Gerlinda (27 Dec 2011)
"Jacob's Dozen"

John & Doves,
I have read the book, "Jacob's Dozen" and reread it again because it gives so much information on understanding the twelve tribes of Israel. I have condensed the information of the book written by William Varner and intermingled my own thoughts. It is a book I highly recommend. Hope you like this information. gerlinda
And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel, your father (Gen. 49:1-2)
Jacob's deathbed blessings on his sons recorded here in Genesis provide one of the most amazing examples of predictive prophecy in the Bible says William Varner of "Jacob's Dozen".
Rueben - Unstable as Water, thou shall not excel (Gen. 49:3-4) Rueben, as the First-born by right of his status, did not receive the birthright, which was divided and given to the sons of Joseph. He also did not recieve the status of leader of his brothers. This was the result of Rueben's sin of laying with Bilhah, his father's concubine. He did not bridle his passion. This was the trait of his descendants. They joined in the rebellion of Korah, the Levite recorded in Number 16. They questioned the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God swallowed the gainsaying of Korah (Jude 11) Reuben produced not one single prophet, military leader, judge or important person in the history of Israel.
Because of Judah prevailing over his brethren, out of his loins came the prince but the birthright stayed with Joseph (his two sons).
Simeon and Levi - Partners in Crime (Gen 49:5-7) Always together were these boys in their mis-deeds. When the tribes settled, Simeon and Levi would not posses his own separate portion of the Promised Land. Josh. 19:2-8 tells that Simeon found his inheritance within the children of Judah. That is the land that stretched from the Meterranean Sea to the Dead Sea, from below Jerusalem on the north to below Beersheba in the south, a most inhospitable land. There was a great reduction of that tribe due to their being deeply involved in the idolatry of Baal-peor as recored in Numbers 25:1-8. Jewish traditions says all poor Jews are of the tribe of Simeon. Because Levi stood with Moses when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and found Israel in idolotry, God turned the curse upon him into a blessing. God commanded that Levites be given cities instead of a portion of the land. Although landless, they were the most priviledged of all the tribes. They became the priest before the Lord.
Judah - Will be the leader of his brethren (Gen. 49:8) His name means "praise". He assumed his leadership role when he helped spare Joseph's life by suggesting that he be sold instead of killed. The tribe of Judah always went first as they marched. The word Jew is actually a shortened version of Judah. Jacob said that Judah will be a great conqueror. The greatest conqueror was King David. Five different animals are associated with the tribes. Judah is the Lion. (Issachar. the donkey, Dan is the serpent but refused it and took the eagle instead. Isn't that just what we have today, these eagles who are in reality serpents? Naphtali with a deer and Benjamin with a wolf.) Judah would produce a royal line of Kings. All the legitimate kings of Israel throughout her history were descendants of David. The right to reign is always within Judah - later when Solomon's line became apostate and wicked, that right was narrowed down to David's son Nathan, through whom Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a descendant and the Messiah would come from her lineage. Anyone claiming to be the Messiah must present the credentials. A False Messiah will arise in our future history. I suspect, the snake will have much to do with claiming this right.
Zebulun - Merchant (Gen. 49:13) This speaks of maritime traders. They did live in the land allotted to them between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. That was the great trading route. Notice this sentence "For they (Zebulun) shall suck the abundance of the seas and treasures hidden in the sand." Dt. 33:19; doesn't that really spring out at you when you consider that Israel just discovered the largest natural gas supply off her coast, at this area? The Valley of Jezreel is in Zebulun's territory and the future site of the End time Battle. Zebulon was expert at war - I Chron. 12:33. They are singlehearted and not double minded and unstable like Rueben. Zebulun has courage to face conflict due to an unswerving commitment to the goal.
Issachar - Servant - the Strong Ass (Gen 49:14-15 Not much is known about this fifthborn son through Leah. Deut. 33:18 says, "And of Zebulun he said, "Rejoice Zebulun, in thy going out and Issachar in thy tents." In Jewish tradition Issachar was a student of the Torah, while his younger brother Zebulun toiled as a merchant to support Issachar in his studies. In that culture, donkeys were most valued, they carried the burden. Perhaps this is implying that it is these who truly bear the burden of today's Jewish people? His land is geographical characteristic in that it is portrayed as the fertile eastern land of Jezreel and sits between two mountains, Mt. Tabor, on the north and Mount Gilboa, on the south. They could be seen, almost, like two packs over the side of a donkey. A man of Issachar, Tola, judged Israel for twenty-two years and was a brave leader. I Chron. 7:1-5 describes the families, in all their generations, as hard workers, hardy, valiant, patient in labor and invincible in war, bearing their burdens with great consistancy.
Dan - The Judge and the Viper (Gen. 49:16-18) Dan was the son of Jacob's handmaiden, Bilhah. Perhaps, Dan, along with Gad, Asher & Naphtali (the other sons by the handmaids) grew up feeling somewhat 'inferior' since they were not the sons of jacob's wives Leah or Rachel. Perhaps this is what is meant, "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel."? Gen. 49:16 Jacob's statements about Dan and his descendants involve a famous person, a familiar problem and, finally, a fervent prayer. Jacob's prophecy, therefore, involves a play on words, "Dan shall judge". The Hebrew expression dan yadin. Sampson was a judge and a Danite. Dan's allotement of land was the SW Mediterranean coast of the Promised Land. It was a difficult place to inhabitate because of the constant threats of the Philistines, Israel's ancient enemy. Jacob's words in verse seventeen graphically described Samson's tactics. "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." This language suggests that the principal aspect of Dan's conquest would be by cunning rather than by military confrontation. Jacob goes on to tell this about future descendants of this serpent: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it." (Jn. 8:44) The clearest words on this subject are found in Rev. 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." For this reason, Jacob's prophecy indicated the satanic influence would be dominant in Dan's future. The Bible indicates that the problem of idolatry was a characteristic malady of that tribe. That is why it is believed that the future antichrist will have the blood of Dan flowing through his veins. Jacob was burdened for Dan and prayed about his future.
Gad - Warrior (Gen. 49:19) NKJV says, "Gad, a troop shall troop upon him, but he shall troop on their heels." Gad was allotted land east of the Jordan River. The Philistines vexed and oppressed the children of Israel who lived on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. Because of this, they developed a reputation as men who could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions and who were as swift as the roes upon the mountains. Scripture doesn't mention any individual. Gad graduated from the proverbial school of hard knocks.
Asher - Provider (Gen.49:20) Out of Asher his bread shall be fat and he shall yield royal dainties. Asher will enjoy the rich products of fertile land. Asher had fertile land but no military capabilities. This tribe provided the agricultural products. Today, this is the same fertile land that produces much of Israel's products. This land is also the land that is being tested thoroughly for oil based upon the above scripture. It is located in the same latitude as where the recent natural gas was found. Is this fat oil? Some believe this is referring to olive oil since the word for olive oil, shemen is used in this verse. Shemen is the general word for olive oil in it's various uses and is found 190 times throughout scripture. Yet there are strong indications that there is oil to be found here. I believe there is a future prophecy in this scripture.
Naphtali - Communicator (Gen. 49:21) Once again an animal is mentioned in Jacob's blessings "Hind" is the word used in the KJV for female deer or doe just as "hart" is used for male deer or buck. Jacob's prophecy is that Naphtali will be characterized by the speed and agility of a doe. In Jewish tradition, the son Naphtali was a very swift runner. he supposedly ran all the way from Egypt to Israel delivering the news to the aged Jacob that Joseph was still alive in Egypt, thus a reference to "beautiful words." Zebulun and Naphtali were a people who jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. (Jud. 5:18) While some tribes such as Reuben, Dan and Asher refused to send their troops to battle, Naphtali were swift to rush their troops to the battlefield, laying down their lives if need. The lesson from Gad is: be ready, from Asher: be fruitful, from Naphatali: be swift.
Joseph - Faithful and Fruitful. It looks like Jacob saved the longest prophecy for Joseph, his faithful and fruitful son. We all know the story of Jospeh so no need to get into that. He was Jacob's favorite and despite the numerous obstacles placed before him, he was faithful. He saved Israel and the existing world in the time of famine that came upon them by wise, fruitful decisions. There are many, many pararells of Joseph likened to Jesus. Joseph's two sons Manasseh and Ephraim were adopted by Jacob. Therefore the double blessing given to Joseph meant that instead of producing one tribe, he would produce two tribes. The prominence of Ephraim is illustrated by the fact that the entire northern kingdom often was called by that name alone in many of the later prophets. Many believe that the northern kingdom of Ephraim migrated to Europe and thus are mixed in the gentile race. I happen to find that to be very probable, myself. Among the British, there is a dominant hair color of red which is also seen in Israel today. The Royality of Great Britain links it's roots to the throne of David. That must be proven, of course but still they lay claim and may, eventually, prouce the future leader which would come out of the tribe of Dan, whom lived in that northern empire, in the city of Dan.
Benjamin - A Ravenous Wolf (Gen. 49:27) This is the last of Jacob's sons. Just as the scripture indicates, Benjamin developed a reputation as a Ravenous Wolf. Benjamin was alloted a territory between the two dominant tribes of Judah and Ephraim. It included many important cities such as Jericho, Bethel, Gibeon, Ramah and Mitzpah and most importantly Jerusalem itself was in Benjamin, not in Judah. Many ferocious Benjamites are recorded from the earliest to the latest periods of Israelite history. Ehud, the second judge of Israel was a fearless warrior who single-handedly assassinated Eglon, the king of the Moabites. Ehud's left-handedness, which was characteristic of Benjamites, was a bit ironic since Benjamin means right-hand son. Concealing his weapon under his garments on his right thigh, Ehud was able to gain entrance to Eglon's presence and ran the fat king through with his dagger and escaped undetected. During the days of Israel's infighting among themselves, the brutality of the Benjamites, the other tribes launced disciplinary action against the entire tribes. (Jud. 20) Although greatly outnumbered, Benjamin, with their famous seven hundred left-handed stone slingers (Jud. 20:16) inflicted forty thousand casualities on their brethren in the first two days of fighting. Only on the third day did the tide of the battle turn around. Only six hundred escaped. The wolf, himself, became torn and weak. King Saul was a Benjamite. Saul's son Jonathan was a great warrior. During the days of Queen Esther when the tables were turned on wicked Haman and other Jew haters, this prophecy bespeaks of Benjamin, who divided the spoil in fulfillment of Genesis 49:27. Another famous Benjamite was Saul, a Pharisee who was feroucious in his zeal against the early Christians. Luke describes this son of Bejamin, "As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house and, haling men and women committed them to prison". (Acts. 8:3) This "wolf" tore in pieces the followers of Jesus until his activities were brought to a halt that day when, on his way to Damascus, he was halted by the One whom he persecuted. From that day on Saul was radically different. His zeal was now channeled in the right way and he became a great preacher to the gentiles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I personally know of a Benjamite, who lives in Israel in a gated community in the territory of Benjamite. While on guard duty one night, Arabs came to the gate. Having forgotten his pistol, he grabbed a pitchfork and went after them. They fled.