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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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The sixth son of Leah (Genesis 30:20), and hence the name of the tribe descended from him (Numbers 1:9, 7:24, 10:16; Psalms 68:28 [A. V. 27]). In the division of the land Zebulun was assigned districts north of Issachar (Joshua 19:11) and west and south of Naphtali (ib. verse 34) and east of Asher (ib. verse 27). Still, Genesis 49:13 and Deuteronomy 33:18 et seq. suggest that Zebulun must have possessed also territory bordering on the sea; and, indeed, the boundaries detailed in Joshua 19 are unintelligible. Zebulun's possessions were not extensive, but were fertile and were crossed by important roads from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. This fact explains the reference to Zebulun's commerce with other clans, even such as were not Hebrews ("'ammim"; Deuteronomy 33:19; see Josephus, "Ant." 5:1, § 22), with whom at Mount TABOR Zebulun entered into commercial covenant relations (Deut. c.) = "zibḥe-ẓedeḳ," allusion to which the author of the verse seemingly recognizes by assonance in the name "Zebulun" (with "zebaḥ"). Reported as rather populous while in the wilderness (Numbers 1:30, 26:26), Zebulun seems later to have had within its borders numerous Canaanites (Judges 1:30; Isaiah 8:23). Its prowess is mentioned in the song of Deborah (Judges 5:14,18; comp. ib. 4:6,10; 6:35). One of the judges, Elon, is said to have been of the tribe (Judges 12:11). It is probable that Zebulun at a comparatively early period was incorporated in Issachar or Asher (see omission of Zebulun in 1 Kings 4, 15:20; 2 Kings 12:18). The territory was annexed to the Assyrian empire in 734-733 by Tiglath-pileser.

E. G. H.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Zebulun'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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