Who have been the 12 Tribes of Israel and did They Exist?

"Bangkok Post"The existence of the 12 tribes of Israel is central to the narrative of the Hebrew Bible (identified to Christians because the Previous Testomony). In terms of the Pentateuch (the primary five books of the Hebrew Bible, known because the Torah is Judaism), the normal principle is that there were four authors: the Elohist (who calls God Elohim), the Yahwist (who calls God Yahweh), the Priestly creator (from Jerusalem in Judah, also identified because the Judahite) and the Deuteronomist (who wrote Deuteronomy). Many groups have claimed to be descendants of the “misplaced tribes” of Israel – the Igbo in Nigeria and the Bnei Menashe of Northern India – but the State of Israel only recognizes Ethiopian Jews, often called Beta Israel, as “misplaced” members of the tribe of Dan. In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with God (or an angel) and is blessed with a new title: Israel (which means “he struggles with God”). In some, for example, two tribes named after Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, replace the tribe of Joseph (sure, changing one tribe with others named for the 2 sons makes thirteen tribes). A type of stories considerations Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. However when biblical students read the texts intently, they discover convincing evidence – in the grammar, word choices and inside contradictions – that the books of the Bible were not solely written out of order, however by different authors with their own religious and political agendas. One explanation in the book of Numbers is that God solely allotted land in Canaan to 12 of the 13 tribes. But these 4 authors didn’t share writing duties equally. That is the origin of the “misplaced tribes of Israel,” who have been scattered in locations like Assyria and Media (now parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran) and who misplaced their tribal and religious identities over time through assimilation (or who maintained their Jewish id in secret). Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible? In response to the Bible, all the tribes in the northern kingdom have been taken away into bondage, and their lands had been occupied by foreigners. However when are the sons of Israel (Jacob) first referred to as the 12 tribes of Israel? Jacob marries two sisters, Leah and Rachel, and sires children with both ladies (as well as with two of their servants, Zilpah and Bilhah). However after Solomon’s death, there was a violent cut up between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. As God’s folks escaped slavery in Egypt, wandered the desert for 40 years and ultimately conquered and settled the “promised land” of Canaan, they did all of it as members of these 12 named tribes. One in every of his key items of proof is the so-known as “Music of Deborah” in Judges 5. Due to its historical form of Hebrew, scholars suppose that the “Tune of Deborah” is without doubt one of the oldest texts within the Hebrew Bible, courting again to the twelfth century B.C.E. Tobolowsky argues that the whole idea of the “tribes of Israel” (whether or not 12 or extra or fewer) also originated within the stronger northern kingdom of Israel and was adopted much later by the Judahites and the Priestly author. The tribe of Levi was set apart because the priestly tribe, and as an alternative of receiving land they acquired choices from the other tribes. In the textual content, the prophetess Deborah recounts a historic battle and names the tribes of Israel who participated. The 12 tribes of Israel are introduced within the book of Genesis, house to all of the famous origin tales from the Hebrew Bible (the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and so forth.). Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible? The Priestly writer would have been extremely motivated to put in writing a history of the “children of Israel” wherein Judah was central to the story of the 12 tribes of Israel from the very beginning. Why Did the Judahites Adopt the 12 Tribes? By the point the Priestly authors were writing and compiling books like Genesis and Exodus, the Assyrians had already destroyed the highly effective northern kingdom and the Babylonians had taken the southern kingdom captive. Tribal distinctions must have been an enormous a part of the ethnic and religious identity of these ancient peoples. In spite of everything, the Hebrew Bible repeatedly locations the tribes front and center in its account of Israelite and Jewish historical past. To confuse issues, Tobolowsky says there are greater than 20 tribal lists in the Hebrew Bible and not all of them are the identical. The tribes had been named after the 12 sons of the patriarch Jacob and believed to be their direct descendants. Notably absent from this earliest tribal checklist are Judah and Simeon, the chief tribes of the kingdom of Judah. When the Persians defeated the Babylonians and allowed the folks to come back and rebuild the temple, they were merely recognized because the people of Judah (or Judahites), which is the place we get our phrase Judaism. Below King David, the Bible tells us, all 12 tribes of Israel were below one kingdom because the “united monarchy.” That unification continued underneath King Solomon, whose wealth and power the Bible describes as unmatched within the historical world. In Genesis 49, Jacob has grown old and is about to die, so he gathers all of his sons to provide them particular person blessings. Tobolowsky goes so far as theorizing that the Judahites and their Priestly creator “invented the basic concept of Jacob because the ancestor of all of the tribes” as a way of making a “Panisraelite” id that not solely included Judah, but gave it a spot of prominence. Within the biblical narrative, the 12 sons and their households have to depart Canaan and settle in Egypt to keep away from a famine. That means, Genesis was written first, then Exodus, Leviticus, and many others., all the best way by way of the Hebrew Bible and the brand new Testament. Why Did the Judahites Undertake the 12 Tribes? Some tribes are shuffled round by inside political divides and others are “lost” to outside invasions. If you continue to observe the chronology of the Hebrew Bible, the identification of the 12 tribes of Israel isn’t stable. Over a 400-yr period, the Egyptians enslave them, but eventually, a man named Moses leads their descendants again to Canaan after they battle many battles. In 722 B.C.E., the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel for failing to pay tribute. Andrew Tobolowsky, a religious studies professor on the School of William & Mary. For Tobolowsky, this historical textual content is a clue that “in the early period, the people of Judah wouldn’t have essentially considered themselves as Israelites.” Tobolowsky has found supporting evidence in other tribal lists (like “Moses’s Blessing” in Deuteronomy 33) the place he believes the Priestly creator later added references to Judah and Simeon. If you are a casual reader of the Bible, you might assume that it was written in chronological order. But over the previous few decades, as more historians and archeologists overtly query the historical accuracy of the Bible, a brand new picture of the 12 tribes of Israel has emerged. Students long assumed that the biblical accounts of the 12 tribes of Israel were based mostly on historic historical occasions transmitted by oral historical past. The world that was Canaan encompasses the fashionable state of Israel, the West Financial institution and Gaza, Jordan, and the southern parts of Syria and Lebanon, based on the University of Pennsylvania Museum. In 586 B.C.E., the southern kingdom of Judah was invaded by the Babylonians, who sacked Solomon’s magnificent temple in Jerusalem and carried off the remaining tribes into exile.