The 12 tribes of Israel Part II, Bible Study 04/14/10

The 12 tribes of Israel Part II

Synopsis of bible study 4/14/10

Delivered by Bishop Walker III

Imagine Jacob in his old age laying on his death bed and he decides to call all 12 of his sons in to talk to them, because he wants to say something to them before he died. Genesis 49:1-2 says 1And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 2Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

Jacob’s prophecy

The word of a patriarch meant something back in the bible days (particularly at the time of death). It was supposed to set the tone for things that were to come.


  • In the text today, Jacob looks at Reuben first: Rueben was the Jacob’s firstborn son. Reuben means to see. His mother was Leah. In Genesis 49:3-4 Jacob says 3Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. – In other words, Jacob felt he had it going on when he had Rueben, but Reuben slept with his father’s concubine. Reuben means to see so Jacob was like saying, “I saw you “when Rueben slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah.
  • In Genesis 42:37-39 says 37And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. – Everyone thought Joseph was dead. When they were they were about to leave, Jacob didn’t want Benjamin to go with them, because Benjamin was the youngest. Jacob was already hurt by the alleged death of Joseph and Jacob knew he could not stand it if Benjamin had died. Reuben says to his father Jacob that he would take care of Benjamin while they were on their trip. Who was Reuben to say he would take care of Benjamin for his father, when he had slept with his father’s concubine? Even though Rueben had done this, there was one thing good about Rueben that is worthy of note. When Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him, Rueben was the one that told them not to kill him. He suggests that they instead Joseph him in the pit.

Simeon & Levi

  • Jacob looks at Simeon and Levi and they were called in together. They were like two peas in a pod. Genesis 49:5-7 says 5Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 6O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. 7Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. –  Jacob later called Israel, tells Simeon and Levi (his 2nd and 3rd son) that they were instruments of cruelty. Just to bring you up to date, in Genesis 34, Dinah was raped by a man named Shechem. Though he raped her, he loved her. He broke a lot of laws with this act. First of all, the law said a man should never touch a woman without permission of the father. Shechem father’s name was Hamor. After Shechem raped Dinah, Shechem went to Hamor and told him that he loved her and wanted to marry her. Hamor goes to talk to Jacob on Hamor’s behalf. Hamor assured Jacob that he would pay any size dowry that was required. Simeon and Levi knew what Shechem had done to their sister, so they took their swords and killed all the males in their city. They killed Shechem and Hamor too. It upset Jacob so much that he scolded the both of them on his death bed.
  • Simeon means to hear. Look at play on names. When Hamor is talking to Jacob about Shechem gaining Dinah’s hand in marriage, Simeon hears from the field what Hamor is requesting on Shechem’s behalf.
  • Simeon in his family eventually lived in Cannon.


  • Levi was the leader of the Levites. The Levites were part of the temple worship. /Exodus 32:26-29 says 26Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 27And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 28And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 29For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. – When Aaron had the golden calves made, it was the Levites who were known for not wanting to worship the golden calf.
  • Levi and Simeon almost killed the whole city over what they did with Dinah.
  • Levi was involved in the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.


  • Remember that when Jacob (Israel) was speaking to his sons, he was not just speaking to his sons individually. Jacob was speaking to the potential of generations to come. He is speaking 100 and 1000 yrs into the future. Jacob was speaking to their seed. Implied in the language of the prophecy is the hint that Jacob is making reference to someone we might know.
  • Genesis 49:8-12 says 8Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.- Basically this scripture is saying eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess.
  • Judah became the spokesperson for his father Jacob when they went to Egypt.
  • Judah married Shua a Canaanite women. Judah had another mother named Tamar that gave him twin sons.


  • Dan means judge. Genesis 49:16 says 16Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. – When Rachael was convinced that she couldn’t’  have a child, she cried that the Lord had judged her.
  • Jacob had a son by Bilhah, Rachael’s servant. When you think about the tribe of Daniel, think about legal matters or about Judges. Genesis 30:5 says 5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.


  • Jacob told Naphtali that he was a like a running dear. Genesis 49:21 says 21Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
  • Basically When Rachel’s made servant had Naphtali, Rachel said she wrestled with her sister, because Naphtali was birth out of a cat fight. Genesis 30:8 says 8And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.


  • Gad means troop. Genesis 49:19 says 19Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. –  Jacob told Gad that he will have troops that overcome him, but in the end, he overcomes them all.
  • Gad had seven sons. Jacob says raiders will raid him and it will look like he won’t win, but in the end, he will come out on top.


  • Asher means happy. Genesis 49:20 says 20Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. – Jacob told Asher that he will have the best food and provide Kings with delights. All the Kings will come for Asher for their dainties and the best of everything.
  • Asher had 4 sons and 1 daughter.


  • Jacob says to Issachar, “You work like a slave”. Genesis 49:14-15 says 14Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. –Jacob told Issachar that he was a hard worker. The children of Issachar were known of being men of great learning. They understood the seasons (spiritually). If you were to ask them about the earthquakes that have been happening in today’s times, they would probably be ones that could say what God is saying through the earthquakes.


  • Zebulun was the place where the ships would come. Genesis 49:13 says 13Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. – Jacob says Zebulun would be located by the sea. It would be a harbor for ships. This is in Genesis, but there is a time period between Genesis and Exodus. When the children of Israel first went in Egypt, they went as welcomed guests. If you understand Egypt geographically, you know that it is in Southern Africa. The way the tribe of Zebulun is located by the water, is what made it an advanced civilization. Things could travel quicker by boat than by foot in that day. Zebulun protected those ships that went through their harbors. In fact it was Deborah spoke of Zebulun and Naphtali in Judges 5:18 when she says 18Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. – They would fight to the end, because they had something to protect.


  • Joseph (1562-1452 B.C.E. (which means before the Common Era)). When Jacob got to Joseph in Genesis 49:22 he told him 22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: – Jacob says that Joseph would be like a fruitful vine planted by a wall. Do you remember in Psalm 1:3 when it says 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. – When it said that you shall be planted by the river it means this; the water symbolized the anointing. Wherever the anointing is flowing, you will be growing. Jacob says to Joseph that he is a tree planted by water. He warns that there will be people who are going to try to put up a wall around us to limit our potential. Jacob tells Joseph that because he is by water, he will be able to flow and grow over the wall.
  • Jacob warns that Joseph will have haters. An Archer never pulls back on the bow, unless it has a bull’s eye in sight. Jacob warns that everywhere Joseph goes, he will be shot at. Genesis 49:23 says 23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
  • Jacob tells Joseph that the more they hated on him, the stronger he got. Genesis 49:24: 24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
  • Jacob further tells Joseph that all of what he went through was worth it because the blessing the father gave him was greater than he gave anyone else. All Joseph has to do is walk in it. Genesis 49:25 says 25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
  • Joseph had 2 sons who were named Ephraim and Manasseh. Note: Study Chapters 37-50 to find out more about the life of Joseph.


  • Genesis 49:27 says 27Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. – Benjamin is selfless. Jacob told Benjamin that he will always be the one that goes out and bless others. Remember it was Joseph that sabotaged Benjamin’s sack by putting silver in it.
  • Jacob tells Benjamin that he shares with everyone.
  •  Jacob reminds Benjamin that he hunts like a wolf in the day, but shares it all at night.


Why are we learning this? Everything we are learning right now is setting a foundation for something we are going to learn later. We are going to study deeper on these foundations. Bishop explains he is trying to get us to want to study the tribes for ourselves. We need to know who comes from these tribes. We need to know what transpired. This makes us understand how things played out. They run like a thread through the bible, but they knot up in the book of Revelation. When we teach on the apocalypse, it will bring this all into focus.


About growintheword

I consider myself a Christian with an envangelistic calling. I like music, art, and computers. I belive that God gives us our gifts so that they may be used for his glory. It is my desire that everyone in the world comes to know God and have a personal relationship with him by means of music, evangelistic ministry, and by understanding the word of God.
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