“Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt with Jacob; every man came with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls; and Joseph was in Egypt already”. (Exodus 1: 1-5)

In the Bible, the Israelites are described as descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel in Genesis 32:28. The Bible contains about two dozen listings of the twelve sons of Jacob and/or tribes of Israel. Some of these are in very brief lists, while others are spread out over several paragraphs or chapters that discuss the distribution of the land or name certain representatives of each tribe, one after another.