Hi Stephen,
Your book on Parthia picks up the story of the Israelites in the Iranian region after the Greek empire of Alexander. What have you found out on the influence of the Israelites during the Persian empire other than the obvious events of Ezra to Esther?
I have noticed that Smerdis a Magian usurped the throne after Cyrus and you have indicated many of the Magi were of Israelite descent. I have also noticed that Zoroathrastianism appears quite monotheistic, emphasised high morals and was quite tolerant (aside from the Sassanid version). The Jews role in the Persian empire is covered in Ezra to Esther but what of the other tribes role have you found?

Roger Waite


From the time the Israelites went into captivity into Asia until the time that they re-emerged as the independent Parthian Empire, they were captives of other empires so were given little historic attention. They are mentioned, however, as subject people. For example, Herodotus mentions the Sacae, Scythians and Parthians as being subject people who were compelled to fight in the army of Xerxes when he invaded Greece (The History, 7.64-66). In my article, I identify Sparta as a city-state founded by members of the tribe of Simeon who left the wilderness encampment after a Simeonite prince was slain by Phineas in 35. So many Simeonites and contingents of other tribes left the wilderness encampment that Moses called for a census in Numbers 26 to see “who was left.” Comparing the tribal census data of Numbers 1 and 26 reveals which tribes lost contingents to this outward migration. Most of the tribe of Simeon left (see my article “the Missing Simeonites” at this website).