestern Europe and the British Isles. All twelve tribes are present within those people, being the descendants of the Israelites that were taken captive by the Assyrians. However, there may also be some members of all twelve tribes present within the Jewish people of today.