Myth of the lost tribes
Many people believe that ten of the tribes of Israel have been lost and there have been many theories as to where they are now. But the mystery can be easily solved if we will simply look at what the Bible says about the subject.
James 1:1 says that the letter is addressed to “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.”
In Acts 26:7 Paul speaks of the promise “to which our twelve tribes hope to attain.”
James and Paul were both referred to Israel as consisting of twelve tribes. They were apparently unaware of the fact that ten of these tribes had been lost.
When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord one of the people they met there was a woman named Anna.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
She was a member of the tribe of Asher, one of the “lost” tribes.
1 Chronicles 9:3 tells of some of the people who returned to the land after the exile.
And some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manassah lived in Jerusalem.
Ephaim and Manassah were also among the “lost” tribes. Ezra 6:17 describes the offering at the dedication of the rebuilt temple.
They offered at the dedication of this house of God 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
It seems apparent from this that if the ten tribes were ever lost they were found again before the Israelites returned to their land.
The belief that ten tribes were lost arose from the fact that the nation of Israel, made up of these tribes, was conquered by Assyrian and its people scattered throughout their empire. Later Judah was conquered by Babylon and went into exile but was later allowed to return after the Persians conquered Babylon. What people seem to overlook is the fact that the Babylonians conquered all of the land controlled by Assyria and so the Israelites who had been exiled by the Assyrians were all now under Babylonian rule and were allowed to return along with the exiles from Judah.