Tribe of Zebulun

Tribe of Zebulun

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According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Tribe of Zebulun (alternatively rendered as Zabulon, Zabulin, Zabulun, Zebulon; ) was one of the Tribes of Israel.

Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 by the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 allocated the land among the twelve tribes. The territory it was allocated was at the southern end of the Galilee, with its eastern border being the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, also Kinneret, Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias , is the largest freshwater lake in Israel, and it is approximately in circumference, about long, and wide. The lake has a total area of , and a maximum depth of approximately 43 m...

, the western border being the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, the south being bordered by the Tribe of Issachar
Tribe of Issachar
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Issachar was one of the Tribes of Israel.Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes...

, and the north by Asher
Tribe of Asher
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Asher! was one of the Tribes of Israel.Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes...

 on the western side and Naphtali
Tribe of Naphtali
The Tribe of Naphtali was one of the Tribes of Israel.Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes...

 on the eastern.

Origin


According to the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

, the tribe consisted of descendants of Zebulun
Zebulun
Zebulun was, according to the Books of Genesis and Numbers, the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Zebulun...

, the sixth son of Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 and Leah
Leah
Leah , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is the first of the two concurrent wives of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and mother of six of sons whose descendants became the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with at least one daughter, Dinah. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom...

, from whom it took its name. Some Biblical scholars
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

, however, view this as postdiction
Postdiction
According to critics of paranormal beliefs, postdiction is an effect of hindsight bias that explains claimed predictions of significant events, such as plane crashes and natural disasters...

, an eponym
Eponym
An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

ous metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. With Leah as a matriarch, Biblical scholars believe the tribe to have been regarded by the text's authors as a part of the original Israelite confederation.

Character


In the ancient Song of Deborah, Zebulun are described as sending to the battle those that handle the sopher shebet. Traditionally this has been interpreted as referring to the rod of the scribe, an object that in Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n monuments was a stylus
Stylus
A stylus is a writing utensil, or a small tool for some other form of marking or shaping, for example in pottery. The word is also used for a computer accessory . It usually refers to a narrow elongated staff, similar to a modern ballpoint pen. Many styli are heavily curved to be held more easily...

 of wood or metal used to inscribe clay tablet
Clay tablet
In the Ancient Near East, clay tablets were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age....

s, or to write on papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

; as such, the ones who wielded it would have been the associates/assistants of lawgivers. Consequently, in Jewish tradition, the tribe of Zebulun was considered to have a symbiotic
Symbiosis
Symbiosis is close and often long-term interaction between different biological species. In 1877 Bennett used the word symbiosis to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens...

 relationship with the tribe of Issachar
Issachar
Issachar/Yissachar was, according to the Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah , and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

, its neighbour and a tribe that traditionally was seen as having many scholars, whereby Zebulun would financially support Issachar's devotion to study and teaching of the Torah, in exchange for a share of the spiritual reward from such learning; the terms Issachar and Zebulun came to be used by Jews for anyone engaged in such a relationship. More recent scholarship, as expressed for example in translations such as the Revised Standard Version
Revised Standard Version
The Revised Standard Version is an English translation of the Bible published in the mid-20th century. It traces its history to William Tyndale's New Testament translation of 1525. The RSV is an authorized revision of the American Standard Version of 1901...

, instead render the description in the Song of Deborah of the people sent to battle by Zebulun as those who handle the marshal's staff; in other words, Zebulun had simply sent military officers.

History of the tribe


The Tribe of Zebulun plays an important part in the early history of Israel. At the census of the tribes in the Desert of Sinai
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 during the second year of the Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

, the tribe of Zebulun numbered 57,400 men fit for war (Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 1:31). This army, under the command of Eliab
Eliab
For the Christian martyr, see Abda and AbdjesusEliab was the name of at least three individuals mentioned in the Bible:*The son of Helon and a prince of the house of Zebulun according to Numbers 1:9....

 the son of Helon, encamped with Judah
Tribe of Judah
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Judah was one of the Tribes of Israel.Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes....

 and Issachar
Tribe of Issachar
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Issachar was one of the Tribes of Israel.Following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes after about 1200 BCE, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes...

 east of the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

 and with them made up the vanguard of the line of march (Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 2:3-9). Among the spies sent by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 to view the land of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, Gaddiel the son of Sodi represented Zebulun (Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 13:10).

At Shittim
Abila (Peraea)
Abila – also, Biblical: Abel-Shittim or Ha-Shittim – was an ancient city east of the Jordan River in Moab, later Peraea, near Livias, about twelve km northeast of the north shore of the Dead Sea; the site is now that of Abil-ez-Zeit, Jordan. Abel-Shittim , is found only in Num...

, in the land of Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, after 24,000 men were slain for their crime, a second census was taken; Zabulon numbered 60,500 fighting men (Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 26:27). Elizaphan the son of Parnach was chosen to represent Zebulun at the division of the Promised Land
Promised land
The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised or given by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. The promise is firstly made to Abraham and then renewed to his son Isaac, and to Isaac's son Jacob , Abraham's grandson...

 (Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 34:25).

During the rule of Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 it received no special mention. In the Song of Deborah
Deborah
Deborah was a prophetess of Yahweh the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor, warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth according to the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5....

, the tribe is specially singled out as having "offered their lives to death in the region of Merom
Meiron
Meiron was a Palestinian village, located west of Safad. Associated with the ancient Canaanite city of Merom, excavations at the site have found extensive remains from the Hellenistic and Early Roman periods...

," (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 5:18); and praised because there came "out of Zebulun they that led the army to fight," as in Hebrew, "they that carry the pen of the writer," i.e., such as recruiting and inspecting officers (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 5:14).

The reference is to Barak
Barak
Barak , Al-Burāq the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, was a military general in the Book of Judges in the Bible. He was the commander of the army of Deborah, the prophetess and heroine of the Hebrew Bible...

's campaign against Sisera
Sisera
Sisera was commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor mentioned in the of the Hebrew Bible. After being defeated by Barak, Sisera was killed by Jael, who hammered a tent peg into his temple....

, the commander of the forces of Jabin
Jabin
Jabin is a Biblical name meaning 'discerner', or 'the wise'. It may refer to:* A king of Hazor, at the time of the entrance of Israel into Canaan , whose overthrow and that of the northern chief with whom he had entered into a confederacy against Joshua was the crowning act in the conquest of the...

, King of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 4:10). They answered the call of Gideon and joined in battle against Madian
Midian
Midian , Madyan , or Madiam is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur'an. It is believed to be in northwest Saudi Arabia on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the northern Red Sea...

 (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 6:35); and gave to Israel Elon
Elon
In the Bible, Elon was a Judge of Israel.He followed Ibzan and was succeeded by Abdon. It is said that he was from the Tribe of Zebulun, led Israel for ten years, and was buried in Ajalon in Zebulon .- See also :*Biblical judges*Book of Judges...

, who judged it ten years (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 12:11). Among those that followed David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 to Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 to make him king were 50,000 fully armed men of Zebulun with no double heart (I Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 12:33), who brought with them, as sign of their hearty allegiance, bounteous supplies of meat and drink to celebrate the accession of their new ruler (I Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 12:41). When Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

 made reparation for the abominations of his father Ahaz
Ahaz
Ahaz was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew....

, he invited all Israel to keep the Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

 in the house of the Lord. Mockery and ridicule met the emissaries of the reformer; yet some were true to the religion of their fathers, and, even from far away Zebulun, went up to Jerusalem, destroyed the idols, and kept the feast of the unleavened bread
Unleavened Bread
Unleavened Bread is a 1900 novel by American writer Robert Grant....

 (II Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 30:10-23).

Division of the land


At the division of the land of Israel between the seven tribes not yet provided for, the lot of Zebulun was third. The tribe's territory started with Sarid (Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 19:10), which is supposed to have been Tel Shadud, some five miles southwest of Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

. Zebulun's boundaries have not been made out. Of the nineteen proper names that the book of Joshua gives to guide us, only Bethlehem (Beit lahm, seven miles northwest of Nazareth) can be identified with certainty, although the archaeological site Tel Hanaton
Tel Hanaton
Tel Hanaton is a Bronze Age Tel situated at the Western edge of the Beit Netofa Valley in The Western Lower Galilee region of Israel, 2 km South of the Town of Kfar Manda and 1 km ENE of the modern settlement which took its name, Kibbutz Hanaton.-Etymology of Hanaton:For much of the...

 is associated with the city Hanaton listed as the boundary with Asher
Asher
Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

. The historian Josephus assigns to Zebulun the land near to Carmel
Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel ; , Kármēlos; , Kurmul or جبل مار إلياس Jabal Mar Elyas 'Mount Saint Elias') is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. Archaeologists have discovered ancient wine and oil presses at various locations on Mt. Carmel...

 and the sea, as far as the Lake of Genesareth. To its northwest lay Asher, to the southeast Issachar
Issachar
Issachar/Yissachar was, according to the Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah , and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

. It included a part of the Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

, and the great highway from the sea to the lake. Within the territory of Zebulun, Jesus was raised, and did and said much that is narrated in the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s, especially in the Synoptics
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

, about his Galilean ministry.

Fate


As part of the Kingdom of Israel, the territory of Zebulun was conquered by the Assyrians, and the tribe exiled
Assyrian captivity of Israel
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty year demise of Israel's northern ten tribe kingdom. Sennacherib...

; the manner of their exile lead to their further history being lost. However, some modern day groups claim descent, with varying levels of academic and rabbinical support. The Igbo Jews
Igbo Jews
The Igbo Jews are members of the Igbo people of Nigeria who claim descent from Mediterranean Israelite migrants into Nigeria.-Argument for the Historical Migration of the Igbo Jews:...

 of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 claim to descend from the tribe, as well as from the tribes of Ephraim
Tribe of Ephraim
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim was one of the Tribes of Israel. The Tribe of Manasseh together with Ephraim also formed the House of Joseph....

, of Manasseh
Tribe of Manasseh
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Manasseh was one of the Tribes of Israel. Together with the Tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh also formed the House of Joseph....

, of Levi, and of Gad
Tribe of Gad
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Gad was one of the Tribes of Israel.From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel in c. 1050 BC, the Tribe of Gad was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government existed,...

.

Israeli Knesset member Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara is a Druze Israeli politician. He is currently a member of the Knesset for Likud and Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee. He lives in Isfiya, Haifa District....

speculated that the Druze are descended from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, probably Zevulun. Kara stated that the Druze share many of the same beliefs as Jews, and that he has genetic evidence to prove that the Druze were descended from Jews.