Israel National New is reporting that a remnant of the lost tribe of Manasseh is returning to Israel. According to the book of 2 Kings, members of the tribe of Manasseh were deported to the Assyrian empire.
The deportation happened as a result of the Syro-Ephraimite war when Pekah, king of Israel and Rezin, king of Aram, made an alliance and threatened to invade Jerusalem. Ahaz, king of Judah, asked Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of Assyria, to help him. As a result, Tiglath-Pileser fought against the Arameans and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Tiglath-Pileser sacked Damascus and Israel. He then annexed Syrian cities and the territory belonging to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh in Gilead, located east of the Jordan River.
The population of Manasseh and of the other territories conquered by Tiglath-Pileser were taken captive and resettled in various locations in the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 16:9 and 15:29).
The following is an excerpt from the news report:
The members of the Bney Manasseh believe they are the descendants of the lost tribe of Manasseh. Below is an excerpt of the news report announcing the return of Bnei Manasseh:
More than 7,000 members of the Bnei Menashe will soon arrive in Israel, CBN reported on Thursday.
The Bnei Menashe claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, which were exiled by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. They reside primarily in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.
Throughout their exile, and even after their one copy of the written Torah was lost, the Bnei Menashe have continued to observe Jewish traditions, including the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals, following family purity laws, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt.
Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based group which assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people, has helped bring many of the Bnei Menashe to Israel, and is helping facilitate this wave of aliyah as well.
Thanks to Shavei Israel’s efforts, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate officially recognized the Bnei Menashe in 2005 as being “descendants of Israel.” The organization has also helped publish a translation of the Book of Shemot (Exodus) into Mizo, one of the main languages spoken by the Bnei Menashe, in order to enable them to reconnect with their heritage and with the basic texts of the Jewish people.
Shavei Israel’s chairman, Michael Freund, on Monday briefed the members of the Knesset committee on immigration and absorption on the successful integration of some 1,700 Bnei Menashe, who immigrated to Israel earlier, into Israeli society.
He told them that an astounding 96 percent of the Bnei Menashe are employed, the majority of their sons chose combat units during their compulsory IDF service, many are enrolled in colleges and universities, and some have been ordained as rabbis.
Freund then told the committee members that “It is time for Israel to let the remaining Bnei Menashe come home.”
He told CBN that what had happened next was a “miracle”: The committee agreed to draft a resolution that would be presented to the cabinet for approval by the end of July.
The resolution, Freund told CBN, “means we are just one month away from an historic turning point, one that will restore 7,732 precious souls to the Jewish people.”
He predicted, “Soon enough I am sure the Bnei Menashe will cross the sea, reuniting with the Land and the people of Israel after a remarkable journey.”
You can read the article in its entirety here.
I have written several posts dealing with the Lost Tribes of Israel. I reserve judgment whether these people are the real descendants of the tribe of Manasseh. If you are interested in reading my views on the Lost Tribes of Israel, I recommend that you read the following posts:
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary