Scattered

Up to this point, I have used the history recorded in the Holy Scriptures as a basis of what I have written.  I am about to go into the time where the Bible is pretty much silent.  From the time the Jews went back into the Promised Land until the birth of Jesus, there is little or nothing recorded in the Bible.  Also, the only history we have after His birth is in the New Testament.  For those who have read the New Testament, I don’t have to tell you how much is in it.

And so it is that we must rely somewhat on secular history.  Even there, we must borrow a little from here and a little from there and patch it together.  Also we must remember where I left you at the end of my last post.  The Jews just returned to Israel.

If you have not read my previous posts, I would encourage you to do so at this time.  For those who don’t want to, let me give you a sketch of how things were after the Jews were allowed to return to Israel.  Some were already there.  They never left.  Some were in Egypt and other parts of northern Africa.  Some remained in Persia.  Nothing that I know of says as much, but my guess is that a third to half of those in captivity remained in Persia.

Even before they were allowed to return to Israel, some likely migrated north, east and a few northwest.  Regardless, many went north and into what we now know as Ukraine and Russia.  We know this because the tsar of Russia tormented them.

I have seen Fiddler on the Roof several times, including the stage version once.  After seeing the stage version, I did quite a bit of research and have found it historically accurate.  I also read the book on which the musical was based and I found it very eye-opening.

From the late 1800’s to about 1917, tsarist Russia caused the Jews quite a bit of torment.  Finally, just before he was overthrown, he forced many of the Jews out of the country.

As the movie implies, they went every which way.  Some went to Israel, though it was no longer called Israel.  Some went to the US, those who could.  Some went to Poland and others to Germany and France.  I hope I don’t have to explain what happened to most of those but I will.

About 6 million were killed by the Germans.  However, there is no telling how many were eventually killed by the Soviets.  Many estimate that was another 6 million.  That meant that there were far more than 12 million in the area.

The thing that bothered me about the musical The Fiddler on Roof was that the Russians effectively chased the Jews right into the jaws of Hitler.  Before I saw the Movie, I didn’t know that.  I would guess there are many others who were ignorant of it too.

As bad as it was, it was foretold.  It was part of the punishment pronounced by God because they refused to repent.  They continued to follow their idols and they gave the idols the credit for what God did.

However, God did promise that the seed of Abraham, through Isaac, would become many people.  I would suspect that there are many Jews in this world who do not know they are Jews.  After all, it was not healthy to be Jew.  Even in the US they were treated badly, even today.

Another promise God gave to Abraham was that He would bless those who blessed his people and He would curse those who cursed his people.  It was a dumb thing that Stalin, Linen and Hitler did.  It was a dumb thing that many people have done through the ages.  Egypt was a great nation, until they enslaved the Israelites.  Assyria and Babylonia fell to the Persians after they enslaved the Jews.  Hitler fell as quickly as he arose.  Moreover, I suspect that he suffered greatly the last year or so before he committed suicide.

Some say Hitler survived and escaped to some other country.  In a way, I hope he did.  The man was suffering insanity and agonizing headaches.  Either way, by now, he is paying the price for what he did, as are his cohorts.  When he started on the Jews, Hitler assured his downfall.

After the war, Germany was virtually nothing.  It was a divided country and they were completely dependent upon the allies for their subsistence and their sustenance.  Without the mercy of the allies, the vast majority of the Germans would have passed into obscurity.

Also, shortly after the war, the country of Israel was again reestablished.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  Moreover, every time some nation(s) attacked them, Israel was the overpowering victor.  Egypt lost the entire Sinai Peninsula.  Now that had to be embarrassing.

The reestablishment of the country of Israel was foretold, but this is not yet fully fulfilled.  Many events must happen first, but the rest can be completed in months, if not weeks.

One day, many years ago, my brother told me that we, our family were jewesh.  It only goes to show that people are more likely to believe the lie when they want it to be true.

First let me say that there is a remote possibility that he might have been right, though not likely.  My mother’s maiden name was Fine.  From what I understand, this is a Jewish name, though I really have no idea, one way or the other.

The point is this.  There are charlatans in the world that would have you believe all sorts of things and, for instance “The Lost Tribe of Dan.”  Also, some would have you believe that the royalty of England and other European countries are descendants of David, King of Israel.

Mostly, I doubt them, even at their simplest claims.  Also, if God wants me to know I am a Jew, he has several ways he can let me know without using vain self-indulgent people trying to make their fortune off my vanity.

Now.  Are there thousands of Jews who don’t know their heritage?  Yes.  Perhaps even millions.  However, many have intermarried to the point that we might be dealing in fractions.

More than that, there are two ways of identifying Jews, by religion and by birth.  Not all Jews were born Jews.  God has permitted people to adopt both the nationality and the faith.

Two women are specifically identified as doing so.  Rehab of Jericho was saved by her faith and Ruth married Boaz.  Interestingly, both were recorded in the ancestry of Jesus.

For those who have not seen The Fiddler on the Roof, I would suggest you watch it.  Maybe those who have seen it, you might want to look at it from the historical point of view.  Maybe then you just might gain a different look at the Jews.

Whichever, remember, the Jews are God’s chosen people.  They might or might not deserve it, but, by honoring them, you honor God.  When you honor God, it is to your benefit.

Jew or not, after all my research, I have grown to respect and even love them.  Indeed, Israel is the only place outside of the US that I would like to visit.  With my income, I don’t think that will happen.  Not unless some people start buying my books.

 

Speaking of my books, I have written over 35 of them.  Though a few of them contain some Christian overtones (or undertones, not sure which), one of the books is completely Christian based.  Friday, Mar 27, I will make it free on Amazon.com.  The book’s title is, “Going Home.”

 

You should be able to find the book as well as other on my author’s page:

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

If the above doesn’t work, just sign onto Amazon.com and look for me, Ben Rhodes under authors.  You might also just look for the title but you might not have as much success.

 

The book is basically about an atheist woman who left her parents because her father insisted on her going to church.  Now she must go home.  If she were alone, maybe not.  However, she has three kids to feed.

Into Captivity

In my last post, I discussed the origin of the Israelites and I suggested the reading of a few books of the Holy Bible to verify my post.  Indeed, I would hope you would read them, especially those who have not read them before in their entirety.

The first five books of the Bible and the book of Joshua explain the origin of the Israelites.  The books of Joshua, Kings and Chronicles explain the history as they lived in the Promised Land.

To be sure, in this post I want to concentrate on the events leading up to their going into captivity.  However, before I do this, I need to call one thing to your attention.

Shortly after the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, the book of Joshua records a very important event.  God called for the Israelites to chose Whom they would serve.  God called them to a pair of mountains and call out the blessings that they would receive for following God.  He also required them to call out the curses for not following God.  They had a choice and they chose to follow God.

God promised that, even if Israel strayed, if they would repent and follow the Lord, he would heal their land and bless them.  However, he told them that if they did not repent, that, among other things, He would scatter them throughout the world.

If we read Judges, and I wish you would, you will see several cases where they disobeyed God and worshiped idols.  In some respects, they were worse than those who were in the land before them.  Some of the events I find disgusting and I think most everyone would.

Yet, every time, they repented, God forgave them and He healed land and His people prospered.

It was God’s desire that Israel would be an example to the world.  He wanted us to know what will happen when a nation follows the Lord.  Unfortunately, they were often an example of a nation that did not follow the Lord.  Repeatedly He punished them and they repented.

When the nation was split into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom, Israel followed foreign gods.  Even though God frequently chastised them, it was only a matter of the degree of disobedience.  Finally, as God warned, he sent them into captivity.  The Assyrians came down and overthrew Israel and took many of them off into captivity.

Unlike Israel, Judah went through periods of obedience and periods of disobedience.  This was mostly recorded in the history of the kings of Judah.  When they had a good king, he would destroy the idols and made the people follow God.  When they had a bad king, he allowed idol worship, even to the point that he too would worship the idols.

Whenever God would chastise them, they turned from their wicked ways and He would heal their land and the people prospered.  In general, my own observation is that they could not stand the prosperity.  As they prospered, they turned from God and claimed their success was by their own hands…. Or worse, by the hand of idols.

These oscillations continued over the decades until, finally, Judah refused to repent.  When God chastised them, the people wrote it off as coincidence.  (Rather as we do today)

So God gave up on them.  He sent a prophet, Jeremiah.  Today, he is known as the weeping prophet because he was given an impossible task.  He was told to try to get the people to repent but God knew they would not and He told Jeremiah from the beginning that he would not succeed.  (I know I sort of repeated myself, but it was something worth repeating.)

Jeremiah wrote 2 books, the one bearing his name and Lamentations.  Parenthetically, lamentation means an expression of extreme grief or sorrow.  God let Jeremiah know some of what was going to happen to Judah and it caused him great sorrow.

God caused the kingdom of Babylon to rise up and attack Judah.  Through Jeremiah, He told them not to defend the city of Jerusalem.  He told them to give up.  The decision was already made and the best thing they could do was accept it.

Instead, they kept fighting to the point that they fulfilled the prophecies that they would eat their own babies and drink their own urine to survive during the siege.

Finally, about 100 years after the fall of Israel, Judah fell.

…BUT it didn’t stop there.

Another nation rose up, Persia and captured both Babylon and Assyria.  I guess God planned it that way.  Now, both Israel and Judah were under the authority of one king.

…and so it was that the entire nation of was again under one authority.  However, not all of Israel was in Persia.  Some remained in the Promised Land, those who were not taken away.  Some went south, many into Egypt.  To some degree, they were already scattered as God foretold back in the Book of Joshua.

After 70 years of captivity, fulfilling prophecy, the Israelis were allowed to return home.  In the Scriptures, the numbers returning was recorded accurately by tribe.  However, there is no recording of how many remained in Persia.  There is no way of telling where they went or how many remain to this day in Iran.

One of God’s unconditional promises was that He would greatly multiply the seed of Abraham and He did.  It is very likely that the number of Israelites doubled, tripled or greater while captive.  Many Israelites can continue to trace their history back through time.  Others have tried to hide their history.  They find it safer.

Also, during their captivity, there was some intermarriage.  The Book of Ester explicitly records the marriage of one Israeli woman to the King of Persia.  At this point the scattering of God’s people is well under way, but it has only begun.

In my next post, I will bring us up to date.  There is no way I, or anyone can completely follow where all the Israelites have gone, but I find it interesting that God, Himself, calls them Jews, all of them.  So, from this point on, so will I.  Even though Paul called himself a Jew, he was from the tribe of Benjamin.  (I don’t try to explain it.  I just take note of it.)

Who Are the Jews?

Much has been said about Jews.  However, it has become my experience that few really know anything about them.  Much of what has been said or written or said about them is either outright not true or partially false.  Moreover, the term Jew and Israelite are mistakenly used interchangeably.

Also, there charlatans, so called preachers who claim that there are millions of Jews, chosen ones, who are unaware of their blessings.

With this three part series, I intend to address both.  I will use nothing more than the Holy Scriptures that plainly address both matters.  It is all plain for all to see if they will just take the time to read it.

I base this part on the books Genesis, Joshua, I&II kings and I&II Chronicles.  You are welcome to read it for yourself.  There is nothing difficult about it.  It just takes a little time and, if you do read it, you might want to take notes.  Who knows?  You just might learn something besides what I write.  I won’t mind.  Really.

 

Prior to the great flood recorded in the Holy Bible, Noah had three sons.  Their names were Ham, Shem and Japheth.  One of the descendants of Shem was Abram, later renamed Abraham.  Abraham had 8 sons, one by Hagar and 6 by Keturah.  Isaac was his only son by Sarah and was the one who was promised by God.

To be sure, God’s promise to be the father of many nations was completely fulfilled through all the sons.  I would suspect, even a learned man of ancient history could go nuts trying to figure all the nations descended from these 8 men.

However, Isaac was the son of promise.  It was through him that God made two unconditional promises.  Isaac had two sons, twins.  One was called Jacob and the other Esau.  Later, the promises were passed on through Jacob, later renamed Israel.  Israel had 12 sons who later became known as Israelites.  Sometimes, they were known as Hebrews.

One of the sons of Israel was Judah, the father of the tribe of Judah, the Jews.  Hence, we can truly say that not all Israelites are Jews; but all Jews are Israelites.  Today, many Israelites are called Jews who are not, though they are truly Israelites.

This is not totally incorrect though.  Oddly, even God collectively calls them Jews after their return from captivity.  Don’t ask me to explain this.  I don’t know.

At any rate, they are one nation, twelve tribes as they enter the Promised Land.  As a side note, the tribe of Levi is separated out and the tribe of Joseph was split into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.  So, though there are still twelve tribes, though the Levites are not counted among them.  Every time God commands a census, the Levites are counted separately.  Mostly, when the tribes are listed, the Levites are not included.  They are the priestly tribe and are treated differently.

Two and ½ tribes remained on the east side of the Jordan.  At first, they remained part of the nation of Israel but gradually, they drifted away.

Also, because of the sins of Solomon, the remaining tribes on the west side of the Jordan split.  Judah, AKA the southern nation consisted primarily of the Jews, but also included Levites and some Benjaminites.  The northern nation became known as Israel.

And so things were until the captivities.  To keep this from being too long, I will cover the captivities in my next post.  By the way, the captivity is what led to all the confusion.