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reformed baptist

How many tribes of Israel?

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reformed baptist

Here is a link to a comment thread on another topic that has evolved to a whole discussion of it's own. I feel this 'thread' deserves it own topic.

 

https://www.christforums.org/forum/b...9801#post69801

 

The thread began as I responded to this statement:

 

God's Word says nothing about 13 tribes -- His Word Does talk about the 12 sons and Jacob becoming the 12 tribes of Israel // The Children of Israel. There Is one sister in the midst of the 'sons' of Jacob.

 

This was my response to those comments:

 

Jacob had twelve sons, however the tribe of Joseph was split into two - Ephraim and Mannesseh - ergo 13 tribes (and Numbers 1:5-54 spells this out very clearly - 12 tribes are included in the census (v5-46) however the tribe of Levi is not included in the census (v47-49)

 

Reuben

Simeon

Levi

Judah

Issachar

Zebulun

Dan

Naphtali

Gad

Asher

Ephrain

Mannessah

Benjamin

 

Now, in support of that let me add the actual scriptures so that there is no confusion:

 

Tribe 1 - Numbers 1:21 those who were numbered of the tribe of Reuben were forty-six thousand five hundred.

Tribe 2 - Numbers 1:23 those who were numbered of the tribe of Simeon were fifty-nine thousand three hundred.

Tribe 3 - Numbers 1:25 those who were numbered of the tribe of Gad were forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty.

Tribe 4 - Numbers 1:27 those who were numbered of the tribe of Judah were seventy-four thousand six hundred.

Tribe 5 - Numbers 1:29 those who were numbered of the tribe of Issachar were fifty-four thousand four hundred.

Tribe 7 - Numbers 1:33 those who were numbered of the tribe of Ephraim were forty thousand five hundred.

Tribe 8 - Numbers 1:35 those who were numbered of the tribe of Manasseh were thirty-two thousand two hundred.

Tribe 9 - Numbers 1:37 those who were numbered of the tribe of Benjamin were thirty-five thousand four hundred.

Tribe 10 - Numbers 1:39 those who were numbered of the tribe of Dan were sixty-two thousand seven hundred.

Tribe 11 - Numbers 1:41 those who were numbered of the tribe of Asher were forty-one thousand five hundred.

Tribe 12 - Numbers 1:43 those who were numbered of the tribe of Naphtali were fifty-three thousand four hundred.

Tribe 13 - Numbers 1:49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel;

 

So, is this statement (quoted below) true or false?

 

God's Word says nothing about 13 tribes

 

As we can see it is clearly false - the census of numbers 1 lists 13 tribes - so you would think that would be the end of the discussion but no it wasn't.

 

One objection was 'half tribes'

 

Elsewhere, it refers to the half-tribes:

 

Joshua 4:12 The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them;

 

I suppose here the suggestion is that Manasseh was not a full tribe but half a tribe, however that is based on a rather obvious misreading of the archaic language of the AV

 

In Deut 29:8 we read "We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh. (NKJ) - this is an inheritance on the 'other side of the Jordan' given before the nation has gone in and possessed the promised land. When, in the days of Joshua the conquest of canaan is about to begin Joshua calls up the people from the 'other side of the Jordan' to help in the conquest:

 

12 And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh Joshua spoke, saying,

13 "Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying,`The LORD your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.'

14 "Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help them,

15 "until the LORD has given your brethren rest, as He gave you, and they also have taken possession of the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD'S servant gave you on this side of the Jordan toward the sunrise."

16 So they answered Joshua, saying, "All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.

(Jos 1:12-16 NKJ)

 

And the verse that was quoted follows this:

 

12 And the men of Reuben, the men of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses had spoken to them. (Jos 4:12 NKJ)

 

Actually the other half of the tribe of Manasseh is referenced later when the promised is divided between the tribes, eg Josh 13:7

 

Some of the other comments that i have received in response to my statement that numbers 1 clearly lists 13 tribes include:

 

You're the only person I've heard about 13 tribes existing. You want to continue believing there are really 13 tribes, go ahead.

 

In response to that I would say, I believe it because it is in the Bible (see above) and if I'm the only person you have heard make this point before then you must have been under some pretty poor ministry because this is basic Old Testament fact, indeed it suggests that books like Numbers and Joshua are being neglected in personal Bible study and preaching and when we miss out or gloss parts of the council of God it isn't surprising if our theology is in error.

 

Looking at Numbers 1-- there are only 11 tribes. Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph (that includes Ephraim and Manasseh) , Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Gad and Naphtali.

Dan's tribe is still included there -- And Josephs' tribe is including Ephraim and Manesseh. That is a particular time in history -- depending on how a person counts them -- either 11 or 13.

 

Notice the errors in this comment:

 

1) "there are only 11 tribes." - clearly that is false as my list above proves

2) "Joseph (that includes Ephraim and Manasseh)" & "And Josephs' tribe is including Ephraim and Manesseh." - here are the references to Joseph in Numbers 1 - ask yourselves which on of these references refers to Joseph as a 'tribe'?

Numbers 1:10 "from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; (Num 1:10 NKJ)

Numbers 1:32 From the sons of Joseph, the children of Ephraim, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers' house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war - again this is a false statement - Joseph is not listed as a tribe

3) "depending on how a person counts them -- either 11 or 13." - there is no ambiguity here, and certainly no way of getting to 11 tribes in Numbers 1 - as the list above proves.

 

This type of comment has led me to repeatedly ask the question:

 

Which one of these 13 tribes I have listed is not a tribe of Israel?

 

This question remains unanswered in any meaningful way!

 

Now, why is this is so important?

 

Well it matters because I believe it demonstrates how much a persons traditions can influence their thinking - many of us have the 12 tribes drummed into us from Sunday School and so we just accept it as fact not realizing that there were actually 13 - the thing is, what should we do when our a priori assumptions are challenged by scripture? I believe our assumption needs to change, to my mind, when a person digs in and defends their assumption against scripture there is a problem with authority (tradition is 'trumping' scripture). However this leads to a further question: why is this tradition so important to some?

 

In my opinion (and that is all this is) futurists need there to only be twelve tribes of Israel (and only 12 apostles for that matter as well) for their interpretation of Revelation to stand. You see Rev 7:

 

1) lists 12 tribes and not 13

2) It excludes Dan and Ephraim

3) It includes Joseph.

4) In the Past Levi has also been a separate tribe (it was not numbered in the census of numbers 1, yet in rev 7 it is numbered)

 

For the futurist (dispensationalist) passages like numbers 1 need to be glossed over, and surprisingly so does the study of how God structured the nation of Israel and why God did it as he did also needs to be glossed over because that type of study raises too many awkward questions that need to be answered - of course the dispensationalist has their get out clause when it comes to these issues, the interpret 2 Tim 2:15 to be saying that they need to divide up scripture between what is relevant for today and what isn't - well Marcion did that two to try and defend his errors from interrogation.

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Fastfredy0

I have to like your (RBs) answer, if for nothing else, the extensive work you put into it. It's good we have your extensive knowledge to peruse.

 

Now, if we could just bring you over to the dark side (star wars connotation) and convert you into a dispensationist. (j/k ... good answer)

 

 

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theophilus

The Bible uses the phrase "twelve tribes" ten times. It never speaks of thirteen tribes.

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=%22twelve+tribes%22&qs_version=ESV

 

When the land was divided it was divided between twelve of the tribes, with Levi not getting an inheritance. Chapter 48 of Ezekiel shows that this will also be true during the millenium.

 

In Revelation 7 Joseph is obviously a replacement for Ephraim since he was the father of Ephraim.

 

I have no idea why Dan is omitted but he will be included in the division of land in the millenium.

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reformed baptist
The Bible uses the phrase "twelve tribes" ten times. It never speaks of thirteen tribes.

 

Is that how we do theology then?

 

The Bible never speaks of the 'trinity' either - does that mean there is no such thing?

 

My friend, when you need to change how you exegete the bible to stick to your tradition it is a sure sign that your tradition is in error! Inconsistent exegesis is the evidence of a failed argument. You wouldn't allow someone to deny the trinity because they don'y find it through a concordance search! I agree we don't find the words 'thirteen tribes' but we do find 13 tribes listed, and repeatedly referred to - so let me put the same question to you - which of the tribes listed in numbers 1 is not a tribe of Israel?

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=%22twelve+tribes%22&qs_version=ESV

 

When the land was divided it was divided between twelve of the tribes, with Levi not getting an inheritance. Chapter 48 of Ezekiel shows that this will also be true during the millenium.

 

In Revelation 7 Joseph is obviously a replacement for Ephraim since he was the father of Ephraim.

 

I have no idea why Dan is omitted but he will be included in the division of land in the millenium.

 

Why is this straight forward question so hard for a dispensational to answer?

 

Why does it always come back to Rev 7?

 

Is it because the theology is driving the interpretation (there must only be twelve tribes for your system to work)?

 

However numbers 1 lists 13 tribes!

 

My friend, there is no getting away from the basic biblical fact that there were 13 tribes of Israel. :RpS_thumbup:

 

 

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atpollard
My friend, there is no getting away from the basic biblical fact that there were 13 tribes of Israel. :RpS_thumbup:

Or that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons.

 

Is Numbers 1 the only place that lists tribes in the Bible (obviously except Revelation)?

John does list 12 tribes in Revelation and excludes Dan (for whatever reason). The list in Numbers does not change the list in Revelation.

 

Just out of curiosity, why are there 13 tribes if the same part of the bible that says to split the Tribe of Joseph into two tribes says not to count the tribe of Levi?

If we obey, then the extra Joseph tribe replaces the Levi Tribe and the count is 12 tribes (Levi excluded and Joseph divided).

If we are going to count the Tribe of Levi (as it says not to), then the two sons of Joseph are really just the Tribe of Joseph and there are 12 Tribes ... one for each son of Jacob.

 

We only get 13 tribes by both counting Joseph twice and counting Levi.

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Sue D.
The Bible uses the phrase "twelve tribes" ten times. It never speaks of thirteen tribes.

 

Is that how we do theology then?

 

The Bible never speaks of the 'trinity' either - does that mean there is no such thing?

 

My friend, when you need to change how you exegete the bible to stick to your tradition it is a sure sign that your tradition is in error! Inconsistent exegesis is the evidence of a failed argument. You wouldn't allow someone to deny the trinity because they don'y find it through a concordance search! I agree we don't find the words 'thirteen tribes' but we do find 13 tribes listed, and repeatedly referred to - so let me put the same question to you - which of the tribes listed in numbers 1 is not a tribe of Israel?

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=%22twelve+tribes%22&qs_version=ESV

 

When the land was divided it was divided between twelve of the tribes, with Levi not getting an inheritance. Chapter 48 of Ezekiel shows that this will also be true during the millenium.

 

In Revelation 7 Joseph is obviously a replacement for Ephraim since he was the father of Ephraim.

 

I have no idea why Dan is omitted but he will be included in the division of land in the millenium.

 

Why is this straight forward question so hard for a dispensational to answer?

 

Why does it always come back to Rev 7?

 

Is it because the theology is driving the interpretation (there must only be twelve tribes for your system to work)?

 

However numbers 1 lists 13 tribes!

 

My friend, there is no getting away from the basic biblical fact that there were 13 tribes of Israel. :RpS_thumbup:

 

The 'tradition' I was brought up in is God's Word.

 

Is there any where particular that you are going with the '13 tribes' tradition?

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reformed baptist
The 'tradition' I was brought up in is God's Word.

 

So, let us be very clear on this Sue D. are you denying that numbers 1 is 'God's word' - you must be because it clearly states that there were 13 tribes!

 

Is there any where particular that you are going with the '13 tribes' tradition?

 

I am stating a biblical fact - numbers 1 lists 13 tribes and I am becoming increasingly alarmed by your continued denials of that fact and refusal to answer a simple question, let me repeat it - if there are only 12 tribes of Israel which one of the 13 listed in Numbers 1 is not a tribe of Israel - why won't you answer my question?

 

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Sue D.
The 'tradition' I was brought up in is God's Word.

 

So, let us be very clear on this Sue D. are you denying that numbers 1 is 'God's word' - you must be because it clearly states that there were 13 tribes!

 

Is there any where particular that you are going with the '13 tribes' tradition?

 

I am stating a biblical fact - numbers 1 lists 13 tribes and I am becoming increasingly alarmed by your continued denials of that fact and refusal to answer a simple question, let me repeat it - if there are only 12 tribes of Israel which one of the 13 listed in Numbers 1 is not a tribe of Israel - why won't you answer my question?

Maybe you could ask "atpollard" the same question.

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atpollard

Genesis 49 - 12 Tribes of Israel:

 

Tribe 1 - Genesis 49:3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

Tribe 2 & 3 - Genesis 49:5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence.

Tribe 4 - Genesis 49:8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.

Tribe 5 - Genesis 49:13 “Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; And he shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall be toward Sidon.

Tribe 6 - Genesis 49:14 “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between the sheepfolds.

Tribe 7 - Genesis 49:16 “Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel.

Tribe 8 - Genesis 49:19 “As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, But he will raid at their heels.

Tribe 9 - Genesis 49:20 “As for Asher, his food shall be rich, And he will yield royal dainties.

Tribe 10 - Genesis 49:21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose, He gives beautiful words.

Tribe 11 - Genesis 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful [fn]bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.

Tribe 12 - Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoil.”

 

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

 

What makes Numbers 1 a better list than Genesis 49?

 

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Fastfredy0
The 'tradition' I was brought up in is God's Word.

 

So, let us be very clear on this Sue D. are you denying that numbers 1 is 'God's word' - you must be because it clearly states that there were 13 tribes!

 

Is there any where particular that you are going with the '13 tribes' tradition?

 

I am stating a biblical fact - numbers 1 lists 13 tribes and I am becoming increasingly alarmed by your continued denials of that fact and refusal to answer a simple question, let me repeat it - if there are only 12 tribes of Israel which one of the 13 listed in Numbers 1 is not a tribe of Israel - why won't you answer my question?

let us be very clear on this Sue D. are you denying that numbers 1 is 'God's word' - you must be because it clearly states that there were 13 tribes!

I know Sue well enough to confidently state she does not deny that the Bible is the Word of God.

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reformed baptist

 

Or that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons.

 

I have never denied that biblical fact!

 

Is Numbers 1 the only place that lists tribes in the Bible (obviously except Revelation)?

 

No - they are listed repeatedly throughout Numbers and Joshua, and all 13 tribes are referenced on other occasions as well - just do a concordance search on 'tribe' and you will see it for yourself (around 200 verses depending on your preferred translation will pop - but they won't all be pertinent) - Numbers 1 however is the first list - therefore the staring point for this discussion, and it is also the clearest.

 

John does list 12 tribes in Revelation and excludes Dan (for whatever reason). The list in Numbers does not change the list in Revelation.

Who says it does the change the list - not me?

 

But it does raise questions about how we understand Revelation 7 unless we are throwing the principle of using scripture to interpret scripture out of the window!

 

Just out of curiosity, why are there 13 tribes if the same part of the bible that says to split the Tribe of Joseph into two tribes says not to count the tribe of Levi?

 

I'm not sure what your getting at here - however let me respond to your statements separately.

 

1) Where in Numbers one are we told to 'split the tribe of Joseph'?

 

We are not told that at all - Joseph is not referred to as a tribe in numbers 1

 

2) where are we told not to count the tribe of Levi?

 

Again, we are not told that - what we are told is that God told Moses not to include them in his census and when you look at who was being counted it becomes clear why, look for example at Num 1:45 "So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel" The are not numbered because they were not going to wart - instead they were appointed to look after the tabernacle. When a census is taken in Israel it is usually related to the fighting strength of the nation - and that is very relevant to a proper understanding of Rev 7 in my opinion.

 

If we obey, then the extra Joseph tribe replaces the Levi Tribe and the count is 12 tribes (Levi excluded and Joseph divided).

 

If we obey what?

 

are you honestly trying to suggest that the bible tells us not to count Levi as a tribe - please provide the scriptural support for that!

 

If we are going to count the Tribe of Levi (as it says not to),

 

Again, scriptural support please - where are we told not to count Levi as a tribe!

 

Let's look at Numbers 1:47-50 shall we and see what it actually says because this is all I can think you are referring to!

 

Numbers 1:47 But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe; 48 for the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying: 49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel; 50 "but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle. (Num 1:47 NKJ)

 

Clearly then Levi is a tribe of Isreal - however there men of 20 years and over were not to be counted because they were not going to war!

 

then the two sons of Joseph are really just the Tribe of Joseph and there are 12 Tribes ... one for each son of Jacob.

 

well, that would be 11 - you have replaced two tribes with 1 and you have taken Levi out - 13 - 2 + 1 -1 = 11!

 

however, that aside - how convoluted is this reasoning, and where is the scriptural evidence for it?

 

We only get 13 tribes by both counting Joseph twice and counting Levi.

 

There is no tribe of Joseph in Numbers 1

 

 

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reformed baptist
Genesis 49 - 12 Tribes of Israel:

 

Tribe 1 - Genesis 49:3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

Tribe 2 & 3 - Genesis 49:5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence.

Tribe 4 - Genesis 49:8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.

Tribe 5 - Genesis 49:13 “Zebulun will dwell at the seashore; And he shall be a haven for ships, And his flank shall be toward Sidon.

Tribe 6 - Genesis 49:14 “Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between the sheepfolds.

Tribe 7 - Genesis 49:16 “Dan shall judge his people, As one of the tribes of Israel.

Tribe 8 - Genesis 49:19 “As for Gad, raiders shall raid him, But he will raid at their heels.

Tribe 9 - Genesis 49:20 “As for Asher, his food shall be rich, And he will yield royal dainties.

Tribe 10 - Genesis 49:21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose, He gives beautiful words.

Tribe 11 - Genesis 49:22 “Joseph is a fruitful [fn]bough, A fruitful bough by a spring; Its branches run over a wall.

Tribe 12 - Genesis 49:27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoil.”

 

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

 

What makes Numbers 1 a better list than Genesis 49?

 

Really?

 

In Gen 49 they were still families not tribes! Israel is not established as a nation until after the exodus (not to mention you neglect of Gen 48)

 

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reformed baptist

I have to say I am amazed and alarmed at the hoops that people are jumping through to try and avoid answering a simple and direct question about a straightforward text of scripture (Numbers 1) - why is it so hard to accept that Numbers 1 lists 13 distinct tribes of Israel (all of which are repeatedly referenced in scripture from that point forward)?

 

Which of you could honestly say that if you gave a bible someone who had never read before and asked them to count how many tribes are listed in Numbers 1 that such a person would come up with a number other then 13?

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atpollard
Really?

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

Yup, really. :)

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atpollard
I have to say I am amazed and alarmed at the hoops that people are jumping through to try and avoid answering a simple and direct question about a straightforward text of scripture (Numbers 1) - why is it so hard to accept that Numbers 1 lists 13 distinct tribes of Israel (all of which are repeatedly referenced in scripture from that point forward)?

 

Which of you could honestly say that if you gave a bible someone who had never read before and asked them to count how many tribes are listed in Numbers 1 that such a person would come up with a number other then 13?

 

Numbers 1 does list 13 "tribes".

However, scripture as a whole constantly emphasizes "12 tribes of Israel" ...

 

[Gen 49:28 NASB] 28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him.

[Exo 24:4 NASB] 4 Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel.

[Exo 28:21 NASB] 21 "The stones shall be according to the names of the sons of Israel: twelve, according to their names; they shall be like the engravings of a seal, each according to his name for the twelve tribes.

[Exo 39:14 NASB] 14 The stones were corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve, corresponding to their names, engraved with the engravings of a signet, each with its name for the twelve tribes.

[Eze 47:13 NASB] 13 Thus says the Lord GOD, "This shall be the boundary by which you shall divide the land for an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel; Joseph shall have two portions.

[Mat 19:28 NASB] 28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

[Luk 22:30 NASB] 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

[Act 26:7 NASB] 7 the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.

[Jas 1:1 NASB] 1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.

[Rev 21:12 NASB] 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

[Gen 25:16 NASB] 16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes.

[Jos 3:12 NASB] 12 "Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe.

[Jos 4:8 NASB] 8 Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there.

[1Ki 18:31 NASB] 31 Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."

 

So I am a little reluctant to quickly discard the oft-mentioned "Twelve Tribes of Israel" from scripture for a 13 tribes of Israel baseline because of a list in Numbers 1.

For most of this discussion, I took the list you posted at face value. Looking closer at Numbers 1 and its function, I am less convinced that the word "tribe" is intended in the traditional "12 tribes of Israel" meaning. The word itself has other military leadership connotations and I suspect that these are simple military organization units with Joseph split because the two "tribes" combined would have been so much larger than any other "tribe".

 

Did Jesus mis-speak in Matthew 19:28 when he should have said they would judge the 13 tribes of Israel?

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th1bill

Or that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons.

 

Is Numbers 1 the only place that lists tribes in the Bible (obviously except Revelation)?

John does list 12 tribes in Revelation and excludes Dan (for whatever reason). The list in Numbers does not change the list in Revelation.

 

Just out of curiosity, why are there 13 tribes if the same part of the bible that says to split the Tribe of Joseph into two tribes says not to count the tribe of Levi?

If we obey, then the extra Joseph tribe replaces the Levi Tribe and the count is 12 tribes (Levi excluded and Joseph divided).

If we are going to count the Tribe of Levi (as it says not to), then the two sons of Joseph are really just the Tribe of Joseph and there are 12 Tribes ... one for each son of Jacob.

 

We only get 13 tribes by both counting Joseph twice and counting Levi.

 

I believe people are hung up on the fact that Jacob, latter renamed Yisrael had Twelve Son and there they remain, comfortable and usually, never studying te whole Word with any regularity. When I advise folks to make a life habit out of using any one of the various Yearly Read through Plans to enable the Holy Spirit to teach them through the word of YHWH and Yashuah I get repies that range from they do not want to be Self Righteous like myself to are you stupid, that's legalism. And I suspect that when the Barna Group did their Cross Denominational Survey of the Amemrican Christian Church they tested only the Faithful defined as their pastors assuring that they attend three service a week. In most most Churches that is 10 to 15% of the Congration and in large to huge Assemblies a much smaller percentage.

 

The result of the Double Blind Survey demonstrated that a little less than 10% of of the faithful believe all of the Basic Tenants of the Christian faith. They test with Check Boxes for the yes or no answers contained questions such as, "Do you believe that Jesus died on te cross as the payment for your sins?" "Do you believe Jesus was God in the flesh of a man?" "Do you believe in the Virgin Birth?"

 

Basic questions and the results from question were scary low and as i recall the question about believing in the Rapture, the catching away came in with less than 10% of the Faithful believed in that. I did my best to translate that out into the Church Membership Rolls and I feel I was generous with a little less than 2% of the Americn Church Membership Roll is saved because they, just, believe the truth.

 

Because of my statements such as, "If I read it in YHWH's Word, I believe it and take it as truth, period. Ad the other most astounding to highly educated ¿Christians? is that my Master is the God Head." People apear to gravitate to the New, or Renewed Covenant and they, with great regularity ignore the Original, the Old Covenant, never to realize that that the Chain Reference in their copy of the Scriptures proves the four Gospel, by and large are and remaining twenty-three are Life Application Commentaries on the Bible Jesus taught from.

 

I have even run into a few that awsured me that Yashua taught from the, not yet written New Testament. My observation is that the inside of any Church is white unto the harvest. We can work our Missionary work in our Home Church Family, if we will obey YHWH,

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reformed baptist

At last - on at least two counts!

 

 

Numbers 1 does list 13 "tribes".

 

Thank you

 

 

However, scripture as a whole constantly emphasizes "12 tribes of Israel" ...

 

.........

 

So I am a little reluctant to quickly discard the oft-mentioned "Twelve Tribes of Israel" from scripture for a 13 tribes of Israel baseline because of a list in Numbers 1.

For most of this discussion, I took the list you posted at face value. Looking closer at Numbers 1 and its function, I am less convinced that the word "tribe" is intended in the traditional "12 tribes of Israel" meaning. The word itself has other military leadership connotations and I suspect that these are simple military organization units with Joseph split because the two "tribes" combined would have been so much larger than any other "tribe".

 

Did Jesus mis-speak in Matthew 19:28 when he should have said they would judge the 13 tribes of Israel?

 

Now that is a better answer and one worth interacting with - but it will have to wait till later I afraid - i'll get back to you.

 

 

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atpollard

 

Or that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons.

 

I have never denied that biblical fact!

 

Is Numbers 1 the only place that lists tribes in the Bible (obviously except Revelation)?

 

No - they are listed repeatedly throughout Numbers and Joshua, and all 13 tribes are referenced on other occasions as well - just do a concordance search on 'tribe' and you will see it for yourself (around 200 verses depending on your preferred translation will pop - but they won't all be pertinent) - Numbers 1 however is the first list - therefore the staring point for this discussion, and it is also the clearest.

 

John does list 12 tribes in Revelation and excludes Dan (for whatever reason). The list in Numbers does not change the list in Revelation.

Who says it does the change the list - not me?

 

But it does raise questions about how we understand Revelation 7 unless we are throwing the principle of using scripture to interpret scripture out of the window!

 

Just out of curiosity, why are there 13 tribes if the same part of the bible that says to split the Tribe of Joseph into two tribes says not to count the tribe of Levi?

 

I'm not sure what your getting at here - however let me respond to your statements separately.

 

1) Where in Numbers one are we told to 'split the tribe of Joseph'?

 

We are not told that at all - Joseph is not referred to as a tribe in numbers 1

 

2) where are we told not to count the tribe of Levi?

 

Again, we are not told that - what we are told is that God told Moses not to include them in his census and when you look at who was being counted it becomes clear why, look for example at Num 1:45 "So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel" The are not numbered because they were not going to wart - instead they were appointed to look after the tabernacle. When a census is taken in Israel it is usually related to the fighting strength of the nation - and that is very relevant to a proper understanding of Rev 7 in my opinion.

 

If we obey, then the extra Joseph tribe replaces the Levi Tribe and the count is 12 tribes (Levi excluded and Joseph divided).

 

If we obey what?

 

are you honestly trying to suggest that the bible tells us not to count Levi as a tribe - please provide the scriptural support for that!

 

If we are going to count the Tribe of Levi (as it says not to),

 

Again, scriptural support please - where are we told not to count Levi as a tribe!

 

Let's look at Numbers 1:47-50 shall we and see what it actually says because this is all I can think you are referring to!

 

Numbers 1:47 But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe; 48 for the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying: 49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel; 50 "but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle. (Num 1:47 NKJ)

 

Clearly then Levi is a tribe of Isreal - however there men of 20 years and over were not to be counted because they were not going to war!

 

then the two sons of Joseph are really just the Tribe of Joseph and there are 12 Tribes ... one for each son of Jacob.

 

well, that would be 11 - you have replaced two tribes with 1 and you have taken Levi out - 13 - 2 + 1 -1 = 11!

 

however, that aside - how convoluted is this reasoning, and where is the scriptural evidence for it?

 

We only get 13 tribes by both counting Joseph twice and counting Levi.

 

There is no tribe of Joseph in Numbers 1

 

I stated my points poorly.

 

Numbers 1:10 of the sons of Joseph: of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur;

... instructs the counting of Joseph's two sons as seperate census units ('tribes').

 

Numbers 1:47-49 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe. For the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying, “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel.

... instructs the 'not counting' of Levites as census unit ('tribe').

 

My comment was that if we follow the Census Instructions, we get 12 Census Tribes (two from Joseph and exclude Levi).

If we do not follow the Census Instructions, then there is no reason to count 'Ephraim' and 'Manasseh' as two 'tribes' when they are both part of the Tribe of Joseph (one of the 12 sons of Israel) as is Levi.

 

So there are 12 Census Tribes (without Levi) or 12 Sons of Israel (without splitting Joseph). It is only by combining the Sons of Israel (Levi) with the Census 'Tribes' ('Ephraim' and 'Manasseh') that we get 13 tribes.

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reformed baptist

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

Yup, really. :)

 

Do you fancy a quick Hebrew lesson and comparison with the LXX? - I will come back to this as well :RpS_thumbup:

 

Whilst your waiting a quick look at Num 18:2 and the two different Hebrew words translated tribe might prove helpful

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Sue D.

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

Yup, really. :)

 

Do you fancy a quick Hebrew lesson and comparison with the LXX? - I will come back to this as well :RpS_thumbup:

 

Whilst your waiting a quick look at Num 18:2 and the two different Hebrew words translated tribe might prove helpful

(now you're going to try to bury us in Hebrew.) For me, English works just fine.

 

"Whilst" -- do I note a bit of .......... or is that simply KJV vocabulary being used. Which is one reason I switched to NKV / ESV. And a lot of the older NIV.

 

Numbers 18:2 title above the passage "Duties of Priests and Levites"

Vs 1 "The Lord said to Aaron, You, your sons and your fathers, family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood,

 

vs 2 "Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony. "

 

That was from the NIV study Bible

 

The NKJ -- 18:2 "Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witnesses. "

 

From my Strongs -- Concordance -- Greek / Hebrew

 

tribe -- Numbers 18:2 the 1st 'tribe' word # 4294 = matteh = from #5186 = natah -- prime root (to stretch / spread out) back to #4294 = a rod, staff, tribe.

the 2nd 'tribe' word # 7626 = shebet = from an unused root probably meaning to branch off -- a scion , i.e. a stick for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc. ...... correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

 

 

So -- there are the two different Hebrew words being used. Your point being ?

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reformed baptist

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

Yup, really. :)

 

Do you fancy a quick Hebrew lesson and comparison with the LXX? - I will come back to this as well :RpS_thumbup:

 

Whilst your waiting a quick look at Num 18:2 and the two different Hebrew words translated tribe might prove helpful

@Sue D. How many tribes are listed in numbers 1?

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Sue D.

Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them.

Yup, really. :)

 

Do you fancy a quick Hebrew lesson and comparison with the LXX? - I will come back to this as well :RpS_thumbup:

 

Whilst your waiting a quick look at Num 18:2 and the two different Hebrew words translated tribe might prove helpful

rb -- you stated to look at Numbers 18: 2 which is what I did. The two 'tribe' uses.

 

Now you want the number of tribes listed in Numbers 1. vs 16 "These are the men appointed from the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes. They were the heads of the clans of Israel. and then he counted them in the Desert of Sinai -- then we go to vs 44 (after all the various tribes are named and counted) "These were the men counted by Moses and Aaron, and the twelve leaders of Israel, each one representing his family....... vs 46 "the total number was 603,550.

vs 47 "the families of the tribe of Levi, however, were not counted along with the others. They were to be in charge of the tabernacle and the Testimony.

 

And That is Numbers 1.

 

Now the actual list = Reuben - Simeon - Judah - Isaachar - Zebulun - from the sons of Joseph = Ephraim , Manasseh - --- Benjamin - Dan - Asher - Gad - Naphtali. = 12.

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reformed baptist

@atpollard I appreciate your posts #11 (https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...0140#post70140) & #12 (https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...0141#post70141)

 

When is a 'tribe' not a 'tribe'?

 

First the Hebrew lesson that I promised and it will be as short as possible - but it won't simply be an appeal to Strong's concordance, and it's glosses, which are about as much use as a chocolate tea pot when pushed beyond the scope/ purpose of that resource - Strong's is a concordance, not a lexicon, it tells us how words are translated not what they mean.

 

So, I want us to consider two words both of which are found in Numbers 18:2 - מַטֶּה (matte) and שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) - depending on your translation in Numbers 18:2 both these words might be translated as 'tribe' - however are they true synonyms? (by that I mean to suggest does the author use them in a purely interchangeable way - or is their some nuance of meaning that the author wishes to convey through his choice of words - and why might that be relevant?

 

Well it is relevant because in Gen 48:28 we have the word שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) whereas the list of the tribes in Numbers 1 uses the term מַטֶּה (matte). I quite happily concede that in Gen 48:28 we read of the "the twelve tribes (שֵׁ֫בֶט) of Israel," but I contend that we don't read of the twelves tribes מַטֶּה in Gen 48:28. (Indeed in all of the Old Testament references to the 12 tribes of Israel that you have highlighted I will concede that on each occasion the Bible speaks about "the twelve tribes (שֵׁ֫בֶט) of Israel," but I will note you haven't provided a reference where the scriptures speak of "the twelves tribes מַטֶּה of Israel"

 

I would suggest to you that whilst these words do have a large semantic overlap - both being predominantly translated as 'tribe' they do have a different sense in Hebrew thought, and maybe a quick look at how Hebrew speaking translators dealt with these words will help us to grasp this - so we turn to the LXX and we begin with Gen 48:28

 

πάντες οὗτοι υἱοὶ Ιακωβ δώδεκα καὶ ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς ὁ πατὴρ αὐτῶν καὶ εὐλόγησεν αὐτούς ἕκαστον κατὰ τὴν εὐλογίαν αὐτοῦ εὐλόγησεν αὐτούς (Gen 49:28 BGT)

 

Here the translators choose the Greek word υἱός to translate שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) - now, as if often the case the Greek term has much more narrow semantic range then the Hebrew word does, υἱός is translated variously as: son/ male offspring/ child - it carries the sense of being a direct descendant. So, in Gen 48:28 I understand the term שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) to be emphasizing the physical relationship between Jacob and his twelve sons (and their families) - and I would suggest that is the case whenever we read the word שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) in this context (it can also mean stick or rob, and a few other things too)

 

However in Number 1 we have a different greek word used, let me just quote one example:

 

ἡ ἐπίσκεψις αὐτῶν ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Συμεων ἐννέα καὶ πεντήκοντα χιλιάδες καὶ τριακόσιοι (Num 1:23 BGT)

 

Here it is φυλή - again this word has a much narrower semantic range then the Hebrew term מַטֶּה (matte) - it can mean 'tribe' or 'nation' - here the emphasis is upon national identity rather then a relationship to a father.

 

So what do I conclude from this?

 

Well to my mind I believe that the references to the twelve tribes שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet) that we have the bible, and that you have highlighted to us are emphasizing the relationship to Jacob (the man Israel) whereas in places like numbers 1 where we have the term מַטֶּה (matte) the emphasis is upon national identity (the nation Israel) this is why I made the statement 'Really' when you appealed to Gen 49:28.

 

To put that another way, 'the twelve tribes' is a collective term referring to the people's relationship to Jacob which is inclusive of all 13 tribes מַטֶּה (matte) - isn't the English language fun!

 

Frequency of reference

 

You have asserted

 

So I am a little reluctant to quickly discard the oft-mentioned "Twelve Tribes of Israel" from scripture for a 13 tribes of Israel baseline because of a list in Numbers 1.

 

To be clear I am not discarding anything (I had hoped you would know me to me more thorough - and better - then that :RpS_flapper:) rather I am seeking to make point which will actually bring us to Rev 7 and why I believe Numbers 1 is an important starting point that must be understood before we can understand Rev 7 (in rev 7 we have the Greek word φυλή - the same as in Numbers 1, and not υἱός as in Gen 48:28) but I am getting ahead of myself now.

 

How often though are these 13 times referred to?

 

Well, clearly they are never refereed as the 13 tribes of Israel - however there are numerous references to all 13 tribes in the scriptures:

 

The tribe of Reuben is referenced around 55 times in the OT

The tribe of Simeon is referred to around 30 times

Gad - around 73 mentions

Judah - around 760 times

Issachar - around 35 times

Zebulun - around 35 times

Ephraim - around 150 times

Manasseh - around 125 times

Benjamin - around 140 times

Dan - around 60 times

Asher - around 35 times

Naphtali - around 40 times

Levi - around 55 times

 

And that is just based on quick searches on the proper names (eg 'levi' - not 'levites' etc - that search alone brings up 328 verses and I don't have to times to wade through 13 searches of that magnitude) - but this is enough to give us the sense of how frequently all 13 tribes are referred to in the OT - sometimes in a the sense of their connection to Jacob and sometimes in their national sense.

 

other considerations

 

'tribes'

 

For most of this discussion, I took the list you posted at face value. Looking closer at Numbers 1 and its function, I am less convinced that the word "tribe" is intended in the traditional "12 tribes of Israel" meaning. The word itself has other military leadership connotations and I suspect that these are simple military organization units with Joseph split because the two "tribes" combined would have been so much larger than any other "tribe".

 

You are right in one sense - as I have explained above references to the 12 tribes of Israel and the individual listing of these tribes do have different senses - but if I was a betting man I would guess that up until now none of this has been on your radar - by that I mean to suggest that you haven't been thinking about the significance of the fact that there are 13 tribes מַטֶּה (matte) and 'the twelve tribes שֵׁ֫בֶט (sebet)' and I imagine the fact that Rev 7 is linked to Numbers 1 by the choice of the word φυλή is also new to you?

 

However the idea that these are 'mere' military designations does not hold water - the tribe (מַטֶּה) of Levi is excluded from the numbering for the purposes of knowing how many men of war it can provide for the tribe of Levi will never go to war (they are tasked with serving in the tabernacle instead) - however they are still listed a 'tribe' - (Num 1:49). the distinction is between nation and family, and teh confusion is caused because the family name and the national name are the same - Israel.

 

Was Joseph too big?

 

As for this idea that Joseph is split because of the numbers - if that was the case why wasn't Judah split?

 

Judah was numbered at 74600 (Num 1:26)

 

Ephraim was numbered at 40500 (Num 1:33) and Manasseh at 32200 (Num 1:35) - that is a total of 72700 - less then Judah!

 

This again is not a satisfactory explanation and appears to me to be another attempt to clutch at straws :RpS_wink:

 

Jesus

 

did Jesus mis-speak in Matthew 19:28 when he should have said they would judge the 13 tribes of Israel?

 

You know, I am sometimes shocked at how little credit people give me :RpS_lol:

 

I am aware of what Jesus says here. I believe Jesus words here are linked to Rev 7 and Numbers 1 - and just like the list of only 12 tribes (nationally) in Rev 7 doesn't bother me why should this? Jesus Christ would only have to '13 tribes' if he was dispensational - but he isn't speaking about national Israel here, anymore then Rev 7 is.

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William
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You know, I am sometimes shocked at how little credit people give me :RpS_lol:

 

I am aware of what Jesus says here. I believe Jesus words here are linked to Rev 7 and Numbers 1 - and just like the list of only 12 tribes (nationally) in Rev 7 doesn't bother me why should this? Jesus Christ would only have to '13 tribes' if he was dispensational - but he isn't speaking about national Israel here, anymore then Rev 7 is.

 

How much of this do you think relates to NT symbolism given that the tribes of the Old Testament were a type of shadow of what was to come in the New Testament? I mean that there were 12 disciples plus Jesus which comes to 13 persons at the Last supper then minus one (Judas) but replaced later. Were the twelve tribes represented by the 12 disciples and Christ representing Levi who were priests?

 

If you don't want to answer this here but in another sub-forum (Amillennialism) I understand. It is just that this thread sourced the Amil thread.

 

God bless,

William

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reformed baptist
You know, I am sometimes shocked at how little credit people give me :RpS_lol:

 

I am aware of what Jesus says here. I believe Jesus words here are linked to Rev 7 and Numbers 1 - and just like the list of only 12 tribes (nationally) in Rev 7 doesn't bother me why should this? Jesus Christ would only have to '13 tribes' if he was dispensational - but he isn't speaking about national Israel here, anymore then Rev 7 is.

 

How much of this do you think relates to NT symbolism given that the tribes of the Old Testament were a type of shadow of what was to come in the New Testament? I mean that there were 12 disciples plus Jesus which comes to 13 persons at the Last supper then minus one (Judas) but replaced later. Were the twelve tribes represented by the 12 disciples and Christ representing Levi who were priests?

 

If you don't want to answer this here but in another sub-forum (Amillennialism) I understand. It is just that this thread sourced the Amil thread.

 

God bless,

William

That's an interesting question - I have never really linked any of this to the last supper in my mind before - I have however linked it to the twelve of apostles of Rev 21:14 (notice it's the close proximity of the 12 tribes - Rev 21:12) and of course there were 13 apostles (don't forget Matthias - Acts 1:26) - there is a definite symmetry and completeness to the number 12 that 13 does not - especially not when it comes to the sides of square.

 

I will think on what you suggest :D

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