Jews may aptly be called "wanderers on the earth," as Deasy does (Bloom too thinks that they have "Wandered far away over all the earth"), because for three thousand years their history as a people has been defined by expulsion, exile, and yearning for a homeland. Deasy is also thinking of the legendary figure of the "wandering jew" who, because he "sinned against the light" (by taunting Christ on the way to the crucifixion, or striking him, or denying his divinity), was condemned by God to wander the earth until the second coming of Christ at the end of time.

JH 2017

The Wandering Jew, by Gustave Doré. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Map by Joelholdsworth showing successive deportations of members of the ten northern tribes by the Assyrians. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule, in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Inhabitants of Jerusalem going to captivity in Babylon, in James Tissot's The Flight of the Prisoners, gouache on board painting ca. 1896-1902 held in the Jewish Museum, New York. Source: Wikimedia Commons.