Twelve sons of Jacob

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Jacob had a total of twelve sons born to him, in a definite order. That order would later be significant in God's design for the breastplate of judgment for the high priests of Israel.

Name Born Mother Name means Authority
Reuben 2246 AM (1759 BC) Leah see a son Genesis 29:32
Simeon 2247 AM (1757 BC) Leah God has heard Genesis 29:33
Levi 2248 AM (1756 BC) Leah joining Genesis 29:34
Judah 2249 AM (1755 BC) Leah to praise Genesis 29:35
Dan 2249 AM (1755 BC) Bilhah judged Genesis 30:5-6
Naphtali 2250 AM (1754 BC) Bilhah my struggle Genesis 30:7-8
Gad 2251 AM (1753 BC) Zilpah troop, company Genesis 30:10-11
Asher 2252 AM (1752 BC) Zilpah happy Genesis 30:12-13
Issachar 2252 AM (1752 BC) Leah reward, recompense Genesis 30:17-18
Zebulun 2253 AM (1751 BC) Leah gifts, honor Genesis 30:19-20
Joseph 2259 AM (1745 BC) Rachel God shall add Genesis 30:23-24
Benjamin 2266 AM (1739 BC) Rachel son of my right hand Genesis 35:16-18

In addition to these, Jacob had a daughter, Dinah, by his wife Leah. Her birth occurred about 22:54 AM (1750 BC). Genesis 30:21

The sons went on to found the Twelve Tribes of Israel except that Levi was not included in that list and in place of Joseph were his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, thereby keeping a full twelve.


In Christian thought, it has been noted that the meanings of the names of the twelve sons prefigure Jesus Christ—son of God, Who has heard the cries of man, seeks to facilitate a joining of man and God, is worthy of praise, is the righteous Judge of the world, assists man in the struggle against sin, can call a troop or company of angels, is the Source of happiness (for without Him no man can be content, while with Him any man can be content), will reward us for our service (though His salvation is a free gift), shall add to our joys, and sits at the right hand of the Father.