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Joseph's Birthright #9

Jews in Babylon and Return


JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #9

by Allen (1917)

CHAPTER IX.


THE JEWS GO TO BABYLON AND RETURN


     The twenty-third chapter of Ezekiel contains a short story
which seems somewhat veiled, but a knowledge of the two houses
and their respective capitals lifts the veil and quickly sweeps
it aside. It is of interest to us, or should be, and begins as
follows: "There were two women, daughters of one mother, who
committed adultery in their youth in Egypt, the names of whom
were Aholah, the elder, and Aholibah, her sister, and they were
mine, saith the Lord, and they bare sons and daughters." "Thus
were their names; SAMARIA is Aholah (Israel), and JERUSALEM
Aholibah (Judah)." Ezekiel 23:4. Then the story continues and
tells how Aholah, the elder, played the harlot, and was followed
into that sin by her sister Aholibah, who was more corrupt than
Aholah had been. So God judged them "as women that break
wedlock." Before the story is ended the history of Israel's
captivity to the Assyrians is told, together with prophecies
concerning the captivity of Judah in Babylon.
     The Lord further says to the Jews: "And thine elder sister
is Samaria (Israel), she and her daughters that dwell at thy left
hand; and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is
Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their
ways, nor done after their abominations; but, as if it were a
very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy
ways. * * * Neither hath Samaria (Israel) committed half of thy
sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they
and hast justified (by comparison) thy sisters in all thine
abominations which thou hast done. Thou also, which hast judged
thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast
committed more abominable than they." (Ezekiel 16:46-52.)
     This is in harmony with the record of Judah, as given by
Jeremiah in the following: "And I saw, when for all the causes
whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away,
and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah
feared not but went and played the harlot also.
     And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath
justified herself more than treacherous Judah." (Jeremiah 3:8,
11.)
     "And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my
sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city
Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My
name shall be there" (2 Kings 23:27). So Jeremiah was commanded
to stand in the gate of the Lord's house and proclaim the word of
the Lord unto all the men of Judah, and among other things say
unto them: "But go ye now unto my place, which is Shiloh (one of
the cities of Joseph), where I set my name at first, and see what
I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now,
because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake
unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I
called you, but ye answered not. Therefore will I do unto this
house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the
place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to
Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out
all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim." (Jeremiah 7:
12-15.)

     The above is the prophecy; the following is a part of the
historic record of the fact after its fulfillment. "Thus Judah
was carried away captive out of his own land. This is the people
whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive in the seventh year (of
his reign) three thousand Jews and three-and-twenty. In the
eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from
Jerusalem eight hundred thirty-and-two persons. In the
three-and-twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuzar-adan, the
captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven
hundred forty-and-five persons. All the persons were four
thousand and six hundred." (Jeremiah 52:27-30.)
     Thus doth Jeremiah teach, that it was the Jews, or the
people composing the kingdom of Judah, who were carried into
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; and in order to show that it was the
Jewish people, and they only, who returned from that captivity,
we cite the following: "Now these are the children of the
province (Judea had been a province to Babylon twenty years
before Nebuchadnezzar robbed and burned the temple, destroyed
Jerusalem, and took the Jews to Babylon) that went up out of the
captivity of those which had been carried away, whom
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had carried away into
Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem, and Judah every one to
his city." (Ezra 2:1.)
     The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are the only books of the
Bible which deal with the history of that return. Jeremiah had
prophesied that the Jews should remain captives in the Chaldean
Empire (Babylon was the capital of that empire) for seventy
years. Just as the seventy years came to an end the empire was
taken by the Medes and Persians, and it became known in history
as the Medo-Persian empire.
     Ezra begins his record as follows: "Now in the first year of
Cyrus, King of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of
Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of
Cyrus, King of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all
his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 'Thus said Cyrus
King of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the
kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an
house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of
all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to
Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God
of Israel (he is the God) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever
remaineth in any place (throughout the kingdom) where he
sojourneth, let the men of his place keep him with silver and
with gold and with goods and with beasts, besides the free will
offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.' Then rose up
the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests,
and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God hath raised, to
go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem."
(Ezra 1:1-5.)

     Do you notice that it is only the men of the tribes of
Judah, Benjamin, and Levi who are mentioned as responding to this
call? Also you will remember that those three tribes are the
three which compose the kingdom of Judah which went into the
Babylonish captivity, the ten tribes having been carried away
into the Assyrian captivity one hundred and thirty years prior to
that.
     Also notice that it was not all the fathers nor all of
Judah, Benjamin, and Levi that rose up to this call, but the
chief of the fathers, and all of the people in those tribes
mentioned whose spirit the Lord had made willing. So these
willing ones went to work, gathering together their silver, gold,
goods, and other precious things.  And Cyrus, the king, brought
out of the house of one of the idols, where Nebuchadnezzar had
put them, all of the vessels belonging to the house of the Lord,
and through his treasurer "numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the
prince of Judah. And this is the number of them: Thirty charges
of silver, nine and thirty knives. Thirty basins of gold, silver
of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a
thousand. All the vessels of gold and silver were five thousand
and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with him of
the captivity that were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem."
(Ezra 1:8-11.) Please notice that among these things mentioned as
belonging to the house of God there is no mention of the Ark of
the Covenant.  The reason is that the Ark was with the Birthright
people.
     Some presume to teach that the house of Israel returned to
Palestine with the Jews when they came from Babylon. When we get
to that phase of our subject we will prove by both the Old and
New Testaments that they did not. But just here we need to say
that in the books which deal with the history of this return
there is not the slightest mention, direct or indirect, by
inference or reference, of the other kingdom, or house, of
Israel.
     There is a mention of the army of Samaria by Nehemiah, but
you will find that they belonged to the Post-Samaritans, who with
others opposed and hindered the Jews in their work, until finally
they forced them to cease work on the temple. Here is the record:
"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded
the wall he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the
Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria,
and said, What do these feeble Jews?"(Neh.4:1,2.) Again: "Now
when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the
children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of
Israel." (Ezra 4:1.)
     Following these statements is the account of a prolonged
persecution of the Jews by those mongrel nations of
Post-Samaritans. They hired counselors, wrote letters of protest,
resorted to trickery and hypocrisy. A letter of protest was
written to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, which was signed by many,
together with "the rest of the nations whom the noble Asnapar
brought over and set in the cities of Samaria." This had the
effect of stopping the work on the temple, and it did not begin
again until during the second year of Darius, at which time these
imported Samaritans again tried to hinder. The account of this is
given by Josephus, as follows: "When the Samaritans, who were
still enemies to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, heard the
sound of trumpets, they came running together, and desired to
know what was the occasion of the tumult; and when they perceived
that it was the Jews who had been carried captive to Babylon and
were rebuilding the temple, they came to Zorobabel, and to
Jeshua, and to the heads of the families, and desired that they
would give them leave to build the temple with them, and to be
partners with them in building it; for they said, "We worship
your God, and especially pray to him, and are desirous of your
religious settlement, and this ever since Shalmaneser, the king
of Assyria, transplanted us out of Cuthah and Medea to this
place." When they thus said, Zorobabel and Jeshua, the high
priest, and the heads of the families of the Israelites, replied
to them that, "it was impossible for them to permit them to be
their partners, while they only had been appointed to build that
temple at first by Cyrus, and now by Darius, although it was
lawful for them to come and worship there if they pleased, and
that they could allow them nothing but that in common with them,
which was common to them with all other men, to come to their
temple, and worship there. When the Cutheans heard this, for the
Samaritans have that appellation, they had indignation at it, and
persuaded the nations of Syria to desire the governors, in the
same manner as they had done formerly in the days of Cyrus, and
again in the days of Cambysses afterwards, to put a stop to the
building of the temple, and to endeavor to delay and distract the
Jews in their zeal about it."

     This delayed matters for some time, but finally Darius
ordered a search among the royal records, which resulted in the
finding of the record of Cyrus concerning the restoration of the
Jews, the building of the temple, and what the Lord commanded him
in reference to them. The contents of this proclamation is given
by Josephus, as follows:

"Cyrus, the king, in the first year of his reign, commanded that
the temple should be built in Jerusalem; and the altar in height
should be three-score cubits, and its breadth of the same, with
three edifices of polished stone, and one edifice of stone of
their own country: and he ordained that the expenses of it should
be paid out of the king's revenue. He also commanded that the
vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had pillaged out of the temple and
carried to Babylon should be restored to the people of Jerusalem,
and that the care of these things should belong to Sanadassar,
the governor and president of Syria and Phoenicia, and to his
associates, that they may not meddle with that place, but may
permit the servants of God, the Jews and their rulers, to build
the temple. He also ordained that they should assist him in the
work; and that they should pay to the Jews, out of the tribute of
the country where they were governors, on account of the
sacrifices, bulls and rams, and lambs and kids of goats, and fine
flour, and oil, and wine, and all other things that the priests
should suggest to them; and that they should pray for the
preservation of the king, and of the Persians, and for such as
had transgressed any of these orders thus sent to them, he
commanded that they should be caught, and hung upon a cross, and
their substance confiscated to the king's use. He also prayed to
God against them, that if any one attempted to hinder the
building of the temple, God would strike him dead, and thereby
restrain his wickedness."

     Josephus also relates another trick of these Cuthean
Samaritans, as follows: "When Shalmanesar, the king of Assyria,
had it told him, that Hoshea, the king of Israel, had sent
privately to So, the king of Egypt, desiring his assistance
against him, he was very angry, and made an expedition against
Samaria, in the seventh year of the reign of Hoshea; but when he
was not admitted into the city by the king, he besieged Samaria
three years, and took it by force in the ninth year of the reign
of Hoshea, and in the seventh year of Hezekiah, king of
Jerusalem, and quite demolished the government of the Israelites,
and transplanted all the people into Medea and Persia, among whom
he took King Hoshea alive; and when he had removed these people
out of this their land, he transplanted other nations out of
Cutha, a place so called, (for there is still a river of that
name in Persia,) into Samaria, and into the country of the
Israelites. So the ten tribes of the Israelites were removed,
etc. But now the Cutheans who removed into Samaria, (for that is
the name they have been called by to this time, because they were
brought out of the country called Cutha, which is a country of
Persia, and there is a river of the same name in it,) and are
called in the Hebrew tongue Cutheans, but in the Greek tongue
Samaritans. And when they see the Jews in prosperity they pretend
that they are changed, and allied to them, and call them kinsmen,
as though they were derived from Joseph."

     Our object in inserting these quotations is threefold.

First: 
to show that not only the sacred writers, but also the secular
historian, and the rulers, both friendly and unfriendly, who had
to do with those Israelites who went into and came out of the
Babylonish captivity, called them Jews.
Second: 
to show how the bitter feeling was engendered among the Jews
against those Cuthea-Samaritans, whom they called "Dogs," whom
they never forgave, and with whom they never had any dealings.
When Christ spoke to the woman of Samaria at the well, she was so
surprised that her first words were, "How is it that thou, being
a Jew, askest drink of me, a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have
no dealings with the Samaritans."
Third: 
to show that neither Josephus, who writes on the "Antiquities of
the Jews," nor their enemies, the Cuthea-Samaritans, ever
confounds the ten-tribed Israelites with the Jewish Israelites.
Oh, how we do thank God that he made Josephus write concerning
those imported nations in Samaria, who, because they were living
in that land which had been the home of the Birthright kingdom,
when they were seeking that which would be advantageous to them,
would sidle up to the Jews, and claim kinship. "AS THOUGH THEY
WERE DERIVED FROM JOSEPH." What impudence. Think of the audacity
of these imported mongrels claiming to be a portion of the
Abrahamic birthright-holders. Is it much marvel that the Jews
should dub such a race of fawners by the appropriate name of
Dogs?
     Both Ezra and Nehemiah, the Biblical historians of the
return of the Jews from Babylon to Judea, give the genealogy of
all who returned, a list of all the men who worked on the wall, a
special list of all the priests who had married strange wives,
and the exact number of individuals who returned. The aggregate
of these is summed up as follows: "The whole congregation
together was forty-and-two thousand three hundred and
three-score, besides their servants and their maids, of whom
there were seven thousand, three hundred thirty-seven." Ezra
states that there were among these servants two hundred singing
men and women, but Nehemiah puts the number of singers at two
hundred and forty-five. This could easily have been the case by
the time he got there, for the going up which was led by him was
the second one, and did not take place until fourteen years and a
half after that which was led by Ezra. And yet in the
genealogical records of this "whole congregation" of forty-nine
thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven Jews, there is not a
tribal name mentioned except those of Judah, Benjamin and Levi
Please remember that it is the people of these three tribes who
compose the mass of the kingdom of Judah, and who only are called
Jews.
     Josephus tells us of an epistle which was written by Xerxes,
the son of Darius, at the time when the Jews were getting ready
to leave Babylon, and sent to Esdras (Ezra,) which was the cause
of great rejoicing among them. He speaks of the effect it had
upon them, as follows: "So he read the epistle at Babylon to
those Jews that went there, but he kept the epistle itself, and
sent a copy of it to all those of his own nation that were in
Medea. And when these Jews had understood what piety the king had
toward God, and what kindness he had for Esdras, they were all
greatly pleased; nay, many of them took their effects with them,
and came to Babylon, as very desirous of going down to Jerusalem;
but then THE ENTIRE BODY of THE PEOPLE of ISRAEL remained in that
country, wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe
subject to the Romans, while THE TEN TRIBES are beyond the
Euphrates till now (A.D.95), and are an immense multitude, and
not to be estimated by numbers."

     We note that First and Second Kings, the Chronicles,
Josephus, Ezra and Nehemiah, all speak of the kingdom of Judah at
times, as "Judah and Benjamin." This is why Josephus says that
there were only two tribes under the power of the Romans.
     The reason for this is supposed to be the fact that the
Levites were priests who served in the temple, and did not count
for anything when it came to the political and fighting strength
of the Jewish people, for the Levites were undoubtedly with Judah
and Benjamin, as a part of the Kingdom of Judah.
     Furthermore, aside from the mention of the tribal name of
Ashur, as the name of the tribe to which Anna, the prophetess
belonged, there is not a tribal name used in any historic portion
of the new Testament, except the three tribal names of the Jewish
people, i. e., Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. The ancestors of Anna
could easily have belonged to one of those scattered families who
returned out of Israel unto the kingdom of Judah, because they
would not serve Jeroboam's calves.
....................

To be continued

NOTE:

Some have argued with the phrase "and all Israel in their cities"
-- Ezra 2:70. To say all 13 tribes of Israel returned and came
back to the Holy Land, except some who decided not to, and hence
were the scattered "Jews" of Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. But
from that phrase they argue there was never any "lost" tribes of
Israel. As we have seen Josephus the Jewish historian of the
first century A.D. does not agree with such an argument, and I'm
sure he had read the book of Ezra.

The answer is as the example of Luke 2:1. "....that ALL THE WOLRD
should be taxed" (enrolled margin of KJV).

Obviously the people of Chian, India, North and South America,
Japan, Australia and etc.. did not come to be taxed or enrolled.

So such phrases have a CONTEXT!!!

The phrase in Ezra "all Israel in their cities" has a CONTEXT of
THOSE WHO RETURNED, which in the context of the return of the
Jews from Babylon, was not even ALL the Jews returned, as Acts 2
points out. And Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews.

Hence Josephus was quite CORRECT, just as the relatively modern
Jewish Christian scholar Elersheim also agrees with Josephus -
the 10 Tribes of Israel (except for individuals) NEVER EVER
returned to the Holy Land.

Oh the silly arguments of men, who it seems never read all the
Bible, or they read it with tunnel vision, some verses like Luke
2:1 go right over their heads, and they so go on their their
theological blindness and ignorance.

Keith Hunt



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