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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Zebulun

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(See ISSACHAR.) Tenth of Jacob's sons, sixth and last of Leah's sons (Genesis 30:20; Genesis 35:23; Genesis 46:14). Named from Leah's anticipation, "now will my husband dwell ('izbeleniy ) with me, for I have borne him six sons." Jacob's blessing (Genesis 49:13) was, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be for an haven of ships, and his border shall be unto Sidon." Zebulun reached from the sea of Gennesareth to Mount Carmel, and so nearly to the Mediterranean. Its most westerly point reached to Mount Carmel, which brought it nigh Zidonia, the territory of Tyre and Sidon. The language of Genesis is such as no forger would from after history put as a prophecy. Though substantially accurate it suggests more of a maritime coast as belonging to Zebulun than after facts would have prompted. Zebulun had no seacoast, yet reached close to the Mediterranean, and actually coasted the sea of Gennesareth; the rich plain now the Buttauf was in its territory.

Zebulun was far from Sidon yet bordering toward it. Zebulun possessed the fisheries of lake Tiberias or the sea of Gennesareth. So Moses' blessing (Deuteronomy 33:18), "rejoice Zebulun in thy going out," i.e. in mercantile and shipping enterprise; "and Issachar in thy tents"; both tribes should rejoice in their undertakings a broad and at home, in their work and in their rest. "They shall call the peoples to the mountain (of the Lord's inheritance, Exodus 15:17); there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness"; instead of making their abundance into mammon they would consecrate it to the Lord. Typically there is a reference to the conversion of the Gentiles; Isaiah 60:5-6; Isaiah 60:16; Isaiah 66:11-12, "the abundance of the sea shall be converted," etc.; and to Jesus the true Light, ministering most in Galilee, the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the darkest and most Gentilized part of Palestine. "The way of the sea," the great road from Damascus to the Mediterranean, traversed a good part of Zebulun (Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:12; Matthew 4:16). The "treasures hid in the sand" are the riches of the sea in general; possibly too referring to the then precious glass manufactured from the sand of these coasts (Tacitus, Annals v. 7; Pliny, H. N. 5:17; 36:65; Josephus, B. J. 2:10, Section 2; Job 28:17). The precious purple dye was also extracted from the murex.

In the wilderness Zebulun was one of the foremost, marching with Issachar and Judah under the standard of Judah. Distinguished in the contest with Jabin as "jeoparding their lives unto the death in the high places of the field," literally, "despised life even unto death" at the call of fatherland. Judges 5:14-15; Judges 5:18, "out of Zebulun came they that handle the pen of the writer" (See WRITING); rather "marchers with the staff of the musterer." David at Ziklag was joined by "50,000 of Zebulun such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, which could keep rank ('closing up together'; compare Philippians 2:2; Matthew 6:24), not of double heart." Such spiritually are the soldiers whom Jesus seeks (1 Chronicles 12:33). They contributed with Issachar and Naphtali "bread on asses, camels, mules, and oxen; meat, meal, cakes of figs, bunches of raisins, wine, oil, oxen, and sheep abundantly," to entertain David's adherents (1 Chronicles 12:40; contrast Psalms 12:2).

Zebulun had three sons heads of houses (Genesis 46:14; Numbers 26:26). The tribe had four of its cities assigned to Mesarite Levites. Elon the judge (Numbers 12:11-12) was of Zebulun. Some of this tribe accepted Hezekiah's touching invitation to the Passover after the fall of the northern kingdom (2 Chronicles 30:10-11; 2 Chronicles 30:18). In Psalms 68:27, Zebulun's princes represent the N. as Judah's princes represent the S. of Israel in the procession of the ark to Zion after Ammon's overthrow (2 Samuel 11:11; 2 Samuel 12:26-31). Zebulun shall share in the final restoration (Ezekiel 48:26-27; Ezekiel 48:33; Revelation 7:8). Its strongholds long withstood the Romans in the last Jewish war. It shared with Issachar in the possession of Tabor.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Zebulun'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/z/zebulun.html. 1949.

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