The splitting of ancient Israel into 2 distinct Houses
In ancient times, Israel originated as 12 tribes, according to the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob, who was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. These 12 tribes settled in what became known as the land of Israel and they built a Temple dedicated to their God, YHVH, in Jerusalem. After the reign of King Solomon (970 – 931 BCE) and in fulfilment of ancient prophecy, the nation split into two sectors:
- JUDAH, which consisted mainly of the 2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin and became known as ‘the Jews’ (Judeans). Theirs was the Temple at Jerusalem, their main city, and
- ISRAEL, the 10 tribes who made Shechem, north of Jerusalem, their headquarters, and built a Temple there. They became known as the ‘Northern Kingdom’ of Samaria and, generally, retrogressed to paganism under the rule of idolatrous leaders, like King Jeroboam, and Ahab and his wife Jezebel. (Refer The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel)
The Scriptures (Refer 1 Kings 12; 2 Kings 17 & surrounding chapters) abound with references to the animosity and wars that raged between these two sectors of the same nation, that is, between the Jews and the people of upper Samaria – the Samaritans. The latter were despised by the Jews.
In the year 721 BCE, Samaria was conquered by the Assyrians, the 10 northern tribes were deported and the land repopulated with foreigners. This was the end of the Northern Kingdom, Israel, after which they became known as “The Lost 10 tribes of Israel”.
Today, these ten ‘Lost’ Tribes of Israel are regarded as having migrated to Northwest and Western Europe and their descendants are now in those areas or in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Britain has characteristics of Ephraim, Reuben was important in France, Issachar in Switzerland, Zebulon in Holland, Dan in Denmark, Naphtali in Norway, Gad in Sweden, the country of Finland was influenced by the Tribes of Simeon, Issachar, and Gad; Simeon, Dan, and Ephraim were important in Ireland.
(For proof that the Bible distinguishes between ‘Israel’ AND ‘Judah’ as TWO separate ‘Houses of Israel’, ref. kolhator.org.il/bible_confirmations.php)