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Round pewter keychain with 12 Tribes Breastplate.
The Twelve Tribes
The Israelites were divided along family lines, each called a shevet or mateh in Hebrew meaning literally a "staff" or "rod". The term is conventionally translated as "tribe" in English, although the divisions were not small isolated distinct ethnic groups in the modern sense of the term.
Some English speaking Jewish groups view the pronunciation, English transcription and Hebrew spelling of the tribal names to be extremely important. The transcriptions and spellings are as follows:
Reuben: ?????, Standard R??uven, Tiberian R??û?en
Simeon: ?????, Standard ?im?on, Tiberian ?im?ôn
Levi: ???, Standard Levi, Tiberian Lewî
Judah: ?????, Standard Y?huda, Tiberian Y?hû?ah
Dan: ??, Standard Dan, Tiberian Dan
Naphtali: ?????, Standard Naftali, Tiberian Nap¯talî
Gad: ??, Standard Gad, Tiberian Ga?
Asher: ???, Standard A?er, Tiberian ?A?er
Issachar: ?????, Standard Yissa?ar, Tiberian Yissâ?ar
Zebulun: ?????, Standard Z?vúlun, Tiberian Z??ûlun
Joseph: ????, Standard Yosef, Tiberian Yôsep¯, containing the tribes:
? Manasseh: ????, Samaritan Manatch, Standard M?na??e, Tiberian M?na??eh
? Ephraim: ?????, Samaritan Afrime, Standard Efráyim, Tiberian ?Ep¯ráyim/?Ep¯rayim
Benjamin: ??????, Standard Binyamin, Tiberian Binyamîn
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