Tlt - Twelve Tribes

Twelve Tribes

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:

Traditional division:

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Issachar
  6. Zebulun
  7. Dan
  8. Naphtali
  9. Gad
  10. Asher
  11. Joseph
  12. Benjamin

Division according to apportionment of land in Israel:

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Judah
  4. Issachar
  5. Zebulun
  6. Dan
  7. Naphtali
  8. Gad
  9. Asher
  10. Benjamin
  11. Ephraim (son of Joseph)
  12. Manasseh (son of Joseph)
  • Levi (no territorial allotment, except a number of cities located within the territories of the other tribes)

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