TWELVE TRIBES                                                          

The Bible reveals that each of the tribes of Israel had their own God given personality and assignments of work, worship and giving.  The tribes were named after Jacobs twelve sons and each name had a special meaning. 

Each member and partner of Greater Saint Peter AME Church's ministry is assigned to a tribe by Rev. Waddy. 

The tribes are organized, so that every member is in fellowship with the church.  We are our sister's and brother's keepers.   

To view a map of The Twelve Tribes of Israel, click here.

REUBEN

LEADER: SIS. BARBARA MOSTELLA

 

Reuben is the firstborn son of Jacob and Leah. His name comes from the Hebrew meaning “Look, a son.” He appears in the story of the mandrakes as the one giving them to his mother. (Genesis 30:14)

Reuben has relations with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah, angering Jacob and probably contributing to the curse in convincing his brothers not to kill Joseph but to trap him inside of a pit instead. (Genesis 37:22)   

                                                                                           The tribe of Reuben settled west of the Jordan River and agreed to join the other tribes in the war against the Philistines.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Reuben, you are my first born, 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."

SIMEON

LEADER: SIS. ELLEN SATTERWHITE

 

Simeon was the second son of Jacob and Leah. The Hebrew meaning of his name is “God has heard that I was unloved.” (Genesis 29:33) He and his brother Levi destroyed the entire village of Shechem in retribution for the rape of their sister Dinah. (Genesis 34)

Simeon was a part of the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.

 

The tribe of Simeon lived in the southernmost part of the Land of Israel.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel."

LEVI

LEADER: SIS. FREDIA BOOKER

 

Levi is the third son of Jacob and Leah. Since Leah had already given Jacob two sons, she said, “Now my husband will be joined with me.” (Genesis 30:34)

 

The Levites were distinguished as servants to God because of their refusal to worship to Golden Calf. (Exodus 32:26-29)

Levi’s own three sons (Gerhson, Kahath and Merari) become Temple servants. Levi’s sister Dinah was raped by Shechem. He and his brother Simeon destroyed the entire town. Levi was later involved in the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel."

JUDAH

LEADER: SIS. LILLIE MCBRIDE

 

Judah is the fourth son of Jacob and Leah. His name comes from the Hebrew word “gratitude.” Leah gave birth to Judah and said; “Now I will praise God.” (Genesis 30:35)

It was Judah’s idea to sell his brother Joseph to Midianite slave trader rather than leave him to die in the pit. (Genesis 37:27)

 

Judah later became the spokesman for his father Jacob and his brothers when they traveled to Egypt during the famine in Canaan. He marries Shua, a Canaanite woman. His had three sons: Er, Onan and Shelah. Judah is also involved with Tamar and has twin sons with her named Perez and Zerach.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?

 

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk."

DAN

LEADER: SIS. WENDY THORNTON

 

Dan was the fifth son of Jacob, and the first of Bilhah, who was Jacob's concubine and the maid of Rachel, who was Jacob's wife (Genesis 30:1-6). The name Dan means, "to judge" or "vindicate."

 

Dan traveled with Jacob and the family from Padan Aram to Canaan, and then later to Egypt. When Jacob blessed his sons in Genesis 49:16-18, it is stated that Dan would provide justice for his people.

 

The region of Dan in the Book of Judges is located in the far north of Canaan and referred to early in Genesis during Abraham’s chasing of Chedorlaomer. (Genesis 14:14)

The tribe of Dan also settled in the southern parts of the country. The expression “from Dan to Beer-sheba” indicates the entire span of the Israelite land.

                                                                               JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse's heels So that its rider shall fall backward." (Genesis 49:16,17)

NAPHTALI

LEADER: SIS. DEBBIE MILLER

 

Naphtali was the sixth of the twelve sons of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah, who was a servant to Rachel, who was Jacob's wife. Bilhah also gave birth to Jacob's son Dan. The name Naphtali means "My struggle." He was given his name because Rachel said, “With great wrestlings have I wrestled my sister.” (Genesis 30:8)

 

When Jacob blesses his sons in Genesis 49, he describes Naphtali as a deer that has been set free. (Genesis 49:21)

 

A region in northern Israel was given his name, near the Sea of Galilee. This tribe was described as brave soldiers in the Song of Deborah. (Judges 5:18)

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words." (Genesis 49:21)

GAD

LEADER: BRO. KEVIN DOBY

 

Gad was the seventh son of Jacob. His mother was Zilpah, who was Leah's maid. Gad's name comes from the Hebrew word troop. Leah named him Gad, saying, "A troop is coming." Gad was part of the plot to sell Joseph to Egypt.

 

Gad made the journey with Jacob and the family from Padan Aram to Canaan, and later, to Egypt. He was later sent to Egypt to buy corn during the famine in Canaan. Gad would later move to Egypt and lived there with his seven sons. Jacob blessed Gad on his deathbed.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, but he shall triumph at last." (Genesis 49:19)

ASHER

LEADER: BRO. RAY RANKIN

 

Asher was the eighth son of Jacob. His mother was Zilpah, Leah's maidservant. The other son by Zilpah was Gad. Leah named him Asher, saying, "Happy am I." (Genesis 30:13) Asher played a role in the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.

 

Asher made the journey with Jacob and the family from Padan Aram to Canaan, and then later to Egypt. Asher and his four sons and daughter later settled in Egypt. Jacob blessed Asher on his deathbed saying: "From Asher will come the richest food; he will provide the king's delights." (Genesis 49:20)

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

Bread from Asher shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.

ISSACHAR

LEADER: BRO. TERRY WILLIAMSON

 

Issachar is the ninth son of Jacob. One interpretation of his name is "man of reward" (Hebrew: shcar). His mother Leah also gave birth to Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Levi and Zebulun. Issachar was the product of the mandrake incident (Genesis 30:9-18) and was involved in the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery. Issachar settled in Egypt after the famine in Canaan and had four sons: Tolah, Puvvah, Yov and Shimron.

 

He receives a blessing from his father Jacob that he "bends his back to the load, working like a slave." (Genesis 49:14-15) The descendants of Issachar are men of learning according to Jewish tradition.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens; he saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a band of slaves." (Genesis 49:14,15)

ZEBULUN

LEADER: BRO. RONNIE & SIS. SHAWN THOMAS

 

The tenth son of Jacob was Zebulun. His mother was Leah, who also gave birth to Reuben, Judah, Simeon, Levi and Issachar. When he was born Leah said "HaShem has provided me with a good dowry" (Hebrew: zvad).

 

Zebulun was part of the plot to sell Joseph into slavery, and later one of the group sent to Egypt to buy corn. He later lived in Egypt with his three sons Sered, Elon and Jahleel. Zebulun received the blessing from Jacob of: "Zebulun shall settle the seashores; he will be a harbor for ships; his border shall reach Sidon." (Genesis 49:13)

 

The tribe of Zebulun inhabited the northern land of Canaan. Both the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun are mentioned as brave soldiers in the Song of Deborah during the battle against Sisera. (Judges 5:18)

The tribe played an important role in the victory against Sisera's army at the brook of Kishon, and in Gideon's victory against the Midianites. One of the Judges of Israel, named Elon, and the prophet Jonah came from Zebulun. The tribe was renowned as seafarers.

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea. He shall become a haven for ships and his border shall adjoin Sidon.

JOSEPH

LEADER: SIS. ROSE CRUMPTON

 

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob. He was born to Jacob's favorite wife, Rachel, in Paddan-Aram after she had been barren for seven years. The name Joseph means "May God increase." Joseph fathered two tribes of Israel: Ephraim and Manasseh, these later became independent tribes.

 

He received preferential treatment, which angered his ten older brothers. His brothers faked his death to their father Jacob, and sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelite traders who were on their way to Egypt. God gave Joseph the power to interpret dreams, and when the Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams, Joseph was brought before the Pharaoh, and interpreted his dreams, of seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. (Gen 41:8-32)

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall. The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel).

 

"By the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

 

"The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers." (Genesis 49:22-26

BENJAMIN

LEADER: BRO. RUDY SMITH

 

Benjamin was the twelfth and youngest son of Jacob. . His mother was Rachel, Jacob's wife. Benjamin was born during the journey that Jacob and his family took from Padan Aram to Canaan. Originally named Ben-oni, or "son of my affliction" by his mother as she lay dying in labor, his name was later changed to Benjamin, meaning "son of my right hand." (Genesis 48:14)

 

Next to Joseph, he was his favorite son. Benjamin the twelfth son of Jacob and born after Joseph was sold into slavery. After the family was invited to Egypt, Joseph sabotaged Benjamin's sack by putting a silver cup in it and accusing the brothers of stealing. Joseph thought Benjamin would remain in Egypt but Judah offered to take his place, saying that his father would be devastated if Benjamin did not return. Jacob later blesses Benjamin while on his deathbed, calling Benjamin "a vicious wolf, devouring the prey in the morning, and dividing the spoil at night." (Genesis 49:27)

 

JACOB’S PROPHECIES

"Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil."

FEATURED TRIBE

ASHER

This tribe continues to do God's work.  Recently, they met to discuss their First Fruit Pledges, Future Outreach Work and Upcoming Fellowships. 

Asher was one of the few tribes to reach its First Fruit Giving Total from member pledges.  Therefore, they did not have to participate or host any fundraiser activities to meet their budget.

They also had the most visitors present on Friends & Family Day, which took place on Sunday, August 29, 2010.