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Reuben

Eldest son of Jacob (Gen. 29:32; 30:14; 35:22–23; 37:21–22, 29; 42:22, 37; Num. 26:5); settled east of Jordan (Num. 32); the special characteristics of the tribe are referred to in Gen. 49:3; Deut. 33:6. The tribe’s numbers gradually diminished, and though it continued to exist as a tribe, it became politically unimportant. In Judg. 5:15–16, it is reproached by Deborah for its indifference during a time of national peril. For other references see Josh. 4:12; 13:15–23; 18:7; 22; 1 Chr. 5:1, 3, 18; Ezek. 48:6–7, 31; Rev. 7:5. Levite cities in, Josh. 20:8; 21:7, 36; 1 Chr. 6:63, 78. Dathan and Abiram, men of Reuben, Num. 16:1; Deut. 11:6; Bohan, son of Reuben, Josh. 15:6; 18:17.

Although Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob and Leah, he lost his birthright because of transgression (Gen. 35:22; 49:3–4). The blessing therefore came upon Joseph, the firstborn of Jacob and Rachel (1 Chr. 5:1–2).