Whatever happened to the 12 Tribes of Israel mentioned in the Bible, and what were they called?
The tribes were named after Jacob’s sons and grandsons. They were Asher, Dan, Ephraim, Gad, Issachar, Manasseh, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun, Judah and Benjamin. Of these 12, only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin survived. The 10 “lost tribes” are the ones that inhabited the kingdom of Israel but were exiled by the king of Assyria, who conquered Israel in 721 B.C. Historians and biblical scholars have come up with numerous theories on the ultimate fate of these people. Scholars speculate that the tribes lost their distinct qualities when they were assimilated by various captors. Different religious groups have had their own theories about this over the centuries, but there is little agreement among them. The descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin have survived as Jews because they were allowed to return to their homeland after the Babylonian exile of 586 B.C.