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People's Dictionary of the Bible
Tribes. Numbers 13:2-15. The twelve sons of Jacob were heads of families, and each family a tribe. The two sons of Joseph were adopted by Jacob in place of Joseph. Genesis 48:5. So there were thirteen tribes. But in dividing Canaan there were only twelve, since the family of Levi was assigned to the Lord's service and had no separate lot or share in the division of the promised land. Joshua 13:7-14; Joshua 13:33. The tribes were continued under one head or nation until after the death of Solomon, when ten tribes revolted from Judah and Benjamin, and set up the northern kingdom—Israel They were carried into captivity in 721 b.c., and no account of their return is given. Judah was also carried into captivity, 606 to 588 b.c.; but a remnant returned under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, 536 b.c. and later. Tribes are referred to as being in the Christian church. Christ tells the apostles: "Ye... shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. James addresses his epistle "To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad." James 1:1. In the Revelation "144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel" were sealed. Revelation 7:4. See Jews.
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Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Tribes'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/t/tribes.html. 1893.