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Individual Tribal Personalities.


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Individual Tribal Personalities.
An expansion of our mini-article:
We are the People. Tribal Hints to Goodness.
http://www.britam.org/PeoplesTrb.html

The Patriarchs and the Tribal Ancestors received their names due to some event or emotional experience of their mother or father.  The name stayed with them and often reflected aspects of their personality beyond the specific event that had first given rise to it.
The article below is a more or less speculative attempt, a Derash (Searching for Meaning), that in the light of our Tribal Identifications may be of value.
Note that this particular article is in the nature of extrapolation from the meaning of names. It may contain a good deal of frank outright speculation.
We may be wrong on some points. Nevertheless it is of value and interest because in the same way as we may be wrong on some points we may be right on others. This discussion also allows us to discuss the Hebrew meaning of the Tribal names and their possible implications.






Abraham who thinks big and acts with largeness of spirit.

Abraham was destined to become a great and might people.
The promises to Abraham must have reflected his own intellectual comprehension.
The blessings were given in accordance to the existing personality.

Genesis 13:
14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are, northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.


Abraham Passes Over:
Hebrews, numerous and great.
On Oceans they will rover.


Abraham had been known as Abrah ha-Ivri (Genesis 13:14) i.e. Abraham the Hebrew.
The word Hebrew connotes pass over, or stand on the other side.
The Midrash says that Abraham stood on one side to worship the Almighty and all the rest of the world stood on the other.






Isaac who laughs at adversity.

Genesis 21:6
And Sarah said, God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.


Isaac was named because he was born to his mother after by way of nature it was considered she could not longer bear children.

Rebecca was the soul mate,
Of Isaac who will laugh.
As a sacrifice offered up
God intervened on his Behalf.
With the righteous will we sup.


Rebeccca became the wife of Isaac. The Bible relates at length the almost miraculous manner by which the choseness of Rebecca to become the spouse of Isaac was made known (Genesis ch.24).






Jacob who does what it takes; and Israel who Overcomes.

Jacob means overtake, take hold of, use trickery.

Genesis 25:
26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.


Genesis 27:
36 And Esau said, Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing! And he said, Have you not reserved a blessing for me?


Israel means Overcome. Israel received his name after wrestling all night long with an angel and letting him go only after receiving a blessing.

Genesis 32:
28 And He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.


Genesis 35:
10 And God said to him, Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name. So He called his name Israel.


Jacob his appearance changes
Through struggle he prevails
His name to Israel Exchanges,
Overcomes adverse travails.


Jacob, following the advice of his mother, disguised himself to seem like his brother (Genesis ch.27) and so he received the blessings of the firstborn.
Later Jacob wrestled with an angel, the blessings were confirmed, and his name changed to Israel. Israel represented his struggling and overcoming with God (through the angel) and with man meaning his brother Esau (Genesis ch.32:28).






Reuben who sees the outcome (Genesis 29:31).

Genesis 29:
32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.


Reuben means "See a son".

Offspring in Scripture may at times be used as synonymous with effects, results.
e.g.
Proverbs 27:
27 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.


The Hebrew word translated as "may bring forth" is "Yaeled" literally "give birth to".

Reuben the outcome foresees.






Simeon who makes himself heard through prayer and effort.

Simeon was born as a result of prayer and spiritual striving. This would have left an imprint on his character.

Genesis 29:
33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also. And she called his name Simeon.

Simeon makes himself heard.






Levi who attaches himself to God through good deeds and good companions and goodness.

The word "levi" connotes attach, accompany, escort.

Genesis 29:
34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons. Therefore his name was called Levi.


Levi, to God will appease.
Levi was to accompany the Sanctuary in serving the Almighty.
He was to appease the Almighty through the sacrifices on behalf of Israel

Deuteronomy 33:
10 They shall teach Jacob Your judgments,
And Israel Your law.
They shall put incense before You,
And a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar.







Judah who acknowledges the Truth and is grateful for what he has and aware of what he should be.

Genesis 29:
35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, Now I will praise the Lord. Therefore she called his name Judah.


The name Judah is derived from the root HDH which is translated as meaning praise but acknowledge is more appropriate.
This is why we understand Scripture as saying that in the end times the other tribes will acknowledge the truth of Judah.

Genesis 49:
8 Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father's children shall bow down before you.


The word translated above as "shall praise" in Hebrew is "Yoduca" literally "shall acknowledge"!

Judah gives the right word.






Dan who gives an account, and measurement, and strives to become bigger and better.

The name Dan means judgement. Dan is often represented by a pair of scales signifying correct and just measurement.
 
Genesis 30:
6 Then Rachel said, God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son. Therefore she called his name Dan.

The expression "has judged my case" inn Hebrew is "Dan-aini". This also implies empowerment and a challenge to constantly judge, be judged, and go forward.
One of the symbols of Dan is a snake. A snake wriggle and squirms with great force forcing himself out and onward.

Dan will judge and weigh.






Naphtali who does not surrender but keeps up the struggle.

His very name implies wrestling. His symbol was a female doe noted for its speed and alacrity.
He takes the chance when it comes.

Genesis 30:
7 And Rachel's maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed. So she called his name Naphtali.

Naphtali wrestles in fight.






Gad who expands on what exists and works that there may be more of it.

Gad was so named because he adding tot he sons Leah already had both from her own body and through maidservant, Zilpah.
The name Gad is from the root GD implying union, combine, and therefore Gedud or body of troops united together.

Genesis 30:
11 Then Leah said, A troop comes! So she called his name Gad.


Gad with a troop holds sway.






Asher who is happy and smiling and makes others feel good just to see him.

Genesis 30:
13 Then Leah said, I am happy, for the daughters will call me blessed. So she called his name Asher.


Asher smiles in delight.






Issachar who works for his own pay and pays others what is theirs.

Issachar was conceived as a result of his mother hiring the services of her husband from Rachel whose turn it would otherwise have been for Jacob to be with.
When he was born his mother attributed his birth as reward for payment for her having in the past given her maidservant to Jacob to beget children from.

Genesis 30:
17 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Leah said, God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband. So she called his name Issachar.


Issachar will make his way,
For service receive his pay.







Zebulon who is both domesticated and enterprising, tamed and daring.

Genesis 30:
20 And Leah said, God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons. So she called his name Zebulun.

The name Zebulon is derived from the root ZBL connoting dwelling in fertility.
it would therefore be expected that Zebulon would be a homebody and this aspect does exists in his descendants. Nevertheless it is balanced in the opposite direction by the blessing to Zebulon to succeed in his outgoing enterprises.

Genesis 30:
18 And of Zebulun he said:
Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
And Issachar in your tents!


Genesis 49:
13 Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea;
He shall become a haven for ships,
And his border shall adjoin Sidon.

The expressions translated "the haven of the sea" in Hebrew is "Le-Chof-Yamim" meaning literally on the shore of the seas.
The Netherlands is the realm of Zebulon and the majority of its population does dwell on reclaimed sea-lands which it guards by means of dams and dykes.
They literally do dwell on the shore of the seas and they are the only people that does.
The Dutch are related to the English and to other European peoples. What applies to them therefore also is pertinent to the others.
Family Connection is one of our Ephraimite Criteria.
http://www.britam.org/criteria.html

Zebulon dwells on sea-shores,
Guarded by dykes from flood
Lying at the Ocean doors
Sharing ties of blood.







Joseph who adds to whatever he does and increases on it.

Genesis 30:
23 And she conceived and bore a son, and said, God has taken away my reproach. 24 So she called his name Joseph, and said, The Lord shall add to me another son.

The name Joseph is derived from the root YSF or ASF and connotes add to. It also implies gather in, gather up.
Leah applied it in the sense of take  away, remove. The birth of Joseph symbolized the removal of dishonor. It also forepassaged the future addition of another son.
Joseph was to become the MASHBIR or supplier of sustenance to all the land (Genesis 42:6).
Joseph removes the bad and adds to the good.

Joseph to all good adds much,






Benjamin who moves to the right side and does the right thing.

Genesis 35:
18 And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin.


Ben-Oni can mean "son of my affliction BUT it also has a double meaning and may imply "Son of my strength.
Benyamin literally means Ben-Yamin i.e. son of the right hand. The righthand side in Scripture represented the south.
This is interesting because it appears that many from Benjamin were left-handed (cf. Judges 3:15, 20:16).

Judges 3:
15: But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord the Lord raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man.


Judges 20:
15. And from their cities at that time the children of Benjamin numbered twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered seven hundred select men.
16. Among all this people were seven hundred select men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hairís breadth and not miss.


A left-handed boxer is nicknamed a south-paw..
The Temple Precinct was in Jerusalem. Technically Jerusalem had not been divided amongst the Tribes BUT if it would have been then half would be in the territory of Judah and other half in that of Benjamin.

Benjamin does the right thing
Welcome is his prayer and touch.
All this, Tribes of Israel bring.
We shall all rejoice and sing.







These are the Tribes of Israel.
These are the forefathers of the Israelite Nation. We should learn what we can from all of them.






Poem: The Family of Abraham

Abraham Passes Over:
Hebrews, numerous and great.
On Oceans they will rover.
Rebecca was the soul mate,
Of Isaac who will laugh.
As a sacrifice offered up
God intervened on his Behalf.
With the righteous will we sup.
Jacob his appearance changes
Through struggle he prevails
His name to Israel Exchanges,
Overcomes adverse travails.
Reuben the outcome foresees.
Simeon makes himself heard.
Levi, to God will appease.
Judah gives the right word.
Dan will judge and weigh.
Naphtali wrestles in fight.
Gad with a troop holds sway.
Asher smiles in delight.
Issachar will make his way,
For service receive his pay.
Zebulon dwells on sea-shores,
Guarded by dykes from flood
Lying at the Ocean doors
Sharing ties of blood.
Joseph to all good adds much,
Benjamin does the right thing
Welcome is his prayer and touch.
All this, Tribes of Israel bring.
We shall all rejoice and sing.









The Tribes - 4th Edition Full Cover Spread.
http://www.britam.org/TribesCover.html





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All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860).


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