23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram.
Now that we have heard about the birth of Benjamin, the Biblical record takes a moment to list out all twelve sons of Jacob, the future tribes of Israel. Well, technically, Joseph’s branch will further divide into the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. I mentioned yesterday that the first three sons of Jacob had all compromised themselves in one way or another, and after them was Judah. Judah, of course, would go on to be one of the most significant tribes in Israel, and beginning with David, its kings would rule over all the other tribes. Even later, Jesus would himself be born of that favored line.
It also stands out to me that Joseph, though one of the youngest of the sons, was a firstborn in his own branch of the family, the one brought through Rachel. We will soon hear about his vision of all the other brothers bowing to him, to which they will take offense, but will ultimately fulfill.
Thus, the eldest of Rachel and the eldest-worthy of Leah will become two leaders among their brethren, sons who set the mark for the others to follow.