This is something I added to an article I wrote about the 10 tribes.
Have you noticed this in the book of Daniel?
The prophet Daniel, knowing that Judah’s 70-year punishment and exile in Babylon was winding to a close, (Dan. 9:2) lifted up a prayer for God to forgive His people. The first 20 verses in chapter 9 consist of a prayer. Verse 7 gives us a glimpse of the house of Israel during this time period.
“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.” Dan. 9:7.
You’ll notice that Daniel makes a distinction between Judah and Israel in this prayer, “…men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” refers to the house of Judah. “…all Israel,” refers to the northern kingdom. He describes them as being “…far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them…” This creates problems for those who claim the Israel exited Assyria, trekked southward to Babylon and joined themselves with Judah and returned with Ezra. According to verse 7 they did no such thing. Israel was still in exile and far removed from Judah and Babylon when Daniel lifted up this prayer. “…that are near…” refers to the scant numbers of the northern kingdom that were attached to Judah as discussed earlier. Israel was not in Babylon with Judah when Daniel spoke these words.
Thank you for sending your comments on this subject. I am aware of this argument that supports the view that the ten tribes were widely scattered by the time of Daniel 9. Indeed, I’ve used it both in writings and speeches over the years. The point is an excellent biblical one; however, and it is worth repeating. I’ll post your comments at the website for others to see as well. The Israelites who were “afar off’ were the ones who scattered to the Black Sea, Carthage, Iberia/Spain, the British Isles, etc. Those who were “near” were, in my judgment, the Israelites who were taken captive by the Assyrian Empire and were later dominated by the Babylonian Empire.