Book: America & Britain

The God of Jacob had shown the utmost in mercy and patience to the stubborn and rebellious tribes of the House of Israel. He had warned them again and again of the certainty of national captivity if they persisted in sin. From the very beginning, even before they entered the Promised Land, God gave this warning:

“Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you…. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. When you shall beget children and grandchildren, and when you shall have remained long in the land and have dealt corruptly by making a graven image, the likeness of anything [to worship], and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land which you are crossing over Jordan to possess. You shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and you shall be left few in number among the nations where the LORD shall drive you. And there you shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell” (Deut. 4:23-28).

The exiled tribes of Israel would be scattered “among the nations”— “throughout the land” (Ezek. 36:19). But, as noted earlier from Amos 9:8-9, God would not allow Israel to be fully destroyed. He would preserve a remnant—the “outcasts of Israel” (Isa. 11:12), “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17).1 Indeed, Israel would begin to coalesce again into tribes and groups of tribes, migrating to various lands over a period of many centuries in an effort to reestablish themselves. Unknown to these exiles was the “unseen hand of God”—guiding and protecting, assuring that they would in time be resettled in new lands. The birthright promises to Ephraim and Manasseh would be fulfilled in spite of Israel’s long history of sin.

As noted, Israel lost its key identifying sign long before captivity— God’s Sabbath day. However, a few cultural identifying signs did survive the Assyrian captivity, and these signs can be helpful in determining the early migrations of Israel. Keep in mind that as Israel lost the knowledge of God and the Sabbath, they also began to lose an understanding of their unique identity as God’s chosen nation. Over time, tribal identity largely superseded national identity. We should therefore not be surprised to find that, throughout their migrations, the “lost” tribes where not known among the nations as Israel—but were known by other names.

A Vital Key—The Notorious House of Omri

One of Israel’s preeminent kings was Omri, noted for his conquests and for building the fortress-capital city of Samaria. Reigning for 12 years— from about 887 to 876 BC—Omri was exceedingly wicked before God (I Kings 16:25). Yet his son, Ahab, who succeeded him, “did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (verse 33).

Omri established a dynasty that lasted only 50 years, but it was one that achieved internal stability and relative peace with Israel’s neighbors. New and far-reaching strategic-economic alliances were formed under Omri, who was widely known for his shrewd political maneuverings. Long after his dynasty died out, the prophet Micah gave this warning from God concerning certain “statutes” of Omri: “For the statutes of Omri are [still] kept [followed], and all the [idolatrous] works of the [evil] house of Ahab [are maintained], and you [continue to] walk in their counsels, so that I should make you [as a nation] a desolation…” (Micah 6:16).

While it is uncertain as to the exact nature of Omri’s “statutes,” most scholars agree that they were not directly religious; rather, they were most likely politically oriented principles designed to guide leaders in matters of foreign policy. Omri was a master strategist, bent on establishing peace and prosperity his way—without relying on God’s intervention or blessing. Thus, his materialistic, humanistic “statutes” represented man’s best efforts at dominance and preservation—even if it required religiously prostituting the nation before the world.

Why is this important in locating the tribes of Israel? As shrewd and evil as he was, Omri earned the respect of the surrounding nations— especially Assyria. Because of his various military and economic exploits, Omri was regarded as the founder of the “kingdom of Samaria.” As a result, the surrounding nations often referred to Israel as Beth Khumri—the House of Omri. The Ancient History of the Near East records: “Omri was one of the most important of the kings of Israel, and may be regarded as the founder of the power of the kingdom. To the Assyrians, he was a sort of eponymous hero of his country, for they called it Bit Humri, ‘House of Omri.’ ”2 Concerning Omri, Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History notes: “The Assyrians called Israel after his name, Bit Omri (Khumri).”3 The History Department of the University College of London gives this confirmation: “The Kingdom of Israel was known to the Assyrians after its [assumed] founder, as Bit Humri, House of Omri.”4 Bit or Beth Omri both mean “House of Omri.”

Over time, “House of Omri” became synonymous with “House of Israel.” When other nations referred to Israel’s kings, they called them sons of Omri. Among Assyrian kings the name Omri was consistently used for Israel, starting with Shalmaneser III (who ruled during the time of Ahab) and extending some 100 years (and beyond) to Sargon II, who oversaw the fall of Samaria.5 As we will see, the Persians and Babylonians also had alternative names for Israel.

Under Shalmaneser III, Israel’s King Jehu (841–814 BC) was forced to pay tribute. Shalmaneser recorded this fact on a black limestone sculpture known as the “Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.” The obelisk depicts five different subdued kings, including Jehu, prostrate before the Assyrian king. The inscription reads: Ia-u-a mar Hu-um-ri-i or “Jehu of the House of Omri.”6 Importantly, the terms Khumri or Humri (variants of Omri) prove to be a vital key in locating the “lost” tribes of ancient Israel.

From this time Omri appears in numerous archaeological finds, spanning well over a century, identifying Israel as the House of Omri, while the name Israel gradually fell into disuse. For example, following the fall of Samaria in 722 BC—some 150 years from Omri’s time—Sargon II recorded his triumph in a paving. According to Expedition Magazine, the inscription reads: “Property of Sargon, conqueror of Samaria and the entire country of Bit Omri.”7

The Mysterious Origins of the Cimmerians

The variants of the name Omri—Khumri, Humri, Chumri, Gimri, etc.—are but different spellings and pronunciations extant among the nations of the region. For example, Khumri was Assyrian for Omri, while Gimri was the Babylonian version (the kh was pronounced g).

Discovered in northwestern Iran, the “Behistun Rock” (dating from 515 BC) identifies a group of Israelite tribes by different names. On this rock, the Babylonian name for Israel is Gimri. As archeologists and linguistics experts have discovered, Gimri, over time, became Gimmira, from which comes the Hellenized version, Cimmerian. As one source notes, “Gimri comes from [the Assyrian] Khumri (out of the biblical name Omri) and goes through Gimmira and the Greek Kimmerioi to Cimmerian.”8

The Bible Research Handbook notes: “The [Behistun] rock carries on its face an important cuneiform inscription of Darius Hystaspes (Darius the Great). This inscription, which was cut circa 516 BC, records in three languages—Persian, Susian (Median), and Babylonian—the names of twenty-three provinces subject to him. In the Persian and Susian versions, one of these provinces is called Scythia, the root of which is, phonetically, Sak. In the Babylonian text, this [same] province is called ‘(matu) Gi­mi­ri,’ translated, ‘land of the Cimmerians.’ ”9

Not only does the Behistun inscription identify the Gimiri with the Cimmerians, it also links Scythians to the Cimmerians. Thus, as we will see, Cimmerians and Scythians are both of the same stock—Israelite.

Key historical sources describe the Cimmerians—who seemingly appeared out of nowhere—as a nomadic people originating from areas south of the Caucasus Mountains, in what would today be southern Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwest Iran. This is exactly where the Assyrians had placed most of the exiled Israelites. Moreover, the earliest historical records noting the appearance of the Cimmerians identify them as the Gimri—the House of Omri. “The first historical record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC [a mere eight years after the fall of Samaria]. These [records] describe how a people termed the Gimirri [a variant of Gimri or Omri] helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu [an old name for Armenia].”10

Sargon reigned until 705 BC. Like all Assyrian kings, he kept records of the political and military activities of the day. Thousands of clay tablets have been discovered in the ancient Assyrian capital city of Nineveh, which appear to be official military records. In some of these records, dating from 707 BC, the Gimirri are said to be in alliance with the Assyrians, serving as mercenaries (at other times they fought against the Assyrians). Because of their positions along the northern-northeastern frontier of the Assyrian Empire, the relocated tribes served as a “buffer state” for the Assyrians against their enemies. A large group of Gimirri (Cimmerian Israelites) were specifically settled in an area called Mannae to function as a buffer between Assyria and Media.11

The Greek astronomer-geographer Ptolemy (2nd century AD) placed the Cimmerians in the area roughly defined by modern-day Georgia—the southernmost area between the Black and Caspian Seas. According to local history, the Cimmerians were highly influential in the development of the culture of that region. In fact, in Georgian, the Cimmerians were known as the Gimirri. Notice: “The modern-day Georgian word for hero, gmiri, is derived from the word Gimirri. This refers to the Cimmerians who settled in the area after [their] initial conquests. Some modern authors assert that the Cimmerians included mercenaries, whom the Assyrians knew as Khumri, who had been resettled there by Sargon.”12

Yair Davidy writes: “The Cimmerians had first appeared on the [northern] fringes of the Assyrian Empire shortly after the majority of northern Israelites had been exiled…. In about 707 BC, a people named ‘Gimirae’ [a variation of Gimri, or Omri] were reported from the region of Mannae. These are the Cimmerians. They were referred to as ‘outcasts’ by the Assyrians.”13 Davidy adds that the area of Mannae is referred to in Amos 4:3—“you [the tribes of Israel] shall be cast off to Harmon” (see NKJV, etc.) Accordingly, Harmon (or Harmonah) is derived from Har-Mannae— the Mountain of Mannae. This area, he writes, became a Cimmerian stronghold shortly after Israel’s exile.14

The Scythian Connection

As previously noted, the Behistun Rock identifies the Israelites by different names. The inscriptions on this unique monument tell a distinct narrative in three languages—Babylonian, Persian, and Median. References in the Babylonian tongue to the Gimri are well established as pointing to the Israelites. In the Persian narrative, Israelite tribes are called the Sakka. Moreover, trilingual inscriptions found on the tomb of Darius I also connect the Gimir with the Sakka, proving that they are related peoples. Recall that Sargon had resettled some of the Israelite tribes among the “cities of the Medes” (II Kings 17:6)—further east of where most of the tribes had been taken. It was in this area of Media—then under Assyrian control—that a portion of the “lost” tribes became known as the Sakka (or Saka).

But what is the origin of the term Sakka?

God had indicated that the name Isaac would always be used to identify Israel as a people: “For in Isaac your seed shall be called”—or named (Gen. 21:12). A better translation would be, “It is from Isaac that your seed will take its name.” Did the tribes of Israel ever refer to themselves as “sons of Isaac”? Indeed, the prophet Amos notes that the Israelite tribes were sometimes called the “House of Isaac.” About 750 BC, some 30 years before the fall of Samaria, Amos wrote: “And the high places [idolatrous shrines] of Isaac shall be desolate, and the holy places of Israel [built at Dan and Bethel] shall be laid waste…” (Amos 7:9). Using a common literary technique called “parallelism,” Isaac is here equated with Israel. God told Amos, “Go, prophesy to My people [the northern tribes of] Israel” (verse 15). Yet Amaziah, a priest of Bethel (verse 10), had chided Amos: “Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not drop words against the house of Isaac” (verse 16)—again, showing that the phrase “House [sons] of Isaac” was used to identify Israel.

As we will see, the name Isaac would be indelibly imprinted on a major portion of the Israelite peoples, uniquely identifying them as they migrated from one area to another in search of a new home.

With the accent on the last syllable (as is typical in Hebrew), Isaac is pronounced Yit-zak (or ee-sahk). Typically, the first syllable would have been dropped or ignored in other languages, leading simply to zak or sahk. Hence, the name Isaac becomes Saac or Saccae (plural). Remember, biblical Hebrew was written without vowels. Using English equivalents, this means Isaac would be spelled Sk or Sc—without the vowels. Thus, it is not surprising that shortly after the exile the Persians referred to the sons of Isaac as Saka—or the Sacae (the ae being the Latin plural ending, added later). Consequently, numerous historians are convinced that Sakka was derived phonetically from ee-sahk, and that certain Israelite tribes became known among the Persians as the Sakka (also Sacae and Iskuza) because of their claim to be sons of Isaac.15

Among the Greeks, the Sakka were typically called Scythians. As the Encyclopedia Britannica states, the terms “Saka (Sacae) … and Scyths [Scythians] … were regarded as synonymous.”16 History records that the Scythians appeared suddenly along the northern border of Media—about the same time the Gimri appeared further to the west. “Within half a century of the House of Israel going into exile, the Scythians were mentioned for the first time in … documents which date from the reign of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria (681-669 BC).” The documents “reveal that the Scythians were then located among the Medes where the Bible tells us that some of the Israelites had been placed in captivity (II Kings 18: 11)…. The same documents also prove that another new people called Gimiri were also located in the same area at that time…. [Thus,] we may conclude that [both tribal groups] were actually the same people under different names.” 17

The following gives support to the close association between the Gimri (Cimmerians) and the Sakka (Scythians): “About 707 BC, a people going by the name of Gimera or Gamera [Gimri] are recorded living among the Mannai in a territory close to Media. This is where the Israelites had been placed about 15 years earlier. Another people to suddenly appear in the land of Mannai were the Iskuza. Modern historians tell us that the Iskuza were called Skuthai [Scythians] by the Greeks and Sacae by the Persians. Sir Henry Rawlinson [a renowned historian and researcher] regarded the Gimiri or Cimmerians and the Sacae as the same people and said they were Israelites. Rawlinson’s statement is as follows: ‘We have reasonable grounds for regarding the Gimiri, or Cimmerians, who first appeared on the [northern] confines of Assyria and Media in the seventh century (BC), and the Sacae … as identical with [exiled] Israel.’ ”18

Many researchers, such as Davidy, consider the two groups to be practically identical: “[The] mountain of Mannae [associated with the Gimri] … shortly after the exile became a Cimmerian and Scythian center, the Cimmerians and Scythians being in effect one people.” He continues: “In about 676 BC, a new element, known as [the] Ishkuza, emerged from the Cimmerian ranks; these are identified with the Scythians who the Persians and Babylonians referred to as the Saka. Both names, Ishkuza and Saka, may be understood as forms of the name Isaac.”19

The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BC, also links the Sacae with the Scythians; likewise, Ptolemy refers to the Sacae as Saxons—literally “Isaac’s sons.” In The History of the Anglo-Saxons, historian Sharon Turner writes: “The Saxons [who historically settled in the British Isles] were a … Scythian tribe.” Moreover, “the Sakai, or Sacae, are the people from whom the descent of the Saxons may be inferred…. Sakai-Suna, or the sons of the Sakai, abbreviated into Saksun, which is the same sound as Saxon, seems a reasonable etymology of the word Saxon.”20 Again, Davidy notes: “Saccae was the contemporary Middle Eastern term [associated with] Scyth, and the name is believed to be a derivative of Isaac.”21

In Hebrew, those who “dwell in tents” are Scuthi—or, as we could say, Succothites (from succoth, booths; see Genesis 33:17). Hence, Scythian(or Skuthai) suggests a nomadic lifestyle. In fact, God had said Israel would become “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17).22

Israel—Set to be Sifted Among the Nations

The evidence is quite clear. While the exiled Israelite tribes along the northern border of Assyria were reemerging as the Cimmerians, those tribes toward the east in Media were reemerging as the Scythians. 23 To the world, the exiled Israelites seemed to have vanished as a people. But they did not vanish at all—nor were they “lost.” They simply reappeared in history under new names—as nomadic peoples, separated into semi-independent tribes or groupings of tribes. As the evidence indicates, the groups interacted freely— marrying, trading, warring together—as they were all of Israelite blood!

As was foretold by Amos, God would sift the Israelite tribes among the nations—a fate made possible only by the fact that a sizable remnant of those tribes had become well established (even feared) in the regions of their exile. Indeed, the Cimmerians and the Scythians had become forces of influence in the areas just south of the Black and Caspian Seas. Soon, these reestablished tribes would begin major migrations to the north and the west. Such migrations would take the Israelites into numerous new areas— effectively sifting them still further among the nations—yet, as Amos writes, “not one kernel of grain would fall to the ground.” This means the Israelite tribes would not die out or become extinct, but would continue migrating until God fully reestablished them in new homelands in accordance with the promises made to Abraham—specifically those birthright promises made to Ephraim and Manasseh.

Once we realize that the Cimmerians and the Scythians were actually regrouped Israelites, we can trace their migrations by these (and other) “transitional names”—names which have left their mark on history as the “lost” tribes moved to eventually overspread much of Europe.


1. Each of these chapters—Ezekiel 36, Isaiah 11, and Hosea 9—describes aspects of Israel’s original destruction and captivity at the hands of the Assyrians. But, along with other passages, they also clearly indicate a full restoration to God’s favor as Israel is reestablished in the Promised Land. Since the “lost” tribes of Israel have had no such restoration—unlike the Jews who were restored to Palestine after 70 years in Babylon—this can only mean that these (and similar) passages are dual in nature and point to a second national captivity. This future captivity—from which they will be delivered and restored—will be fulfilled in the modern-day descendant nations of Israel. This topic is covered thoroughly in Chapter 16.

2. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, footnote, p. 449

3. Langer’s Encyclopedia of World History (1968); “Moabite Stone”

4. University College of London; israel

5. The Cambridge Ancient History adds that “for a century and a half, the Assyrians continued to call Ephraim [as the leading tribe] the land of Beth (the house of) Omri” (p. 361). In keeping with this usage, the Cambridge also refers to Israel as the “land of Omri” (p. 376) and “Omri-land” (p. 29).


7. “Through Assyria’s Eyes,” Expedition Magazine, vol. 44, no. 3

The Greek’s Cimmerian name for the Israelites—stemming from Kimmerii or Kimmerioi—may have been partly based on the fact that they were identified with their capital, Samaria. Notice the striking phonetic similarity between Samarian and Cimmerian (the C is pronounced like an S). According to author Steven Collins, Cimmerian is pronounced Si-mer-e-en, and the consonants of SaMaRiaN and SiMeReeN are a perfect match (

9. Bible Research Handbook, vol. 2, Covenant Publishing (1972)




13. Yair Davidy, The Tribes—The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples, pp. 16, 27

14. Davidy, p. 24

15. In his book The Story of Celto-Saxon Israel, the late British historian and scholar W. H. Bennett notes that “leading vowels were often dropped in Semitic languages. As an example, the city of Istanbul is also known as Stambole…. Conversely, at the end of words, Semitic speech frequently added an aleph [letter a] to words which in Hebrew terminated with a consonant.” As a result, Isaac became Saca, Saka, or Sacae. See

16. The Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 20; “Scythia”

17. Edmund Filmer, “Our Scythian Ancestors,” archives/scythianancestors.html

18. The Origin of Our Western Heritage, ch. 5: The Captivity and Deportation of Israel;

19. Davidy, pp. 24, 28. It is most likely that the Scythian Israelites did not “emerge from the Cimmerian ranks,” but were placed by their Assyrian captors just to the east of the Cimmerians. Because both groups were of Israelite descent and no doubt frequently interacted, they are often confused as identical.

20. Sharon Turner, The History of the Anglo-Saxons, p. 59. A prominent London attorney, Turner (1768-1847) was an English historian who dedicated much of his life to the study of the origins of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. His book was first published in 1805.

21. Davidy, p. 128

22. Colonel John C. Gawler, Dan: The Pioneer of Israel, ch. 4: “Dan Among the Scythians,” pioneer_of_israel_chap4.html.
A former keeper of the British monarch’s crown jewels, Gawler (1830–1882) conducted extensive research on the history of the British peoples. In 1875 he wrote Our Scythian Ancestors, and in 1880 he published the aforementioned book on Dan.

23. While these two groupings—Cimmerian and Scythian—represented the vast majority of the “lost” tribes, there apparently were smaller groups such as the Mannai and the Goths (though this may be a later name). But given the considerable “overlap” between the Cimmerians and Scythians, these smaller groups may have actually been subgroups of the larger bodies.