Tribes of Israel – Reuben

The first-born son of Jacob by Leah was Reuben.

Genesis 29:32  Reuben sounds like the Hebrew for he has seen my misery; the name means see, a son. Like all of the sons you should not only look at them but what happened with their families. All of the boys have prophecy about them form Jacob and then one for them/their tribe from Moses.

Jacob’s statement before he died concerning Reuben was “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it. Genesis 49:3  (NIV 1984)

Moses’ statement to the tribe of Reuben before he died was found in Deuteronomy 33:6 “Let Reuben live and not die, nor his men be few.” (NIV 1984) A footnote in the NIV says that the meaning of this phrase is uncertain.

As I mused about Reuben I knew he had been removed as family leader but he was still family and loved by God. God did not throw him away because of the mistake. Reuben did try to save Joseph from his brothers (Gen. 37:29) and he tried to take the lead in Genesis 42:37 for getting food for the family when Jacob was reluctant to risk another trip. His family fulfilled the agreement with Moses when they took the lead with their troops going first into the Promise Land 9 (Joshua 1:16). Men from the tribe supported David at a critical time when he needed help (1 Chronicles 12:37).

God still honored him/his family; in Ezekiel his allotment is between Ephraim (Joseph) and Judah on the north side of the City and in Revelation 7 he is second on the list under Judah. Again in Ezekiel 48 his gate is with Judah and Levi on the north side of the City.

Their gate on the north side is a interesting direction but I guess it is because north is where trouble comes from so the strongest families are facing that way. Sounds like another Bible study to me.