Ten Lost Tribes - Definition

Definition

The Hebrew Bible does not use the phrase "Ten Lost Tribes", leading some to question the actual number of tribes involved. However, 1 Kings 11:31 states that the kingdom would be taken from Solomon and give ten tribes to Jeroboam:

And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee. —1 Kings 11:31 But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. —1 Kings 11:35

It is very clear which tribes are counted as lost. The Lost tribes are those that formed the northern Kingdom of Israel after the dissolution of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 930 BC. The tribes of Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon were parts of the northern kingdom, a total of Ten.

It is well known that the Tribe of Simeon was part of the northern Kingdom of Israel and was therefore part of the "Ten Lost Tribes." Though the Tribe of Simeon was never located in the North but was located entirely within the land of Judah. (Joshua 19:1) Their land location, however, never constituted an allegiance to Judah.

The prophecy clearly stated that there would be Ten Tribes ascribed to Jeroboam and that only the tribe of Judah would be left to be under their realm of ruler-ship 1 Kings 11:31. The tribe of Benjamin would align themselves to Judah, as seen when they were mustered to battle for the reconstitution of all the tribes under Rehoboam 1 Kings 12:21}}. Later, the Levites would be ousted from among the Northern Tribes by Jeroboam, and even from their dwellings, due to Jeroboam setting up from the lowest of moral men to priestly offices that would not abide by the rights assigned by YHWH, but would abide by the standard set up by their new King, Jeroboam 1 Kings 11:31 2 Chronicles 11:14. This, therefore, would constitute the Ten Tribes to the North & the 3 Tribes that made up Judea (Judah).

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