On the Y-DNA of the Lost Tribes of Israel 3.1.1

Abstract Biblical chronology has since the advent of the scientific revolution generally, and particularly since the publication of On the Origin of Species in November 1859, fallen into disrepute. This is in no small part because the bible tells of a human race that is much younger than evolutionary chronology requires. It is a matter of great irony therefore that in November 1859 a work was published on the seemingly unrelated topic of the prime numbers which contained a hypothesis (the Riemann Hypothesis) whose truth implies that the time-frames of evolutionary chronology are inflated. When we take careful account of this inflation, some puzzling conflicts between genealogy and genetics can be resolved, e.g. the apparent descent from multiple patrilineal lines of men belonging by birthright to the Jewish priestly class, and the apparent descent from multiple patrilineal lines of Jewish men generally. More significantly, light can be cast on the genetic divide between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, and the identity and location(s) of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

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Levite DNA
There is in Judaism a distinction between a Cohen (a priest) and a Levite. A Cohen is a descendant of Aaron; a Levite is a descendant of Levi, but not necessarily a descendant of Aaron:

This topic has been carefully studied by geneticists, and Behar in a 2003 study found that both Ashkenazi (Eastern European) and Sephardi (Iberian) Cohanim tend overwhelmingly to belong to haplogroup J, but that the majority of Ashkenazi Levites belong of haplogroup R1a. A significant number of Sephardi Levites belong to haplogroup K (or to K2/T a sub-group of K). [supsystic-tables id=1]

But if all of these men descend from the one man, then how can one group of Cohanim or Levites possibly have a different type of Y-DNA than another? And how, given that all Cohanim are Levites, can Cohanim have a different male heritage than Levites? (Note that one cannot become a Cohen or a Levite except by birth.) The only available answer, given typical assumptions about Y-DNA mutation rates, is that no more than one of these lineages can be truly that of Levi and/or Aaron, and therefore that at certain points in history non-Levites and non-Cohanim must both have assumed this role, or been appointed to it, and have subsequently have founded false bloodlines. Behar for instance takes the high percentage of R1a Ashkenazi Levites to show that these lines have a recent and European foundation:

Comparisons with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups suggest that a founding event, probably involving one or very few European men occurring at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community, is the most likely explanation for the presence of this distinctive haplogroup found today in >50% of Ashkenazi Levites.

The same general problem arises in regard to the multiple haplogroups to which Jewish men belong. If all Jewish men (and Arabic men) are the sons of Abraham, then why are there so many different kinds of Jewish (and Arabic) Y-DNA? Abraham lived recently enough (about 4000 years ago) that the Y-DNA all of his male descendants should belong to the same haplogroup. Again, the obvious answer is that Jewishness has no genetic basis -Judaism is as the saying goes a religion not a race- and that men from a wide variety of ethnic origins have often converted to Judaism and founded non-Abrahamic blood-lines. Behar’s 2003 result is seemingly contradicted by a study in 2013 by Rootsi and Behar. A mutation, not widely found among Eastern Europeans -M582- was present

in all sampled R1a Ashkenazi Levites, as well as in 33.8% of other R1a Ashkenazi Jewish males, and 5.9% of 303 R1a Near Eastern males, where it shows considerably higher diversity.

leading the authors to conclude that this marker most likely originates in the pre-Diasporic Hebrews in the Near East, but the basic problem of multiple Levitical lineages remains. A problem with Behar’s 2003 stance, as far as Cohanim/Levites are concerned, is how seriously these traditions are taken by those of the Jewish faith: whilst it is quite possible to convert to Judaism without being in any way a biological child of Abraham, it is unthinkable in the context of Judaism that these roles could be played by someone lacking the appropriate patrilineal descent, and in some cases oral and written records have been scrupulously kept for centuries to ensure the integrity of the inheritance.

The Samaritans
The Samaritan Cohanim claim that they are the descendants of the northern Israelites who survived the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, a claim that is backed up by Shen (2004):

…we speculate that the Samaritan M304 Y-chromosome lineages present a subgroup of the original Jewish Cohanim priesthood that did not go into exile when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 BC, but married Assyrian and female exiles relocated from other conquered lands, which was a typical Assyrian policy to obliterate national identities. This is in line with biblical texts that emphasize a common heritage of Jews and Samaritans, but also record the negative attitude of Jews towards the Samaritans because of their association with people that were not Jewish.

And it is backed up by Oefner (2013):

Estimation of genetic distances between the Samaritans and seven Jewish and three non-Jewish populations from Israel, as well as populations from Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, and Europe, revealed that the Samaritans were closely related to Cohanim. This result supports the position of the Samaritans that they are descendants from the tribes of Israel dating to before the Assyrian exile in 722-720 BCE.

Their recorded lineage of high priests -the longest Cohen lineage in the world- has supposedly been held by 132 priests in the last 34 centuries and dates back to Aaron, through his son Eleazar, and his son Phinehas:

1. Sashai, ben Abishua, who was a contemporary and rival of the Jewish High Priest Eli of Shiloah

2. Bakhi, ben Abishua, probably identical to the Jewish High Priest Bukki

3. Shembet ben Nedab ben Uzziah ben Sashai, who served at the shrine to God at Shechem alone

4. Shallum ben Shembet

5. Hezekiah I ben Pedaiel ben Shembet

6. Jonathan I ben Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:27), served as a messenger during Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15:36, 17:17)

7. Jair ben Jonathan

8. Daliah I ben Hezekiah…

…124. Amram ben Yitzhaq ben Amram ben Shalma

125. Asher ben Matzliach ben Phinhas

126. Phinhas ben Matzliach ben Phinhas

127. Yaacob ben Ezzi ben Yaacob ben Aaharon

128. Yoseph ben Ab-Hisda ben Yaacov ben Aaharon (1919-1998)

130. Shalom ben Amram ben Yitzhaq (Saum Is’haq al-Samiri) (1922-2004)

131. Elazar ben Tsedaka ben Yitzhaq (1927-2010)

132. Aharon ben Ab-Chisda ben Yaacob

Although the unbroken genealogy is questionable -the Samaritans themselves admit that the last Samaritan High Priest of the line of Eleazar son of Aaron died in 1624 without a male successor, and the descendants of Aaron’s other son, Ithamar, took over the office- but nonetheless the office itself may go back at least as far as the Hellenistic period: Josephus says in the Antiquities of the Jews that it is derived from Zadokite high priests of Jerusalem from around the time of Alexander the Great (Zadok was a high priest said in 1 Chronicles 6:4-8 to be descended from Eleazar the son of Aaron who supported King David during the revolt of his son Absalom and helped establish the Kingship of Solomon). And again the 4-member FTDNA Israelite Samaritans DNA Project reveals that the haplotypes don’t match. In particular, the Cohanim Y-DNA (tribe of Levi) belongs to a different haplogroup (E) to that of the Y-DNA of the members of he tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (J). But Ephraim and Manasseh were the sons of Joseph, who was the brother of Levi, and hence they shared a common paternal ancestor in Jacob who was born circa 1653 BC while the MRCA of E and J lived 10s of thousands of years ago. The connection of Samaritans to the ancient northern Israelites makes their DNA a worthy object of study, but nonetheless the FTDNA results seem to contradict the genealogy.

An Ashkenazi-Levite Test Case
The example of the multiple Cohanim and the Levitical haplogroups (and the multiple Jewish haplogroups) presents us with a classic conflict between genetics and genealogy: genealogy says one thing -that Cohanim and Levites descended from Aaaron and from Levi (and Jewish men from Abraham) but genetics says -or rather appears to say- otherwise. This conflict is widespread, and for a more particular example, we can consider the descendants of Yehuda Leib of Shpola (c 1725-1811) more commonly known as known as the Shpoler Zeide. Using “rabbinical books, tombstone inscriptions, immigration and naturalization records, U.S. censuses, birth, marriage, and death records, social media, and other genealogical sources”, researchers Paull and Briskman (2017) traced Shpoler Zeida’s descendants through 12 generations, to produce a family tree comprising over 2, 500 of his descendants. By appeal to this family tree, they identified 5 living members of Shpoler Zeide’s patrilineal line for DNA testing:

The tests went ahead, and the result showed that David and Yisreal Seide matched closely over 37 markers, Arron and Miron Zeide matched perfectly, but these pairs of Zeidas didn’t match each other, and Yuri Zeide failed to match either pair. The researchers were disconcerted because, having believed they had a complete paper trail for all 4 descendants

we had no way to distinguish which pair of results represented the true genetic signature of the Shpoler Zeida. To further complicate the issue, Yuri Zeida’s Y-DNA results did not match either pair of descendants.

So they found another possible descendant in Michael Zeide, who descended from an independent line, and reasoned that the Y-DNA-pair Micheal matched must be the true DNA signature of Shpoler Zeida. It turned out that Michael matched David and Yisreal, and so the question was decided. But in deciding that David and Isreal, and not Aaron and Miron and Yuri, descended from Shpoler Zeida, Paul and Briskman were arguably required to accept some unnatural consequences. Aaron Joseph and Miron Zeide’s common ancestor was Shmuel Zeida…

In our analysis of the 1834 Shpola census, Shmuel Zeida, born circa 1778, was listed as being a son of Boruch. Because the Shpoler Zeida had a son named Boruch (b. 1763), we interpreted this to mean that Shmuel was Boruch Zeida’s son, and the Shpoler Zeida’s grandson.

However, in light of the fact that Aaron Joseph and Miron Zeide’s Y-DNA results do not match the Shpoler Zeida’s genetic signature, we believe that their ancestor Shmuel was not a paternal descendant of the Shpoler Zeida. Instead, we believe that he married a daughter of the Shpoler Zeida, and adopted her Zeida surname.

Yuri Zeide descended from Fayvil Zeida…

In our analysis of the 1834 Shpola census, Fayvil Zeida, born circa 1788, was listed as being a son of Leib. We interpreted this to mean that Fayvil Zeida was a newly-identified son of Yehuda Leib Zeida (the Shpoler Zeida).

In light of the fact that Yuri Zeide’s Y-DNA results do not match the Shpoler Zeida’s genetic signature, we believe that Fayvil Zeida married the Shpoler Zeida’s granddaughter and adopted her surname.

In order to accept their thesis, we have to accept that two men with the same surname, whose Y-DNA matches perfectly across 37 markers, with all the right credentials to be Shpoler Zeide’s descendants, were actually from non-Zeide patrilineal lines, and took on the Zeide surname of their brides only because of the name’s renown. In any case, the argument employed is circular if the possibility that the Zeide-lines represented by Aaron and Michael and Yuri are in fact authentic exists: “However, in the light of the fact that Aaron Joseph and Miron Zeide’s Y-DNA results do not match the Shpoler Zeida’s genetic signature…” and “In light of the fact that Yuri Zeide’s Y-DNA results do not match the Shpoler Zeida’s genetic signature…”, and we will see that there is a very strong argument to made for the authenticity of this possibility. Because Shpoler Zeida declined to accept an official rabbinical position, and did not found therefore found a rabbinical dynasty, with all of if its associated documentation, tracing his descendants was a more difficult task than it might otherwise have been. Rabbi Meir ben (son of) Rabbi Isaac Katzenellenbogen, better known as the Maharam of Padua (c 1482-1565), lies at root of a the Katzenellenbogen rabbinic lineage, and the attempt was made in 2016 by Paull, Briskman, and Rosenstein, to identify the Y-DNA signature of this lineage. Again, they found 6 likely descendants, 4 of whom matched, and 2 that did not. They believed the lines with the better paper trails to be the matching lines, and they declared one mismatch -The Mintz line- to be anticipated, since the descent from the Katzenellenbogen lineage was suspected of passing through a maternal Katzenellenbogen ancestor. Of the mismatching de Vahl Davis line:

It is difficult to know where the disruption in the paternal lineage occurred… It is quite possible that the de Vahl Davis line, like the Mintz line, passes through a maternal Katzenellenbogen ancestor.

A New Model of Genetic Change
Failing the discovery of a mummified corpse, the quest for the haplogroups of biblical Levi and Aaron is a hopeless one. Although there are genealogies -such as those of the Samaritan high priests- that extend back many centuries, none goes back nearly as far as necessary. Yes, the ‘Cohen modal haplotype’ (DYS19 = 14, DYS388 = 16, DYS39 = 23, DYS391 = 10, DYS392 = 11, DYS393 = 12) seems to be more common amongst self-declared Cohanim than any other group, but putting aside the objections that the signature is found amongst several lineages, and amongst both non-Cohanim and non-Jews, there is in any case no genetic link to Aaron… But arguably we don’t need a paper trail leading from the present to Levi or to Aaron, or a model haplotype common only to Levites or Cohanim for all such traditions to be at least credible. Arguably we have a priori reasons to accept the possibility that patriarchs such as Levi and Aaron founded, not one or two, but many lineages present to the world today. These reasons begin with prime numbers, numbers divisible only by 1 and themselves. Every prime number is unique, and every non-prime number is a repeated prime: 2 is unique, 3 is unique, 4 is a repeated 2, 5 is unique, 6 is a repeated 2 and a repeated 3, 7, is unique, 8 is a repeated 2, and so on and so on… The number line forms a tree structure whose branches correspond to the prime numbers, but since prime numbers don’t change in a uniform way, they can be most easily be envisioned as a spiral:

They never run out altogether, but they spiral outwards, and the further one counts down the line the fewer of them there are. Let

n=number of STR mutations
m=sum of mutation rates
g=the length of a generation
TMRCA=years before present to the time the most recent common ancestor

and we have the simple formula whose mutation rates follows straight lines and which broadly reflects the way in which the TMRCA is generally computed:

\text{Present} \text{year}-\frac{g n}{2 m}=\text{TMRCA}

This is the mathematics that causes all of the conflicts between genealogy and genetics we have been considering above, and leads us to believe that the human race and the universe is extremely old. An also simple formula that reflects the possibility that mutation rates follow the primes -follow rough curves rather than straight lines- is

\text{Present} \text{year}-\pi \left(\frac{g n}{2 m}\right)=\text{TMRCA}

\pi (x) is what is called a ‘step function’, and it has been set up so that the jump from one step to another takes place only when a prime number appears in the number line:

As we travel down the line, we find that these jumps become rarer and rarer, for the primes thin out. Despite this global decrease in prime-density, there are local irregularities. If we identify prime-density with genetic simplicity, it follows that while the global direction of the Y-DNA tree is toward further genetic complexity, there are random variations in both directions. If we accept the proposal that the mutation rates of SNPs correspond to the primes in the manner indicated, we must reject the assumption that genetic mutations occur at a constant rate (straight versus curved) and the assumption that they always follow the one-way simple-to-complex direction of the ISOGG Y-DNA tree (smooth versus rough). The following chronology is necessarily speculative, but it illustrates the great difference this new approach to genetic change makes:[supsystic-tables id=14]

Of course it is widely believed that Y-Adam are far older than 6000 years (the latest figure is in the order of 300, 000), but once in possession of the idea that unique change is subject to entropy, we will find all of the usual methods for estimating the age of ancient things to be prone to overestimate this age. Take for example the method of radiocarbon dating. When an animal dies, its level of Carbon 14 is approximately equal to that of the atmosphere at that time, and it subsequently decreases from ‘beta decay’, i.e. the loss by the nucleus of an atom of electrons or positrons. By measuring the amount of the stable Carbon 12 the remains of the animal contains, and comparing it to that of the unstable Carbon 14 isotope, we can estimate the date of death. But if the rates at which atomic nuclei emit energy follow the primes rather than the integers, then the assumption that the ratio of Carbon 12 to Carbon 14 decreases at a uniform rate will lead to inaccurate readings. Imagine again a clock that runs more quickly in the present than in the past : if we assume that this clock has always run at its presently observable rate, and if we try to calculate how much time has elapsed since some earlier rotation, we will find that the calculation tends to over-estimate. Since the clock spirals rather than circles, the accuracy of the estimate will be inversely proportional to the number of rotations. But because this is a rough rather than a smooth spiral, the equation is probabilistic. Correspondingly, the accuracy of a radiocarbon date may be inversely proportional to the age of the object being dated – the older the object, the more likely it is that any estimate of its age based on the assumption of uniformity will be inflated. Ironically, this mathematical framework derives from On the Number of Primes Less Than a Given Magnitude, a work published by Bernhard Riemann in the same year and in the same month (November 1859) that Charles Darwin published On the Origin of the Species (the latter work is the most significant source of the evolutionary world-view and its simplistically linear chronology). We can be refine the formula above on the grounds that \pi (x) lies between the sums

\sum _{n=2}^x \frac{1}{H_n}-2 \left(\text{Re} \sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \text{Ei}\left(\rho _{-n} (\log x)\right)\right)


\sum _{n=2}^x \frac{1}{n \log }-2 \left(\text{Re} \sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \text{Ei}\left(\rho _{-n} (\log x)\right)\right)

This gives us at first

\text{Present} \text{year}-\sum _{n=2}^{\frac{g n}{2 m}} \frac{1}{n \log }\leq \text{TMRCA}\leq \text{Present} \text{year}-\sum _{n=2}^{\frac{g n}{2 m}} \frac{1}{H_n}

Consider now  that the way to fully simulate \pi (x)  and the prime-density of the number line is by use of the function

\frac{\sum _{n=2}^x \frac{a_1}{H_n}+\sum _{n=2}^x \frac{a_2}{n \log }\text{...}+}{n}-2 \left(\text{Re} \sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \text{Ei}\left(\rho _{-n} (\log x)\right)\right)


From an equivalent perspective on the same process, we see that we are combining the purple coloured waves arising from the differences between \pi x and \sum _{n=2}^x \frac{a_{1\ 1}}{\log (n)} and \sum _{n=2}^x \frac{a_{2\ 1}}{H_n} so that they increasingly take on the shape of the black coloured waves corresponding to the superposition of waves

2 \left(\text{Re} \sum _{n=1}^{\infty } \text{Ei}\left(\rho _{-n} (\log x)\right)\right)

This gives us a notion of genetic change that does not take place in straight lines, but in superpositions of roughly formed waves. Switching to the equivalent  density perspective:

It follows straightforwardly that the amplitude of these waves diminishes erratically in the direction of the past to the future in accordance with the governing mathematical principle known as the Riemann Hypothesis. Thus we can modify our formula further as follows:

\text{Present} \text{year}-\sum _{n=2}^{\frac{g n}{2 m}} \frac{a_1}{n \log }\leq \text{TMRCA}\leq \text{Present} \text{year}-\sum _{n=2}^{\frac{g n}{2 m}} \frac{a_2}{H_n}

This ‘Riemannian’ framework explains, where the Darwinian framework does not, the existence of multiple haplogroups arising from a recent common ancestor. The classic case of the conflict between genealogy and genetics is that of Richard III. The skeleton of the English King was unearthed from beneath a carpark in 2012 and his genome sequenced. Y-DNA extracted from the skeleton revealed a mismatch between Richard and the Y-DNA of 4 contemporary descendants (the Somersets) of the King’s 2nd great grandfather Edward III, prompting geneticists to conclude that there was a “false paternity event’ somewhere between Edward and the Somersets. But this explanation is belied by a mismatch between one of the Somersets and the other 3 (sound familiar?), and by a further mismatch between the Y-DNA of a descendant of Edward III’s paternal ancestor Geoffrey Plantagenet and Richard and all 4 Somersets (In the immortal words of the antagonist of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”) [supsystic-tables id=10]

The Richard III/Somerset mismatches can be accounted for this this way:

MRCA=Edward III (1312- 1370)




\frac{27\ 18}{2 0.046}=5282.61

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{5282.61} \frac{0.983129}{n \log }=1312

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{5282.61} \frac{0.9926}{H_n}=1370

Somerset 3:




\frac{30\ 15}{2 0.046}=4891.3

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{4891.3} \frac{1.05023}{n \log }=1312

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{4891.3} \frac{1.03372}{H_n}=1377

Somerset 3 doesn’t match Somersets 1, 2, 4, and 5 in the traditional sense of the term ‘match’, prompting geneticists to appeal again to the catch-all ‘false paternity event’. Somersets 1, 2, 4, and 5 match closely – there are at most 2 mismatched markers out of 23 between them. In the case of the 1 marker mismatch, we can hone in on their supposed MRCA Henry Somerset (1744 – 1803) in this way:

Henry Somerset 1744 – 1803




\frac{30}{2 0.046}=326.087

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{326.087} \frac{3.75507}{n \log }=1744

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{326.087} \frac{3.39641}{H_n}=1803

Somersets 1, 2, 4 and 5 differ from Somerset 3 by 20 out of 23 markers:

Henry Somerset 1744 – 1803




\frac{30\ 20}{2 0.046}=6521.74

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{6521.74} \frac{0.317506}{n \log }=1744

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{6521.74} \frac{0.26889}{H_n}=1803

The traditional Darwinian picture of genetic inheritance is this:

The Riemanian picture is this:


[supsystic-tables id=4]

The mismatch between David and Yisrael Seide and Aaron and Miron Zeide is then to be accounted for in this way:

MRCA = Shpoler Zeide (1725- 1811)




\frac{30\ 21}{2 0.074}=4256.76

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{4256.76} \frac{0.48999}{n \log }=1725

2017-\sum _{n=2}^{4256.76} \frac{0.375499}{H_n}=1811

The traditional Darwinian picture of genetic inheritance is this:

The Riemanian picture is this:

Of course there are spurious genealogies, but within this Riemanian mathematical framework alone, arises the possibility that all of those men whose genealogical traditions assert that they are the descendants of Levi and/or Aaron and/or Abraham really did descend from these patriarchs. And within this Riemanian mathematical framework alone, is it possible to to explain exactly why biblical chronology -and not evolutionary chronology- is the true chronology of the universe.


The European Jewish Test Case
In The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses (2012), Eran Elhaik distinguishes between the ‘Rhineland Hypothesis’ and the Khazarian ‘Hypotheses’. According to the former, Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of Israelite tribes who migrated to the Rhineland, and according to the latter they are the descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic people originating in and populating an empire north of and between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Apparently, the Khazars converted to Judaism in the 8th century, and migrated westwards into Eastern Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries when the Khazarian Empire was collapsing. Under the Rhineland Hypothesis, European Jews would be very similar to each other and would have a predominantly Near Eastern ancestry. But Elhaik found that the genome of the European Jew is a mixture:

Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis depicting a large Caucasus ancestry along with Southern European, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European ancestries, in agreement with recent studies and oral and written traditions. We conclude that… their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan.

He seems to interpret his results to mean that the Khazarian Hypothesis is true, but in fact his findings support both hypotheses and therefore fail to decide between them. Both the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypothesis are needed to explain the dual nature of the European Jewry, and so the dichotomy remains, and nothing is explained. A third hypothesis -and one that would, if true, actually explain the phenomenon in need of explanation- is that the ancient Kingdom of Israel was divided into two broad groups, the roots of which are the same, but who have followed geographically and genetically different pathways out of Israel. One of these groups includes Sephardi Jews and various Jews of Near Eastern descent, and the other larger and more diverse group includes peoples such Ashkenazi Jews, along with other seemingly non-Jewish people. Such a division has a historical basis in the division of the southern and the northern kingdoms of Israel. The Tanakh tells us that kingdom of Israel was united under David and Solomon, but after the death of Solomon, it split into two – “Judah” and “Israel”. The Davidic line (Jeroboam) became the kings only of the southern kingdom of Jerusalem which consisted of 2 tribes (Judah and Benjamin), while the northern kingdom of Israel (Rehoboam) established by rebels against the Davidic line, was comprised of 10 tribes:

  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Levi (Levi was scattered between kingdoms)
  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
  • Dan
  • Naphtali
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Joseph

This northern kingdom lasted until about 722 BC, when its inhabitants were gradually removed by the Assyrian kings Tiglath-Pileser and Shalmaneser. Where did the Lost Tribes go? Jeremiah 31: 8 emphasizes a northerly direction:

See, I will bring them (the Israelites) from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth.

which is consistent with Josephus’ statement in the Antiquities that

…the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now and are an immense multitude.

2 Kings 17: 6 is more specific:

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.

2 Kings 18:11 reiterates:

The king of Assyria deported Israel to Assyria and settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in towns of the Medes.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, there is no doubt that Halah, Gozan, the Habor (the modern Khabor) river are in the vicinity of Kurdistan. But these translations are based on the Mazoretic texts. In the earlier Septuagint texts, “the mountains of the Medes” is used instead of “the towns of the Medes”, and earlier version may help cast light on 1 Chronicles 5: 26 which reads:

So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.

This passage seems to include an additional location in ‘Hara’, and some scholars have suggested that ‘Hara’ is an Aramaic form of the Hebrew word for mountain (‘har’) and that the phrase “of the Medes.” has been mistakenly omitted. International Standard Bible Encylopedia:


ha’-ra (hara’; Septuagint omits):

A place named in 1 Chronicles 5:26 along with Halah, Habor and the river of Gozan, whither the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh were carried by Tiglath-pileser. In 2 Kings 17:6; 18:11, Hara is omitted, and in both, “and in the cities of the Medes” is added. Septuagint renders ore Medon, “the mountains of the Medes,” which may represent Hebrew hare madhay, “mountains of Media,” or, `are madhay, “cities of Media.” The text seems to be corrupt. The second word may have fallen out in 1 Chronicles 5:26, hare being changed to hara’.

Today we call the “mountains of the Medes” the “Zagros Mountains”, the largest mountain range in Iran, Iraq, and South Eastern Turkey.

That there us a genetic divide between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, and a corresponding genetic link between Askenazi Jews and certain Non-Jewish populations, is shown by Bulher’s study of CCR5-delta32 (2003). This marker -which protects against AIDS, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis- was discovered in nearly 30 per cent of subjects from Iceland -where 30% of men carry Norse R1a- and it is common amongst Ashkenazi Jews, while rare amongst Sephardi Jews:

Here, Australian Ashkenazi Jews (n = 807) were found to have a CCR5-delta32 allele frequency of 14.6% while Australian Sephardic Jews (n = 35) had a frequency of 5.7% and non-Jewish Australian controls (n = 311) had an allele frequency of 11.25%.

Moreover, its frequency proved to be 20% stronger in those whose grandparents came from Russia or Eastern Europe (This connection prompted Buhler to speculate that the mutation first emerged among medieval Russian Jewish communities and was spread to Northern Europe by the Vikings in the form of their Jewish slaves). This divide/link is reflected by Behar’s discovery that the majority of Ashkenazi Levites belong to haplogroup R1a, common amongst Norwegians, Sorbs, and Belrusians, but rare amongst Sephardi Levites and Sephardi Isrealites, who tend to belong to the Near Eastern haplogroups E, J, and K. Eastern origin of Ashkenazi Levites (2013) suggests that Behar thought better of this, but at the time the anomaly prompted the conclusion stated above that Europeans infiltrated the potentially Near-Eastern Jewish gene pool:

Comparisons with other Jewish and non-Jewish groups suggest that a founding event, probably involving one or very few European men occurring at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community, is the most likely explanation for the presence of this distinctive haplogroup found today in >50% of Ashkenazi Levites.

This divide/link coheres with the close match there is between biblical chronology and genetic chronology arising from Riemannian mathematics (the dates are derived simply by the verbatim application of \text{Present} \text{year}-\pi \left(\frac{g n}{2 m}\right)=\text{TMRCA} to the best guesses of geneticists at the time of writing, and from Mattis Kantor’s The Jewish Time Line Encyclopedia: [supsystic-tables id=5]

The Missing Link of European Jewish ancestry/The Smoking Gun of Haplogroup K
That this divide/link tracks back to an area to the north of Israel, is indicated by the relatively high concentrations of Q there are amongst Ashkenazi Jews (5%), Norwegians (4%), and Scots living on the Viking-Colonized Shetland Islands (4 – 8%). Ellen Levy-Coffman in A Mosaic Of People: The Jewish Story And a Reassessment Of The DNA Evidence (2005) comments that in a section called “The Smoking Gun of Haplogroup Q”:

It appears that Norwegians/Shetlanders and Ashkenazi Jews possess the highest percentages of haplogroup Q of any populations in Europe – a rare link between two very different populations who may share a common ancestor from Central Asia or Eastern Europe. Interestingly, Scandinavians and Shetlanders also possess high levels of haplogroup R1a1 as well…

Very high percentages of Q are to be found in the Americas amongst Native Americans (92.3% in Navaho) and in the Altai region of Southwest Siberia (93.8% in Kets), from where Levy-Coffman concludes these groups may have arisen:

In conclusion, it appears that some members of three very distinct populations-ScandinavianShetlanders, Native Americans and Ashkenazi Jews- may share common ancestors originating from the Altai regions of southern Siberia.

But Q is rarely found in Sephardi or Near Eastern populations. Levy-Coffman refers to the research of David Faux, who noted in a “a continuity of genetic marker patterns from the Shetland Islands and other Norse colonies to groups such as the Altai of Central Asia, and the Azeri of Azerbaijan and the lack of similarity of this subset of the Scandinavian population to local Eastern Europeans”. Faux’s conclusion in private correspondence with Levy-Coffman:

The best evidence we have to date is… that Q and K* arrived (in Scotland) with R1a from the same population source in the Altai region of Russian Siberia. [supsystic-tables id=6]

By ‘K*’, Faux means K2 (now known as ‘T’). Unlike Q and R1a, T has some of its most significant concentrations in the Near East and especially in the Zagros Mountains area, notably amongst those -including Jews- living in those parts to which the northern tribes of Israel were first exiled by the Assyrians, and dying off from there -Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, Assyria, Turkey (the exceptions are the South African Jews, the Lemba, who by tradition are exiles of the Assyrian Captivity):

The veracity of the mathematics of time-asymmetric mutation rates, the history of the exile of northern Israelite tribes, Levy-Coffman’s and Faux’s insights, together with these considerations about K and T, point to the possibility that K is -unlike E or J – a specifically Northern Israelite haplogroup, and the related possibility that Q and R1a are specifically northern Israelite haplogroups that originated in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but derived from K. That is, the possibility that K was commonly found amongst the members of the 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom exiled by the Assyrians, but not amongst the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and that K gave rise to Q and R1a and other haplogroups of the Northern Israelites during or after the Assyrian exile. In accordance with this possibility, Behars’s 2003 study showed that the highest frequencies of T amongst the Sephardi Jews belonged to the Sephardi Levites (23%, and perhaps the highest concentration of T in any European population):

And T is much rarer in European Sephardi Jews generally (Mendez’ study found no T in its Sephardi subjects), which is in accordance with the long held tradition of these European Jews that they are the descendants of the tribe of Judah and the House of David. Josephus writes that as early as 90 BC there was already a Jews of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin living in Europe:

…there are but two tribes in Asia (Turkey) and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now and are an immense multitude.

Because it appears with similar frequencies in Sephardi Levites (23%) and Sephardi Israelites (13%), but is rare in the Mediterranean coat and Iberia, Nogueiro, I, et al (2015) speculate that “this lineage probably represents a relic of the original Sephardic male genetic pool”, but an alternative explanation is that T was never a significant part of the Sephardi(c) male gene pool. According to this explanation, its presence amongst Sephardi Jews today is due to the presence of non-Judaic, non-Davidic Israelites -mostly Levites- amongst a largely Judaic and Davidic people. In accordance with this possibility, the genealogical-genetic chronology based on curved mutation rates shows that both R1a and Q came into existence around the time -most probably after the time- of the exile of the northern tribes. When we look more closely at T, we find that a divide/link having its origin in the Near East is reflected in a distinction there is between two main types of this haplogroup. T is both rare and widely scattered, but in spite of its arguably Near Eastern origin, it is possible to distinguish the two dominant subclades based on the absence or presence of L131. L131 is found amongst some Ashkenazi Jews, some Yemenite Jews, generally not amongst Sephardi or Near-Eastern Jews, and mainly amongst seemingly non-Jewish populations. The following map (in which the blue parts of the circles represent the amount of L131- and the red parts the amount of L131+ in that area) indicates that -like R1a- T-L131 exhibits a northerly bias, spreading out from the Near East through the Russian plains to Northern Europe. This spread reflects the spread K, Q and R1a into Northern Europe. Conversely, L31- exhibits a southerly bias, spreading out from the Near East to Southern Europe and to North Africa, inviting us to look for other descendants of K -such as R1b- that spread out from the same source in Near East in a southerly direction:

[supsystic-tables id=18]

Ashkenazi/Sephardi = Northern/Southern Israel
Against the background provided by the mathematics of Riemann, considerations such as these provide a basis for the hypothesis that Ashkenazi Jews (significant proportions of whom carry Y-DNA with a non-Near Eastern or mixed European-Near-Eastern flavour), together with a wide variety of other non-Jewish peoples, are the descendants of exiled ancient Northern Israelite tribes who, both took Y-DNA out of Israel with them at the time of their departure, and developed these forms of Y-DNA thereafter outside of Israel. This is an appropriate way to look at Q and R1a, since there is little Q and R1a in the Near East today, and they are rarely carried by Sephardi Jews. It is an appropriate way to look at T-L131 – Mendez showed that, although it is found in certain Near Eastern Populations -such as the Jordanians- is not to be found amongst Sephardim or Jews of known Near Eastern descent. And it is the appropriate way to look at K and T- haplogroups to be found amongst exiles from the Northern Kingdom in the Near East (Iraq, Kurdestan, Iran) and elsewhere (Yemen) and amongst Sephardi Levites- but not generally amongst European Sephardim, who by tradition descend from the tribe of Judah and the House of David (the most significant proportions of T in Europe are to be found amongst the Sephardi Levites). In addition to its consistency with our genealogical-genetic chronology, and with the distribution of R1a, Q, and T, the Lost Tribes Hypothesis is consistent with the findings of Mendez of high frequencies of  L131 amongst the mysterious South African tribe known as the Lemba. The Lemba are black-skinned, Bantu-speaking, people whose beliefs and religious practices and beliefs are Jewish, and who according to oral tradition left Northern Israel for Yemen at the time of the Assyrian Captivity (in 2000 Thomas found in that one of the Lemba sub-clans carries a very high frequency of the Cohen Modal Haplotype, something which is true also of the Northern Israelite Samaritans):

NARRATOR: The Lemba believe they descend from the ancient tribes that lived in the land of Israel 3,000 years ago. According to the Bible, the tribes were united and powerful under King David and King Solomon. But when Solomon died around 900 BC, the confederation of tribes weakened.

SHAYE COHEN: According to the biblical record, after the death of Solomon, the kingdom split into two. There was a rebellion and the Davidic line became the kings only of the southern kingdom in Jerusalem. And the northern kingdom was established by rebels against the Davidic line, who established a monarchy which lasted until the year 722 BC, when the kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians. The northern tribes were then carried off into exile to points further east and at that point the mystery of the lost tribes begins, because we don’t know what happened to them.

NARRATOR: Most scholars agree that the 10 lost tribes were scattered across the Middle East, and assimilated into local populations. But throughout history, people from as far as Japan, India, and Ethiopia have been thought by some to be descendants of those long lost tribes.

The Lost Tribes Hypothesis is also consistent with with Rootsi and Behar’s conclusion in 2013 that Ashkenazi Levites possess a marker -M582- that most likely originates in the “pre-Diasporic Hebrews in the Near East”.

The Zagros Mountains to where the Septuagint texts say the northern Israelite tribes were initially exiled (and where K2/T is noticeably concentrated today), Khazaria from where the Ashkenazi Jews are according to the Khazarian hypothesis supposed to have originated (and where R1a is the dominant form of Y-DNA), and the Altai region of Siberia (from where predominantly R1a samples have been recovered from ancient grave-sites), are all parts of a sprawling Eurasian Kingdom -Scythia- that stretched at times from the river Danube to the Altai Knot. And they are all steps in the general direction that every source says was the direction taken by the exiled northern tribes out of Israel. Tony Parfitt -Emeritus Professor of Jewish Studies at London University- undoubtedly expressed the mainstream view amongst Jews and non-Jews when he declared that “the Lost Tribes are indeed nothing but a myth”, and genetically the story of the Lost Tribes has nothing to recommend it if our mathematics of genetic inheritance is Darwinian. But then nor does the story that Cohanim and Levites descend from Aaron and Levi, and the story that Jewish and Arabic men descend from Abraham. All these stories (together with the religious traditions behind them) seem, not merely false, but ridiculously false if our mathematics of genetic inheritance is Darwinian. But everything changes if we use the more sophisticated formulas of analytic number theory sketched above, and in the light of these formulas, the credibility of these stories can be restored: the explanatory power and neatness of the solution provided by the Lost Tribes Hypothesis to the puzzle of the genetic divide there is between Ashkenazi and Sephardi and Near Eastern Jews (and the genetic link there is between Ashkenazi Jews and various non-Jewish people) invites us to consider the possibility that the methods used to quantify genetic change are flawed, and so that the mainstream view is wrong. “The facts”, as David Faux says, “can speak for themselves, but need to be put in a theoretical framework that is a “best fit””.



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