Church of God, New World Ministries

Difficult Scriptures

Concerning II Kings 17:18, where it states that ‘there was none left but the tribe of Judah only,’ why do we read in Luke 2:36 of the prophetess Anna from the ‘tribe of Aser’? This tribe was supposedly taken captive with the rest of Israel as II Kings states.
It is quite true that the tribe of Asher, along with the other tribes of the northern house of Israel, was taken captive by the Assyrians; this occurred in the 8th century B.C. These Israelites were removed from their native country and were placed in the territories of the surrounding Gentile nations. Many of the people lost their tribal identity. Some, however, retained it and later filtered back into the area of Palestine.

This is not to say that the entire northern house ever returned there is no evidence of this; it merely means that a representative few returned. Anna was such a person. We know from the Restoration books (Ezra and Nehemiah) that about 50,000 from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi did return in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. Together these tribes were known as “the house of Judah” or “the Jews.”

Paul called himself a Jew, yet he was of the house of Benjamin (Phil 3:5). Modern Israel, however, is basically composed of the descendants of the southern house of Judah rather than the northern house of Israel.
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