"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father."
(Genesis 49:1, 2 KJV)
To be an Israelite by blood, a person must be a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The 12 sons of Jacob had grown into 12 tribes by the time they left Egypt. All together they had become a 3 million man "nation" of Our Awesome God's chosen people.
The tribe of Levi was to be dedicated to God's service. Moses, a Levite, was the leader out of Egypt and Our Awesome God gave him the Law. God made Moses' brother, Aaron, the High Priest in charge of all the sacrifices and worship in the Tabernacle, assisted by his sons. The rest of the Levites were responsible for tabernacle transport, security, maintenance and provisions.
Also of special consideration, the tribe of Joseph was divided between the two sons, Ephraim and Manassah. These "half tribes" were given equality with the other 11 tribes so 13 tribes came to conquer and divide up Canaan, the Promised Land.
Only 12 tribes received large tracts of land. Those people needed access to the priesthood through the Levites, so instead of a land tract, Our Awesome God gave the Levites cities with adjoining "suburbs" within all the other tribal lands. So the 12 landed tribes were: Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim and Manasseh. The four most prominent have been mentioned earlier as: Judah. The tribe of kings and the most preeminent of the 12 tribes in the Bible. Reuben: Descended from Jacob’s firstborn, whom Jacob said was as “uncontrolled as water” (Genesis 49:4). Simeon: The man Simeon (with his brother Levi) slaughtered the men of an entire city to avenge his sister (Genesis 34:25–31). Levi:. The tribe of Levi is noted for standing by Moses during the golden calf incident at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:25–29). There are 13 Tribes mentioned here but only twelve inherited land from or around the land of Canaan because the tribe of Levi only inherited cities. The Twelve Tribes of Israel refer to the twelve tribes who inherited land in or around Canaan when it was divided by Joshua.
Our Awesome God still uses sinners to teach people about Himself, what He expects of them and that He can do anything (even forgives sinners who know they have sinned to populate His heaven). God will adopt us if we will just believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that He died for us, taking our sins upon Himself and arose the third day to sit by God, interceding for us when we sin. Are you ready to believe? God loves you! God created us all and wants us all in heaven with Him for eternity where peace and justice will always reign!
Flo & Bill