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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Daily Bible Study


The Twelve Sons of Jacob / The Twelve Tribes of Israel


The Twelve Tribes of Israel

Jacob had twelve sons: The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Rachel's maidservant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Leah's maidservant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram. (Genesis 35:23-26)

All the twelve sons of Jacob - born to wives Leah and Rachel, and their handmaidens Zilpah and Bilhah - were blessed in that they were to be a part of the nation of Israel. They would all enter into the land of Canaan and receive an inheritance there. According to the prophecies made by a dying Jacob, some would receive a greater blessing than others would, but even those rebuked were blessed.

The first four sons were born to Leah. In order of arrival, they were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.

Rachel, desperate for a child, gave her handmaiden Bilhah to Jacob to lie with. According to tradition, if a woman was barren, she could have her maid produce children who would legally be considered hers. Bilhah gave birth to Dan, and then to Naphtali.

The seventh and eighth sons were born to Zilpah, Leah's handmaiden. The first was Gad, the second Asher.

The ninth son was born to Leah, and was named Issachar. The tenth son Zebulun was again born to Leah.

The last two sons were born to Rachel. The first was the famous Joseph, who became the favorite of his father. The second was Benjamin.
Quick Facts:
The twelve sons of Jacob: Progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. In order of birth: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Isasachar, Zebulon, Joseph, Benjamin.