Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

TRIBES OF ISRAEL

The social units of the Jewish nation descended from Jacob through his twelve sons (Genesis 49). Strictly speaking there were thirteen tribes: Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulum, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, and Benjamin, along with the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, whom Jacob adopted as his own (Genesis 48), and who therefore also became founders of tribes. But in the distribution of territory in the Promised Land, the tribe of Levi received no possession (joshua 13) and perhaps for that reason is not counted as a tribe. Each tribe in turn was divided into clans, named after the grandsons of Jacob, and these in turn were subdivided into houses (Numbers 1, 26; Joshua 7) and the houses into families. In the family the father had complete authority over his wife (or wives) and children. The fathers, in turn, were elected or accepted by common consent, heads of families, or heads of houses whose directives they were to obey. The clan was subject to the prince of the tribe, also called a prince of Israel (Numbers 1, 7). Later, under the monarchy, the tribes became mere social units.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16
Russia's demographic recovery + US demographic decline = danger April 16
James Carroll strikes (at the Church) again April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - 16 hours ago
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - 16 hours ago