Why was the tribe of Dan not listed among the 12 tribes in Revelation 7?

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It is true that the tribe of Dan was not listed as seen below.

“5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.
6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.
7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand” (Revelation 7:5-8).

In Revelation 7:5-8, the twelve tribes are listed but they are not entirely identical with the enumerations found in the OT (Num. 1:5–15; Deut. 27:12, 13; Gen. 35:22–26; 49:3–28; 1 Chron. 2:1, 2). The OT lists commonly begin with Reuben, whereas the present enumeration in Revelation 7, begins with Judah, perhaps because Christ came of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5).

In the OT, Levi is sometimes not included as a tribe, though, of course, he is listed as a son of Jacob. This was doubtless because Levi received no inheritance among the tribes ( Joshua 13:14). In Revelation 7, the tribe of Levi is counted, but not that of Dan.

To reckon Levi and yet retain the number 12, it was necessary to omit one of the tribes, inasmuch as Joseph was reckoned as two tribes, namely Ephraim (probably called “Joseph” in Rev. 7:8) and Manasseh. Perhaps Dan was excluded because of that tribe’s reputation for idolatry (Judges 18:30, 31).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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