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Tribe of Reuben

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According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Reuben (Hebrew: שֵׁבֶט רְאוּבֵן, Shevet Re'uven) was one of the Tribes of Israel.

The census held at Mt. Sinai (Num 1:20-21; 2:11) shows that the numbers of this tribe was 46,500 men above twenty years of age and fit for military service.[1] Just before entering Canaan, another census pointed that this number dropped to 43,730.[1] From after the conquest of the land by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel, the Tribe of Reuben was a part of a loose confederation of Israelite tribes. No central government existed, and in times of crisis the people were led by ad hoc leaders known as Judges. With the growth of the threat from Philistine incursions, the Israelite tribes decided to form a strong centralised monarchy to meet the challenge, and the Tribe of Reuben joined the new kingdom with Saul as the first king. After the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, but after the death of Ish-bosheth, Saul's son and successor to the throne of Israel, the Tribe of Reuben joined the other northern Israelite tribes in making David, who was then the king of Judah, king of a re-united Kingdom of Israel. However, on the accession of Rehoboam, David's grandson, the northern tribes split from the House of David to reform a Kingdom of Israel as the Northern Kingdom. Reuben was a member of the kingdom until the kingdom was conquered by Assyria in c. 723 BC and the population deported.

There is a place reserved for the tribe of Reuben in Ezekiel´s reconstructed Israel and they are counted in the 144,000 mentioned in the Revelation book.[2]


Shemaiah etc..

Tribal territory

Map of the twelve tribes of Israel, before the move of Dan to the North. The Tribe of Reuben has its territory bordered by Gad and Moab

The Reuben made ​​a covenant with Moses in order to occupy the rich pasture lands of Gilead.[3] Reuben receive lands north of Moab with the river Arnon as its south boundary and the northern boundary was the Wadi Hesban, a valley leading to the Jordan river from Heshbon.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Unger, Merrill F (1988). R. K., Harrison. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. p. 1076. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9. 
  2. Douglas, J. D., ed. (1980). The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Inter-Varsity Press/Tyndale House Publishers. p. 1334. ISBN 0-8423-7525-2. 
  3. Douglas, J.D.; Tenney, Merril C, ed. (1987). The New International Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 858. ISBN 0-310-33190-0. 
  4. Pfeiffer, Charles F (1979). Baker´s Bible Atlas. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. p. 95. ISBN 0-8010-6930-0.