Gemstones of Israel’s Twelve Tribes

The twelve sons of Jacob are the patriarchs of the twelve Tribes of Israel. God chose a jewel to represent each Jacob’s sons.  The twelve precious gemstones inscribed with each tribe’s name were set in gold and placed in four rows of three stones each on the High Priest’s Breastplate.  The order of the stones presumably represented the order of the birth of the sons of Jacob.

Gemstones of the 12 Tribes of Israel
High Priest Breastplate gems

Symbols of the twelve Tribes of Israel

Symbols of the 12 tribes of Israel

Order of Birth of Jacob's Sons

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Dan
  6. Naphtali
  1. Gad
  2. Asher
  3. Issachar
  4. Zebulun
  5. Joseph
  6. Benjamin

Prophetic Israelite Tribal Names

Reuben
Reuben

Reuben

Meaning of Name: behold a son

Mother:  Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 29.32

So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The LORD has surely seen my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.”

 

Simeon tribal symbol
Simeon tribal symbol

Simeon

Meaning of Name: hearing

Mother:  Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 29.33

Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.

 

Levi Tribal symbol
Levi Tribal symbol

Levi

Meaning of Name: joined

Mother:  Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 29.34

She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.

 

Judah tribal symbol
Judah tribal symbol

Judah

Meaning of Name: Praise the LORD

Mother:  Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 29.35

And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise Yahweh.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.

 

Dan tribal symbol
Dan tribal symbol

Dan

Meaning of Name: Judge

Mother: Bilhah (Rachel’s servant)

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.6

Then Rachel said, “God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.

Napthali tribal symbol
Napthali tribal symbol

Naphtali

Meaning of Name: Mighty struggles

Mother: Bilhah (Rachel’s servant)

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.6

Then Rachel said, I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won. So she named him Naphtali.

Gad tribal symbol
Gad tribal symbol

Gad

Meaning of Name: good fortune

Mother: Zilpah (Leah’s servant)

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.11

Then Leah said, What good fortune!  So she named him Gad. 

Asher tribal symbol
Asher tribal symbol

Asher

Meaning of Name: happy

Mother: Zilpah (Leah’s servant)

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.13

Then Leah said, How happy I am! The women will call me happy. So she named him Asher.

Issachar tribal symbol
Issachar tribal symbol

Issachar

Meaning of Name: he will bring a reward

Mother: Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.18

Then Leah said, God has rewarded me for giving my maidservant to my husband. So she named him Issachar.

Zebulun tribal symbol
Zebulun tribal symbol

Zebulun

Meaning of Name: dwelling, place of honor

Mother: Leah

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.20

Then Leah said, God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honour, because I have borne him six sons. So she named him Zebulun.

Joseph (Manasseh) tribal symbol
Joseph (Manasseh) tribal symbol

Joseph

Meaning of Name: increases, fruitful

Mother: Rachel

Birth Verse:  Gen 30.24

She named him Joseph, and said, May the LORD add to me another son.

Benjamin tribal symbol
Benjamin tribal symbol

Benjamin

Meaning of Name: the son of my right hand

Mother: Rachel

Birth Verse:  Gen 35.18

As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.

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