SOURCES FROM THE TALMUD

 

“And you shall be lost among the nations” (Leviticus 26). R. Akiva says: “These are the Ten Tribes which were exiled to Media”. Others say: “And you shall be lost” is an exile and not destruction, because it is also stated “And the land of your enemies shall devour you”, and this is annihilation, but dispersal among the nations is an exile and not annihilation. (Sifra, Behukotai 8)

=====================================

“And you shall perish quickly” (Deuteronomy 11) – exile following exile. Just as with the Ten Tribes you find exile following exile, so also you find this with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Sifrei, Ekev 11:17)

=====================================

“And he said, behold, I make a covenant” – and where is the covenant fulfilled – when they will be captives on the rivers of Babylon, and I will remove them from there and place them within the boundary of the Sambatyon river, and these are the “marvels such as have not been done in all the earth”. (Targum Jonathan, Exodus 34, 10)

=====================================

How do we know that mourners are obligated to perform loving-kindness? We learn it from the people of Yavesh Gilead who, when King Saul and his sons were killed, said: “Are we not obligated to perform loving-kindness to the man who saved us from Bnei Ammon?” And their valiant men traveled all night to the walls of Beth Shean, as is stated: “All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul” (Samuel I, 31). Said the Lord, I will repay them at the time when I gather Israel from the four corners of the earth, first will the half-tribe of Manasseh be gathered, as it says: “Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine” (Psalms 60), and after that Ephraim will be gathered, as it says: “Ephraim also is the strength of my head, Judah is my scepter”. (Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 17, Yalkut Shimoni, Psalms 60)

=====================================

Menahem Ben Amiel said: the son of Joseph will have the greatest horns with which it will gore the four corners of the world. About him Moses said: “The firstling of his herd, grandeur is his, and his horns are the horns of a wild ox, – and with him are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh”. (Deuteronomy 33)      (Ibid., chap. 19)

=====================================

  1. Abba Bar Kahana said: The Ten Tribes were not treated like the generation of the Deluge. About the generation of the Deluge it is written, “all the impulse of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” Genesis 6). About the Ten Tribes it is written: “Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds!” (Micah 2); which is at night. And also during the day it is said: “When the morning is light, they execute it’ (ibid.). Of the generation of the Deluge not a remnant survived; should there be a remnant of these? Yes, because of the merit of the righteous men and women who will be their offspring. (Bereshit Rabba 28)

=====================================

  1. Yehuda heard from R. Hanin who said in the name of R. Shmuel of Isaac: The exile originated with the drunkenness of Noah. The Ten Tribes were exiled because of wine, as it is written: “Woe to them that up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink” (Isaiah 5). The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were exiled because of wine, as is said: “But they also reel through wine” (Ibid. 28). (Bereshit Rabba)

=====================================

  1. Yehuda son of Simon said that the Ten Tribes were exiled to a different place than the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Ten Tribes was exiled to within the Sambatyon River, while the tribes of Judah and Benjamin are scattered throughout the lands. (Bereshit Rabba 73, 5)

=====================================

  1. Yoshia Ben Levi resolved verses dealing with the exiles thus: “And G-d Almighty give you mercy before the man” (Genesis 48). The man is God, as it says: “The Lord is Man of War, the Lord is His Name” (Exodus 15). That He may release to you your brother” (Genesis 48), these are the Ten Tribes, “The other and Benjamin” (ibid.), these are the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Bereshit Rabba 92, 3)

=====================================

There are twelve constellations in the heaven. And just as the heavens cannot exist without the twelve constellations, so the earth cannot exist without the Twelve Tribes. (Shmot Rabba 15, 7)

=====================================

“And he that smites his father” (Exodus 21) – And who did that? The Ten Tribes who refused to accept the yoke of G-d causing Sanneherib to exile them. The allegory is of a king who had ten sons who rebelled against him, and revoked his ten epigrams. Said he – “as you revoked that which is mine, I will send a fly to avenge me”. Similarly, the Ten Tribes rebelled against G-d and did not fulfill the Torah, as is written: “They have belied the Lord and said; it is not He” (Jeremiah 5), so He sent the fly upon them, as it is written: “The Lord shall whistle to the fly” (Isaiah 7), which is Sanneherib. Therefore, nullifying the commandments is likened to cursing father and mother. (Shmot Rabba 30, 5)

=====================================

“Now therefore, O children, hearken unto me – remove your way far from her – lest you give your vigor unto others” (Proverbs 5). What is “Now therefore, O children, hearken unto me”? He means the Ten Tribes and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin for all children were called “sons”, as is written “You are the children of the Lord your G-d” (Deuteronomy 14). “Lest you give your vigor unto others” – That they were exiled from their land and strangers occupied their place and devoured all their efforts. And you find that when the king of Assyria exiled the Ten Tribes he settled strangers in their land, as is written: “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath” (Kings II, 17). All this happened to the Ten Tribes, and their fate was sealed, for committing adultery, as is written “That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches” (Amos 6).     (Bamidbar Rabba 9, 4)

=====================================

The tribe of Judah, its wise men and important leaders, had a tradition from Jacob our Forefather, describing all that will befall each of the tribes until the coming of the Messiah. And each of the tribes had a tradition as to what will befall them until the coming of the Messiah. (Bamidbar Rabba 13, 13)

=====================================

“I am black” (Song of Songs 1) describes the Ten Tribes, “But comely” (ibid.) describes the tribe of Judah and Benjamin. (Song of Songs Rabba, 1, 2)

=====================================

“Your eyes are as doves (Song of Songs 4). Just as a dove migrates and returns to its roost, so does Israel. As is written “As a dove from Assyria” (Hosea 11). Those are the Ten Tribes, and both “Will be resettled in their homes, says G-d”. (Song of Songs Rabba, 4)

=====================================

They were exiled in groups. R. Eliezer says: “The tribes of Reuven and Gad were exiled first”. R. Shimon Ben Gamliel says: “The tribes of Zevulun and Naphtali were exiled first”. It is written (Isaiah 8): “Now the first made light of the land of Zevulun and the land of Naphtali”. And how does R. Eliezer interpret the saying of Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel? “Now” that Reuven and Gad were exiled, so were exiled also Zevulun and Naphtali. (Ptihta D’Aikha Rabba, 5)

=====================================

  1. Hanina and R. Yonatan both say: What were the Ten Tribes on one and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin on the other side like? They were like two people wearing a new garment in the winter, each tugging their side until they tore the garment. In the same way, the Ten Tribes were worshipping idols in Samaria, and the tribe of Judah was worshipping idols in Jerusalem, causing the destruction of Jerusalem. (Ptihta D’Aikha Rabba, 12)

=====================================

  1. Akiva says: “Widow” (Lamentations 1) and you say “As a widow”? Rather a widow from the Ten Tribes and not from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. And the Sages say – a widow from both, but not from G-d, as is written “Israel is not a widower, nor Judah from his G-d” (Jeremiah 51). (Lamentations Rabba, 1,3)

=====================================

What did the Ten Tribes do? They sent oil to Egypt to buy their support, and wheat to Babylon to buy their help, so that if enemies come, these nations will help. As is written, “They made a covenant with Assyria and transported oil to Egypt” (Hosea 12). (Lamentations Rabba 4,20)

=====================================

The Ten Tribes were exiled and none survived. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were exiled, and survived. (Ecclesiastes Rabba 5,1)

=====================================

  1. Levi said: Sanneherib caused three exiles. First he exiled the tribes of Reuven and Gad, secondly the Ten Tribes, and third was Judah. (Ecclesiastes Rabba 9, 27)

=====================================

The Ten Tribes were exiled because of wine. See what is written: “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria – that drink wine in bowls” (Amos 6).        (Tanhuma, Shmini 5)

=====================================

The Temple will be built before the ingathering of the Diaspora. The ingathering of the Diaspora will take place before the resurrection of the dead. And the resurrection of the dead will be last in occurring. Where is the proof of this? It is written, “G-d builds Jerusalem and gathers the dispersed of Israel”. “Who heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds” (Psalms 147). And this is the resurrection of the dead.    (Midrash ha-Ne’lam [Zohar], Toledot 130)

=====================================

Moses said: “And you will perish among the nations” (Leviticus 26). Isaiah came and nullified this decree, as it is written: “And on that day a great horn shall be blown and those that were lost in the Land of Assyria shall come” (Isaiah 27). (Yalkut Shimoni, Part I, 291)

=====================================

“In the twentieth year of Pekah came Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon” and took the two golden calves and smashed them and departed – Ahaz king of Judah and Hosea son of Elah were enslaved to the king of Assyria for eight years. In the twelfth year (of Pekah’s reign) [of Ahaz’s reign] G-d stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria and he exiled the tribes of Reuben and Gad and he took the calf which was in Beth-El and departed. … When Hosea son of Elah saw that the golden calves were exiled he removed the guards stationed by Jeroboam son of Nabet to prevent pilgrimages to Jerusalem. … This is when Shalmaneser the king of Assyria approached. … When Hosea son of Elah saw that the king of Assyria was preparing to exile Israel for a third time, he made an alliance with the kings of Egypt – as it is written: “And the king of Assyria found that Hosea plotted by sending messengers to So king of Egypt” (Kings II, 17). “In the fourth year of Hezekiah Shalmaneser came up to Samaria and besieged it”. In the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, which was the ninth year of Hosea’s rebellion, Samaria was captured – “And the king of Assyria carried Israel away into Assyria”. As it is written: “And the Lord rooted them out of their land” (Deuteronomy 29). There were eight years between the first Exile and the second Exile, and another eight years between the second Exile and the third Exile. (Yalkut Shimoni P. 236)

=====================================

“And these are from the north and the west” – those who are very far. “Those from the land of Sinim” – these are the descendents of Yonadav Ben Rechav. (Yalkut Shimoni II, 469)

=====================================

There they are in great fear” (Psalms 14), and in another place is written: “There was no fear” (ibid). “There are they in great fear” are the Ten Tribes, “There was no fear” are the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (Midrash Tehillim Shoher Tov, Psalm 14)

=====================================

“For the leader with string music – in Judah G-d is known, His name is great in Israel”, as it is written: “Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke, among the tribes of Israel do I make known that which shall surely be” (Hosea 5). When the Ten Tribes were exiled and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were not, the idol-worshipping nations of the world were saying that they were being favored, because they were guests in His house, and this is why He didn’t exile them. But when they were exiled this was proof of G-d’s sincerity in punishing them.        (Ibid., Psalm 76)

=====================================

Another explanation: “He gathers together the dispersed of Israel” (Psalms 147). These are the tribes. As it is written: “And cast them into another land” (Deuteronomy 29). And it is also written: “And they shall come that were lost in the land of Assyria” (Isaiah 27). And at this time Israel will be beyond pain, until they will be healed, as it is written: “Who heals the broken in heart”. (Ibid., Psalms 147)

=====================================

“And Reuven returned to the pit” (Genesis 37: 29). R. Eliezer, R. Joshua, and the Sages each have a different explanation as to from where he returned. R. Eliezer said that he returned from doing penance for his misdeed. R. Joshua said that it was his turn to care for the household. And the Sages said that G-d said to Reuven: You wanted to return a favored son to his father, therefore your grandchild will return Israel to their Heavenly Father. And this will be Hosea.

The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea son of Beeri” (Hosea 1,1), and it is written: “Be’era his son, whom the king of Assyria carried away captive” (Chronicles I, 5-6). And why was he called Be’era? Because he was a wellspring of Torah. And why did he die in exile? So that the Ten Tribes will repent. (Pesikta de-Rav Kahana 24, 9)

=====================================

In the days of Hosea son of Elah the king of Israel, the land was conquerred, and in his days the Ten Tribes were exiled. But in what way were the deeds of Hosea such that Israel was exiled in his time? From the time of Jeroboam son of Nevat until Hosea son of Elah, idol worshipping was blamed on one man, and it was difficult for their Heavenly Father to exile the many of Israel for the sin of one man. But then came Hosea and removed the guards who guarded the roads and prevented the people from going to Jerusalem. He then announced that whoever wanted to go to Jerusalem could do so, and thereby removed the blame from himself and placed it upon the multitudes. Therefore it is written of him: “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Against it came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria … and carried Israel away” … (Kings II, 17).                      (Tanna de-Vei Eliyahu ch. 9)

=====================================

“Also our couch is leafy”. These are the Ten Tribes that were exiled within the river Sambatyon, as it is written: “With the corner of couch” (Amos 3). That G-d saved but one of seven and one of eight.        (Midrash Zuta, Song of Songs 1)

=====================================

Following were the ten exiles of the dear sons of Zion: three exiles of Israel were by Sanneherib.

First exile: Sanneherib exiled the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh. “And he placed them in Halah, and Habor, on the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (Kings II, 17).

Second exile: Hosea son of Elah was enslaved by Sanneherib for eight years, and after eight years Sanneherib came and exiled the tribes of Zevulun and Naphtali, as it is written: “For is there no gloom to her that was steadfast? Now that the former has lightly afflicted the lands of Zevulun and Naphtali, but the latter has dealt a more grievous blow by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan In the district of the nations” (Isaiah 8), from which we learn that he had no respect for the two tribes.

Third exile: This is the exile of Samaria. Sanneherib brought Kutiim from Babylon and from Hamat and from Aviim and from Sfarviim, and they settled in Samaria, at first under the rule of Israel, and later they took over Samaria until Sanneherib returned and exiled them.

Seventh exile: This is the exile of the Ten Tribes, who were exiled to within the River Sabbatyon. And why was it called Sabbatyon? Because it rested on the Sabbath. When Israel were led captives to Babylon, evil Nebuchadnezzar said to them: Come and sing praises before your idol as you do before your G-d. Then each of Israel inserted a finger into their mouth and cut their tongues with a knife so that they would not be forced to sing praises before an idol. Therefore G-d covered in clouds of glory, removed them, and placed them past the Sabbatyon, as it is written: “I will make mention of Rahab” (Psalms, 87). (Midrash Eser Galuyyot [Ten Exiles], Eisenstein: Otzar Midrashim, p. 435)

It happened that Mar Jacob son of Eliezer traveled in the land of  Khazaria, and he saw there the tribe of Shimon, and he said: Woe to us that saw the fulfillment of that which was written: “And you will I scatter among the nations” (Leviticus 26). And when he later saw a Khazar who converted to Judaism he quoted “and yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them” (Ibid.)

Jerusalem was exiled ten times. Four times by Sanneherib, four times by Nebuchadnezzar, once by Titus, and once by Adrianus. First time: Sanneherib came and exiled Reuven, Gad and half of Manasseh and took the golden calves which were made by Jeroboam son of Nevat. It was these calves which the sons of Reuven and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh brought from Dan, and built a temple for them, and for which they were removed from their land and placed in a different land to this day. When Sanneherib came, removed them, and placed them in Lahlah, Habor, the river Gozan and the cities of Medes, the king of Israel was Pekah son of Remaliahu. When Hosea son of Elah saw that the soldiers of Pekah were so diminished in number, he killed Pekah and became king of Israel, reigning in Samaria five years, and this was the first exile.

Sanneherib heard of this, laid siege to Hosea son of Elah, who brought tribute, and then exiled the tribes of Asher, Zevulun, Naphtali and Issachar, who did not accept Hosea son of Elah as king. He then appointed Hosea son of Elah over Samaria – so that Hosea was king over Israel and Judah – and this was the second exile.

When Ahaz died, Hezekiah his son became king. At the beginning of the fourth year of his reign, Sanneherib returned to Samaria, laid siege for three years, and in the seventh year of the reign of Hezekiah he exiled from Samaria the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh – and this was the third exile.

Eight years later Sanneherib arrived again with men from Babylon, Kush, Avi, Hamat and Safarvi, and laid siege upon the fortified cities of Judah. Judah had a hundred and fifty cities inhabited by the tribes of Judah and Shimon, and Sanneherib conquered them and planned to remove them to Lahlah to join the other tribes. But then he heard that the king of Kush had rebelled against him, and since the land of Kush was on the other side of Egypt, he took the tribes of Judah and Shimon with him, and in a miraculous way they arrived to behind the mountains of darkness which are past the rivers of Kush. And this was the fourth exile by Sanneherib. (Ektan D’Mar Yakov, Otzar Midrashim, pp. 436-7)

=====================================

And he also told us, that when the Temple was destroyed and Israel went to Babylon, the Chaldeans requested that the sons of Moses sing to them of the songs of Zion. And the sons of Moses stood crying before and damaged their fingers with their teeth, saying: The fingers that strummed in the Temple, how can they now strum in an impure land? And a cloud covered them and carried them with their tents and sheep cattle, and placed them at night in a place called Chavilla. And also told, that the forefathers tell that they heard a great noise at night, and in the morning they saw a great multitude surrounding them, separated by a river which flowed rocks and sand, in a place where there no river before.

And this river still flows with rocks and sand, with great force and great thunder, capable of shattering a mountain of iron. And the river of rocks and sand flows with no water at all for six days, and it rests on the Sabbath. And on Friday evening a cloud comes to rest on the river, so that one can approach the river until after the Sabbath. And the name of river is Sambatyon, and we call it Sabbatino (or Sanbatyon). There are places where the river is no more than 60 cubits wide, so that we can converse with them on the other side, but they cannot be approached because the river surrounds them and we cannot cross to them, nor can they cross to us. (Eldad Hadani, First Story, Otzar Midrashim 20)

=====================================

Ony two tribes are scattered in Asia and Europe, and they suffer the yoke of Rome. But even now the Ten Tribes are on the other side of the Euphrates, uncounted thousands, and a nation of great multitudes. (Josephun, Book XI, chapter 8)

=====================================

Rabbi Avichail