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Tribes, The Twelve Twelve was God’s chosen number for Israel, under this number they were ever before Him, as manifested in the Twelve Stones on the Breastplate and the Twelve names on the two onyx Stones in the Shoulder Pieces of the high Priest, and in the Twelve loaves on the table of Showbread.

All these continued the same after the division of the ten tribes, and notwithstanding the separation. Though the ten tribes were dispersed, and as men think ‘lost,’ Paul spoke of the Twelve tribes constantly serving God in his day; and James addressed the Twelve tribes in his epistle. In the New Jerusalem the names of the Twelve tribes will be written on the Twelve gates. Acts 26: 7; James 1: 1; Revelation 21: 12. They remain ever Twelve in God’s sight, as the Church is ever one before Him.

In seven passages a list of the Twelve tribes is given, but the order of the names varies in each, for which there is doubtless a Divine reason. After Levi was separated for the priesthood, the number Twelve was maintained by Ephraim and Manasseh being mentioned instead of Joseph. When Moses blessed the Twelve tribes Simeon was omitted. The Blessing there is not so much a Prophecy of their historical future, as when Jacob blessed them, but according to their relationship with God in government and Blessing. In Revelation 7, where the tribes are sealed for Blessing, Dan is omitted, as being a type of Antichrist: Ephraim is also omitted, the number being made up by inserting Levi and by Joseph being mentioned as well as Manasseh. In the future division of the land Dan will have a portion, but will be the farthest from the Temple. Ezekiel 48: 1-35. In the following table the names are numbered throughout according to birth. In Numbers 1 there are two lists of the tribes: one, the heads of the tribes, as given in the following table; the other, when the tribes were numbered, the only difference in the order of the names being that in the latter Gad comes before Judah.

According to Birth Blessed by Jacob Heads of Tribes Chosen Blessed by Moses Dividing of the Land Future Division North to South Sealed for Blessing
Gen. xxix.,etc Gen. xlix Num. i Deu. xxxiii Jos. xiii.-xix Eze. xlviii Rev. vii
1. Rueben 1. Rueben 1. Rueben 1. Rueben 1. Rueben 5. Dan 4. Judah
2. Simeon 2. Simeon 2. Simeon 4. Judah 7. Gad 8. Asher 1. Ruben
3. Levi 3. Levi 4. Judah 3. Levi 11a Manasseh 6. Naphtali 7. Gad
4. Judah 4. Judah 9. Issachar 12. Benjamin 4. Judah 11a Manasseh 8. Asher
5. Dan 10. Zebulun 10. Zebulun 11b Ephraim 11b Ephraim 11b Ephraim 6. Naphtali
6. Naphtali 9. Issachar 11b Ephraim 11a Manasseh 12. Benjamin 1. Ruben 11a Manasseh
7. Gad 5. Dan 11a Manasseh 10. Zebulun 2. Simeon 4. Judah 2. Simeon
8. Manasseh 7. Gad 12. Benjamin 9. Issachar 10. Zebulun 12. Benjamin 3. Levi
9. Issachar 8. Asher 5. Dan 7. Gad 9. Issachar 2. Simeon 9. Issachar
10. Zebulun 6. Nephtali 8. Asher 5. Dan 8. Asher 9. Issachar 10. Zebulun
11. Joseph 11. Joseph 7. Gad 6. Naphtali 6. Naphtali 10. Zebulun 11. Joseph
12. Benjamin 12. Benjamin 6. Naphtali 8. Asher 5. Dan 7. Gad 12. Benjamin

In the accompanying map will be seen the same situation of the tribes as the land was apportioned by Joshua.  For the division of the land when the twelve tribes are restored to God, see the map under Ezekiel.


Palestine as Divided among the Tribes

Original text taken from the New and Concise Bible Dictionary published by G. Morish, London

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