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Dan was the fifth-born son of Jacob / Israel. His mother was Bilhah (see Children of Jacob). As with his brothers (e.g. from Levi came the Levites, from Judah came the Jews etc.), Dan was the forefather of the Danites. The tribal territory (see also Bible Places) allotted to the Danites after the Israelites entered their promised land was in the south, between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea (see map), which included the city of Joppa. When they found it to be less space than they needed (a factor aggravated by the militarily-powerful Philistines to the south; "Palestine" originated from "Philistine - see Palestine), they sent men of war north where they seized new lands beyond the initial limits of the Israelite tribes. After the Danites captured Leshem from the Sidonians, they renamed it after their forefather Dan - thereby making it the northernmost city of Israel, and originating the term "from Dan to Beersheba" as the territory of Israel.


The birth of Dan came about as the result of childless Rachel (Jacob / Israel had two wives, Rachel and Leah, and two concubines, Bilhah, who was Rachel's maid, and Zilpah, Leah's maid) arranging to have children through Bilhah. It proved to be unnecessary. Rachel did later have children of her own, Joseph and Benjamin.

Tribal Lands

"And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die."

"And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?"

"And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan." (Genesis 30:1-6 KJV)

After the Exodus, when the Israelites entered the promised land, the tribe of Dan (Dan himself was by then dead, and likely buried back in Egypt - see Where Are The Israelite Patriarchs Buried?) was allotted the area along the Mediterranean, near the Philistine territories, such as Gaza - a place where a famous Danite died after being captured (see the Fact Finder question below).

"And the seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families. And the coast of their inheritance was Zorah, and Eshtaol, and Irshemesh, And Shaalabbin, and Ajalon, and Jethlah, And Elon, and Thimnathah, and Ekron, And Eltekeh, and Gibbethon, and Baalath, And Jehud, and Beneberak, and Gathrimmon, And Mejarkon, and Rakkon, with the border before Japho." (Joshua 19:40-46 KJV)

The Danites almost immediately found their territory too small, and set out to do something about it:

"And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father." (Joshua 19:47 KJV)

A curious element of Prophecy is that the tribe of Dan is left out of the future 144,000:

"And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."

"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. 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. 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. 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 7:4-8 KJV)

The Scriptures do not plainly state why Danites are not included in the 144,000 - even though salvation is as open to the people of Dan as it is to everyone else. There have been, and are, many opinions and guesses why Dan is omitted from the 144,000 but one clue may have been provided by Dan's father, Jacob/Israel, when he prophetically said about the people of Dan:

"Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord." (Genesis 49:17-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: One of the most famous people of the Old Testament was Samson who died in Philistine captivity after being betrayed by Delilah. Of what Israelite tribe was Samson?
Judges 13:2,24

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