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Dan (Patriarch) is found in the Old Testament

This article is about the son of Jacob. You may be looking for the city or the tribe.

Dan was the fifth son of Jacob, and the first of Bilhah, who was Jacob's concubine and the maid of Rachel, who was Jacob's wife [1]. Dan traveled with Jacob and the family from Padan Aram to Canaan, and then later to Egypt. When Jacob blessed his sons [2], it is stated that Dan would provide justice for his people. The tribe of Dan is reprimanded in the Bible's Song of Deborah for not participating in the war against the Canaanites [3]. The Tribe of Dan failed to conquer the portion of the land of Israel that was given to them as their original inheritance. That failure forced the tribe to move north, where it took over the land called Laish, renaming it Dan [4]. That became the northern limit of Israel. King Jeroboam I built a pagan temple in the land of Dan and set up a golden calf to be worshiped [5].

That tragic sin prompted the prophet Amos to include the land of Dan in his denouncement of pagan worshippers, that they would fall and never rise again [6]. The tribe of Dan is not mentioned as one of the tribes to have 12,000 members promised the Seal of God [7]. The name Dan means "to judge" or "vindicate."



  1. Genesis 30:1-6 (Link)
  2. Genesis 49:16-18 (Link)
  3. Judges 5:17 (Link)
  4. Joshua 19:47 (Link)
  5. 1 Kings 12:29 (Link)
  6. Amos 8:14 (Link)
  7. Revelation 7:7 (Link)