Jacob blessed his children in Genesis 49, specifically he mentioned Zebulon will have it border at Sidon, a Haven for ships.

Genesis 49:13 (ESV)
Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.

The division by lot made Zebulon a landlocked. Since God instructed division by lot, I'm trying to see how prophecy and division by lot aligned.

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  • 1
    This is a great question to help readers evaluate accurate maps relating to biblical narrative of Genesis & Joshua! Aug 17, 2020 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


Did Jacob's blessing for Zebulun come to pass in the accounts of Joshua 19?

[Genesis 49:13] "Zebulun will dwell on the coast of the seas at the harbor of the ships, and his boundary will be at Zidon."

(זְבוּלֻ֕ן לְח֥וֹף יַמִּ֖ים יִשְׁכֹּ֑ן וְהוּא֙ לְח֣וֹף אֳנִיֹּ֔ת וְיַרְכָת֖וֹ עַל־צִידֹֽן)

After conquering land for the tribes of Yisrael, Yehoshua (Joshua) cast lots to fulfill Yaqov's promise of the land inheritance for Zebulun's descendants.

  • Regarding the accuracy of the Map (shown in the original post) relating to the biblical account of Joshua 19, we can use Joshua 19:10-11 to help Zebulun's coastal port (river access to Mediterranean) inheritance given by Joshua. - illustrated in the map provided here [https://biblearchaeology.org/images/articles/2018_map_of_northern_tribes.jpg ].

[Yehoshua (Joshua) 19:10] "And the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their families; and the border of their inheritance was to Sarid."(וַיַּ֙עַל֙ הַגּוֹרָ֣ל הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י לִבְנֵ֥י זְבוּלֻ֖ן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם וַיְהִ֛י גְּב֥וּל נַֽחֲלָתָ֖ם עַד־שָׂרִֽיד).

  • [Yehoshua (Joshua) 19:11] "And their border went up to the sea, and Maralah, and reached to Dabbesheth, and reached the river that is before Jokneam" (וְעָלָ֨ה גְבוּלָ֧ם | לַיָּ֛מָּה וּמַרְעֲלָ֖ה וּפָגַ֣ע בְּדַבָּ֑שֶׁת וּפָגַע֙ אֶל־הַנַּ֔חַל אֲשֶׁ֖ר ).

In the Masoretic Text of Joshua 19:11 - "Yamah" (יָּמָּה) means 'sea'. The complete phrase used is "LaYamah" (לַיָּמָּה) means "to-the sea".

In Conclusion : If Joshua 19:11 states the land of Zebulun's descendants received "river" access (harbor) to the Mediterranean Sea, then Yehoshua did fulfill the promise set by Jacob in Genesis 49:13.

  • 1
    Actually I don't know from which Torah version you are quoting from because I can't seem to find where it's stated that its border extends to the sea as you quoted here. And their border went up to the sea, and Maralah,
    – ken4ward
    Aug 17, 2020 at 14:08
  • In the Masoretic Text of Joshua 19:11 - "Yamah" (יָּמָּה) means 'sea'. The complete phrase used is "LaYamah" (לַיָּמָּה) means "to-the sea". * This explanation has been added to my updated answer. - Blessings! Aug 17, 2020 at 14:15
  • 1
    I can't seem to find the word Yamah or LaYamah as stated here. I checked the Hebrew version but it seems not to exist. Could you help me. biblehub.com/interlinear/study/joshua/19.htm
    – ken4ward
    Aug 17, 2020 at 14:46
  • Read the third word in Joshua 19:11 (וְעָלָה גְבוּלָם לַיָּמָּה ) - see "LaYamah" (לַיָּמָּה) - meaning "to-the sea". Aug 17, 2020 at 14:53

Gen 49:13 is quintessential eastern prophecy and must be read very carefully to avoid reading something into the words that do not actually exist.

  • First, it is clear that Zebulun was land-locked and did not actually have a coastline. However, it did border several territories that did have coastlines namely, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh.
  • The word "sea" יַמִּ֖ים is plural suggesting that there is some connection with both the sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean sea. It was certainly equally spaced between the two. The phrase לְחֹ֥וף יַמִּ֖ים יִשְׁכֹּ֑ן is literally, "by the shore of the seas" - not meaning that Zebulun would have an actual shore but be near it, which they certainly were.
  • The "haven for ships" is a Hebrew idiom for "trading". Others have noticed this as well.

Observe the comments from the Pulpit Commentary:

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; - not παρ ὅρμον πλοίων (LXX.), in statione navium (Vulgate), but to, or at, or beside, the. shore (from the idea of being washed by the waters of the ocean) of the waters, i.e. of the Galilean and Mediterranean seas - and he shall be for an haven of ships; - literally, and he to, at, or on, a shore of ships, i.e. a shore where ships are unloaded (so. shall dwell), the words being a repetition of the previous thought, with only the expansion, suggested by the term ships, that Zebulun's calling should be in the direction of commerce;

  • Thank for this answer. Could you explain it not having a border with Sidon?
    – ken4ward
    Jul 18, 2020 at 2:44
  • @ken4ward - Sidon was a city which was more or less in the territory of Asher which did border Zebulon.
    – Dottard
    Jul 18, 2020 at 3:17

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