"Upon retiring from professional life, Avigdor Shahan, a prolific writer, historian, and educator, embarked on the greatest journey of his life: following in the footsteps of the ten lost tribes. The ensuing voyage culminated in a book, [Towards the Samatyon], which is half a history of the tribes and half a travelogue for which Shahan had a deeply personal impetus. As he explains:
I was eight years old [in 1940] when our teacher at the traditional Jewish school told us with trembling voice about the exile of the ten tribes: Reuben, Shimon, Zebulun, Yissachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naptali, Ephraim, and Manasseh--by the kings of Assyria and their cruel soldiers. He described the formidable river they crossed in their wanderings, the Samatyon; and the fearsome mountains of darkness behind which they disappeared. He told us about that great county where they live a life of freedom and liberty; the commanders of their armies alert and ready, their swords sparkling, and their legions ordered in columns behind their banners and flags.
The young pupils, children of the Jewish quarter of Komarov, Romania, listened with 'breathless anticipation.' Finally, one of them exclaimed, 'Why don't we send messengers to let them know about our misery?'
'Indeed, throughout the generations many messengers set out towards the tribes,' the teacher answered solemnly. '[T]hese messengers climbed high mountains and wandered in desolate deserts, but their traces were also lost.'
That very day, Shahan and two young friends, Moishe'le and Leibe'le, set out themselves in search of the ten tribes. They decided that the nearby Dniester River was in fact the Sambatyon. They undertook to leave Komarov, but never got to cross even the limits of its Jewish quarter. A large black dog standing at its edge frighterened them back home.
Just one year later, in September 1941, the Jews of Komarov went on their own terrible march. Following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Romanian soldiers deported Komarov's Jews to Transnistria, a mass death zone created by the occupying forces across the Dniester. Shahan recalls how his friend Moishe'le likened the Romanian soldiers leading the forced march to the ancient Assyrian military that had so cruelly deported the ten tribes. Growing frantic, the boy fled the ragtag column of marchers, and ran for the Dniester--the 'Sambatyon.' As he had the year before, Moishe'le wanted to seek the help of the ten tribes, which he imagined to be on its far bank. He never reached them; a soldier murdered him beside the river. Shahan later leared that Romanian soldiers had also killed his other friend, Leibe'le, by drowning him in the Dniester,'" Zvi Ben-Dor, The Ten Lost Tribes
Tim Hegg, against all evidence, claims that the Jewish people are completely mistaken, that in reality there are NO lost tribes at all:
"The Two House theory is built upon the [false] presupposition that the Northern Tribes were lost among the nations and have forgotten their true identity. In general, biblical and historical data show conclusively that the Northern Tribes were never lost," Tim Hegg, The Two-House Theory: Three Fatal Flaws [emphasis added].But going back to the beginning of the Common Era, we see that Jews fervently believed in Lost Tribes:
"…the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country [Media]; wherefore there are but two tribes [Judah and Benjamin] in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers." Antiquities of the Jews, 11.5.2, from The Works of Josephus, translated by Whiston, W., Hendrickson Publishers. 1987. 13th Printing. p 294
"The Ten Tribes will not return [to the Land of Israel], for it is said, 'And cast them into another land, as is this day: just as the day goes and does not return, so they too went and will not return.' This is R. Akiba's view. R. Eliezer said: 'As this day—just as the day darkens and then becomes light again, so the ten tribes—even as it went dark for them, so will it become light for them." Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 110b.For the Jewish people, this was an absolute certainty--there WERE lost tribes. There had to be! Later, we read Rashi referring to the mythical river Sambatyon as though it were an actual river:
"Because they were dispersed in a distant land beyond the River Sambatyon, [Isaiah] called them lost," Rashi on Isaiah 27:13
"9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy," 1 Peter 2:9
"23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea: “I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” 26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God,'" Romans 9:23-26
"We should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn (epistrephousin) to God," Acts 15:19
- Isaac Nieto, sent on behalf of the Jews of Britain to find the 10 Lost Tribes in China (c. 1760).
- Tobias Boas, wealthy Jewish banker who spent 20 years searching for the 10 Lost Tribes in Asia (c. 1762)
- Barukh Gad, rabbinical emissary, who claimed to have encountered the 10 Lost Tribes in Persia (c. 1646)
- Moses Pereira de Piava who searched for the 10 lost tribes amongst the Jewish community of Cochin (c. 1687).
The answer is that they believed, having read the Messianic prophecies, that the Messiah would be a Davidic figure. David was considered a great king because he did what no other king had done: he destroyed the Jebusites that controlled Jerusalem. Why was this significant? In David's time, certain natives still dominated the central area of Israel. Geo-politically (and spiritually), this made a united Israel impossible. What David accomplished in defeating the Jebusites was to unite these two realms, the House of Judah and the House of Israel, around the centralized city-state of Jerusalem. His victory was virtually complete when he finally brought in the Ark of the Covenant--the symbol of a unified Israel.
David was the first shepherd to gather the tribes of Israel!
So, in conclusion, the heart of the Messianic expectation is that there will arise a Davidic Messiah who will unite Judah with his "lost" brethren and thereby create a unified Kingdom Realm of Israel:
"My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd," Ezekiel 37:24