Son of Jacob and Leah and one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen 30.19–20). The tribe settled in the region of Galilee between Asher and Naphtali to the north and Manasseh and Issachar to the south (Map 3:X3). Zebulun figures prominently in the wars of Judges (4.6, 10; 5.14, 18; 6.35). According to the Chronicler, Zebulun continues to play a major role during David's reign (1 Chron. 12.34). Members of this tribe seem to have survived the Assyrian conquest (Isa. 9.1; 2 Chron. 30.6, 10–11). King Josiah's wife, Zebidah, came from Rumah in Zebulun (2 Kings 23.36).

The Jewish community of Galilee in the Second Temple period perhaps stemmed in part from Zebulun. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish academic centers of learning located in this area were pivotal to the survival of Jewish tradition.

Gary N. Knoppers