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Who Were the Ancestors of the Tribes of Israel?

In the Book of Genesis, it was written that all of the Israelites were descendants of the sons of Jacob, who was the third patriarch of the Jewish people. Jacob had twelve male children, who became known as the ancestors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In this article, you will learn information regarding some of Jacob’s offspring.

Asher

The second son between Jacob and Zilpah was named Asher, and he would become the founder of the Tribe of Asher.

In the Bible, Asher was mentioned as playing a role in a plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.

While on his deathbed, Jacob blesses Asher by saying that “his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties”(Genesis 49:20).

In the Torah, it is mentioned that Asher had four sons and one daughter, who were all born in Canaan. When Asher went to Egypt, they migrated with him , alongside their descendants.

Benjamin

As mentioned in the Book of Genesis, Benjamin is the last son born to Jacob, and is the second and last son that Rachel gives birth to.

Benjamin is the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin.

Unlike Joseph (his brother who came from the same mother), Benjamin is born in Canaan.

It is mentioned in Genesis 46:21 that Benjamin has ten sons to women whose names are not known. They are named Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. Each name is chosen as a way to pay homage to Joseph. For example, Becher (which means first born) signifies that Joseph was the first child of Rachel. Gera (meaning grain) is a reference to Joseph living in Egypt. Rosh (meaning elder) symbolizes that Joseph is older than Benjamin in age.

Dan

According to the Book of Genesis, Dan is the son of Bilhah and Jacob , the first to come from their union together. In the Bible, Dan becomes the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Dan.

Interestingly, John the Apostle does not mention the tribe of Dan when referring to the 12 Tribes of the sons of Israel. This action is seen as a reference to what is perceived as the unworthiness of Dan. Because of this, the tribe of Joseph is mentioned two times.

Gad

Jacob’s seventh son came from a union between Jacob and Zilpah , a hand maid married to Jacob in an effort to produce more children. He is the first son between the two. He is also a founder of an Israelite tribe named after him.

It is said that Gad lived 125 years. Unlike his other siblings, Joseph did not introduce Gad to the Pharaoh. He did not want his brother to become one of the guards for the Pharaoh , a position that would have most likely highlighted the great strength that Gad possessed.