Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Naphtali and the Arabian Connection

After a series of wars and migrations the Cadussi-Naphtalites (also known as "White Huns" and sundry other names) split up into several groups. The majority went westward and entered Scandinavia to form what later became the Swedes. Another portion remained in Scythia to eventually merge with the Khazars who converted to Judaism.

by Yair Davidy

The early post-Christian Judahite populations of Palestine and Arabia appear to have had the notion that the Lost Ten Tribes or at least part of them were in the Blessed Isles of the West which in Classical Terminology meant the Isles of Britain and Ireland! This concept reflects an earlier tradition. The Judahite populations who had originated this belief were destined to be scattered, destroyed, or forcibly converted to Islam by the Muslim Arabs. What ideas they had about most things have to be reconstructed from Muslim sources showing Judahite influence or from much later Jewish ones.

Prior to the birth of Mohammed (ca. 571 C.E.) some of the tribes of Arabia practiced Judaism or a primitive form of it. In addition the pagan majority of Arabs had in many cases been exposed to Jewish influences and to early Christian concepts. The Jewish-Arab tribes in some cases were probably native Arabians who had converted to Judaism though some of them first appeared in the 600s B.C.E. [1] shortly after the Lost Ten Tribes had been exiled and so too may have been descended from exiled Israelites. Another possible source of Israelite blood heritage were a branch of Naphtalites. They had first been recorded close to Mannae southwest of the Caspian Sea. This area was one of the major regions to which Northern Israelites had been transported by the Assyrians. The Apocryphal Book of Tobias mentions Israelite exiles from the Tribe of Naphtali in Ecbatana and Rages of Media -- both of which adjoined the Cadussii area. [2]

The Naphtalites were called Cadussi by the Greeks, Romans, and Persians but Pliny reported that they termed themselves "Gaeli". [3] The Cadussi-Gaeli were related to the Sacae Scythians according to Xenophon. They later moved northwards into Scythia east of the Ural mountains where they were known as Naphtalites or Naphtalite Huns -- though some sources still referred to them as "Kadassaye" i.e. Cadussi. Legends, their Tribal names, and additional factors link them to Naphtali, Dan, Judah, and other Israelite Tribes. [4]

After a series of wars and migrations the Cadussi-Naphtalites (also known as "White Huns" and sundry other names) split up into several groups. The majority went westward and entered Scandinavia to form what later became the Swedes. Another portion remained in Scythia to eventually merge with the Khazars who converted to Judaism. Some of the Naphtalites may have gone eastward (where they became interspersed amongst the Rajput Indian castes) as well as to Afghanistan -- or else these last mentioned Indian and Afghan groups derived from peoples who had once been subject to them, and so mistakenly are sometimes identified with them -- and this last explanation now seems the most probable. Still another small band of Naphtalites went to the South Arabian kingdom of Kinda. [5]

A group of Naphtalites had been employed by the Persians to mind their frontiers in the 420s C.E. In the course of time some of these Naphtalite frontier guards left the Persian domain and took service with the Kinda who had territory between Iraq and Oman. The Kinda rulers intermarried with and were an offshoot of the Himyarite Royalty of Yemen. The Kinda kingdom was eventually destroyed due to attacks of an adjacent Syrian regime and its major portion (which had been centered on the south) was absorbed by Himyarite Yemen. [6]

It may be assumed that Naphtalites gravitated to Yemen and were taken into Himyarite employ. The Himyarite Dynasty had existed for several centuries. In later Persian-Moslem tradition the Himyarites were linked-dynastically with the Israelites and with the Scythians both of whom were represented by the figure of Zohak. [7] This is significant since our studies show the Scythians to have, in significant proportions, been Israelite-by-descent. In the past several of the Himyarite monarchs converted to Judaism though apparently their descendants had tended to revert to paganism.

The Himyarite, Josef Dhu-Numas, the son of a Jewish captive woman from Adiabene became king of Yemen and attempted to Judaise his entire realm. He was defeated (in 517 C.E.) by an invasion of Christian African Ethiopians from across the waters who (it is believed) took a group of captive Jews and/or Judaised-Yemenites and Naphtalites from Kinda back to Africa with them in 525 C.E. The Ethiopians were especially interested in Jewish smiths and these were taken from Yemen and from Khaibar in Arabia to Ethiopia. [8]

The Jews of Ethiopia ("Falashas") were to become the Ethiopian specialists in metallurgy. Peoples identifiable as Israelite were often metallurgical experts. The Naphtalites (like other Israelite Tribes) had also been known as metallurgists as were the Tribe of Dana (i.e. Dan) who according to legend settled in Ireland.

Naphtali and Dan were full-blooded brothers, sons of Jacob and Bilhah the handmaiden of Rachel (Genesis 30:6-8), and as such are often spoken of together. Both Naphtali and Dan were present amongst the Naphtalite Huns of whom those in the Kinda service were an offshoot.

The Ethiopians had anciently been influenced by Judaism. They have a tradition supported by Talmudic statements that the Queen of Sheba after visiting king Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10) introduced Hebraic practices into their country. The original kingdom of Sheba apparently had domain both in Yemen (Southern Arabia) and in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia there are many different peoples and the dominant groups of Tigres and Amhara may have come from southern Arabia. [9] They are relatively fair-skinned and "Semitic"-looking. The "Falashas" reportedly resemble the Tigre and Amhara though many of them, it is said, have the physiognomy and coloring of the neighboring darker "Agau" Bogos people of Eritrea. [10]

The Jewish Ethiopians (Falashas) once had their own independent kingdom and were quite numerous and powerful. They converted many of the surrounding peoples to their form of Judaism. They also over the years acquired slaves who were later freed and thus (according to Jewish law) automatically became Jewish. The Ethiopian Jews were ultimately reduced to the status of a persecuted minority. They were enabled to migrate to the State of Israel largely due to intervention by the U.S.A. They form a fairly closed community with (like every other group) its own strong and weak points. The present impression is that they may well prove to be a positive element amongst the Jewish people.

There is a tendency to trace the original central core of the Ethiopian Jews back to those Jews who were taken into captivity when the Ethiopians conquered Yemen. Some (non-Ethiopian) Jewish accounts traced them to the tribe of Dan.

The Kinda-Naphtalites had included people from Dan. Maybe members of the Kinda were amongst the "Jewish" captives deported to Ethiopia from Yemen at the time of the Ethiopian conquest? This would account for the "Danite" notion.


[1] Godbey

[2] The Book of Tobias (Tobit) in several passages indicates places wherein the exiled Israelites were to be found (Tobit 1:1-2; 10; 2:10; 7; 5:6).

[3] Pliny N. H. 6:18

[4] Davidy, The Tribes, pp. 80-82, ch. 10 pp. 197-203.

[5] Altheim, GDH, vol. 1,  p. 115.

[6] Altheim, GDH, vol. 1, pp. 115-116, based on J. Pirenne in Le Museon 69 (1956), and G. Ryckmans.

[7] de Gobineau; Horovitz, Joseph.

[8] Rapoport p. 97.

[9] ibid., p. 61.

[10] ibid.


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