Are they spread all round the nations? If so, how will they still be Jewish, surely they will have assimilated so many generations later? Or are they spread within the Jewish nation?

I learnt in the Talmud in Bava Basra 115b which states that Abaye says "we have a tradition saying no Shevet will ever get extinct". If so, where are these tribes? It's always disturbed me.

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    That's a very interesting question, +1....a lot of research has been done on the question, but (as far as I know) nothing definitive has been found. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Lost_Tribes for a start.
    – MTL
    Dec 17, 2014 at 1:11
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    Even if they assimilated, Yeshayahu 27:13 says that "those lost in ... Assyria ... will come". Perhaps "lost" means assimilated.
    – Ypnypn
    Dec 17, 2014 at 2:41
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    A couple of relevant sources are Sanhedrin 110b (starting with the Mishna, עשרת השבטים אינן עתידין לחזור) and 94a (startingלהיכא אגלי להו). Also see the entry "עשרת השבטים" in Wikipedia.
    – Fred
    Dec 17, 2014 at 8:20
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    if there was an answer to this question ,then would they really be lost?
    – sam
    Jan 5, 2015 at 1:41
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    @Fred and the end of the first perek of Yevamos Jan 6, 2015 at 22:22

2 Answers 2


If you were living in the time of the destruction of the Northern kingdom, you would have many options where to go. Certainly many individuals went south to join the Tribes of Yehuda and Benyamin. By the time of the exile of the North, many individuals had intermarried into different tribes. Once they left the North, there was no longer any reason to keep together as a separate tribe. Sancheriv, the conqueror of the North had an interest in moving people around so they would lose solidarity and loyalty to their conquered land. He moved the 10 tribes into various places. Some of the tribes that stayed in tact were later brought back by the prophet Yirmeyahu. But eventually ALL of the 12 tribes were mixed together in exile and only Levi and Cohen people kept track of their lineage. All the tribes are "lost". So the masses of Jews all over the world are a mixture. Some groups of people with Jewish customs, like the ones in Afghanistan, are likely remnants of the original 10 tribes. Possibly also the Ethiopian Jews and some in India. There are small groups of peoples that have been found that say they go back to biblical Israel but there's no proof. The sages say that in the end of days a prophet or Elijah will be able to separate everyone's lineage, and at that time it is understood that the tribal affiliation, including the "10 Lost Tribes" will return.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Max, and thanks for your input. Can you back up your claims with sources? If so, please edit those in. Hope to see you around!
    – Scimonster
    Jan 6, 2015 at 20:23

Disclaimer: I am not Jewish and I have no formal training in anything.

I recently came across an excellent explanation of the lost tribes and the centrality of the promise of the recovery of them given in the Torah and the prophets. While the video was produced by a group that would identify as Christian, the video in the first half is about the history and prophetic texts which I would characterize as a "pre-Pauline" or "anti-Pauline" perspective that would, I believe, be in line with Jewish scholarship. (However, please see my disclaimer). Note: I cued up the video to where the important part starts. The second part of the video I do not agree with though some here might.

One very important passage about the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel is explained that it refers to the divine recovery of the lost sheep:

And say to them, So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land.

כאוְדַבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם כֹּֽה־אָמַר֘ אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִה֒ הִנֵּ֨ה אֲנִ֚י לֹקֵ֙חַ֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מִבֵּ֥ין הַגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָֽלְכוּ־שָׁ֑ם וְקִבַּצְתִּ֚י אֹתָם֙ מִסָּבִ֔יב וְהֵֽבֵאתִ֥י אוֹתָ֖ם אֶל־אַדְמָתָֽם:

I should also mention the enigmatic statement by Jesus in regard to his mission that falls into place when this background is understood:

[Mat 15:21-28 NIV] (21) Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. (22) A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly." (23) Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." (24) He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (25) The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. (26) He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs." (27) "Yes it is, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." (28) Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed at that moment.

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