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Bible Dictionaries
Tribes, the Twelve

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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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 Blessed by Heads of Blessed by Dividing of the Future division Sealed for

Birth. Jacob. Tribes Chosen Moses Land. North to South. Blessing.

Genesis 29 , etc. Genesis 49 . Numbers 1 . Deuteronomy 33 . Joshua 13 19 . Ezekiel 48 . Revelation 7 .


1 Reuben 1 Reuben 1 Reuben 1 Reuben 1 Reuben 5 Dan. 4 Judah

2 Simeon 2 Simeon 2 Simeon 4 Judah 7 Gad 8 Asher 1 Reuben

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 Reuben 11a Manasseh

7 Gad 5 Dan 11a Manasseh 10 Zebulun 2 Simeon 4 Judah 2 Simeon

8 Asher 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 Naphtali 8 Asher 5 Dan 8 Asher 9 Issachar 10 Zebulun

11Joseph 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


Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Tribes, the Twelve'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​t/tribes-the-twelve.html. 1897.
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