Zebulun – 12 Tribles of Israel

Zebulun – Twelve Tribes of Israel

The Tribe of Zebulun or Bnei Zvulun (Hebrew זְבוּלֻן / זְבוּלֹן “Dwelling; habitation) is one of the Hebrew tribes, founded by Zebulun son of Jacob, numbered at Sinai (Num. 1:31) and before entering Canaan (26:27). It was one of the tribes which did not drive out the Canaanites, but only made them tributary (Judg. 1:30). It took little interest in public affairs. It responded, however, readily to the summons of Gideon (6:35), and afterwards assisted in enthroning David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:33, 40). Along with the other northern tribes, Zebulun was carried away into the land of Assyria by Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15:29). In Deborah’s song the words, “Out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer” (Judg. 5:14) has been rendered in the R.V., “They that handle the marshal’s staff.” This is a questionable rendering. “The word sopher (‘scribe’ or ‘writer’) defines the word shebhet (‘rod’ or ‘pen’) with which it is conjoined. The ‘rod of the scribe’ on the Assyrian monuments was the stylus of wood or metal, with the help of which the clay tablet was engraved, or the papyrus inscribed with characters. The scribe who wielded it was the associate and assistant of the ‘lawgivers.'” (Sayce). The territory of the Tribe of Zebulun was located in the southern Galilee, adjacent to the Tribe of Issachar, and the two tribes had strong bonds between them. The prophet Jonah was a member of the Tribe of Zebulun (I Kings 14:15).

Traditionally, the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun were considered to have a symbiotic relationship, whereby Issachar would devote his time to the study and teaching of Torah, and Zebulun would financially support him. In exchange, Zebulun would receive a share in the spiritual reward for Issachar’s learning. In modern times, although the identity of Issachar and Zebulun are unknown, these terms are still used by those engaged in such a partnership.