With the death of Solomon, the short-lived greatness and splendour of his kindgom passed away, and the golden age of Israel took up its position in the long procession of historical periods. The coalescence between north and south had never been complete, except perhaps in the time of David, and as a result of Solomon's exasperating partiality towards Judah, Rehoboam had to content himself with the allegiance of the south, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In the north the standard of rebellion was successfully raised by Jeroboam, an officer who had been expelled by the great and wise king, and out of the territories of the ten remaining tribes Jeroboam built for him? self, and, as he hoped, for his descendants, a new kingdom.1 The two kingdoms, those of Israel the rebel and Judah the loyal, found, however, the same fate, and the captivity of Judah followed on that of her northern neighbour.2
The career of the Jews, the inhabitants of Judah, can be traced ^without difficulty through the subsequent centuries until the present day. Of that of the Israelites, however, nothing authentic is known after their departure from their fatherland to Halah and Habor by the river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes.3 With the beginning of their captivity they seem to have passed from human knowledge, and the mystery of the Lost Tribes has almost from that day to this been the lodestone that has attracted and bewildered students of many
1 1 Kings xii. 20.
2 2 Kings xxv. Israel feil in 721 B.C., Judah in 586 B.c.
3 2 Kings xviii. 11.
races and varied beliefs. The total absence of all evidence of their fate has cleared the ground for innumerable theories, and the Tribes have at one time or another been located in every district of the earth's surface; no race has escaped the honour, or the sus? picion, of being descended from the subjects of Jeroboam. The discovery of the Lost Tribes has, at different times, been announced in all the continents, and it has even been suggested that they were involved in the destruction of Atlantis. In China, in Tartary, in Afghanistan, in the Sahara, indisputable proofs of their settlement have been produced. In succession, we have been assured, the English, the Irish, the North American Indians, and the Hottentots are of Hebrew descent. On the other hand, some modern authorities deny that there was, in any real sense, a " loss" of the Ten Tribes at all.
The present purpose, however, is not to discuss the various theories relating to the fate of the Ten Tribes, nor to follow any of their discoverers along their marvellous itineraries. Neither the time nor the occasion is available. I shall attempt to limit myself to exposing the hold that some of these theories had obtained on the minds of Englishmen during the first half of the seventeenth century, and to showing to how great an extent they assisted Menasseh ben Israel and Oarvajal in their endeavours to secure