The following information pertains to all the twelve sons of Yaakov, also known as the “Shivtei Kah,” the founders of the Tribes of HaShem. The dates that appear above indicate the year of birth of the first son, Reuven, and the year of his death, because Reuven was the longest-lived son of Yaakov (155 years), and his lifetime encompassed the lives of all of his brothers.
All the sons were born to Yaakov during the years that he worked for his father-in-law, Lavan, in Padan-Aram, except Binyamin. Binyamin was born afterwards, en route from Beit-El to Efrat, in a pregnancy that took the life of his mother, the beloved wife of Yaakov, Rachel. In addition to Rachel, Yaakov had three wives who were the mothers of his sons. They were Leah, the sister of Rachel, Bilhah, the handmaiden of Rachel, and Zilpah, the handmaiden of Leah.
The following is a list of the sons of Yaakov in the order of their birth, and an identification of the mother of each son. Those that are shown as “links” correspond to sons for whom information currently exists in the “Great Jewish Leaders” set of “biographies.” The others are under active construction.
1. Reuven – Leah