From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

ZEBULUN . According to OT tradition, Zebulun was the tenth son of Jacob, and the sixth of LeahGenesis 30:20 E [Note: Elohist.] ).

The original form of the name is uncertain, there being some evidence in favour of Zebulon , and even Zebul . The meaning of the name is likewise doubtful.   Genesis 30:20 presents a double explanation. One of these (apparently E [Note: Elohist.] ’s) connects it with the verb zâbad ‘to endow’; the other (J [Note: Jahwist.] ’s) derives it from zâbal ‘to dwell,’ because Leah said, ‘Now will my husband dwell with me’ (so AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] following the Vulg. [Note: Vulgate.] habitabit ). The Assyr. [Note: Assyrian.] meaning of zabâlu , however, ‘carry,’ ‘exalt,’ affords a more suitable rendering for this isolated use of the Hebrew verb, for the remark, ‘Now will my husband dwell with me,’ appears rather gratuitous and pointless after she had borne him six sons. The phrase bçth zebul ,   1 Kings 8:13 , moreover, implies a connotation of zbl different from that of ‘dwell,’ for the context immediately defines its purpose as a ‘place for thee to dwell in.’ Zebul is here used of the dwelling of God, elsewhere of the sun and moon, and, therefore, probably designated originally, in harmony with the Assyrian, a lofty abode, a bçth-har , or mountain sanctuary, such as is referred to in   Deuteronomy 33:19 as being in the territory of Zebulun and Issachar. If so, the name Zebulun, while etymologically related to zbl , is rather of geographical import in its historic application to the tribe.

According to  Genesis 46:14 , Zebulun is the progenitor of three tribal families through his three sons Sered, Elon, and Jahleel, who went down into Egypt with the other sons and grandsons of Jacob. The first and last of these names are notably like the town names Sarid and Nahalal, which were allotted to Zebulun according to   Joshua 19:10 f. There is no name corresponding to Elon in this passage, but the names of seven of the twelve cities spoken of have been lost.

At the time of the Sinai census the male Zebulunites from 20 years old and upwards numbered 57,400, and their lot on the march was cast on the east of the Tabernacle, with Judah and Issachar (  Numbers 1:31 f. P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ). All of these, as in the case of the men of the other tribes, died before the next census in the plains of Moab, where, nevertheless, the total reached 60,500 (  Numbers 26:27;   Numbers 26:64 P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ).

The boundary line marked off by lot in  Joshua 19:10-24 gives only the southern and eastern borders, and is difficult to follow. Starting on the south with Sarid ( Tell Shadud  ?), about five miles S.W. of Nazareth, it reached Jokneam, eight miles due W., on the farther side of the plain of Esdraelon. It extended about the same distance eastwards, reaching, at the west of Mt. Tabor, Daberath (which, however, in   Joshua 21:28 fell to Issachar), and then, if the text and identifications are correct, which is improbable, turned sharply west again to Japhia. Thence it continued in a north-easterly direction, passing Gath-hepher and Rimmon, and across the plain until it reached Hannathon, known to Babylonians, c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 1400, as Hinnatuni , which at that time was held by Amen-hotep. The remaining statement, ‘and the goings out thereof were at the valley of Iphtael,’ would indicate that the line turned at Hannathon in a south-westerly direction, perhaps towards Jefat . There would thus be no distinctly northern border, but only a north-western. The western is left undefined; but as Asher is made to reach to Carmel, and its S.E. point to join Zebulun at the valley of Iphtah-el (  Joshua 19:26-27 ), there is no room left for the access of Zebulun to the sea. Jacob’s Song, however, uses the same expression (  Genesis 49:13 ) as is used of Asher in   Judges 5:17 , and apparently extends the border to Sidon. In the ‘Blessing of Moses’ it is said that ‘Zebulun and Issachar shall suck the abundance of the seas’ (  Deuteronomy 33:18 ). This, as is clear from the inclusion of Issachar, implies only that their position will be such as to enable them to obtain the mercantile and other advantages of the sea traffic. The delimitations of the tribal boundaries in Joshua are very indefinite, and often in conflict with one another and with other data. Of the five cities mentioned in   Deuteronomy 19:15 Bethlehem is the only one whose site is identified with certainty. The modern Ma‘lul may represent Nahalal, one of the four cities which, according to   Joshua 21:34 f. (P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ), was given by the Zebulunites to the sons of Merarl (Levites). Roughly speaking, Zebulun lay to the N.E. of Carmel, between Issachar on the S.E. and Asher on the N.W.

Zebulun shared in the natural richness and fertility of the rest of Galilee, and the great ‘way of the sea’ (the via maris of the Crusaders) which ran through its territory, and from Acco to Damascus, brought it into touch with the outer world and its products.

In the war against Jabin 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali went with Barak against Sisera, and in the battle, whose issues were of decisive importance to the tribes of Israel, they immortalized themselves by their bravery ( Judges 4:10 ). They, like the other tribes, failed, however, to drive out the Canaanites from some of their city strongholds. One of the minor ‘judges’ came from this tribe, viz. Elon, who headed the tribes in the anarchic and troublous time preceding the kingdom (  Judges 12:11 ). In later history, Zebulun, like the other northern tribes, played an unimportant rôle. According to   2 Kings 15:29 , it would appear that the fate of the other tribes of Galilee overtook this tribe in the days of Pekah, when the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser carried them captive to Assyria. See also art. Tribes.

James A. Craig.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(See Issachar .) Tenth of Jacob's sons, sixth and last of Leah's sons ( Genesis 30:20;  Genesis 35:23;  Genesis 46:14). Named from Leah's anticipation, "now will my husband dwell ( 'Izbeleniy ) with me, for I have borne him six sons." Jacob's blessing ( Genesis 49:13) was, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be for an haven of ships, and his border shall be unto Sidon." Zebulun reached from the sea of Gennesareth to Mount Carmel, and so nearly to the Mediterranean. Its most westerly point reached to Mount Carmel, which brought it nigh Zidonia, the territory of Tyre and Sidon. The language of Genesis is such as no forger would from after history put as a prophecy. Though substantially accurate it suggests more of a maritime coast as belonging to Zebulun than after facts would have prompted. Zebulun had no seacoast, yet reached close to the Mediterranean, and actually coasted the sea of Gennesareth; the rich plain now the Buttauf was in its territory.

Zebulun was far from Sidon yet bordering toward it. Zebulun possessed the fisheries of lake Tiberias or the sea of Gennesareth. So Moses' blessing ( Deuteronomy 33:18), "rejoice Zebulun in thy going out," i.e. in mercantile and shipping enterprise; "and Issachar in thy tents"; both tribes should rejoice in their undertakings a broad and at home, in their work and in their rest. "They shall call the peoples to the mountain (of the Lord's inheritance,  Exodus 15:17); there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness"; instead of making their abundance into mammon they would consecrate it to the Lord. Typically there is a reference to the conversion of the Gentiles;  Isaiah 60:5-6;  Isaiah 60:16;  Isaiah 66:11-12, "the abundance of the sea shall be converted," etc.; and to Jesus the true Light, ministering most in Galilee, the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the darkest and most Gentilized part of Palestine. "The way of the sea," the great road from Damascus to the Mediterranean, traversed a good part of Zebulun ( Isaiah 9:1-2;  Matthew 4:12;  Matthew 4:16). The "treasures hid in the sand" are the riches of the sea in general; possibly too referring to the then precious glass manufactured from the sand of these coasts (Tacitus, Annals v. 7; Pliny, H. N. 5:17; 36:65; Josephus, B. J. 2:10, Section 2;  Job 28:17). The precious purple dye was also extracted from the murex.

In the wilderness Zebulun was one of the foremost, marching with Issachar and Judah under the standard of Judah. Distinguished in the contest with Jabin as "jeoparding their lives unto the death in the high places of the field," literally, "despised life even unto death" at the call of fatherland.  Judges 5:14-15;  Judges 5:18, "out of Zebulun came they that handle the pen of the writer" (See Writing ); rather "marchers with the staff of the musterer." David at Ziklag was joined by "50,000 of Zebulun such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, which could keep rank ('closing up together'; compare  Philippians 2:2;  Matthew 6:24), not of double heart." Such spiritually are the soldiers whom Jesus seeks ( 1 Chronicles 12:33). They contributed with Issachar and Naphtali "bread on asses, camels, mules, and oxen; meat, meal, cakes of figs, bunches of raisins, wine, oil, oxen, and sheep abundantly," to entertain David's adherents ( 1 Chronicles 12:40; contrast  Psalms 12:2).

Zebulun had three sons heads of houses ( Genesis 46:14;  Numbers 26:26). The tribe had four of its cities assigned to Mesarite Levites. Elon the judge ( Numbers 12:11-12) was of Zebulun. Some of this tribe accepted Hezekiah's touching invitation to the Passover after the fall of the northern kingdom ( 2 Chronicles 30:10-11;  2 Chronicles 30:18). In  Psalms 68:27, Zebulun's princes represent the N. as Judah's princes represent the S. of Israel in the procession of the ark to Zion after Ammon's overthrow ( 2 Samuel 11:11;  2 Samuel 12:26-31). Zebulun shall share in the final restoration ( Ezekiel 48:26-27;  Ezekiel 48:33;  Revelation 7:8). Its strongholds long withstood the Romans in the last Jewish war. It shared with Issachar in the possession of Tabor.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

the sixth son of Jacob and Leah,  Genesis 30:20 . He was born in Mesopotamia, about A.M. 2256. His sons were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel,  Genesis 46:14 . Moses acquaints us with no particulars of his life; but Jacob, in his last blessing, said of Zebulun, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon,"  Genesis 49:13 . His portion extended along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, one end of it bordering on this sea, and the other on the sea of Tiberias,  Joshua 19:10 , &c. In the last words of Moses, he joins Zebulun and Issachar together, saying, "Rejoice Zebulun, in thy going out, and Issachar in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain, there shall they offer sacrifices of righteousness. For they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand,"

 Deuteronomy 33:18; meaning, that these two tribes being at the greatest distance north, should come together to the temple at Jerusalem, to the holy mountain, and should bring with them such of the other tribes as dwelt in their way; and that being situated on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, they should apply themselves to trade and navigation, and to the melting of metals and glass, denoted by those words, "treasures hid in the sand." The river Belus, whose sand was very fit for making glass, was in this tribe. When the tribe of Zebulun left Egypt, it had for its chief Eliab the son of Elon, and comprehended fifty-seven thousand four hundred men able to bear arms,  Numbers 1:9-30 . In another review thirty-nine years afterward, this tribe amounted to sixty thousand five hundred men of age to bear arms,  Numbers 26:26-27 . The tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali distinguished themselves in the war of Barak and Deborah against Sisera, the general of the armies of Jabin,  Judges 4:5-6;  Judges 4:10;  Judges 5:14;  Judges 5:18 . It is thought these tribes were the first carried into captivity beyond the Euphrates by Pul and Tiglath Pileser, kings of Assyria,  1 Chronicles 5:26 . They had also the advantage of hearing and seeing Jesus Christ in their country, oftener and longer than any other of the twelve tribes,  Isaiah 9:1;  Matthew 4:13;  Matthew 4:15 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

The tenth son of Jacob and the youngest son of Leah: father of the tribe bearing his name. He entered Egypt with his three sons, but of himself personally nothing is recorded. At the Exodus those numbered of the tribe were 57,400, and at the entrance into the land there were 60,500. Jacob, when he foretold what should befall his sons in the last days, said, "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be for an haven of ships, and his border shall be unto Zidon,"  Genesis 49:13; Zebulun is thus representative of Israel having intercourse with the Gentiles for profit. Moses blessed the tribes thus, "Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out"; and then, classing him with Issachar, said, "They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifice's of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand."  Deuteronomy 33:18,19 .

This tribe, like others, did not drive out all the old inhabitants from their possession, but made them tributary.  Judges 1:30 . In Barak's conflict with Sisera they fought bravely and 'jeoparded their lives.' Elon the judge was of this tribe.  Judges 4:6;  Judges 5:18;  Judges 12:11,12 . Of those who rallied round David on the death of Saul were 50,000 of this tribe, expert in war, who could keep rank, not of double heart.  1 Chronicles 12:33 . And when Hezekiah invited all the tribes to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover, 'divers' of Zebulun humbled themselves and responded to the call.  2 Chronicles 30:11 .

Their lot fell towards the north, its centre being about 32 45' N.; and though it did not extend either to the Mediterranean or the Sea of Galilee, they may have pushed forward to both seas. Jacob spoke of their reaching unto Zidon, and the Evangelist says, "Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast [Sea of Galilee], in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim." Called ZABULON in  Matthew 4:13,15;  Revelation 7:8 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Zeb'ulun. (A Habitation). The tenth of the sons of Jacob, according to the order in which their births are enumerated, the sixth and last of Leah.  Genesis 30:20;  Genesis 35:23;  Genesis 46:14;  1 Chronicles 2:1. His birth is mentioned in  Genesis 30:19-20. Of the individual Zebulun, nothing is recorded. The list of Genesis 46 ascribes to him three sons, founders of the chief families of the tribe, (compare  Numbers 26:26), at the time of the migration to Egypt.

The tribe is not recorded to have taken part, for evil or good, in any of the events of the wandering or the conquest. The statement of Josephus is probably in the main correct, that it reached, on the one side, to the Lake of Gennesareth and, on the other side, to Carmel and the Mediterranean. On the south, it was bounded by Issachar, who lay in the great plain or valley of the Kishon; on the north, it had Naphtali and Asher. Thus, remote from the centre of government, Zebulun remains throughout the history with one exception, in the obscurity which envelops the whole of the northern tribes. That exception, however, is a remarkable one.

The conduct of the tribe during the struggle with Sisera, when they fought with desperate valor side by side with their brethren of Naphtali, was such as to draw down the special praise of Deborah, who singles them out from cell the other tribes.  Judges 5:18.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

1. Or ZABULON,  Revelation 7:8 , the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, born in Mesopotamia,  Genesis 30:20 . Moses gives us few particulars respecting him. His tribe was respectable for numbers,  Numbers 1:30   26:26; and its portion in the Holy Land accorded with the prediction of Jacob,  Genesis 49:13 , extending from the Mediterranean sea at Carmel to the sea of Gemnesaret, between Issachar on the south, and Naphtali and Asher on the north and north-west,  Joshua 19:10 . His posterity are often mentioned in connection with Issachar, his nearest brother,  Deuteronomy 33:18 . They were entangled with the Phoenicians on the west,  Judges 1:30   Isaiah 8:22 , and took part with Barak and Gideon in the defense of the country against its oppressors,  Judges 4:10   5:18   6:35 . Elon, one of the Judges of Israel, was a Zebulunite,  Judges 12:11-12 . The inhabitants of this region in the time of Christ were highly favored by his instructionsNazareth and Cana, Capernaum, Magdala, and Tiberias being all in these limits.

2. A city in the border of Asher, but probably belonging to Zebulun,  Joshua 19:27 .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [7]

The tribe of Zebulun was descended from the sixth son of Jacob and Leah ( Genesis 30:19-20). Jacob’s blessing of this tribe indicated it would inherit part of Canaan’s coastal region, but the territory it actually occupied was a few kilometres inland, in the hill country that rose from the coastal plain. Trade routes that passed through the region brought the tribe prosperity ( Genesis 49:13;  Deuteronomy 33:18-19;  Joshua 19:10-16; for map see Tribes ). On occasions the men of Zebulun, along with those of neighbouring Naphtali, fought heroically for Israel ( Judges 5:18;  Judges 6:35;  1 Chronicles 12:33-34;  1 Chronicles 12:40).

In New Testament times the territory that formerly belonged to Zebulun was part of Galilee and included within it the town of Nazareth. The glory of Zebulun was that from its territory came the Messiah, who brought God’s light into a dark world ( Isaiah 9:1;  Matthew 4:12-16; see Nazareth ).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Zebulun ( Zĕb'U-Lŭn ), A Habitation. One of the sons of Jacob, and of Leah.  Genesis 30:20;  Genesis 35:23;  Genesis 46:14;  1 Chronicles 2:1. Of the individual Zebulun nothing is recorded. He had three sons, founders of the chief families of the tribe.  Genesis 46:1-34, comp.  Numbers 26:26. The tribe is not recorded to have taken part in any of the events of the wandering or the conquest. Its territory was remote from the centre of government. The conduct of the tribe during the struggle with Sisera, when they fought with desperate valor, was such as to draw the special praise of Deborah.  Judges 5:18.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

Zebulun, Zabulon

A place in Capernaum. ( Matthew 4:13) One of Jacob's sons was called by this name, to whom a blessed promise was given. ( Genesis 30:20;  Deuteronomy 33:18 compared with  Genesis 49:13) Perhaps, the root of this name is Zabad, to endow, or finish.

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Genesis 30:20 Joshua 19:10-16 Deuteronomy 33:18-19 Judges 4:6 Judges 6:35IsraelPalestine

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Genesis 30:20

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [12]

See Tribes.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zebulun'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/z/zebulun.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

zeb´ū́ - lun ( זבוּלוּן , zebhūlūn , also written זבוּלן , zebuwlūn and זבלוּן , zebūluwn  ; the first form occurs only in   Judges 1:30; the other two are frequent, and are used interchangeably; Ζαβουλών , Zaboulṓn ): In  Genesis 30:20 Leah exclaims, "God hath endowed me with a good dowry," which suggests a derivation of Zebulun from zābhadh , "to bestow," the ד ( d ) being replaced by ל ( l ). Again she says, "Now will my husband dwell with me (or "honor me"): and she called his name Zebulun"; the derivation being from zābhal , "to exalt" or "honor" ( OHL , under the word).

Zebulun was the 10th son of Jacob, the 6th borne to him by Leah in Paddan-aram. Nothing is known of this patriarch's life, save in so far as it coincides with that of his brethren. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan says that he first of the five brethren was presented to Pharaoh by Joseph, when Israel and his house arrived in Egypt ( Genesis 47:2 ). Three sons, Sered, Elon and Jahleel, were born to him in Canaan, and these became the ancestors of the three main divisions of the tribe ( Genesis 46:14 ).

The position of the tribe of Zebulun in the wilderness was with the standard of the camp of Judah on the east side of the tabernacle ( Numbers 2:7 ). This camp moved foremost on the march ( Numbers 2:9 ). At the first census Zebulun numbered 57,400 men of war ( Numbers 1:30 ), the prince of the tribe being Eliab, son of Helon ( Numbers 1:9 ). At the second census the men of war numbered 60,500 ( Numbers 26:27 ); see, however, Numbers . Among the spies Zebulun was represented by Gaddiel son of Sodi ( Numbers 13:10 ). To assist in the division of the land Elizaphan son of Parnach was chosen ( Numbers 34:25 ). At Shechem Zebulun, the descendants of Leah's youngest son, stood along with Reuben, whose disgrace carried with it that of his tribe, and the descendants of the sons of the handmaids, over against the other six, who traced their descent to Rachel and Leah ( Deuteronomy 27:13 ). At the second division of territory the lot of Zebulun came up third, and assigned to him a beautifully diversified stretch of country in the North. The area of his possession is in general clear enough, but it is impossible to define the boundaries exactly ( Joshua 19:10-16 ). It "marched" with Naphtali on the East and Southeast, and with Asher on the West and Northwest. The line ran northward from Mt. Tabor, keeping on the heights West of the Sea of Galilee, on to Kefr ‛Anān (Hannathon). It turned westward along the base of the mountain, and reached the border of Asher, probably by the vale of ‛Abilı̄n . It then proceeded southward to the Kishon opposite Tell Kaimūn (Jokneam). As the plain belonged to Issachar, the south border would skirt its northern edge, terminating again at Tabor, probably near Debūriyeh (Daberath), which belonged to Issachar ( Joshua 21:28 ).

The details given are confusing. It is to be observed that this does not bring Zebulun into touch with the sea, and so is in apparent contradiction with  Genesis 49:13 , and also with Josephus ( Ant. , V, i, 22; BJ , III, iii, 1), who says the lot of Zebulun included the land which "lay as far as the Lake of Gennesareth, and that which belonged to Carmel and the sea." Perhaps, however, the limits changed from time to time. So far as the words in  Genesis 49:13 are concerned, Delitzsch thinks they do not necessarily imply actual contact with the sea; but only that his position should enable him to profit by maritime trade. This it certainly did; the great caravan route, via maris , passing through his territory. Thus he could "suck the treasures of the sea." See also Tabor , Mount . Within the boundaries thus roughly indicated were all varieties of mountain and plain, rough upland country. shady wood and fruitful valley. What is said of the territory of Naphtali applies generally to this. Olive groves and vineyards are plentiful. Good harvests are gathered on the sunny slopes, and on the rich levels of the Plain of Asochis ( el - Baṭṭauf ).

Elon the Zebulunite was the only leader given by the tribe to Israel of whom we have any record ( Judges 12:11 f); but the people were brave and skillful in war, furnishing, according to the Song of Deborah, "(them) that handle the marshal's staff" (  Judges 5:14 ). The tribe sent 50,000 single-hearted warriors, capable and well equipped, to David at Hebron ( 1 Chronicles 12:33 ). From their rich land they brought stores of provisions ( 1 Chronicles 12:40 ). Over Zebulun in David's time was Ishmaiah, son of Obadiah ( 1 Chronicles 27:19 ). Although they had fallen away, Hezekiah proved that many of them were capable of warm response to the appeal of religious duty and privilege ( 2 Chronicles 30:10 f, 18 ff). They are not named, but it is probable that Zebulun suffered along with Naphtali in the invasion of Tiglath-pileser (  2 Kings 15:29 ). In later days the men from these breezy uplands lent strength and enterprise to the Jewish armies. Jotapata ( Tell Jifāt ), the scene of Josephus' heroic defense, was in Zebulun. So was Sepphoris ( Ṣeffūriyeh ), which was for a time the capital of Galilee ( Ant. , Xviii , ii, 1; BJ , Vii; Iii ii, 4). Nazareth, the home of our Saviour's boyhood, is sheltered among its lower hills.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

Zeb´ulun (habitation), the sixth and last son of Jacob by Leah (, seq.; 35:23), who, in the order of birth, followed his brother Issachar, with whom, in history, as in the Promised Land, he was closely connected (). Zebulun was the founder of the tribe which bore his name (), and which, while yet in the wilderness, was respectable for numbers (; ). Zebulun obtained its lot in north Palestine between Naphtali on the north and Issachar on the south, while Asher stretched along both it and Naphtali on the west (, seq.). The country of the Zebulonites bordered towards the east on the south-western side of the Lake of Tiberias, and was connected with the Mediterranean by means of Carmel (). Its inhabitants in consequence took part in seafaring concerns. They failed to expel all the native race, but made those of them that remained tributaries (). One of the judges of Israel, Elon, was a Zebulonite (). A city lying on the borders of Asher also bore the name of Zebulun ().