I just finished reading your article on the missing Simeonites and found it quite fascinating.  Another similar question popped up that I have wondered about.  Do you have any insight into why the tribe of Dan was left out of the list of the 144,000 sealed  in Revelation 7?  I notice that both the tribe of Joseph and the tribe of Menasseh are counted, but not Ephraim. I would assume that Ephraim would be counted among the tribe of Joseph, but then it is strange that Menasseh is still separate, and apparently takes the place of Dan in this list.

Jeff Weitzel


Dear Jeff,
This question about Dan’s exclusion from the list in Revelation  7 comes up regularly. You are correct Ephraim and Manasseh are both included in the term “Joseph” so Manasseh is essentially listed twice in Revelation 7 while Dan is excluded.  Due to the language in Revelation  7:3 which introduces the list, I think that the deletion of Dan’s name in verses 4-8 was an accidental scribal error in some ancient manuscript that has been reproduced in all subsequent manuscripts. Verse 3 clearly states that the list that follows in verses 4-8 was to list 144,000 “of all the tribes of Israel (emphasis added).” That language would require that each tribe be listed once. However, Dan was deleted while Manasseh was indirectly listed twice. This strongly indicates that an ancient scribe got confused about 13 tribes of Israel being named in the Bible, but realized that the math would only work if he listed 12 tribal names. Somehow, Dan got deleted even though Revelation 7:3 states all tribes would be in the list.