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The Bible Says So!
Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, 1194-1270, born in Spain, died in the Land of Israel)

Below is a SHORTENED VERSION of the translation of the relevant extract from Nachmanides.

Click HERE to see the full length translation of the original extract from Nachmanides.

The sources is from "Sefer HaGeulah" (The Book of Redemption) in Hebrew as prepared for publication by Rabbi Chaim David Chavel (5762) and published by Mossad HaRav Kook.

This is our own Brit-Am Translation.

An official English Translation also exists but we have not used it.

Click HERE to see the full-length version of this article.

Introductory Note:
Nachmanides was one of the greatest Biblical scholars of all times. He attached importance to the subject of the Lost Ten Tribes and spoke of them in several places. In the following article Nachmanides gives us some important insights. There were actually thirteen tribes of Israel. The people of Israel include two sections, which are the Ten Tribes of 'Israel' and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin known collectively as Judah. Several Exiles occurred to the people of Israel. The Bible prophesied about each one separately. Nachmanides discusses these prophecies and distinguishes between them. Just as part of Judah was exiled with the northern tribes so too did some people from the Ten Tribes remain with Judah. Their descendants are now to be found amongst the present-day Jews. The overwhelming majority of the Ten Tribes HOWEVER were exiled by the Assyrians and never returned though they are destined to do so. The Ten Tribes (said Nachmanides in ca. 1260 CE) are still in Tserefath (France and its neighborhood) and 'at the ends of the north', meaning at that time the northern areas of Europe.

The Extract from Nachmanides:
The Two Sticks of Ezekiel 37:
In Ezekiel [chapter thirty-seven] it speaks of future re-union:
[Ezek 37:16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions:
Here it speaks of a future Redemption for both Judah and Israel. Where it says, 'For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions' by 'the children of Israel his companions' it means Benjamin who was attached to Judah. Similarly it says, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions.' The section is quite plain. The two kingdoms will unite into one kingdom under the House of David. The Israelites went into Exile and ever since then Ephraim and all [the Ten Tribes of northern] Israel have never been in the Land of Israel. Concerning the future it says, 'And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore'.

Behold I will recall a matter that is expressly mentioned many times in Scripture. It is known that with the Return of the Exiles under Ezra only the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned. These had been exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

The Sages said in the Midrash Seder Olam,
#Of those who came into the Land in the time of Ezra the whole community together numbered 42,360. The total whose names are recorded however only numbered 30,360. What happened therefore to the missing 12,000? These were those from the other Tribes who came up with Ezra. #

Let me clarify the matter for you. You have already noticed that in the Second Redemption [i.e. the redemption of Ezra, the First Redemption was the coming out of Egypt]. Only those returned who had been exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Over these people had the decree of a seventy-year Exile been made. These are Judah and Benjamin as well as the Cohanim [priests] who dwelt in Jerusalem and who pertained to the Kingdom of Judah. This was as it was written concerning the initial split of the Kingdom between the northern ten tribes and the Kingdom of Judah, 'having Judah and Benjamin on his side' (2-Chronicles 11;12),

The Kingdom of Israel included the Ten Northern Tribes. These were exiled by Sancherib [Sancherib in Rabbinical Literature is a figure taken to represent ALL of the Assyrian monarchs]

It also appears from the simple meaning of the text, that before the exile of the northern country by Senacherib there were gathered into the cities of Judah people from the neighboring tribes of Menasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon and these then dwelt in the heritage of Judah. ...These are they who returned under Ezra with the Jews from Babylon. They were not expressly mentioned by their tribes since they were attached to Judah. They all settled in the cities of Judah. There was no Redemption for the Ten Tribes who remained in exile.

It has been made quite clear from our study that the only ones who returned from the Babylonian Exile were they who belonged to the Kingdom of Judah. Those however who are termed the House of Ephraim, or The House of Israel, meaning the Ten Tribes are still in Exile in Assyria. These Tribes did not have any participants in the Second Redemption, as I have noted.

The vision of Obadiah deals with events that were to occur after the exile of Jerusalem to Babylon.
[Obad 1:11] In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.
[Obad 1:18] And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

There are those who say that this prophecy of Obadiah is referring to King Hezekiah in the Second Temple period but those who think so are in error. It is obvious from Scripture that this term, i.e. House of Joseph, applies to the Kingdom of Israel who are the Ten Tribes. They should be ashamed not to recognize this fact! The above verse proves it!

When was the House of Joseph like a flame devouring the stubble of Esau?

Not in Biblical times!

The Ten Tribes had already been exiled and they are still in Exile, in the area of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath:

'And this first exile of the children of Israel who are [now] from Canaan unto Zarephath' [Obadiah 1:20].

These places are at the extremes of the north. The verse continues, 'and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south' [Obadiah 1:20]. Those who were exiled to 'Sepharad' [meaning Spain] were the Jews of Jerusalem who were taken away by Titus and Vespasian when the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans and not before then. The others were the Ten Tribes who were exiled in the First Exile. These have not returned as has been claimed.

Brit-Am Editor's Note:

It says,
[Obad 1:19] And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
[Obad 1:20] And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.
[Obad 1:21] And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.
'Zarephath' according to Rabbinical Commentators (Rashi, Iben Ezra, Radak, and all Medieval authorities) refers to France or more specifically northern France and probably included present-day Belgium and Holland. Abarbanel said that 'Zarephath' included both France and 'Island of England' (i.e. Britain). 'The words translated in the KJ as 'the captivity of this host' in Hebrew ['Galut HaChail'] can also mean 'the first exile' and so was the understanding of Rabbinical Commentators.


 End of Brit-Am Editor's Note.

Rabbi Chaim David Chavel who prepared the Hebrew Original for publication says in an editorial footnote (p. 275):

AND THESE. That is the Exile of the House of Joseph, these are the Exiles of Tserafat and Canaan, who are in the north extremities, and were scattered there from the First Exile. They never returned. Therefore when could this prophecy have been fulfilled? When was the House of Joseph against the House of Esau who were as straw for them?

Nachmanides continues:

When did they [the Ten Tribes] come back and when were these enormous exiled groups ingathered to inherit the cities of Ephraim and Samaria?
When did saviours go up on Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau?

In the time of Ezra only a few returned as pigeons to their dovecotes.

It says, 'the kingdom shall be the LORD's [Obadiah 1:21]. At that time everyone will openly acknowledge the Kingdom of God.
'And the LORD shall be King over all the earth' (Zechariah 14:9).
This too will happen in the future.
The general principle concerning these and all similar verses concerning the Redemption of Israel and the fall of Edom and the like is that it is all for the future.

'The punishment of your iniquity is finished daughter of Zion; he will no more carry you away into captivity. He will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom; he will discover your sins' (Lamentations 4:22).
This is all for the future.
'He will no more carry you away into captivity,' is instructing us about the Future Redemption. If it was otherwise what would be the point of saying to those in exile that they would no longer be exiled unless it meant that they really are destined to be redeemed from the exile they are in?
Also, 'he will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom; he will discover your sins', must be for the future.
It could not be speaking of the past for it was they [i.e. the Israelite Jews] who were beaten by Herod the Edomite in the time of the Second Temple.
It all must pertain to the future.
It is impossible that this was all conditional, that they did not deserve it, and that the prophecies were spoken for nothing.
It is pertinent that at the time of their exile Israel were sinning and transgressing. Even so, it was prophesied, 'The punishment of your iniquity is finished daughter of Zion; he will no more carry you away into captivity' (Lamentations 4:22).
This was not conditional, meaning to say that on condition that they repented then they would have been redeemed.
This is not the way of Prophecies to make such limited conditions.
Rather it all pertains to the future.
Zechariah lived in the Second Temple period. Zechariah said, 'Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,' and so on in great detail that without any doubt can only be referring to some future day. So too, these passages were explained in the same way by the Commentators and by our Holy Sages of blessed memory.

All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860).

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