Journey Through The Scriptures

The Twelve Tribes of Israel, Part II

Lesson 2: Scattered Among the Tribes

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 49:5–7; Exodus 32:1–29; Numbers 3:5–13; Judges 1:13, 17)

Because of their act of violence in massacring the Shechemites (Genesis 34:1–31), Simeon and Levi and their tribes would be scattered throughout the land, as foretold by their father Jacob. The Bible shows that the scattering of these two tribes was accomplished in an interesting way.

The tribe of Simeon was a small tribe that is seldom mentioned in the Bible. They did agree to go with their brothers from Judah to fight against the Canaanites, but the Simeonites were all but absorbed by the more prominent tribe of Judah – which is not surprising given that Simeon’s territory was inside the tribal allotment of Judah.

The Levites were scattered as well, but in a much different way. Because of their faithfulness to God in the matter of the golden calf, they were given the responsibility of serving in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple at Jerusalem. The Levites were not to inherit any part of the land, because the Lord was to be their inheritance. They became His holy priests, separated from the culture in order to serve God. Both the tribes of Simeon and Levi were scattered, but the Levites remained in God’s favor and played a significant role in Israel’s history.

Study Questions

  1. Why did Simeon and Levi wipe out the Shechemites? Was their reason a justification for their actions?
  2. Why were the Levites not allowed to have any inheritance from the land?
  3. Why does violence always seem to play a large part in the downfall of a tribe?
  4. Why was there such a different ending to the stories of these two similar tribes?

Something to Think About

The tribe of Levi is a wonderful example of God’s message to His people. He wants us to know that, just as He provided for the Levites, He will provide for the needs of those who belong to Him. We can rest in that knowledge.