Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,368 to go. Please donate!
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.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 16 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? 20 hours ago
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6