The Lost Ark & the Lost Tribes of Israel – From PNG to Zimbabwe
I read an intriguing article today concerning one of the greatest mysteries of the Biblical era – the present whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant. Most articles regarding the Ark of the Covenant are quite riviting – Indiana Jones stuff. And let’s be honest, when you read such an article, there is a bit of you that wants it to be true – all that legend, myth, history and adventure.
Well, according to Tudor Parfitt, Professor of Jewish Studies at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies, the Ark has been discovered – by him. And the Ark of the Covenant was discovered in no other place than the Republic of Zimbabwe – Mugabe land. Who would have guessed?
Professor Parfitt began his quest in 1987 when he was living with the Lemba tribe in a rural area of central Zimbabwe. They had sparked his interest because they claimed to be descended from the tribes of Israel. His quest for the Ark led him to look into a number of groups of people claiming to be one of the lost “tribes of Israel”. Professor Parfitt even travelled to PNG in search of the Ark because of claims that a PNG-based lost tribe of Israel had brought it with them!
I wouldn’t have thought much about the issue if this whole talk about the lost tribes of Israel hadn’t triggered my memory. Not too long ago Sir Paulias Matane, Governor General of PNG, launched the book Bine Mene: Connecting the Hebrews by PNG geoscientist Samuel Were. Were put forths the argument that his people, the Bine tribe of Western Province, are directly related to the the Hebrews (for more information about the Bine’s claim, click here).
However, the claim of being a lost tribe of Israel in the Pacific isn’t exclusive to PNG – Solomon Islands seems to have a number of tribes that ardently lay claim to that title too. Those tribes in Solomon Islands have even voiced their wish to build a full-scale replica of the temple believing it is pre-ordained for a country named the Solomon Islands – makes sense doesn’t it?
If you think not, ponder this. Fiji has elements of Fijians-as-Israelites in its culture too with a popular myth often told between Nadi and Lautoka about a boat called Kaunitoni being the first to bring people ashore. It is said to have contained ancient Israelites who journeyed down to Lake Tanganyika and in an unexplained way ended up in Fiji.