Skip to main content

Full text of "Where Are the Ten Tribes? II. Eldad the Danite"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world byJSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 

Where are the Ten Tribes? 95 


Eldad the Danite. 

It seems as if the mystery of the whereabouts of the Ten 
Tribes were not sufficient to engage imagination and specula- 
tion, as we find springing up under the name of the Children of 
Moses an additional and most important Tribe of Levi. This 
is only natural, for as Levi originally formed one of the Ten 
Tribes, it ought also to be found amongst them. The date of 
the first mention of these Children of Moses cannot be fixed 
with certainty, but at all events it was not later than the 
middle of the eighth century, about the time when the Talmud 
was closed. 

It is reported in Arabic sources^ that Aboo Isa (Obadiah), 
son of Isaac of Isphahan, one of the many opponents of 
the oral Law embodied in the Talmud, declared himself the 
fifth and perfect ambassador (Elijah) of the Messiah; for 
he believed in five ambassadors of the Messiah, one more 
perfect than the other. The Mohammedans had and have 
a similar belief in their seven Mahdi.^ Aboo Isa also called 
himself the Dal (the caller, prophet), for he believed that 
God had chosen him to deliver Israel from the yoke of the 

This is not the place to describe Aboo Isa's anti-Tal- 
mudical theories, or to give an account of his military ex- 
ploits in the dispute between the Khalifs of the Omayyads 
and the Abbasides. In short, Aboo Isa had according to 

' Sharestani's Book of Religious and Philosophical Sects (in Arabic), 
edited by W. Cureton ; German transl. by Dr. Th. Haarbriicker, I., p. 254. 
See also Dr. H. Graetz's Oeschichte der Juden, vol. v. (2nd ed.), p. 438, 
sqq., to which we shall generally refer. 

* See James Darmesteter, TIi^ Mahdi, Past and Present (translation by 
Miss Ada S. Ballin), London, 1888. 

dQ The Jewish Quarterly Eemew. 

Maimonides,^ more than 10,000 Jewish warriors at his disposal, 
and stood his ground for nearly four years (750 to 754 A.D.). 
Being hard pressed in Persia, he had to retire toward the 
north, to the neighbourhood of Rai, pretending that he was 
going to summon the Children of Moses, who inhabited this 
country, to participate in the war of deliverance. But he and 
his army succumbed on the defeat of Sinbad by the army of 
Almansur. The narrative of Aboo Isa's end is embellished 
with miraculous incidents. His adherents said that their 
chief with a staff of myrtle drew a circle round his army, 
telling them that so long as they remained inside this circle, 
they would not be vanquished. But he himself crossed the 
traced lines on horseback, killed many Mohammedans, and 
then fell, about 755. 

Aboo Isa was not an impostor, but he believed in himself 
and in his mission to deliver Israel, and it seems that the Jews 
in Babylonia and Persia had full confidence in him. He is 
perhaps alluded to in a messianic Apocalypse, composed, ac- 
cording to Professor Graetz,- at this time, an opinion which we 
believe justifiable. It will perhaps interest our readers to have 
an abstract of this Apocalypse, which is the first of its kind, and 
of which all later Jewish writers on messianic predictions 
made use. Of coui^se, as with most texts, there are some cor- 
ruptions in it, and more especially in the proper names, which 
Professor Graetz, whom we follow, has happily emended. 

The chief person^ is the famous doctor of the Mishnah, 
K Simeon ben Johai, who had to hide away from the 
persecution of the Romans. In his hiding-place he composed 
the famous Zohar, according to those who believe this book to 
be old ; the critical school however regard it as a fraudulent 
concoction of the end of the thirteenth century. Anyhow, R. 
Simeon was regarded very early as the representative of 
mysticism, and the apocalypse is introduced by the words : 
" These are the mysteries which were unveiled to Simeon ben 
Johai."* After having fasted forty days and forty nights, and 
made prayer for accomplishment of the mystery of the "term" 
(Vp, the time of the arrival of the Messiah), he had a revelation 
that Edom (Rome) would have a strong enemy in Ishmael 
(Arabs). Khalifs from Omar I, who built the mosque on the 

' Graetz, op. eit., p. 440. 

' Op. cit., p. 441, sqq. 

' See Dr. A. Jellinek's Bit lia-jrulrasclt, Part III., p. 78, sqq., and IV., 
p. 117. The first Apocalypse lias a short passage alluding to the time of 
the Crusades ; whilst the second is, on the contrary, short on our epoch, 
and much more extended on that of the Crusades. 

* The second is headed Prayers of It. Simeon ben Johai. 

Where are the Ten Tribes? 97 

site of the Temple in Jerusalem, down to Merwan' the last of 
the Omayyads, are revealed to Simeon ben Johai. And after 
mentioning more messianic signs, and the wicked Kingdom 
(Byzantium) which would have dominion over Israel during 
nine months, the revelation continues that then the Messiah, 
son of Joseph,^ will appear, carry Israel to Jerusalem, build 
the Temple, and institute the sacrifices which the holy tire will 
consume as in the time of grace (which was to be towards the 
end of 751). Then the bad King Armilos (Romulus)^ will 
make war against the Messiah of the tribe of Ephraim, and 
drive him out together with Israel from Jerusalem. After 
forty-five days' wandering in the " desert of the nations," when 
Israel will be " proved and cleansed " by bad food and other 
torments, the Ephraimitic Messiah will be killed, and Israel 
will weep for his death. Then the true Messiah, the son of 
David, will appear, but he Avill be rejected by the suffering 
nation and be called an impostor, the Messiah having just 
perished. Then God in his mercy will show the true Messiah 
in a cloud. He will overpower Armilos, gather together 
scattered Israel and bring them to Jerusalem. The holy city, 
rendered unclean by the sojourn of the heathen, will be 
consumed, but God will send down from heaven a new city 
with the Temple ready built, in which all the nations will 
find delight. This happy messianic period will last 2,000 years, 
at the end of which time the day of judgment will come. The 
wicked will be thrown into Gehenna for twelve months, after 
which they will be brought to dwell in the garden of Eden 
and enjoy its fruits, as it is written : " Thy people shall be all 
righteous " (Isa. Ix. 21). 

Aboo Isa has probably a place in this apocalypse (composed 
between the fifth of August and October 750)* as one of the 
two Messiahs. The legend that a sudden recovery from 
leprosy made Aboo Isa believe in his high vocation, coincides 
with one of the names of the Messiah, reported in the 
Talmudic literature as " the leprous one."'' Be that as it may, 
in Aboo Isa's time the Children of Moses were known to be 
somewhere in northern Persia; but the legend must be older. 

' jmo in the second Apocalypse, corrupted in the first in 1N^^D, Dr. 
Graetz corrects (2nd ed., p. 443) 1N"'iyD, unnecessarily, since there is anyhow 
a lacuna in the enumeration of the Khalifs. 

^ Dr. Jellinek. op. cit., III., p. six., considers wrongly, we believe, the 
Messiah son of Joseph, and the Messiah son of Ephraim, as two different 
Messiahs, and consequently mentions three Messiahs. 

^ See Dr. Jastrow's Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud-, etc., a. v. 

* See Graetz, op. cit., p. 171. 

' See The Jifty-third of Isaiah according to Jewish Interpreters, by B. S. 
Driver and A. Neubauer, text, p. 8, translation, p. 7. 

98 The Jewish Quarterly Revieiv. 

We sball find them mentioned later on^ in a Midrasli, and we 
have a description of their kingdom by a traveller whom we 
are about to introduce. 

Towards the end of the ninth century^ speculation concerning 
the whereabouts of the Ten Tribes was changed into a certain 
fact, the traveller Eldad pretending to have communicated 
with members of four of the Ten Tribes. The name Eldad was 
never employed by the Jews in the East, whom we find using 
strange names, both biblical and non-biblical. Eldad calls 
himself a Danite, and his pedigree which we find at the end 
of his diary^ is startling. Moreover, he speaks only Hebrew, 
and employs unknown Hebrew words in the ritual rules which 
he brings with him from the Tribes; these rules, mostly 
concerning the ceremonies of slaughtering animals and the 
examination of their state of health,* are different from those 
in the Talmud. The ritual is introduced in the name of Joshua 
son of Nun, in one text of Eldad's diary, and in the name of 
the Judge Othniel, son of Kenaz, in another. These astonish- 
ing facts made the Rabbis of Kairowan (in Tunis), where at 
the time of which we speak there was a great school, doubt as. 
to the veracity of Eldad's narrative. They indeed addressed 
themselves to the Gaon Zemah in Babylonia, asking his opinion 
about our traveller. We shall see" that this head of the school, 
provided his answer is genuine, blindly believed in Eldad ; his 
strange words are used by grammarians and lexicographers for 
explaining passages of the Bible," and authorities, Karaites^ 
as well as Rabbanites,** quote as arguments these ritual rules 
of Eldad. His diary, which it is a mockery to call the Odyssey 

' See below, p. 113. 

^ The reason for this date may be seen below, p. 108. 

=> See below, p. lO.S. 

^ nisnoi ntD^niJ' m3?n. 

= See below, p. lOG. 

* By Judah ben Koreish, a contemporary of Eldad (our statement in the 
Jonrnal Asiatique, 1862, II., p. 206, has to be corrected according to Dr. 
P. F. Frankl, in Graetz's Monatsschrift , 1873, p. 482), according to R. Jonah 
ibn Jannah, passage given in Hebrew by David Kamhi (Kimhi), radix njK' ; 
it was only the sceptical Abraham aben Ezra who doubted Eldad's veracity 
(see his commentary on Exodus ii. 21). In modern times the modest but 
profound critic, Jacob Reifmann, considers, perhaps rightly, the whole story 
of Eldad (whose description of the manners of the Tribes may be modelled 
on Philo's description of the Essenes), and of the Gaon's answers as spurious 
(see Hak-karmel, VIII., pp. 109, 254). Dr. Ginsburg (Kitto's Cyclopa-dia ^ 
I., p. 756 of the 2nd edition) believes in Eldad, as he did during three 
weeks at least in Shapira's Deuteronomy. 

' Judah Hedassi, in his JSshkol hah-hofar, sec. 60, V, and sec. 62, p. 

• The Gaon and the Rabbis mentioned below, p. 104 ; Rabenoo Hananel of 
Kairowan. See Dr. Steinschneider's Schlachtregeln in Arabischer Sprache, in 
Geiger's Jiid. Zeitschrift, 1862 and 1863 (especially p. 311); R. Baruch 
mentioned in the ''D^^D, as quoted by Dr. Graetz, op. cit., p. 473. 

Where are the Ten Tribes'} 99 

of Eldad, soon spread, and became the Arabian Nights of the 
Jews. As is the case with most popular romances, we may- 
expect to find different adaptations and diSerent texts of 
Eldad's little book ; indeed we possess at least three versions 
of it with substantial variations, and it forms even a part of a 
Midrash. It was translated into Arabic, Latin and German,- 
and most probably there were also Spanish and Italian trans- 
lations, now lost. We shall see^ that Eldad's diary not only 
reached Spain (it is not unlikely that through it the Jews 
there became acquainted with the Judseo-Khozaric Kingdom), 
but that he himself went to Spain by way of Kairowan and 
Morocco. The Spanish Jews were as yet little acquainted 
with the Talmud, and knew little of the condition of their 
brethren in Asia ; they therefore listened to Eldad's stories 
with great curiosity. But before discussing Eldad's native 
country and the object and veracity of his narrative, we 
must give a free translation, according to one text^ of his 
diary, together with the Gaon's answers to the Rabbis of 

In the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. Praised be the name of 
the King of kings, the Holy One ; blessed be he who has chosen Israel 
out of all nations, who has given them the Law and the Comnaandments ; 
who has separated them from the seventy tongues,'' and who has ordered 
them to keep the 613 precepts. So long as Israel fulfilled the will of 
God no nation could subdue it, until Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, rose, 
sinned, and made Israel sin, by making two golden calves. Then the 
kingdom of the house of David divided, and Jeroboam gathered together 
the Ten Tribes, and told them : " Eise up and make war against Reho- 
boam and Jerusalem." They, however, answered : "Why should we 
fight against our brethren and against the son of our master David, the 
King of Israel and Judah ? " The elders of Israel said, " There are 
no more valiant warriors in all the tribes of Israel than in the tribe of 
Dan " ; therefore Jeroboam ordered the children of Dan to make war 
against Judah. They, however, said : " By the life of our father's son 
we will not fight against our brethren, and shed their blood for 

And they gave themselves up to death, took their swords, spears, and 
bows, in order to make war against Jeroboam ; but God saved them from 
shedding the blood of their brethren. For they proclaimed throughout 
the whole tribe, saying : " Fly to Egypt ! " And they took counsel to 
destroy Egypt, and to kill all its inhabitants. But their princes said to 
them, " How could you go to Egypt ? Is it not written in the Law : ' Ye 
shall see them again no more ' (Exodus xiv. 13) ? " Then they took 

' See the Bibliography on p. 110 seq. 

= Below, p. 99. 

« Text C. See below, p. 112. 

* This number is usually given in the Midraschic literature, of course as 
a round number. We hope it will not be used for the purposes of philo- 
logy or folk-lore. 

100 The Jewish Quarterly Beview. 

counsel to fall upon Edom, Amalek, and Ammon, when they heard that 
it was -written in the Law that God had forbidden Israel to possess their 
territory (Deut. ii. 9, 17). Finally, God gave them good courage and 
advice, viz., to go up the river Pishon, to continue their wandering on 
camels, and to encamp, until they reached the land of Cush (Ethiopia), 
which they found fertile, with numerous vineyards and gardens. The 
Danites settled here, made a covenant with the children of Cush that 
they should pay tribute to Israel. Thus the Danites dwelled here for 
many years, multiplying and increasing greatly. They were then 
followed by three other tribes — Naphtali, Gad and Asher — who crossed 
the desert and encamped, until they came to the territory of the Danites. 
In their wanderings they slew many Cushites in a territory extending 
four days' journey in each direction, and they have been fighting with 
seven kingdoms up to this day. And these four tribes— Dan, Kaphtali, 
Gad and Asher — and those who dwelt in the ancient Havilab, where there 
is gold (Gen. ii. 11), trusted in the Lord, who helped them against the 
kingdom of ... and these tribes put their hands on the neck of their 

They make war every year with seven kingdoms and seven languages ; 
the following are their names ' . . . . who are on the other side of the 
river of Cush. Thus the words of the Prophet — " From beyond the 
river of Cush my suppliants — even the daughter of my dispersed, shall 
bring mine offering " (Zephaniah iii. 10) — are fulfilled. These tribes 
possess much gold, silver, and precious stones, as well as sheep, oxen, 
camels, and asses. They sow and reap, dwell in tents and encamp in a 
land extending four days' journey, pitching their camps only in fertile 
places. The name of their king is Uziel, son of Malchiel, the name of 
their prince is Nicolay,' of the children of Ahliab, and the name of their 
judge is Abdan,* son of Michael of the tribe of Asher. They inflict 
capital punishment in the four modes prescribed in the law.' "When 
going out to war, the trumpet is blown, and 120,000 horsemen and 
100,000 foot soldiers gather round their chief. Every tribe goes out for a 
month's service, and remains three months, and when they return after 
the three months the spoil is divided amongst them all. The tribe 
of Dan, of the sons of Samson, is numerous as the sand of the sea, 
and their land extends four days' journey ; they are very brave, 
and when going to war they are wont to say : "It is not good for the 
valiant to fly. The young man dies and does not fly, for his heart is 

' A. has here no name at all, but has further on another name, viz.. Dm 

'an an ^-\p:ir\ nioina d'jih. b. has Di:mn n^coD D"na niD'pDi D'o"pi. 

C. numn ni3^?:)D D'TID niD^Oa Dniryil. The Arab translation has not 
this passage at all. 

' We can only give these names according to the various texts, without 
attempting any identification : — 

A. Dmbi Dnom nnmi Npxpi 'didi tipo^ni xmx ; b. inopi nj^did 
m^Npi ND131 N^ipm JiNnm Nmpi ; c. s^jixnoi saipi niddpi WDin 

ii'\\>iip\ NDD31 Dipm. St. Petersburg MS., according to Dr. Harkavy's kind 
communication, reads like C— b'\pT\ . N'ilNDD . K3ip . NriDOp . Ni'Din 

' 3nvi{ '^30 vIp'J ; for variations of the other texts, see p. Ill seq. 
* Text has P^^^5, but surely a misprint. See also p. 111. 

6 pjni Jin nant? n^^po pn n-a nin^o j?2ik. See p. 107. 

TFkere are the Ten Tribes'? 101 

strong in God. My strength and my confidence lie in my weapon ; my 
heart will rejoice in the sharpness of my sword and in showing my 
delight in my horses. How many times hast thou made prisoners the 
women of Cush ? " ' In this way they exult in the time of war. 

And thus they do for the entire three months, when they return and 
bring all their spoil to the King Uziel, who divides it amongst all Israel 
who dwell in the land, devoting a part to the Lord. The tribes of 
Naphtali, Gad, and Asher take, each of them, three months in their 

There is also the tribe of Moses, our just master, which is called the 
tribe which flees,^ because it fled from idol worship and clung to the 
fear of God. A river flows round their land for a distance of four days' 
journey on every side. They dwell in beautiful houses provided with 
handsome towers, which they have built themselves. There is nothing 
unclean among them, neither in the case of birds, venison or domesticated 
animals ; there are no wild animals, no flies, no foxes, no vermin, no 
serpents, no dogs, and in general nothing which does harm ; they have 
only sheep and cattle, which bear twice a j'ear. They sow and reap, 
there are all sorts of gardens with all kinds of fruit and cereals, viz., 
beans, melons, gourds, onions, garlic, wheat and barley, and the seed grows 
a hundred fold. They have faith ; they know the Law ; the Mishnah, 
the Talmud, and the Agadah, but their Talmud is in Hebrew. They 
introduce their sayings in the name of the fathers, the wise men, who 
heard them from the mouth of Joshua, who himself heard them from the 
mouth of God. They have no knowledge of the Tanaim (doctors of the 
Mishnah) and Amoraim (doctors of the Talmud) who flourished during 
the time of the second Temple, which Was, of course, not known to these 
tribes. They speak only Hebrew, and are very strict as regards the use 
of wine made by others than themselves, as well as the rules of slaughter- 
ing animals ; in this respect, the Law of Moses is much more rigorous 
than that of the Tribes. They do not swear by the name of God, for 
fear that their breath may leave them, and they become angry with those 
who swear ; they reprimand them, saying, " Woe, ye poor, why do you 
swear with the mention of the name of God upon your lips ? Use your 
mouth for eating bread and drinking water.' Do you not know that for 
the sin of swearing your children die young ? " And in this way thej' 
exhort every one to serve God with fear and integrity of heart. There- 
fore the children of Moses, the servant of God, Jive long to the age of 
100 or 120 years. No child, be it son or daughter, dies during the life- 
time of its parent, but they reach a third and fourth generation, and see 
grand-children and great grand-children with their offspring. They do 
all field-work themselves, having no male or female servants ; there are 
also merchants among them. They do not close their houses at night, for 
there is no thief or any wicked man among them. Thus a little boy 
might go for days with his flock without fear of robbers, demons, or 
danger of any other kind ; they are indeed all holy and clean. These 

' These verses are certainly later additions, and we consider it scarcely 
worth while troubling ourselves with, the variations of the other texts. 

^ D13*, from D13. The Arabic translation reads □13'', but translates 

21Nn?N D13\ Possibly this name is connected with the legend of Jannes 
and Jambres, the two sorcerers who tried to imitate the miracles performed 
by Moses. Mid rash iZaJftof A,. Exodus vii. 2, 11, and elsewhere. See Ham- 
burger's Real-Encycloprcdie, II., p. 435. 

^ Perhaps more intelligible in the other texts, which have, " Is it bread to 
eat or water to drink? " 

102 The Jewish Quarterly Revieiv. 

Levites busy themselves -with the Law and with the commandments, and 
they still live in the holiness of our master Moses, therefore God has 
given them all this good. Moreover they see nobody and nobody sees 
them, except the four tribes who dwell on the other side of the rivers of 
Cush ; they see them and speak to them, but the river Sambatyon is be- 
tween them, as it is said, " That thou mayest say to the prisoners. Go 
forth" (Isaiah xlix. 9). They have plenty of gold and silver ; they sow 
flax, and cultivate the crimson worm, and make beautiful garments. 
Their number is double or four times the number of those who went out 
from Egypt. 

The river Sambatyon is 200 yards broad, "About as far as a bowshot " 
(Gen. xxi. 16), full of sand and stones, but without water ; the stones 
make a great noise like the waves of the sea and a stormy wind, so that 
in the night the noise is beard at a distance of half a day's journey. 
There are sources of water which collect themselves in one pool, out of 
•which they water the fields. There are fish in it, and all kinds of clean 
birds fly round it. And this river of stone and sand rolls durinff the six 
working days and rests on the Sabbath day. As soon as the Sabbath 
begins, fire surrounds the river, and the flames remain till the next even- 
ing, when the Sabbath ends. Thus no human being can reach the river 
for a distance of half a mile on either side ; the fire consumes all that 
grows there. The four tribes, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, stand 
on the borders of the river. When shearing their flocks here, for the 
land is flat and clean without any thorns, when tlie children of Moses see 
them gathered together on the border, they shout, saying, " Brethren, 
tribes of Jeshurun, show us your camels, dogs, and asses," and they make 
their remarks about the length of the camel's neck and the shortness of 
the tail. Then they greet one another and go their way. 

To us came the pious man Eldad, of the tribe of Dan, to bring 
good tidings to scattered Israel. When he left the land on the other side 
of the rivers of Cush, he travelled with a man of the tribe of Asher in a 
small boat, with the intention of doing some commerce with the crew, 
more especially to buy cloaks and jewellery. A great storm wrecked the 
boat in the middle of the night, but God prepared a plank for him and 
his companions, on which they kept floating, until they were thrown up 
amongst the tribe called Amarnum ; ' they are black as a raven, of high 
stature, and are cannibals. They seized at first the man of the tribe 
of Asher, who was fat and healthy, and devoured him alive. He cried 
out and said : " Woe to my mother who has borne me ; woe to the 
Creator who has handed me over to a cruel death, for the Cushites eat 
my flesh." After having devoured this pious man they put a collar on 
Eldad's neck, intending to keep him until he became fat and healthy (for 
at present he was ill and lean) and gave him food. Thus he remained 
with the cannibals until God by a miracle saved him. Armed men from 
another place came upon the Cushites, took them prisoners, and slew 
them. Amongst the captives was this just Danite, and he remained with 
these fire- worshippers during four years, when they brought him to the 
province of Sin,^ where a Jew paid the price for his ransom — thirty-two 

' A. has D13-U3X ; B. DI^HDn; C. D'JIDX ; a St. Petersburg MS. (according 
to the kind information of our friend Dr. Harkavy) has PIDD^N nU'lDD ; 
and so also in the Grerman translation of 1700. Dr. Harkavy identifies this 
name without doubt with Yemama. 

^ China. We read with the St. Petersburg MS. and the German translation. 
J^:; ; B. and C read }"'SK, probably a corruption of pV^X. 

Where are the Ten Tribes? 103 

pieces of gold. Eldad then continued his journey on sea until he reached 
dry land, and fell in with the tribe of Issachar, who dwell in high moun- 
tains near to the land of the Medes and Persians. They keep to the 
saying, " The Book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth " 
(Joshua i. 8). No worldly yoke is upon them, but only that of heaven ; 
they are not at war with anybody, but their energy is devoted to the dis- 
cussion of the Law ; they are at peace with all, and have no enemy ; they 
inhabit a land extending ten days' journey on every side. They possess 
much cattle, as well as camels and asses, and also male and female 
servants. The only weapon they possess is the knife for slaughtering 
animals. They are men of good faith, and in their hands is nothing stolen 
or robbed, and even their servants behave in the same faithful way, so 
tbat if on their way they come across much money they would not 
stretch out their hand to take it. Amongst them are fire- worshippers, who 
marry their mothers and sisters. They do not cultivate land or vine- 
yards, but they do buy all for ready money. Their judge and prince is 
called Nahshon, and they use the four methods of capital punishment. 
They speak Hebrew, Persian, and Tatar.^ 

The children of Zebulon dwell in the mountains of Paran,^ and 
their tents are planted from the Province of Armenia^ to the river 

The tribe of Reuben faces them behind the mountains of Paran ; 
there is peace between these two tribes ; they go together to war, make 
together the roads, and divide with one another the spoil. They travel 
through Persia and Babylonia, and pay two pieces of silver for a camel's 
load of food.* They speak Tatar, and they possess the Bible, the 
Mishnah, the Talmud, and the Agadah. Each Sabbath they study the 
Law, beginning with a Hebrew text, and commenting on it in Tatar.^ 

The tribes of Ephraim and half of Menasseh dwell in the Southern 
mountains in the province of the fool (Mahommed) ; they are of a horrid * 
mind and always on horseback, cut the roads, and have no mercy upon 
men ; they have no other means of living than by spoil. They are 
valiant warriors ; one of them will vanquish a hundred. 

The tribe of Simeon and the other half of Menasseh ' are in the land 
of the Khozars" and of infinite number : they take tribute from twenty- 
eight kingdoms, and many of the Ishmaelites are also subjected to 

Now the name of this pious man who came to us is Eldad, son of Mahli, 
son of Ezechiei, son of Hezekiah, son of Elon, son of Abner, sou of She- 
maiah, son of Hefer, son of Hur, son of Elkanah, son of Hillel, son of 
Ephraim, son of Tobiah, son of Pedath, son of Onan, son of Naaman, son 
of Taam, son of Taami, son of Onam, son of Saul, son of Sheled, sonof 
Keleb, son of Amram, son of Doros, son of Obadiah, son of Abraham, 

' "np could also mean Arabic, but is used mostly for Tatar. 

2 A. has jN'12, which Dr. Graetz («/?. eit., p. 475) emends in [DXID, 

= N'J^DIN in B. ; C. has nN*D''*3N, which the late Carmoly revises by 
Adjemi, viz., the province called Irac-Adjemi. 

* The passage is not very clear. 

° C. has here " Hebrew," which is a copyist's mistake. See p. 111. 

° This passage is not very clear ; it certainly does not refer to the 

■" C. has Judah, which is impossible. 

8 A. D'mp (ed. princeps D'-mD) ; B. DncS ; Petersb. D"n2K (for which 
Dr. Harkavy suggests Iberia?). A. B. confirm our text D"lt3. 

104 The Jetcish Quarterly Review. 

son of Joseph, son of Moses, son of Jacob, son of Kafur, son of Ariel, 
son of Asher, son of Job, son of Shalem, son of Elihu, son of Ahliab, 
son of Ahisamach, son of Hushim, son of Dan, son of Jacob our 
father. The Holy One, blessed be he, who made us to know good tidings 
concerning our brethren, the Ten Tribes, he will gather our scattered 
ones from the four corners of the earth to the Temple together with 
all Israel's brethren. Amen. 

These letters this Mar Eldad sent to Spain (Sepharad, Andalusia) in 
the year [46] 43 ( = 883). Mar Eldad was full of the Law and the 
Commandments, and if some one was sitting with him from morning to 
evening his tongue would not cease from explaining the Law in Hebrew. 
His words are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. May the 
Holy One, blessed be he, give him a good reward in this world and 
in the next. 

The other two texts give almost the same facts, but in a 
different order ; the most important variations we shall give 
later on, preferring this method to loading the footnotes. It 
would, perhaps, have been better to let these differences of 
the texts follow here, but as we do not like breaking our text 
in two parts, the substance of the questions put by the Kabbis 
of Kairowan to Zemah, and his answer will follow next. We 
purposely omit any abstract of Eldad's ritual rules, which 
would be tedious, and of no relevancy in our essay on the Ten 

" This is the letter of inquiry which the men of Kairowan 
have sent to R. Zemah, the Gaon of Jacob, concerning the 
reports of Eldad, the Danite, about the tribes which ai*e 
hidden in the ancient Havilah in the land of Cush." 

After the preamble, which is chiefly in praise of the Gaon 
in the diffuse oriental style, they write as follows : — " We beg 
to acquaint our master that a man named Eldad the Danite, 
of the tribe of Dan, was for a time amongst us, and told us 
that the four tribes, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher are all at 
Havilah, where the gold is to be found. They have a judge 
called Abdin, and they use the four modes of capital punish- 
ment ; they dwell in tents, travel from place to place, and 
fight with the five kings of Cush.^ The extent of their 
country is seven months' journey, but the five Cushite kings 
surround them on three sides and wage constant war against 
them, and whosoever is weak-hearted is given up to the inheri- 
tance of the Lord. These tribes possess the entire Scripture, 
they do not read the roll of Esther (not having been included 
in the miraculous salvation mentioned in it) nor the Lamenta- 
tions, in order not to be disheartened.^ In the whole of their 
teaching they mention no wise man, but refer all their 

1 In our text there are seven kings. 

' These two statements are not found in our texts, an omission which is 
one of Keifmann'a arguments to prove the forgery of this document. 

W7iere are the Ten Tribes? 105 

sayings to Joshua, who had received them from Moses, who in 
his turn had heard them from the Almighty. Every strong 
man gives himself up to military service, and every one of the 
four tribes attends to his department, the one to the war, and 
the others to the study of the law. They do not go to war 
mixed; the warriors of Dan serve their three months on 
horseback; they do not come down all the week, but on Fri- 
day they leave their horses, which remain saddled and ready; 
if no enemy appears, the Danites keep the Sabbath according 
to the statutes ; in the contrary event, they go out armed and 
slay their enemies with the might of God, which is in them. 
There are also strong men of the children of Samson and 
Delilah, who rush into the Avar, and the smallest of them pur- 
sue many of the enemy ; they each lift their voice and an- 
nounce the victory with a lion's voice, saying : ' Salvation 
belongeth to the Lord, and upon Thy people, the tribes of 
J eshurun, thy might, Selah '; so they continue for three months, 
when they return with all the booty to the King Uziel, who 
divides it equally amongst all Israel ; the king gives his part 
to those who busy themselves with the Law. The same is 
the case with Gad and Asher, until the twelve months of the 
year are over. They speak only Hebrew, and Eldad himself 
understands not a word of Cushite (Ethiopie) or Ishmaelitic 
(Arabic), but only Hebrew, and he employs Hebrew expres- 
sions which we have never heard. For instance, he calls 
a pigeon snn3\~l, a bird mpn, pepper e;imT ; we show him 
the objects and he gives the names which we write down ; 
after some time we repeat the same questions, and he 
gives the same words as before. The Talmud (the teach- 
ing) of these tribes is in Hebrew, and they do not men- 
tion any wise man, neither doctors of the Mishnah, 
nor of the Talmud, but they say for each Halakah, ' This is 
the tradition we have from the mouth of Joshua, from the 
mouth of Moses, from the mouth of the Almighty.' Eldad 
explained to us the ritual about slaughtering animals and 
examining their state of health, whether the meat is fit to 
be eaten or not;^ which we saw to be the same as that pre- 
scribed in the Law, but with some differences. We have 
thought it necessary to put before you, our master, some 
parts of their Talmud, verbatim; there are many astonishing- 
rules as our master will see on examining them." 

Here follow the rules for slaughtering animals, which in- 
cline more to the Karaitic Halakah, if we may employ this 
expression, than to the directions of the Talmud, 

106 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

The letter then continues, " Eldad has told us the following 
story. When the temple was destroyed and Israel had to 
go to Babel, the Chaldees asked them to sing the song of 
Zion. The children of Moses stood up, cried in their sorrow- 
to the Holy One, blessed be he, and broke their fingers with 
their teeth, meaning to say. How can we strike an instrument 
in an unclean land with the same fingers which we used in 
the Temple ? Then a cloud came and carried them with 
their tents, sheep, and oxen to Havilah, and brought them 
down there during the night." The question ends with the 
history of the Sambatyon, with slight variations the same as 
given above. We should have expected that a scholar like 
the Gaon Zemah, even if he did not find out the charlatanism 
(perhaps the credulity) of Eldad, ought at least to have had 
some hesitation in believing all that he reported. Zemah 's 
answer, as will be seen, gives Eldad the highest testimonial for 
veracity. He says, " As to the matter of Eldad, about which 
you have written to me, I can affirm that some of the Rabbis 
have told me that they heard from the mouth of R. Isaac 
ben Mar and R. Simhah,^ who knew Eldad personally, the 
same that you have heard from him ; they also were 
astonished to find that in some parts his teaching agrees with 
the Talmud, and in others it differs. We find, indeed, in 
Scripture passages justifying some of Eldad's narrative. For 
when Sennacherib carried into exile the tribe of Zebulon in 
the fifth year of King Ahaz, from the foundation of the 
Temple to the eighth year of Ahaz, which makes about 
twenty-six years, the Danites, who were great wamors, see- 
ing that the king of Assyria was going to get dominion over 
Israel, went to Cush and encamped there, in a large land with 
gardens of every kind, fields and vineyards, in one word, full 
of all good things ; they gave their heart to serve God in fear, 
and to observe all his commandments, and thus they received 
two crowns, the crown of the Law and of the Kingdom ; ^ 
that is exactly what Eldad told you. Elsewhere our Rabbis 
say that Israel was led into exile ten times, viz , four times 
by Sennacherib, four times by Nebuchadnezzar, once by Ves- 
pasian, and once by Hadrian;^ Dan is, however, not men- 

" It is not necessary to place these two Rabbis outside of Babylonia, as 
Prof. Graetz is inclined to do (_op. cit., p. 478), since it is really proved that 
Eldad was in Babylonia. See below, p. 108. 

^ The third crown is the priesthood. Comp. Aboth (Saying of the Fathers), 
IV. 13. 

* Compare the Midrash of Exile in Dr. Jellinek's Bet ha-Midrasch, V., 
p. 112, and Abraham ben David's Chronicle of the Kings of the Second 
Temple, ed. Amsterdam, 1 711, p. 77^ 

Where are the Ten Tribes? 107 

tioned in these ten exiles, because the tribe went away of 
their own accord into Cush 135 years before the destruction 
of the Temple. Therefore it seems to me that there is no 
fault to find with Eldad, since it is possible that Dan departed 
only during the third exile. Eldad reports that the tribes 
use the four modes of capital punishment, viz., stoning, burn- 
ing, slaughtering, and strangling. It is true that the last is 
not mentioned in the Law, but the Rabbis inferred it, saying 
that wherever in the Law we find capital punishment men- 
tioned without specification, strangulation is intended. As 
to the children of Moses, who are with the tribes, and are 
surrounded by the Sambatyon, we find the same in the 
Midrash,-"^ where it is said, that when Nebuchadnezzar 
made captive sixty myriads of Levites, it happened to the 
•children of Moses as related by Eldad, when they came 
with their harps to the rivers of Babel. 

" Before the arrival of our fathers in Canaan, they had been 
so much occupied with wars, that they had forgotten the 
Mishnah (teaching) which they received from the mouth of 
Moses and from the mouth of Joshua (peace be with them), who 
according to some had many doubts after the death of Moses. 
The tribes which remained in the Holy Land, viz., Judah and 
Benjamin, held firm to the Law. After all there is nothing as- 
tonishing in finding differences and changes in our teaching, and 
that which you have heard from Eldad, for the same is the case 
with the Mishnah, which was handed down by the Babylonian 
and Palestinian doctors with great accuracy, without addition 
or diminution, and yet variations crept into it through 
the teachings of the pupils, who gave various explanations, 
just as would be the case with two Hakhamim (orders of the 
Mishnah) in explaining differently passages of Scripture or 
Mishnah. Why, even in Scripture of which the text has been 
fixed, we find the Babylonian and the Palestinian schools 
varying as regards scriptio plena and defectiva, the spaces be- 
tween the sections, the accents, and the division of verses ; 
why should we then not admit variation in the Mishnah, which 
is too deep a subject to be easily understood ? Excuse may be 
found for that ; in the troubles and misfortunes of travelling, 
Eldad may have unintentionally reported a Halakah in 
another sense than that usually known. However, the second 
Law (the Talmud) is one, it is not permitted to add to it nor 
to take from it, and there is moreover no variation in it what- 
ever, small or great ; only that the Talmud was composed in 

' Compare 3Iidrash of EjsUc, p. 115, and Abraham ben David, op. cit., 
TSb, and below, p. 113. 


108 The Jewish (Quarterly Review. 

Aramaic in Babylonia, in the dialect of the Targum in Pales- 
tine, and in Cush in Hebrew, the only language known by the 
exiles there. That in this last Talmud no authority of the 
Rabbis is mentioned, is to be explained from the fact that the 
Mishnah taught in the Temple was anonymous, as there were 
no wise men to explain it. Anyhow, the Law is the same in 
the Mishnah as in the Talmud, for they flow both from the 
same source ; and it is wrong to explain everything, for it 
is written, ' It is the glory of God to conceal a thing ' (Prov. 
XXV. 1). As to Eldad's words that the tribes pray first for the 
wise men in Babylonia and then for the rest of the exiles, I 
think that they do rightly, for the stem of the wise men and 
the prophets was exiled to Babylonia ; it is they who fixed 
the Law, and founded a school on the river Euphrates in the 
time of Jehoiachin, King of Judah.^ And up to this daj^ 
there is in Babylonia the chain of wisdom and prophecy, and 
from here the Law goes forth to the whole nation of the Jews. 
I have made known to you that we all drink of the same 
source ; keep firm in what the wise men teach you, and do not 
deviate to the right or to the left from their words, as it is 
written: ' According to the sentence of the Law which they 
will teach thee, and according to the judgment which they 
shall tell thee, thou shalt do ' " (Deut. xvii. 11). The belief 
in Eldad by such an authority as the Gaon, can only be ex- 
plained by the delight which he and the other Rabbis must 
have felt on hearing of the prosperous state of the lost 
tribes, coupled, perhaps, with the hope of a sudden restoration 
of the Jewish nation. 

The late Dr. P. F. FrankF has, by an ingenious conjecture 
made it certain, in our opinion, that Eldad was in Babylonia, 
where he saw R. Isaac ben Mar and R. Simhah, most probably 
in the year 4640 (880).^ At that time he had already his new 
ritual with him, of which R. Hai ben Nahshon could take no 
copy because Eldad was " in a hurry to continue his travels." 
Was that really the reason ? Certainly not, for a couple of 
hours would have been sufiicient to make a copy of it. Later 
on we find him at Kairow^n, and then in Spain, about 4643 
(883) . This date is not only fixed by MSS. and the editions 
of Eldad's diary, but its correctness is also proved by the 
following passages in the letter of the Prince Hasdai ben Shap- 
rut (or Saport), minister of Abdu-1 -Rahman in 940, addressed 

• Compare R. Sherira's letter (ed. Oxford, 1887), p. 26. 

'^ Dr. Graetz's Monatxschvift, 1878, p. 423, sqq. 

» According to Ibn Yahya's Chain of Tradition, Venice, 1387, fol. 37". 

W7icre are the Ten Tribes t 10» 

to the King of the Khozars : he says, -^ " And in the days of 
our fathers a wise man of Israel fell in with us, of the tribe 
of Dan, whose pedigree reached back to Dan the son of Jacob ; 
he spoke pure Hebrew and gave a Hebrew name to each ob- 
ject. No matter was hidden from him. And when he got 
up to teach a Halakah, he introduced it with the words : 
' Othniel, son of Kenaz, received it from Joshua, from Moses, 
from the Almighty.' " This passage refers, no doubt, as Pro- 
fessor Graetz says,^ to our Eldad, who was in Andalusia in the 
time of Hasdai's grandfather. Had Eldad been a bom fide 
traveller, he would have given an account of the cities he 
visited along with his fabulous account of the tribes, just as 
Benjamin of Tudela, whom we shall have to mention in the 
course of our essay, has done in his diary. The date of 880 
for Eldad's appearance is also corroborated by a Karaitic 
document,^ on which, perhaps, we may place more reliance 
than we usually can on exaggerated dates in Karaitic authors. 
And if this date is accurate, and we believe it is, then the Gaon 
Zemah, provided he is the author of the famous answer which 
goes under his name, would be Zemah son of Hayyim of Sura 
(889-896).* No doubt Eldad's story is fanciful throughout. 
The name Eldad, as we have already said, is unusual. More- 
over Eldad is not given as a Danite in the Bible. The names 
of the countries which our traveller gives, if we admit that they 
are corrupted by copyists, are not to be identified at all.' 
His capture by cannibals, and his landing in China belongs to 
romance. And Professor Graetz is certainly on the right side 
when he says that Eldad heard in Egypt of the existence of 
the Falashas in Abyssinia ; in Constantinople of the Khozars 
on the Volga ; and in Palestine or Babylonia of the Jews at 
Haibar in Arabia; and from these data he placed the Ten 
Tribes in these countries. From the Midrash or a current oral 
legend he knew of the children of Moses whom he depicts in such 
heroic form. In one word, he was a daring impostor crowned 
with an unexpected success. Now, the question arises, Did he 
deceive without any aim, or had he some objects in view ? 
The former opinion is maintained with great skill and learn- 
ing by the late Dr. Frankl.® He even suggested that Eldad 
came from a Greek-speaking country (Constantinople ?), for 

' Edition of Buxtorf in his translation of the Kusari, pp. b 4 and c i. 
- See Graetz, Geschichte der JuAen, V., p. 476. 
3 IMA., p. 477. 

* Zemah ben Kafnai would be too late. See Dr. Steinschneider's Catal. 
Lihr. Hehr. in Bihl. Bodl., col. 2726. 

* See the variations above, p. 100. 

« Dr. Graetz's Monatsschrifi, 1873, p. 481, sqq. 

110 The Jewish Quarterly Review 

the new Hebrew words which he introduces are Greek.^ 
This we cannot admit, even i£ we have to give up our sugges- 
tion that they are Hebraized forms o£ Arabic words.^ We 
are rather inclined to hold with Professor Graetz^ that Eldad 
was a cunning emissary of the Karaites. His ritual rules, as 
Professor Graetz has shown, incline in many respects to 
Karaitic interpretation. His emphatic mention that the 
tribes quote no names of the doctors of the Mishnah as authors 
of the ritual rules, but say they have them handed down from 
Joshua and Moses,* and, much more, his statement that the 
tribes have no Talmud,* point to Karaitic teaching. Of 
course, in order not to betray himself, Eldad shows great respect 
for the Gaonim,* the conservators and continuators of the 
oral tradition. The Karaites indeed followed step by step 
Rabbanitic congregations wherever they settled. They 
originated in Persia, installed themselves in Babylonia, formed 
congregations in Palestine, were vej;y numerous in the Byzan- 
tine empire and Egypt, and from there they went to Morocco' 
and Spain.^ Karaites are mentioned in Dra^ and Fez. Here 
the Danite tradition seemed to continue ; we find there in- 
deed in the tenth century a certain Abudani and his friend 
David, the deaf, or the smith.® In the eleventh century we 
hear of a great movement of Karaitic propaganda in Spain by 
Ibn Altaras and his wife, called the Teacher,^'' and in order to 
produce such a movement, Karaites must have been settled in 
Spain long before that time. 

For completeness sake, we may be allowed to give here the 
outlines of the bibliography of the texts containing Eldad's 
memorable narrative, which are three. 

A. The text printed in Dr. A. Jellinek's " Bet ha-Midrasch," 
part I., pp. 102 to 106, which is followed by the question of the 

' K^*n3n, " pigeon," would be derived by Eldad from rovOopiZo), " to speak 
inarticulately, mutter, babble," and dDin, " pepper," from Spt/ivi;, " sharp- 
ness." Why did Eldad, as a Greek-speaking Jew, not use the common 
words like rpvyiljv, mptaTipdi, and Treiripi. Is it not a strange idea to take 
Eldad as a common impostor, and to credit him in the meantime with philo- 
logical innovations? 

2 Journal Aslatique, 1862, II., p. 206. 

' GesohioJite dcr Juden, V., p. 473, sqq. 

" See above, p. 101. * See above, p. 101. ° See above, pp. 108. 

' See A. Neubauer, Aus der Petersburger Bibliotlieli, pp. 55 sqq. 

8 Ibid. p. 22, and Graetz, op. cit., V. p. 477. 

9 E'nnn im 'jnUN (^LUtemturblatt des Orients, 1845, p. 563). These two 
cannot be identified with Eldad and his companion of the tribe of Asher. 
Abudani is a contemporary of E. Saadiah G^on (920-980). Curious it is that 
they are from Fez, and come from Palestine. Was it the case with Eldad 

" Abraham ben David's Booh of Tradition (ed. Oxford, 1887), p. 79. 

Wliere are the Ten Tribes'} 111 

Eabbis of Kairow^n, and Zemah's answer, pp. 106 to 113. It 
contains also Eldad's ritual. The order of the diary is as 
follows : — 1st. The journey of the tribes and their wars, in 
which the king is called Uziel, son of Michael, but no prince 
and judge are mentioned (page 100 of our translation). 2nd. 
The history of the Children of Moses (p. 101). 3rd. The story 
of the cannibals and Eldad's arrival in China (p. 102). It is 
introduced by the words : " Behold, there came to me a pious 
man of the tribe of Dan " ; consequently this text was not 
written down by Eldad. The dwellings of the tribes of 
Issachar in the mountains on the border of the sea, towards 
the land Persia and Media ; their judge and prince is called 
Nahshon, and they speak Hebrew, Persian, and Kedar 
(Tatar); Zebulun dwells on the mount isns, which Dr. 
Graetz emends into IMDID, Chorassan. Near to this moun- 
tain dwells Reuben ; they both speak the language of Kedar, 
but their teaching (Bible, Mishnah, Talmud, and Agadah) is 
in Hebrew. Ephraim and half Manasseh dwell in the moun- 
tains towards the town (read n3''7» for n"iD"i7D, as in the 
editio princeps ^ and German translation) of the Ishmaelitic 
prophet (ed. prin. SJaitcnn m3"'ia in the German translation, 
" where the Ishmaelitic prophet is buried "), called Mekka, and 
in their language Kaba (27:iM''p). Simeon and half Manasseh 
are in the land of the Tatars (ff'^'Tlp, ed. princ. d"'"'"nD, pro- 
bably D"'nT3, Khozars), six months distant from Jerusalem ; 
the Ishmaelites pay them tribute. The compiler goes on to 
say : " And the man who reported all this belonged to the tribe 
of Dan." 

Then follows Eldad's pedigree (with many variations) 
from the patriarch Jacob. Next come the questions of the 
Rabbis of Kairow^n, with the text of Eldad's ritual, given 
in the name of Joshua, son of Nun — and Zemah's answer. 
The text is given from the edition printed at Zolkiew, 1772, 
which is erroneously given by Dr. Jellinek, as a reprint of the 
edition of Constantinople, 1516. It is a reprint of the editio 
princeps (Mantua, before 1480). The German translation 
(Jesnitz, 1743) has, after the pedigree, the passage beginning 
in our translation with the words : " And the pioas Eldad 
reported much concerning the four tribes who dwelt in 
Havilah" (p. 103), and ending with the following: "The 
pious Eldad knew no other language than Hebrew (p. 105). 
And thus he related as you have read." (The last sentence is 
evidently added by the translator.) The German translator 

Mantua, before 1480. 

112 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

continues with the passages concerning the tribes which we 
find in Benjamin of Tudela's diary (ed. Asher, pp. 83 and 90), 
but given here as if Eldad were the author, followed by the 
postscript of the translator. 

B. A second text (part II., pp. 6 to 11), reprinted from the 
Constantinople edition of 1519. It contains polemics against 
the Christians and the Mohammedans. It begins with a part 
of the prologue (p. 99), and introduces Eldad's narrative (in 
which Eldad speaks in the first person), with the following 
sentence : " And now we shall tell the story of our brethren, 
the tribes of Jeshurun, according to Eldad ; how he travelled 
from his own tribe ; the wonders by which God saved him 
from many calamities which befell him on his journey to 
announce good tidings, to the children of Israel scattered in the 
captivity." The narrative begins with the incident of the can- 
nibals and China (p. 102). Issachar's dwelling is in the moun- 
tains of the deep (mnn), and they speak only Hebrew and 
Persian. Zebulun dwells in the mountains of ]"1SD, and they 
use for their tents hairy material coming from Armenia, and 
they extend to the Euphrates. The Reubenites, who conform 
to the habits of the King of Media and Persia, speak Hebrew 
and Persian, and their explanations of the Law are in Persian. 

Ephraim and half of Manasseh dwell in the mountains 
towards Mekka, and Simeon and the other half of Manasseh 
in the land of Kasdim (a'»"«-iT3 Khozars). Then comes the 
following in the name of Eldad : " We say in our land that 
we have a ti-adition that you children of the captivity, the 
tribes of Judah and Benjamin, are scattered under the 
dominion of the Romans ( who destroyed the house of our God), 
the Greeks (Byzantium) and the Ishmaelites." Next comes 
the story about Dan i-efusing to fight and settling in the land 
of Cush (p. 99). Then followed the history of the wars of 
the other tribes (carried into captivity by Sennacherib in two 
conquests) against the seven adjacent nations. The king is 
called here Uziel, the great prince Elizaphan of the children 
of Eliahab of the tribe of Dan, on whose white flag is in- 
scribed in Hebrew, in black letters, the verse : " Hear, O 
Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord " (Deut. vi. 4). This 
is followed by the story about the Children of Moses. Two 
words in this text seem to be Latin, or at least of a Romance 
language, the word I233bn, elephant-, and ^"<D3''~i3, princeps 
(p. 10 in the text, our translation p. 101). The pedigree 
which follows differs from that given in A.^ 

' There exists a MS. of this text in the British Museum, Add. 27, 119, o£ 
which we have made use, and another in Parma Dr. Rossi, 421. 

Where are the Ten Tribes? 113 

C. The third text, part V., pp. 17 to 21, is a reprint from the 
Venice edition of 1544, which is most likely a reprint of the 
edition of Constantinople, 1516. On this text our translation 
is based ; we found it, with Dr. Jellinek, to contain the most 
logical text, and the best style; it contains moreover the impor- 
tant date of Eldad's sending his letter to Kairowan and Spain.^ 

This text was translated into Latin by G. Genebrard,^ by an 
anonymous translator into Judaeo-German,^ and also anony- 
mously into Arabic* The extracts given by Bartolocci ® and 
Eisenmenger " are eqiially taken from this text. 

Besides these three recensions there must have existed at 
least one other containing the passages given by Judah 
Hedassi,^ and most likely a fifth in which the passage in 
regard to the Kabbis of Kairowan, that the Tribes do not 
read the book of Esther and Lamentations,^ ought to be found. 
In fact Eldad most probably wrote nothing except the ritual, 
and it was one of his audience who put together the 
story, which was perhaps told differently by Eldad, either 
from a bad memory or from his purposely modifying it to suit 
his audience.' This would best explain the existence of 
various texts, which we do not find in the case of the other 
few Jewish diaries'" we possess. 

A sixth text of the history of the Ten Tribes and the Children 
of Moses,^' which does not mention the name of Eldad, is to be 
found in the famous Midrash Major, attributed by Eaymundus 
Martini to R Moses har-Dai-shan of Nar bonne. '^ This text 

' Of this text there is a MS. in the Bodleian Library, No. 2585 of the new 
Catalogue, which is, however, only a copy of the Venice edition. The St. 
Petersburg fragments seem also to belong to this recension. We have men- 
tioned a few variations communicated to us by our friend Dr. Harkaway. 

2 Chronologica Hehrrcorum Major, op. 5. 

3 According to Dr. Steinschneider (^Catal. i?of7Z.), Dessau circa 1700. 

* MS. St. Petersburg, 2nd Firkowitz collection, fragments in Nos. 674 and 
703, with some variations from our text. 

5 Bibliotheca Habb. I., p. 100. 

^ Untdecktes Jndenthum, II., p. 539. 

' Eshkol hoJi-Kofer, sees. 60 and 61. 

8 See above, p. 104. 

" Dr. Jellinek, Bet ha-Midrasch V., p. x., note 2. 

"• For instance, Pethahiah of Eegensburg, Benjamin of Tudela, and the 
travellers in the Holy Land. 

>' Published in Dr. Jellinek's Bet ha-Midrasch VI., pp. 15 to 18. The title 
of nSJ'D *jm SmJN is the editor's invention, which might be misleading 
for bibliographers. 

'2 See the recent discussion on the authenticity of this Midrasch, called 
^n3T fino (in the Prague MSS.), and n3m n31 E'lno in the Oxford frag- 
ment (MSS. No. 2399 of our catalogue) ; Dr. Schiller-Szinessy's article in the 
Journal of Philology, Cambridge, vol. XVI., No. 31, p. ISO sqq. ; our essay in 
the Expositor, February-March, 1888, pp. 101, sqq. 299, and Herr A. Epstein's 
able paper in the Magazin fUv die Wissenschaft des Judenthums, XV. (1888), 
pp. 65 to 99. l"he Oxford MS. has better readings than the MSS. of 

114 TJie Jewish Quarterly Review. 

goes mostly with C, and in. the beginning of it we find the legend 
about the Lsvites breaking their fingers in order not to play the 
harp in a foreign country. This legend is introduced with the 
words : " Our Kabbis say, just as reported by the Gaon Zemah." 
Perhaps this Midrash is the oldest of all the Eldad texts, which 
was later enlarged with Eldad's story as an introduction or a 
postscript. It is, however, possible that the compiler of the 
Midrash has left out the Eldad legend, which had no im- 
portance for his Midrashic explanation of Genesis xxx. 24. 

It is our painful duty to mention the text edited' with a 
French translation and notes by the late C. Carmoiy, from a 
copy made by Ephraim Adamar of a MS. in the library of 
R. Eleazar ben Hazan at Morocco, sent to the editor by 
R. David S'bah. That this is a forgery has been strikingly 
proved by Rapoport,^ chiefly from the contradictions in 
the dates; we could add further proofs from the style and 
the divisions of the chapters. Dr. Graetz did not make use 
of it in his excellent history, and does not even mention it. 
We, too, should have preferred doing the same, only that we 
wish to be bibliographically complete. Who the forger of this 
text was it is not our duty to investigate. 

A. Neubauer. 

[To be continued.'] 

Prague, c.fl., the passage in Jellinek's, p. 17, '^[^^^i^ nHD ^^^n pmi3"k:' 
YV 7D3 NCD "vDa -which is qaite unintelligible, reads in the Oxford 

Mss. (foi. 46") bxro |D "pDj Ne'e -^33 ^^^1 (Mekka) niDO -yn^. 

■ Relation (VEldad le Danitc, Paris, 1838. 

" In the letter addressed to the editor of Solomon Parhon's lexicon, and 
printed in the pref r-ce to the edition, p. xi.