Steven Collins
March 2, 2008
As readers of my book know, I identify the largely-forgotten ancient empire of Parthia as being dominated and controlled by the ten tribes of Israel who had been exiled into Asia by the Assyrians. It is a common misconception that when the ten tribes of Israel went into exile, that God had forsaken them or that they would “die out.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even as God was sentencing the ten tribes to go into exile in Hosea 1, verse 10 included a promise by God that he would vastly increase the population of the ten tribes of Israel after they went into exile. Jeremiah 3:12 and 51:5 record that God sent messages to the ten tribes of “Israel” via the prophet Jeremiah after the ten tribes were in their places of exile. Isaiah 14:2 contains a little-noticed prophecy that after the Israelites went into captivity, they would eventually “rule over” the nations which took them (or held them) captive. The nations that held them captive were Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia. The empire of Parthia (circa 250 BC-227 AD) fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 14:2 when the ten tribes of Israel (the Parthians) ruled over the Assyrians, Babylonians and Medo-Persians for centuries before the Parthians were overthrown by the Sassanian Persians and driven out of Asia to new locations.
The Parthians were so powerful that the Roman Empire feared them and regarded Parthia as an equal empire in the ancient world. Crassus and Mark Antony were Roman leaders who invaded Parthia in search of conquest, but had their dreams crash in ruins. Crassus was killed and his Roman army shattered. Mark Antony lived but many in his army did not as they retreated from the victorious Parthians. The Parthians spoke a Semitic language and had cities with names such as Samariane, Asaak and Gaza. These cities were named after the former capital of the kingdom of Israel, the name of Isaac and the old Philistine city near the ancient kingdom of Israel. Three subtribes of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim started the Parthians on the road to empire status. These subtribes were the Bachrites, the Tahanites and the Eranites (Numbers 26:35-36). Secular histories know them by terms such as the Bactrians, the Dahanites and the Eranians. The modern term “Iran” is derived from the name of “Eran,” the subtribe of Ephraim named in Numbers 26:36 even though modern Iranians are Persians, not Israelites. Acts 2:9 records that there were devout Parthians who came to Jerusalem for the biblical pilgrimage festivals and “the Medes, Elamites and dwellers in Mesopotamia” were all from provinces of the Parthian Empire. The famous Magi or Wise Men of Matthew 2 were Parthian nobles and priests.
Many Parthian cities, fortresses and engineering projects have been destroyed in the last two millennia, but some have remained. Archaeologists have recently discovered the “biggest Parthian fortress ever to have been discovered in Iran-proper.” It was found at a critically-important location: the old shore-line of the Strait of Hormuz. This Parthian fortress controlled access between the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf in ancient times. The Parthians were a sea-power as well a land power. As is documented in my book, Parthia: The Forgotten Ancient Superpower, the Parthian navy sailed immense seven-masted ships with crews of 700 sailors to destinations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The Parthians understood the strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz and it not surprising that they constructed a major fortress at that strategic choke-point. For more on this story, I invite you to click on the link provided below.