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Ministry of the Word - 12 Tribes of Isreal, family tree, Kings & Prophets
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What Are the 12 Tribes of Israel?
Tribes of Israel Map
Question: What Are the 12 Tribes of Israel?
Answer: The land of ancient Israel was divided into 11 sections corresponding with 11 of the 12 tribes, which are based on the 12 sons of Jacob. There is an inconsistency, though, since one of the sons/tribes was not assigned land, yet there are still 12 tribes.
Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, had two wives and two concubines by whom he had 12 sons and a daughter. Jacob's favorite wife was Rachel who bore him Joseph. Jacob was quite open about his preference for Joseph, the prophetic dreamer, above all others. Joseph's brothers were jealous, sold Joseph into slavery, covered his coat of many colors with animal blood, which they then showed to Jacob, and ultimately led to the movement of the Hebrews into Egypt.
Just before Jacob died, he pronounced benedictions and maledictions with predictions on the future to each of his sons. Judah was assigned the role of leader. Jacob predicted Zebulun would live by the coast. Three of the sons, Reuben (the first-born), Simeon and Levi were scolded; the last two for their massacre of the people of Shechem. Their sister Dinah had been raped by a man of Shechem and Simeon and Levi had exacted what they considered appropriate revenge. Reuben was criticized for sleeping with one of his father's concubines. As punishment, Levi was not assigned a territory, but each of the other brothers was. This should mean 11 tribes, but Joseph received two portions (which should have been the right of the eldest son), one in the name of each of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
The "sons" and tribe names are:
Eastern
  • Judah
  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
Southern
  • Reuben
  • Simeon
  • Gad
Western
The Family of Abraham
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Various biblical passages describe the complex inter-relationships in the family of Abraham (originally named Abram). Contrary to modern Western customs, it was acceptable in ancient times to marry close family relatives, including cousins and nieces. It was evidently also common for men to have more than one wife, and even to have children with women who were not their wives (slaves or concubines). For example, Abraham's first son was the child of his wife's slave-girl; and one biblical tradition even says that his wife, Sarah, was actually his half-sister. Similarly, the twelve sons of Jacob have four different mothers: the two wives of Jacob (who are his first cousins) and two other women (slave-girls of his wives).
A prominent feature of the biblical texts is also the explanation of tribal origins through various genealogies. Thus, the Israelites (the twelve tribes of Israel) see themselves as the descendents of the twelve sons of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham. In contrast, groups like the Ishmaelites and Edomites (to the south and southeast of the Israelites) are said to be descendents of Abraham's other children and grandchildren, while the neighboring Moabites and Ammonites (west of Israel) are described as descendents of Lot, Abraham's nephew.
Another important aspect of the biblical stories is what could be called family rivalries and disputes, esp. when younger sons usurp the inheritance rights of their older brothers. Thus, Abraham's inheritance is passed on to Isaac (not the first-born Ishmael), and then to Jacob (not his elder brother Esau).
Combining all the above points helps to explain both the close relationships and the bitter rivalries between the ancient Israelites and the neighboring Semitic peoples. The Israelites (and modern Jews!) believe that the promises God made to Abraham (esp. that his descendants shall possess the Promised Land forever) were legitimately handed on to them through Isaac and Jacob (as described in the Bible), while the descendents of the other tribes (and modern Arabs!) believe that the land should belong to them, since they are descendents of the elder sons (and thus the rightful heirs) of Abraham.
The following charts can help us visualize some of these complex relationships:


 
NOTES: (unless otherwise noted, all biblical references are from the Book of Genesis)
  • Terah: from Ur of the Chaldeans; has 3 sons; wife not named (11:26-32; cf. Luke 3:34).
  • Haran: dies in Ur before his father dies; wife not named; son Lot, daughters Milcah & Iscah (11:27-28).
  • Nahor: marries Milcah, daughter of his brother Haran (11:29); have 8 sons, incl. Bethuel (22:20-24).
  • Abram: main character of Gen 12-25; recipient of God's promises; name changed to ABRAHAM (17:5); sons Ishmael (by Hagar) and Isaac (by Sarah); after Sarah's death, takes another wife, Keturah, who has 6 sons (25:1-4), including Midian, ancestor of the Midianites (37:28-36).
  • Lot: son of Haran, thus nephew of Abram, who takes care of him (11:27-14:16; 18:17-19:29); wife and two daughters never named; widowed daughters sleep with their father and bear sons, who become ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites (19:30-38).
     
  • Sarai: Abram's wife, thus Terah's daughter-in-law (11:29-31); Abram also calls her his "sister," which seems deceptive in one story (12:10-20); but in another story Abram insists she really is his half-sister (his father's daughter by another wife; 20:1-18); originally childless, but in old age has a son, Isaac (16:1-21:7); name changed to SARAH (17:15); dies and is buried in Hebron (23:1-20).
  • Hagar: Sarah's Egyptian slave-girl; mother of Abram's first son, Ishmael; much conflict with Sarah after his birth; even more after the birth of Sarah's son, Isaac (16:1-21:21).
  • Ishmael: first-born son of Abraham, by Hagar (16:1-17:27); wife or wives never named, but has 12 sons (25:12-16), the ancestors of 12 tribes of Ishmaelites (37:25-28).
  • Isaac: second son of Abraham, by wife Sarah, despite her old age (17:15-21; 21:1-35:29); marries Rebekah, who has twin sons, Esau & Jacob.
     
  • Betheul: youngest son of Nahor & Milcah; wife unnamed; father of Rebekah (22:23) and Laban (24:29).
  • Rebekah: daughter of Bethuel (22:23); becomes wife of Isaac (24:15-25:20); favors their younger son.
  • Laban:son of Bethuel, brother of Rebekah; has extensive interactions with Jacob (24:29-31:55).
  • Esau: elder twin son of Isaac & Rebekah (25:25); names of wives differ in two traditions (26:34 & 28:9 vs. 36:2-3); one is a daughter of Ishmael; his sons are ancestors of the Edomites (36:1-43).
  • Jacob: younger twin son of Isaac & Rebekah (25:26); conflicts with Esau (25:27-27:46); marries Leah and Rachel, daughters of his uncle Laban (27:43-29:30); name changed to ISRAEL (32:28); has 12 sons (with 2 wives + 2 slave-girls), ancestors of the Israelites or "12 Tribes of Israel" (29:31-49:33).

The Hebrew Bible describes the "Twelve Tribes of Israel" as descendents of the twelve sons of Jacob (also named Israel), with four different mothers. The births of the twelve sons (and the significance of their names) are described in chronological order in the book of Genesis (29:31–30:24 & 35:16-20). The Bible contains several different listings of the twelve tribes. Each tribe has its own characteristics and eventually obtains its own territory:
  • Reuben is the first-born son, and thus sometimes exercises a leadership role among this brothers; but he later loses favor and prominence.
  • The tribe of Joseph (through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim) becomes the largest and most prominent by the time the Israelites enter the Promised Land and divide it among themselves.
  • The tribe of Levi is uniquely important, not only because of Moses and Aaron, but since they become the priestly tribe (all the sons of Levi are priests, while members of any other tribe cannot be priests). The Levites do not receive a separate territory of their own, but rather live scattered among all the other tribes, where they serve as priests for the whole people.
  • Although the first king of Israel (Saul) is from the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of Judah becomes known as the royal tribe, due to the promise God makes to King David that his descendents will rule over Israel forever (2 Sam 7).


Notes:
  • Jacob's twelve sons are first mentioned in the order of their births, in Genesis 29:31–30:24 & 35:16-20.
    • Leah (elder wife): 1) Reuben, 2) Simeon, 3) Levi, 4) Judah; later also 9) Issachar, 10) Zebulun
    • Bilhah (Rachel's slave): 5) Dan, 6) Naphtali
    • Zilpah (Leah's slave): 7) Gad, Asher
    • Rachel (younger wife): 11) Joseph, 12) Benjamin
  • Manasseh & Ephraim – sons of Joseph, whose descendents figure prominently in the later history of Israel
  • Moses and Aaron – leaders of the Israelites at the time of their migration out of Egypt and wandering in the Sinai desert
  • Kings David & Solomon – the two greatest rulers of the united Kingdom of Israel, from about 1100 to 930 BCE
  • Tribe of Levi – becomes known as the “priestly tribe,” since all cultic & temple officials had to belong to this tribe
  • Tribe of Judah – becomes known as the “royal tribe,” since all later Kings of Judah were descendents of King David
  • Ephraim
  • Manesseh
  • Benjamin
Northern
  • Dan
  • Asher
  • Naphtali
Although Levi was dishonored by being denied territory, the tribe of Levi became the highly honored priestly tribe of Israel. It won this honor because of its reverence for Yahweh during the Exodus.
 
 
  • David
Old Testament Timeline
Kings of Ancient Israel and Judah
 
 
Date
(B.C.)
King of
Israel
Years
Reigned
Good
or Bad?
 
Date
(B.C.)
King of
Judah
Years
Reigned
Good
or Bad?
928 - 906
Jeroboam I
22
Bad
 
928 - 911
Rehoboam
17
Bad mostly
907 - 905
Nadab
2
Bad
 
911 - 908
Abijam
(Abijah)
3
Bad mostly
906 - 882
Baasha
24
Bad
 
908 - 867
Asa
41
Good
883 - 881
Elah
2
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
881
Zimri
7 days
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
881 - 876
Tibni
5
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
882 - 870
Omri
5
Extra Bad
 
 
 
 
 
871 - 851
Ahab
22
The Worst
 
870 - 845
Jehoshaphat
25
Good
851 - 850
Ahaziah
2
Bad
 
851 - 840
Jehoram
(Joram)
8
Bad
850 - 839
Joram
(Jehoram)
12
Bad mostly
 
840
Ahaziah
(Azariah)
8
Bad
839 - 811
Jehu
28
Bad mostly
 
839 - 833
Athaliah
(Queen)
6
Devilish
812 - 795
Jehoahaz
17
Bad
 
833 - 794
Joash
(Jehoash)
40
Good mostly
 
Date
(B.C.)
King of
Israel
Years
Reigned
Good
or Bad?
 
Date
(B.C.)
King of
Judah
Years
Reigned
Good
or Bad?
797 - 781
Joash
(Jehoash)
16
Bad
 
795 - 764
Amaziah
29
Good mostly
792 - 751
Jeroboam II *
41
Bad
 
787 - 735
Uzziah
(Azariah)
52
Good
750 - 749
Zechariah
6 months
Bad
 
794 - 733
Jotham *
16
Good
749
Shallum
1 month
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
749 - 739
Menahem
10
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
738 - 736
Pekahiah
2
Bad
 
732 - 716
Ahaz *
16
Wicked
736 - 730
Pekah *
20
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
731 - 722
Hoshea
9
Bad
 
715 - 686
Hezekiah *
29
The Best
722 - 721
Fall of SAMARIA
 
697 - 642
Manasseh *
55
The Worst
718
Fall of ISRAEL
 
642 - 640
Amon
2
The Worst
 
 
 
 
 
640 - 609
Josiah
31
The Best
 
 
 
 
 
609
Jehoahaz
(Shallum)
3 months
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
608 - 597
Jehoiakim
11
Wicked
 
 
 
 
 
597
Jehoiachin
(Jeconiah)
3 months
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
597 - 587
Zedekiah
(Mattariah)
11
Bad
 
 
 
 
 
587
Fall of JERUSALEM
Fall of JUDAH
 
 
 
 
 
582
Assassination of Gedaliah
(Jeremiah 41)
 
 
 
An Introduction to the Book of Hosea
I. AUTHOR: Hosea
A. His name, u^v@oh, means “salvation” and should be spelled “Hoshea” but has come down in English as Hosea. This does distinguish him from the last king of Israel (Hoshea c. 732-722)
B. He is the son of Beeri
C. Unlike Amos, Hosea preached to his own people in Israel
D. He may have been among the priests in his station in view of his knowledge concerning religious affairs, but this is not certain
E. He had three children who played a vital part in his message to the nation of Israel :
1. Jezreel ( laurzy ) “God sows” (1:4)
2. Lo-ruhamah ( hmjr al ) “No compassion” (1:6f)
3. Lo-ammi ( ymu al ) “Not my people” (1:8ff)
[In 2:4 there is the suggestion that the second and third child may not have been Hosea’s, but from an adulterous relationship]
F. Chapters one and three provide little biographical information since they primarily teach about Israel
II. DATE :790-686 B.C.
A. The first verse of chapter one provides a historical setting:
1. During the following kings of Judah:
a. Uzziah 790-739
b. Jotham 750-731
c. Ahaz 735-715
d. Hezekiah 729-686
2. During the reign of Jeroboam II the son of Joash (793-753) in Israel
3. It seems that Hosea lived beyond the captivity of Israel in 722 since Hezekiah’s reign is mentioned
B. The Kings of Assyria which span this time are:
1. Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727)
2. Shalmaneser V (727-722)
3. Sargon II (722-705)
4. Sennacherib (705-681)
III. HISTORICAL SETTING:
A. Even though the latter part of Jeroboam’s reign brought about prosperity (see discussion in Amos outline) it ended with chaos as four kings reigned in one year (753 B.C.: Jeroboam, Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem)
B. Tiglath-Pileser forced Menahem into submission
C. Tiglath-Pileser defeated Pekah and placed Hoshea on the throne
D. Hoshea rebelled and was defeated by Shalmaneser V in his taking of Samaria and the deportation of the people in 722 B.C.
E. Hosea may have begun his ministry during the end of Jeroboam II’s reign and on through that of Zechariah, Shallum, Menanhem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea:
1. In 1:4 the assumption is that Hosea began his ministry while Jeroboam was alive (cf. 1:1 with 1:4)
2. The list of the kings of Judah implies that his ministry continued through (past) the times of the kings of Israel (1:1)
3. If the time of Amos was one of inner crumbling for Israel, the time of Hosea was characterized by a steady decline as the stability of the kingly line fell and Assyria increased her grip and ultimate defeat of the nation
IV. AUDIENCE: Primarily to the people of the northern kingdom, Israel, but also to the southern kingdom of Judah (southern Kings in 1:1)
V. PURPOSES FOR THE BOOK:
A. To call Israel and Judah to repentance in Yahweh, the God of loyal love
B. To reveal the faithlessness of the nation toward their covenant with Yahweh
C. To indict the nation of its lack of knowledge, loyal love, and faithfulness
  • 19495 reads
 
Old Testament Timeline:
Minor Prophets of the Old Testament
 
 
Date (B.C.)
Prophet
Meaning of Prophet's Name
Theme of Book in the Bible
Gave Prophecies To/About
Major Sins Addressed
840 - 830
Obadiah
Worshipper of YHVH
Day of the Lord; Destruction of Edom; Israel's restoration
Against Edom
Edom had continual violence toward Jacob. Edom cheered when Judah taken captive.
830 - 750
Joel
YHVH is God
The Day of the Lord
Israel, Northern Kingdom
Adultery, drunkenness, idolatry, licentiousness.
780 - 740
Jonah
Dove
Sign of Commitment; Type of Jesus Christ; God's mercy to repentant
Nineveh, with implications to all peoples
Cruelty of the Assyrians
765 - 725
Hosea
Salvation
Salvation
Israel, Northern Kingdom
Adultery, drunkenness, idolatry, licentiousness.
760
Amos
Burden Bearer
The Day of the Lord; The Eternal will roar
Israel, Judah and Benjamin.
All Nations.
Oppression of the poor; Sexual Immorality; Wanton Luxury; Corruption of law & men
 
Date (B.C.)
Prophet
Meaning of
Prophet's Name
Theme of Book
in the Bible
Gave Prophecies
To and About
Major Sins Addressed
740 - 700
Micah
Who is like YHVH?
The Eternal is just Judge
Samaria, Jerusalem and then the whole earth
Lack of justice in the land, injustice, oppression
640 - 620
Nahum
Consolation
Judgement on Nineveh; Comfort to Israel
Assyrians, primarily the city of Nineveh
Cruelty of the Assyrians, overstepped boundaries
640 - 609
Zephaniah
Hidden by YHVH
God's indignation on the earth; Who may be hidden?; Israel repents, God saves them
Judah, Jerusalem, all Israel and all peoples, warning them of the Day of the Lord
Spiritual fornication
608 - 605
Habakkuk
Embrace
God Embraces Judah through destroying the Chaldeans
Babylon with implications for all peoples
Aggression/plunder; Greed/self-assertion; Graft/violence in building; Inhumanity; Idolatry
520
Haggai
Festival
The restoration Temple points to the Church
Zerubbabel, Joshua and the returned remnant
Neglect in building God's House. Procastrination.
520 - 480
Zechariah
Remembered by YHVH
The coming of God's Kingdom preceded by building of Temple
Zerubbabel, Joshua and the returned remnant
Joshua had filthy garments. Lack of Judgment, mercy & peace. Living in evil ways.
420 - 400
Malachi
My Messenger
Be prepared for the messenger that is to come. (Elijah)
Israel (12 tribes) and Israel of God today (Church)
Priests neglecting duties. People chided for divorce, adultery, robbing God and criticizing.
Finding the Minor Prophets in the Bible
Order of Books in the Old Testament
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges,
Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles,
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel,
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum,
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
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