The twelve tribes of Yashur’al are derived from the twelve sons of Yawʽaqub. Their order of birth is found in Genesis 29:31-30:24 and 35:16-18. Their chronological birth order and meaning of their names are as follows:
Ra’uban – see a Son, who sees the Son, or behold the Son
Shamaw’un – hearing, He has heard
Luy – attached, or joined unto me
Yahudah – praisers of YAHUAH
Dan – judge, he that judges, or YAHUAH has judged
Naphataly – my wrestling, or I have wrestled and prevailed
Gad – a band, a troop
Ashur – happy, happiness, assured
Yashashakur – give me my hire, or reward
Zabulun – lofty dwelling, or esteemed dwelling place
Yahusaph – increaser, or He will add
Banyamin – Son of the Right Hand
It is interesting that Rach’al wanted to call Banyamin, Ban-Auny, meaning “Son of my sorrow”. However, Yawʽaqub decided to call his name, Banyamin. It has Messianic significance, as all the names do.
The names of the twelve tribes are given to us again in Revelation 7:4-8. Their listing in Revelation 7 is given in a different order than we have seen before in Genesis and with a significant substitution. The key to this change lies in the meanings of the names as well as their order. They are everything that we, who follow ha’Mashyach, should or shall experience in our walk with Him. The tribes and the meanings of their names are as follows:
The tribe of Yahudah – Praisers of YAHUAH
The tribe of Ra’uban – Behold the Son
The tribe of Gad – A band (of followers)
The tribe of Ashur – Happy, happiness, assured
The tribe of Naphataly – We have wrestled and prevailed
The tribe of Manashah – YAHUAH forgets
The tribe of Shamaw’un – He has heard
The tribe of Luy – Be joined (unto YAHUAH)
The tribe of Yashashakur – My reward (is with Him)
The tribe of Zabulun – Esteemed Dwelling Place
The tribe of Yahusaph – Increaser (YAHUAH will add)
The tribe of Banyamin – The Son of the Right Hand
Notice that Manashah replaces Dan, which means judge or YAHUAH has judged. Therefore, the substitution of Manashah for Dan signifies the forgiveness of YAHUAH, Who forgets our sins. Aluahim does nothing by chance. Within the names of the twelve tribes of Yashur’al is the story of our salvation.
When the meanings of the names are connected together we read:
Praisers of YAHUAH, behold the Son! A band (of followers) is happily assured. We have wrestled and prevailed. YAHUAH forgets (our sins). He has heard (us). (Let us) be joined (unto YAHUAH) for our reward (is with Him) in a esteemed dwelling place. And YAHUAH will increase the Son of the Right Hand (who is our Saviour and Sovereign).
This article is adapted from the Scripture study “The Twelve Tribes of Israel” by Patricia Ponikvar.