Thursday, January 03, 2013

Interesting Tradition

The largest people group in Afghanistan are the Pashtun people who live in the southern part of the country. They are also the second largest tribal grouping in Pakistan. The total number of Pashtun people in the world is estimated to be about 50 million. Most Christians do not realise it, but the oral traditions of the Pashtun people suggest that they are descended on from Abraham and Jacob through one of the lost ten tribes.

For those who are not familiar with Old Testament history, when the Solomon died, his kingdom was divided between two of his sons. Jeroboam ruled the ten tribes in the north and Rehoboam ruled Judah and Benjamin in the South. These kingdoms continued their separate existence for several hundred years. Elijah prophesied in the northern kingdom call Israel or Samaria. Jeremiah prophesied in the southern kingdom called Judah.

The northern kingdom of Israel was invaded by the Assyrians and the people were taken into exile (2 Kings 17). The King of Assyria bought people from other nations and settled them in the Samaria. The Kingdom of Judah continued for longer, but was eventually invaded by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25). They were taken into exile in Babylon, but 400 years later were returned during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. There descendants were the Jews that Jesus lived amongst. The ten tribes that were exiled to Assyria never returned to the land, and there is nothing in the scriptures to say what happened to them.

According to Pashtun oral tradition, some of the children of Israel exiled into Assyria migrated further east and settled in the Ghor region of Afghanistan. Some of the medieval texts recording these traditions have reference to a people called Bani Israel. One tribal name Yusufzai translates as “sons of Joseph” and another tribal name Afridi is thought to come from “Ephraim”. Some Pashtun customs and practices are said to be similar to Jewish traditions: eg lighting candles on the sabbath, refraining from eating some foods, using a canopy during a wedding ceremony and similarities in garments. The link could explain the Pashtun emphasis on providing hospitality for travellers.

I do not know if these traditions are correct, but it leads to an interesting question. The United States has been fighting in Afghanistan for twelve years. They have allied with the Northern Alliance, which is dominated by Tajik and Uzbek warlords . They are fighting against the Pashtun people (labelled as Taleban).

Many American Christians believe that national prosperity comes from blessing Israel. What would happen if the United States was providing massive military support to one tribe, Judah, while at the same time spending billions of dollars fighting a ruthless twelve-year war against another tribe of Israel, Joseph. God would not know whether to bless them or not. I hope the Christians who are supporting the war in Afghanistan have prayed about what they are doing.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there are a few of us American Christians who have considered this. I want to bring some insight to this subject. The Bible really does say what happen to them in the Book of Hosea. Because the government of the House of Israel (Northern tribes) was ruled over by Rehoboam, an Ephraimite, the ten tribes are sometimes referred to as Ephraim. The same is true about the southern tribes, they are called Judah, or Jews, because the king was from the tribe of Judah. The book of Hosea prophesied the dispersion and the gathering of Ephraim. Remember the prophecy of Jacob (Genesis 48:19) that Ephraim’s descendants shall become a multitude of nations. Presently, what we see in Israel is the House of Judah (Jews) and for the most part they resist the Gospel. I believe as the Gospel makes it to the Pashtun people they will hear it with not much resistance.

Aline said...

wow, i didn't know ANY of that. Thank you, very interesting.