According to the Hebrew Bible, Jacob (who was later named Israel; Gen 35:10) had 12 sons and at least one daughter (Dinah) by two wives and two concubines. The twelve sons fathered the twelve Tribes of Israel.
- When the land of Israel was apportioned among the tribes in the days of Joshua, the Tribe of Levi, being chosen as priests, did not receive land (Joshua 13:33, (14:3). However, the tribe of Levi were given cities. Six cities were to be refuge cities for all men of Israel, which were to be controlled by the Levites. Three of these cities were located on each side of the Jordan River. In addition, 42 other cities (and their respective open spaces), totaling 48 cities ,were given to the Tribe of Levi. (Numbers 35)
- Jacob elevated the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh (the two sons of Joseph by his Egyptian wife Asenath) (Genesis 41:50) to the status of full tribes in their own right, replacing the Tribe of Joseph (Joshua 14:4). Each received its own land and had its own encampment during the 40 years of wandering in the desert.
Thus, the two divisions of the tribes are:
Division according to apportionment of land in Israel:
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Famous quotes containing the words twelve and/or tribes:
“But the twelve lie in the sand by the dry rock
Seeing nothingthe sand, the tree, rocks
Without numberand turn away the face
To the minds briefer and more desert place.”
—Allen Tate (18991979)
“That those tribes [the Sac and Fox Indians] cannot exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition.”
—Andrew Jackson (17671845)