The Khazars were present in Southern Russia in the period 500 CE to ca. 1200 CE. They converted to Judaism. Contemporary Jewish and non-Jewish witnesses affirmed that the Khazars even before their conversion were of Israelite origin.
The Khazars were descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
Our entire book, “The Khazars. Tribe 13” is dedicated to proving the Israelite origin of the Khazars.
We are not going to go through this work here but rather indicate a few points of interest.
Eldad HaDani, himself a Khazar, said the Khazars came from Simeon and Manasseh.
The Schecter Text
The Schecter Text is interesting since it was written by a Khazar and seems to combine claims to Israelite Origin with some Gentile Ancestry:
The Schecter Text mentions an origin from Simeon.
Akton De Mar Yaakov
This Midrashic-Rabbinical source says that Jews from the Tribe of Simeon settled amongst the Khazars. They later returned to their Jewish faith bringing their Khazar neighbors with them. This source reflects in summarized form the account of the Schecter Text.
##While the sons of Gomer became idolaters their brother Kuzar stood up and rebuked them. Said the Almighty unto him, By your life! I will reward you! Immediately Kuzar was separated from his brothers and went to the Land of Kuzaria. The Almighty arranged matters that the Children of Simeon should come in to his land. His children [of Kuzar] intermarried with the Sons of Jacob, they became righteous converts, and their fame went out into the world. ##
The Midrash Ten Exiles says they came from Simeon;
So too, the medieval Chronicles of Jerahmeel mention Khazar origins from Judah and Simeon; from Issachar, Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulon.
The Cochin Scroll gives the Khazar origin as from Simeon and Manasseh. Historical details from the Cochin Scroll tie in with the Geography of Ptolemy that lists tribes with names of Israelite clans from Simeon and Manasseh in areas where the Scroll says they should be, by the Caspian Sea shores etc.
The Cochin Scroll tells us that some of Simeon and Manasseh settled in the Khazar kingdom to the west and east of the Caspian Sea. Others of the Ten Tribes migrated eastward. Members of the Tribes of Simeon, Ephraim, and Manasseh settled the area of Margiana (i.e. Merv, north of Hara) east of the Caspian.
For details, See our book “The Tribes”.
A letter from King Joseph of Khazaria says that the Khazars were descended from Togarma son of Gomer son of Japhet son of Noah. Togarmah represents the Turks. We have shown that this sentence in the Letter of King Joseph is an interpolation i.e. a later insertion.
Arab sources (Ibn Fadlan, Maquadasisi, Ibn Hawkal, Masudi) identify the Khazars as Jews.
The Russian Chronicle and Russian folklore also identify Khazars as Hebrews or as Jews [The most frequently used word in Medieval Russian for Jew was “Hebrew”].
The Khazars were identified in Germany with the Red Jews meaning the Lost Ten Tribes.
The Khazars were located in areas where the Lost Ten Tribes had been exiled to.
The Ruling House of the Khazars in Arabic was named the House of Jesse i.e. of David son of Jesse. It was the same dynasty that ruled over the Parthians and Goths. “Yishai” (i.e. Jesse) was the father of David (Ruth 4:17) and the expression, “Son of Jesse” is a common synonym for David and/or the Lineage of David (e.g. 1-Kings 12:16 2-Chronicles 10:16, 2-Samuel 20:1). If the Khazar Monarchs did descend from David then so did the rulers over Parthia and the Kings of the Goths. The Arsacid rulers of Parthia were called “Ansis”(9. Altheim) and the rulers of the Goths “Ansa” (10 Jordanes). These in turn were related to the various kings over the Tribes of Scythia. The Kings of the Israelite nations in Scythia gave rise to the kings of peoples of the west such as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes and related nations.
We may also add to our list of sources affirming an Israelite origin for the Khazars identifications of Khazar Areas being those of the Lost Ten Tribes. Jewish tradition places the Lost Ten Tribes in areas such as beyond and beside the Sambation River, in the mountains of Darkness, the Mountains of Snow, etc. These regions were usually those where the Khazars were to be found. The Sambation River was the Don, or in some version the neighboring Dneister River. The Mountains of Darkness and the Mountains of Snow were terms applied to the Caucasus Region. Adiabene had been a place to which Israelites were taken by the Assyrians. All of these areas were points of origin of the Khazar Peoples.
Khazars Equated with Jews
Avraham N. Polak pointed out that the name “Chuzariah” (“Khazariah”) was mainly a term applied by outsiders. After their conversion the Khazars referred to themselves as Jews. Popular Russian Epics did not use the appellation “Khazariah” but rather “Land of the Hebrews [Jews]”. Neither did Jewish (and earlier European) tradition know them as Khazars but as “Red Jews”. Polak points out that when we do find use made of the name Khazaria (and we usually find it used by outsiders rather than the people themselves) it applies to all Jews (native Khazars or Jewish immigrants) without distinction. The term Khazar was frequently interchanged with the simple term “Jew” or “Hebrew”. [In fact one possible meaning of the term “Khazar” is “wanderer” i.e. the same as “Hebrew”.]