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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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Jacob having twelve sons, who were heads of so many families, which together formed a great nation, each of these families was called a tribe. But this patriarch on his death-bed adopted Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, and would have them also to constitute two tribes in Israel, Genesis 48:5 . Instead of twelve tribes, there were now thirteen, that of Joseph being two. However, in the distribution of lands by Joshua under the order of God, they reckoned but twelve tribes and made but twelve lots; of the tribe of Levi, being appointed to the sacred service, had no share in the distribution of the land, but received certain cities to dwell in, with the first-fruits, tithes, and oblations of the people. Each tribe had its own leaders and tribunals; and the whole twelve, in their early history, constituted a republic somewhat resembling the United States. In the division made by Joshua of the land of Canaan, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh had their lot beyond Jordan, east; all the other tribes, and the remaining half of Manasseh had their distribution on this side the river, west.

The twelve tribes continued united as one state, one people, and one monarchy, till after the death of Solomon, when ten of the tribes revolted from the house of David, and formed the kingdom of Israel. See HEBREWS .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Tribe'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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