The Shakya in India claim descent from a mythical king Ikshvaku, who according to tradition was a son of Manu. Ma-Nu is the Indian "Noah" ("Nu" in Hebrew). It is likely that Ikshvaku is actually Isaac (Abraham's son and hence descendent of Noah) and in addition to the phonetic similarity, there are some similarities e.g. between the story of Isaac, Jacob and Esau in Genesis 27.
And one of the stories of Ikshvaku where he sends his son Vikusi (?Esau) to hunt for meat for him and the story ends with Vikusi losing his inheritance (reference: Bhagavatam Purana, Book/Canto 9, Chapter 6).
Salik Mehee Ephraim
The Indentured Labourer records (South Africa) report that Salik Mehee Ephraim was from the village of Roy BarReilly in Uttar Pradesh, India,
It also records "Kachee" or "Kachhi" as his caste. His wife, Sukoontee, is listed as a "Musalman" or Muslim, and given his name it is likely that he was also originally Muslim and converted to Christianity in South Africa.The closest ancestral group appears to be the Urdu speaking Kacchi Muslims of Uttar Pradesh and Madhyar Pradesh. Joshua Project
The first name "Salik" suggests that he came from a Sufi group, although it apparently is also a Hebrew name. Bareilly is in infact, the location of a well known Sufi tomb, so there were clearly Sufis in that town.
Most of this group are however Hindu (~90%) and Buddhist (~10%). Apparently vegetable farmers who were originally warriors (Kshatriya). See also Maurya
Their tribe was called "Shakya", and one of its well known members was Buddha (approx 500BC). Also known as Indo-Scythians and related to the Scythians of the Caucasus (approx 700BC), also related to the Saxons who migrated west. The name apparently means "sons of Isaac".
Hebrew surnames are apparently quite common (? hence possibly also Ephraim) amongst the Pashtuns and Indo-Scythians, and there are theories that both groups are related to each other and that they are descended from the lost 10 tribes of Israel.
The Star of David is also commonly found in Pashtun homes and a number of Pashtun customs and tribal names match those of the Israelites,
- Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes Afghanistan Pakistan
- The country of Afghanistan was apparently named after "Afghana", who was a son of the first king of Israel, Saul.
The Northern 10 tribes broke away from Judah and Benjamin after the death of King David's son, Solomon, because they claimed that the throne should belong to descendents of Saul. However both David and Solomon were well liked.
These 10 tribes were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians around 700 BC, and settled in the cities of the Medes and other areas near Iran/Persia. They were still known to the Jews, 200 years later (i.e. 500 BC) during the time of the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, when the Jews were taken in captivity by the successors of the Assyrians, the Babylonians.
It was reported that the Scythians and the Medes were amongst the groups that attacked the Assyrian empire ultimately leading to its fall and the emergence of the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar.
The Behistun Rock inscription Bebhistun links the Scythians to the lost Israelite tribes (approx 700 BC) and the Scythians appeared in history about the same time the 10 Israelite tribes disappeared. This inscription was carved in a number of languages links the Persian word for the Scythians "Sacae" to the Babylonia word for the same people "Gimiri" which is linked by other historical texts to the Assyrian word "Khumri" by which they referred to the Northern kingdom of Israel - apparently after the Israelite king "Omri".
The Scythians are considered to be part of the Aryan group, originally iving to the north of modern day Iran. Records of them first appear in history, around the time of the Assyrian exile of the 10 tribes of Israel (~ 700BC). The Aryans were also known as Medes and Persians.
There are are number of interesting biblical texts that suggest that these 10 tribes would lose their identity and possibly adopt an Aryan or Mede identity:
The Israelites were first exiled to the North (Assyrian, Babylon) around 700BC, and in the North, they lived amongst the Medes: 2 Kings 18:11 "And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:"
Two hundred years later (~500BC), when the Babylonian Empire ruled, they still retained an Israelite identity, and were visited by the Jewish prophet Ezekiel, at that time part of the Jewish exiles in Babylon: Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
The Medes and Persians formed an empire in the East and then advanced in 3 more directions defeating the Babylonian empire in the process: Daniel 8:4 I saw the ram (Medes and Persians i.e. Aryans) pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
The Greek empire of Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and the Medes, but split after his death in 4 parts: Daniel 8:8 Therefore the he goat (i.e. Alexander the Great) waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.
The Northern Israelites as well as the Jews were said to have been scattered in 4 directions by the horns of the Gentiles (i.e. first the Medes/Persians, and then the Greeks): Zechariah 1:18-19 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.
The Israelites are to be recovered after being scattered in those 4 directions: Ezekiel 37:9-11 "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord G-D; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts."
According to the New Testament, the lost Israelites were to be recovered by the message of Jesus:
Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
James 1:1 James, a servant of G-d and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
The Pashtun lived towards the south of their cousins, the Scythians. At the time of Jesus, Persia was ruled by their ancestors the Parthians. The Parthian language was Aryan based, however it apparently included a number of Semitic or Hebrew words and phrases. This could be another clue to Israelite origins, although it is also possible that this could have originated with the Semitic Assyrians.
The wise men of the nativity were apparently Parthian Magi, who had come to visit their prophesied king. Although ruling in Persia at the time, they were not necessarily historically Persian. "Doubting Thomas" the apostle, was sent to India, and first stayed in the court of the Indo-Parthian King Gondophares, who is linked to the Magi called "Caspar" and is possibly the same person or his son.
Josephus, a Jewish historian, around the time of Jesus, also reports the 10 tribes as being located "beyond the Euphrates" - at that time the Euphrates river was the border between the Roman Empire on the west, and the Parthian empire on the East.
Both groups currently have an Iranian / Aryan identity, however it is possible that this was a due to their Aryanisation i.e. a cultural and language change that occurred around 700 BC.
Hence also the reason for the tribes becoming "lost" i.e. they lost their identity and assimilated with the neighboring Aryans, the Medes
The Scythians scattered by the Huns around 200 BC and the Indo-Scythians appeared in India around 500BC.
The Amazons of history were apparently Scythian woman warriors.
The Parthian Empire defeated by the Persians around 200AD. It appears to have re-emerged later in North India as the Pahlavi Empire, and later in South India as the Pallava Empire (500-800 AD).
A Pallava Buddhist monk went from India to the Shaolin Temple in China and is credited as the founder of the Chinese martial arts.
Assuming that the link between the Scythians, Parthians, and the lost Israelite tribes can be confirmed (it is still a matter of debate), then the Israelite tribe of Ephraim can be traced to the son of the biblical Joseph and Asenath.
In secular history, Joseph was possibly known as Imhotep (the "Mummy" in the recent movie of the same name), who was the second in charge of Egypt during the time of a 7 year famine, around 2600 BC. There are a number of similarities between Joseph and Imhotep, although a link between the 2 is also disputed based on the apparently different eras in which they lived.
For a statue of Imhotep see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Imhotep-Louvre.JPG
Imhotep was also the architect of the first Egyptian pyramid, see Djoser Step Pyramid