Afghans, a people inhabiting Afghanistan (q.v.), aid, according to their own traditions, descended from Melic Talut, that is, from king Saul. Sir William Jones has conjectured that they are a remnant of the ten tribes of Israel carried off in the Captivity. He says, "We learn from Esdras that the ten tribes, after a wandering journey, came to a country called Arsareth, where we may suppose they settled. Now the best Persian historians affirm that the Afghans are descended from the Jews; and they have among themselves traditions of the same import. It is even asserted that their families are distinguished by the name of Jewish tribes; though, since their conversion to Islamism, they have studiously concealed their origin. The language they use has a manifest resemblance to Chaldaic; and a considerable district under their dominion is called Hagareth, which might easily have been changed from Arsareth." The Afghans still preserve a strong resemblance to the Jews in their customs and ritual observances. They contract marriages chiefly with their own tribes; they adhere to the Levitical law in the brother marrying the widow of his deceased brother whenever the' brother has died without issue; divorces are permitted among them, and a ceremony prevails among one of their tribes bearing a marked resemblance to the Feast of Tabernacles, Their language also contains a greater number of Hebrew words than any other in India.

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