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
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis March 27
Our Most Characteristic Vice? March 27
Recognizing the Noonday Devil March 27
Patricia Jannuzzi on gay activists: And the real problem is? March 27
Surrogate parenthood = exploitation of desperate women March 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy CWN - March 13