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Bits and pieces


Sons of Jacob - 12 or 13 tribes?







Half-tribe Maneeseh

Half of the tribe of Maneeseh lived west of the Jordan and half east of the Jordan. So the half living in the east, together with Gad and Reuben didn’t in the Promised Land across the Jordan. Numbers 32:1-5


Num 32:1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;

Num 32:2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and to the princes of the congregation, saying,

Num 32:3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,

Num 32:4 Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and your servants have cattle:

Num 32:5 Why, said they, if we have found grace in your sight, let this land be given to your servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.


Num 32:33 And Moses gave to them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and to half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about. Num 32:34 And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer, Num 32:35 And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah, Num 32:36 And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep. Num 32:37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim, Num 32:38 And Nebo, and Baalmeon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names to the cities which they built. Num 32:39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it. Num 32:40 And Moses gave Gilead to Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelled therein. Num 32:41 And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havothjair. Num 32:42 And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.




1 tribe splits into 2 tribes

Jacob/Israel got 12 son who formed the 12 tribes.

The tribe of Joseph was one of them and got a double inheritance.

That double inheritance was split among his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.


Originally Reuben, the first son, had the double inheritance like all first born sons, but because of his sin.

Gen 35:22 While Israel stayed in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine; and Israel heard. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve in number


Gen 49:3 Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

Gen 49:4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed; then defiled you it: he went up to my couch.


Not excel means not being placed above his other brothers with a double inheritance. One part of his inheritance was transferred to Joseph





Some claim because Manasseh received half of Joseph’s land they are called half-tribe. That can’t be true because Ephraim never is called half-tribe. The reason is simply that half of Manasseh lived east and the other half west of the Jordan river.




13 tribes

The math isn’t that hard :-) It starts with 12 tribes and one splits into two. That makes 13 tribes. That never changed. But still you always read the 12 tribes of Israel, not 13. The key to this ‘mystery’ is that the 12 tribes are tribes with land. Ephraim got Joseph’s land, Manasseh got the land of the Levites. The Levites lived scattered over all the tribes and served as priests. Their income came from offerings made to the Temple and synagogues.




Num 3:12 And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that opens the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;

Num 3:13 Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed to me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: my shall they be: I am the LORD.



Jos 13:14 But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the LORD, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as he promised them


X2. Worldly and spiritually

It looks like the tribes counted differ per situation.





Jesus + 12

I’m wondering this is connected to Jesus and the 12 apostles. Jesus being the ‘Levites’.
The Levites had no land, Jesus said:

Matt 8:20 And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay his head.


No place to lay His head, no land? For sure He was/is a priest. Sure not a Levite but one of the order of Melchizedek, but still the parallel make me wonder. But then, where does Judas and his replacement Matthias fit in?



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GOED: https://thetorah.com/did-reuben-lie-with-bilhah/

http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/History-12Tribes.htm