THE TWELVE ISRAELITE TRIBES AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR NAMES
The Twelve Israelite Tribes and the significance of their names, in the Bible, the Hebrew people who, after the death of Moses, took possession of the promised land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Because the tribes were named after the sons or grandsons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel after they fought against an angel sent by Zambi, the Hebrew people became known as Israelites.
It is a well-known and an already established fact that the Bantu Israelite and as a prominent Black people give names to their offspring, which have a circumstantial meaning! The Holy Scriptures confirm our ancient culture that is on the verge to extinction! When I meet strangers, I am tempted to ask them about the meaning of their names. To my surprise, most of them affirm that a name doesn’t have to carry a meaning!!! “. This to me confirms that the tradition of the black people to give meaningful name dates back to the bible days and also confirms that it is no longer arguable that the biblical Hebrew Israelites are black and the culture of giving meaningful names is only foreign, unknown and unappreciated to a strange culture, specifically the white race.
Now we want to go back to our bible text and see the culture of naming and its significance from time immemorial. We look at the story of Jacob (Israel) how he had handmaids to his wives, by their father’s donation. Zilpha was handmaid to Leah, and Bilha to Rachel; by no means slaves, but however subject to their mistresses.
Leah who was the first wife became weary of her husband’s love for Racheal (Jacob was impartial) so she felt she would be better-endeared bu her husband if she were to bear him a son. Because of this reason she gave her husband Zilpha. And for that, she was more loved. and when Zilpha had borne a son, and her husband was on that account better reconciled to her, she named her son Reuben because Nzambi had shown mercy upon her, in giving her a son, for that is the interpretation of this name. After some time she bares three more sons. Simeon which name signifies that Nzambi had hearkened to her prayer. Then she bare Levi meaning the confirmation of their friendship. After he was born Judah which means Thanksgiving( also translated as Praises)
Now Rachel became alarmed because she was jealous feared lest the fruitfulness of her sister (Leah) should make herself enjoy a bigger share of Jacob’s affections, made him go to bed with her own handmaid Bilha; by whom Jacob had another son called Dan which interpretation in Greek language means, a divine judgment. But it did not end there she gave birth to And after him Nephthali which means unconquerable in strategies. Since racheal jealously tried to conquer her sister’s fruitfulness by her cunny strategies
Leah also took the same method, and used a counter-strategy to that of her sister; for she put to bed to him her own handmaid. Jacob, therefore, had by Zilpha a son, whose name was Gad which simply interprets fortune.
and after him Asher which may be called a happy man, because he added glory, Leah.
Now Reuben, the eldest son of brought apples of mandrakes to his mother. When Rachel saw them, she desired that she would give her the apples, for she longed to eat them; but when she refused, and bid her be content that she had deprived her of the benevolence she ought to have had from her husband, Rachel, in order to mitigate her sister’s anger, said she would yield her husband to her; and he should lie with her that evening. She accepted the favor and Jacob loved Leah intimately again.
Because of this favor. She then bare these sons: Issachar, Zebulun denoting one born by hire: and one born as a pledge of benevolence towards her; and a daughter,Dina. After some time Rachel had a son, named Joseph which signified there should be another to him.
Later, Rachel died in child-bed: she was the only one of Jacob’s kindred that had not the honor of burial at Hebron. And when he had mourned for her a great while, he called the name of the boy Benjamin because of the pain the mother had in her birth.
The children of Jacob, which are the Hebrew Israelites eventually became scattered abroad according to the world of the Lord spoken against them because of their disobedience.
Let them be scattered abroad among the heathen, their names are put out of the earth: for they have despised my covenant. 2 Ezdras 2.7—
And these are the names of the men which went up, according to their families among the, tribes, after their several heads. -1 Esdras 5:4-
And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain thief of the &hers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names were separated, and sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. —Ezra 10:16—
However, we have learned the meaning and significance of names as an age-long culture of the black people since the bible days and was the tradition in the family of Jacob which is still very much a practice of today among all black.