Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Didn't the Ancient Israelites Care About Preserving Tribal Identity?

Musings from today:

In the pre-monarchic ancient Israel, the tribes were, for a time, endogamous--the tribes did not intermarry with other tribes.  And why?  Two things:  a strong tribal culture and also the "descent and distribution" laws that tied a tribe to a geographical allotment of land within Israel.  Back then, if you were an Israelite, you knew that your father was from Tribe X and so you identified with that tribe.

But then something happened to destroy that system…

In the post-monarchic period, it became less important to remember one's tribal affiliation.  And the Levites were an exception to this.  To this day, a Levite identifies as a Levite because of his or her father.


But my question is why didn't the other tribes consider this patrilinear tribal identification important?  If the Levites considered/consider tribal identification important enough to remember, why didn't the other tribes?


Why did the Benjamites allow themselves to be fully absorbed into Judah?


  1. One clue is to examine the blessings/prophecies of Yaacov's death bed, and also Moshe's last words about each of the tribes.

  2. What conclusion to you personally draw from those passages?

  3. There are prophecies regarding each tribe, and their future role. Just as following the deliverance from Egypt, each man received a revelation of his tribe; so I believe this will occur at the end of the age. The tribes will return each to their allotment of land, and also clues to the roles of each are found in both of those prophetic passages.