A Pattern in Tribal Names (16 May, 2013, Sivan 7, 5773)
Duration ca. 21 minutes. To Read article please Scroll Down!
In the short notes below we try to find some kind of pattern in the names. We may be wrong on some points but the exercise is still worth while.
The meaning of the names of the Tribes is given along with the meaning of the leaders of each Tribe. The Tribes are grouped in Threesomes as they were arranged when encamped around the Tabernacle and in their order of marching. Exact translations of the Names are not certain but for our purposes what we have given below is probably close enough. Some of the names may have several meanings and have been intended to do so from the beginning.
The Tribes and Leaders by Armies in Groups of Three with their Names Translated. ==== ==== East Side
Numbers 2 1 Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab [Give Thanks and Acknowledge the Truth [Judah, led by] Little Snake the son of He-who-Volunteers on behalf of the People]. 5 the tribe of Issachar, and Nethanel the son of Zuar [Give Payment as Reward [Issachar led by] Gift of God son of the Self-Effacing One]. 7 Then comes the tribe of Zebulun, and Eliab the son of Helon [Fertile Dwelling [Zebulon led by] God is my Father son of the Powerful One].
Possible Common Denominators: Emphasis on power, leadership, giving.
Present Identifications: Jews, Swiss [Finns], and Dutch.
==== ==== South Side
10 Reuben Elizur the son of Shedeur [See a Son [Reuben led by] God is My Rock son of The Almighty is My Light]. 12 the tribe of Simeon, and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai [Hear My Cry [Simeon led by] God is my Wholeness son of The Almighty is My Rock. 14 the tribe of Gad, and Eliasaph the son of Reuel [Unit of Warriors [Gad led by] God will Gather Me Together son of God is My Shepherd.
Possible Common Denominators: God is the source of all good, our reward, and our salvation
Numbers 2:17 And the tabernacle of meeting shall move out with the camp of the Levites in the middle of the camps; as they camp, so they shall move out, everyone in his place, by their standards. ==== ==== West Side
18 Ephraim ...Elishama the son of Ammihud [Double Portion of Fertility [Ephraim led by] My God Heard son of Glory of My People. 20 the tribe of Manasseh... Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur [Right of Representation [Manasseh led by] God Requites son of The Rock Redeems. 22 the tribe of Benjamin...Abidan the son of Gideoni [Son of My Right and Might [Benjamin led by] My Father [i.e. God] is My Judge son of Strength of My Division.
Possible Common Denominators: Assertive Power and reliance on reward from God.
Present Identifications: British (Austrlians, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans), Americans, Jews
==== ==== North Side
25 Dan ...Ahiezer the son of Ammishadda [Judgement [Dan led by] Aid of My Brothers son of God of My People.
27 the tribe of Asher...Pagiel the son of Ocran [Assurity and Happiness [Asher led by] Entreat, Importune of God son of Get to the Source.
29 the tribe of Naphtali...Ahira the son of Enan [Struggle and Wrestle [Naphtali led by] Shepherd of My Brothers son of The Source, Spring of Water.
Possible Common Denominators: Demand judgement and intervention of God, acknowledgement of God, render assistance to brothers.
The exact translation of these names is problematic. The versions we have given may be improved on. There definitely does seem to exist common denominators amongst each group of three. This is reflected in the general meaning of the names.
More work should be done on this. It may well be that someone has already written on this matter. Alternately we or others may merit in the future to receive greater enlightenment on this matter and write about it.