Jacob, Children of or Sons of Jacob
The word “son” (ben, בֵּן) in some contexts could also be translated “children.” In addition, there are several places where the words “son” and “daughter” and the idea of bearing children are used to refer to a person’s posterity generally, not just their immediate children (Genesis 46:15, 18, 22, 25). Jacob’s sons were, in order of birth, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. He also had at least one daughter, Dinah, but possibly more (Genesis 37:35). In several instances in Genesis Jacob’s sons are referred to in aggregate, though in some instances the term (and similar terms, such as “Joseph’s brethren” or “the men”) clearly does not represent them all (for example, see Genesis 42:1-4, wherein Joseph is absent, and Genesis 43:1-15, wherein Simeon is absent). As such, the inclusiveness of references to the sons of Jacob should be understood in the context of the larger stories they are a part of.
Jacob’s sons are the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. For more information about each tribe, see Reuben, Tribe of, Simeon, Tribe of, etc. For more information about each of Israel’s children, see their individual entries. For more information about Israel’s descendants generally, see Israel, Israelites, or Children of Israel.
Bible Central Team