Deuteronomy 27:12-13 KJV

12 These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: 13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

The tribes chosen to bless the Israelites it would seem were more blessed relative to their counterparts who proclaimed the curses.

All the tribes who proclaimed the curses eventually formed Israel which was a breakaway kingdom that was finally cursed by God.

Was there something significant about the choosing of tribes in the above text?

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    "All the tribes who proclaimed the curses eventually formed Israel", but Joseph in particular was also part of the breakaway Israel, as the name itself was inherited by Joseph. Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


The clue may be found in a map of the location of the tribes.

Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh) was actually more central to the later northern kingdom than any other tribe, and yet they are in the blessing group. So that in itself won't be the answer to the division. However, the cursing tribes are all either in the far north or on the eastern banks of the Jordan. Very much on the periphery.


Just to provide a possibility for consideration. The tribes were chosen to send a message, by using the meaning of the names.

The tribes who stand on Mount Gerizim to bless were;

Simeon - the 2nd son - meaning "the Lord heard me" (Gen 29:33)

Levi - the 3rd son - meaning "attached to me" (Gen 29:34)

Judah - the 4th son - meaning "I will praise the Lord" (Gen 29:35)

Issachar - the 9th son - meaning "reward me" (Gen 30:18)

Joseph - the 11th son - meaning "taken away my disgrace, may he add" (Gen 30:23)

Benjamin - the 12th son - meaning "son of my right hand" (Gen 35:18)

They form the message:

The Lord heard me and attached to me. I will praise the Lord who reward me by taken away my disgrace. May he add to me His son at His right hand.

The tribes who stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses were;

Reuben - the 1st son - meaning "The Lord has looked on me" (Gen 29:32)

Gad - the 7th son - meaning "good fortune" (Gen 30:11)

Asher - the 8th son - meaning "How happy I am" (Gen 30:13)

Zebulun - the 10th son - meaning "honor" (Gen 30:20)

Dan – the 5th son – meaning “he has vindicated” (Gen 30:6)

Naphtali - the 6th son - meaning "won a great struggle" (Gen 30:8)

They form the message:

The Lord has looked on me. How happy I am for that good fortune, I receive honor that He has vindicated I won a great struggle.

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