What were the tribes of Israel?
Here's the answer:
The tribes of Israel were the descendants of Jacob, who were to serve God.
Each of the twelve tribes of Israel are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons and each of these sons had their own tribe. The twelve tribes of Israel are the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Benjamin, and Joseph. Each of these tribes had the choice to obey God or to not obey God.
The tribes of Israel are important because they are all God's chosen people. They are not allegorical or made up. They are real people God used to form the nation of Israel. Each of the names of the tribes are named after the patriarch of the tribe.
We can learn a lot from studying the tribes. For example, we can see the tribe of Dan never fully trusted in God and they suffered consequences. On the other hand, the tribe of Judah experienced blessings. Jesus is a descendant of the tribe of Judah and God chose this tribe to bring His Son to earth.
"Then the man said, 'Your name will not be Jacob anymore. Instead, it will be Israel. You have wrestled with God and with people. And you have won'" (Genesis 32:28).
"Leah was the mother of Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son. Her other sons were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. The sons of Rachel’s female servant Bilhah were Dan and Naphtali. The sons of Leah’s female servant Zilpah were Gad and Asher" (Genesis 35:23-26).
"So Joseph helped his father and his brothers make their homes in Egypt. He gave them property in the best part of the land, just as Pharaoh had directed him to do. That part was known as the territory of Rameses. Joseph also provided food for his father and brothers. He provided for them and the rest of his father’s family. He gave them enough for all their children" (Genesis 47:11-12).