Taking a break from some other duties, figured I would get a start here.
Someone, I think it was @wil
, recently asked about the 12 brothers, and someone else, I think it was @Thomas
, started a thread about esoteric teachings hidden in the texts. I think this could be a place to explore a lot of these as they come up.
The condensed version of the "begats" goes from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) and then the 12 sons:
Jacob's wife Leah bore: Reuben (the firstborn), Simeon, Judah, Levi, Issachar and Zebulun.
Leah's handmaid Zilpah bore: Gad and Asher
Jacob's wife Rachel bore: Joseph and Benjamin
Rachel's handmaid Bilhah bore: Dan and Naphtali
This is not the order the sons were born. Benjamin was the last son born.
At least stateside I think most Christians are at least vaguely familiar with the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors - resulting in Joseph being sold into slavery and ending up in Egypt. Through some turns of events, Joseph ends up in Pharaoh's court, and saves his brothers during a time of famine by bringing everybody into Egypt - which at the time was friendly towards Israel and had plenty of food to share.
Joseph made everybody promise to carry his bones back to be buried with his father Jacob when he died, which didn't happen until the tribes left Egypt 400 or so years later and wandered the desert Wilderness for another 40 years after that. (There is a brief scene, like "blink and you miss it," in the Heston movie noting this.)
Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, by his Egyptian wife Asenath. Ephraim and Manasseh were initially counted as half-tribes, but after Reuben lost his birthright Ephraim and Manasseh were bumped up in stature.
I mentioned elsewhere recently about the tribe of Benjamin, and why by Jesus' time they were referred to as "the remnant of." Per Wiki (my being lazy) -
The Book of Judges
recounts that the rape of the concubine of a member of the tribe of Levi
, by a gang from the tribe of Benjamin resulted in a battle at Gibeah
, in which the other tribes of Israel sought vengeance, and after which members of Benjamin were killed, including women and children. Almost the entire tribe of Benjamin was wiped out by the other Israelite tribes. Six hundred of the men from the tribe of Benjamin survived by hiding in a cave for four months. The text refers several times to the Benjaminite warriors as "men of valour"
despite their defeat.
The other Israelite tribes were grieved at the near loss of the tribe of Benjamin. They decided to allow these 600 men to carry on the tribe of Benjamin, but no one was willing to give their daughter in marriage to them because they had vowed not to. To get around this, they provided wives for the men by killing the men from Jabesh-Gilead who had not shown concern for the almost lost tribe of Benjamin as they did not come to grieve with the rest of Israel. 400 virgin women from Jabesh-Gilead were found and given in marriage to the Benjaminite men. There were still 200 men remaining who were without a wife, so it was agreed that they could go to an Israelite festival and hide in the vineyards, and wait for the young unmarried women to come out and dance. They then grabbed a wife each and took her back to their land and rebuilt their houses (Judges 19–21
This occurrence would have taken place after the tribes of Israel had settled the Promised Land.
As with any family there are squabbles and differences of opinion and some dirty dealing. Though the Wiki doesn't mention it I seem to recall the tribe of Dan specifically got into a row with the other tribes though the details are lost to my memory, but Dan was already long gone by the time the Assyrians moved in to carry the "10 tribes" of Israel away.