The Twelve Tribes

Moshe Shulman mshulman at
Thu Feb 8 20:43:38 EST 2001

At 09:04 PM 2/4/01 +0000, Bruce Gardner wrote:
>By the way, does anyone know what the twelve tribes were in the Hebrew 
>Bible and in the New Testament? This is a serious question. There is an 
>ambiguity caused by the inclusion or exclusion, respectively, of Joseph's 
>sons, Levi and Dan. The history of Dan is particularly interesting and the 
>fate of the tribe in the list in Revelation 7 may be linked to the 
>parallelism with Judas in the disciples which led to a church tradition 
>that Judas was originally descnded from Dan. In considering this, 
>replacement of Judas by Mattathias and the conversion of Saul (Acts 1, 9) 
>creates another tension where an Old Testament idea develops within the New.

I cannot comment on the NT (and the tribe of Dan issue) however in the 
Tenach (OT) the issue is really simple. There is a distinction of how to 
count depending on what you are counting. If you are counting the 12 sons 
of Jacob, then Levi is in and Joseph is one tribe. If the issue is one of 
tribes and inheritance issues, etc, then Levi is out, and Joseph becomes 
two divided around the two sons of Joseph.

moshe shulman mshulman at    718-436-7705
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