What imageries are included in the depiction of Dan?
The image portrays the traditional emblem of the balance scale for Dan, which means judge. Torah scrolls are included because a judge was required to know the law well to execute judgment. The background features the origin of the Dan river, which emanates from a spring surrounded by a thick growth of vegetation—characteristic of Dan’s highly fertile territory. The artwork also includes a rearing horse and a horned snake, referring to Gen. 49:17.
The Meaning of the Name Dan
One explanation of the meaning for Dan “He shall judge,” is from Gen. 30:6, where we read, “Then Rachel said, “The L-rd has deemed to me (has judged me), and has heard my prayer, and gave a son to me; and therefore she called his name Dan.”
The Biblical Blessings for the Tribe
According to Gen 49:16-18 Dan receives a blessing from Jacob that reads, "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path that bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward.” Other versions say: “Dan will settle disputes for his people”, “Dan, you are the tribe that will bring justice to Israel, and “Dan will govern his people”. Moses’ blessing for Dan is found in Deut. 33:22, “Dan is a lion’s cub, leaping out from Bashan.” Bashan is modern-day Syria and the Golan Heights.
Dan’s traditional tribal symbols are the balance scale, the viper (horned snake), and a weighted scale. The tribal color is sapphire blue.
Dan lived next to the Philistines, which required developing a militaristic nature. They were also artisans, including famous architects of the Tabernacle like Hiram Abiff and Aholiab. According to the Song of Deborah the tribe was also seafaring: “They stayed on their ships with their belongings.”
s region in the Book of Judges. Located in the far north of Canaan, it was referred to as early in Genesis as Abraham's chasing of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:14s territory is also known as the Galilee Panhandle. To the west is the southern part of Mount Lebanon; to the east and north are the Hermon mountains. Melting snow from the Hermon mountains provides the majority of the water of the Jordan River, and passes through Dan, making the immediate area highly fertile with lush vegetation.
The City of Dan
s main city was Laish (Tel Dan), later known as Dan and also called Leshem in Joshua 19:47. It is identified with the Tel known as Tel Dan (Mound of Dan) or Tel el-Qadi (Mound of the Judge), which was the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel. The city housed a sanctuary filled with idols, which remained in use until the time of the captivity of the land and the time that the house of G-d ceased to be in Shiloh. According to 2 Kings 10:29 and 2 Chronicles 13:8, Jeroboam erected two golden calves as G-ds in Bethelnamed so because according to Gen. 14:14, Abraham traveled to Dan to rescue his nephew Lot. Furthermore, the Tel Dan Stele was found within the remains of the city wall, with the first reference to the House of David.
The most famous Danite was Samson. Many Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, claim to be descendants from the Tribe of Dan. They migrated south into the Kingdom of Kush, now Ethiopia and Sudan. Later, the tribe of Manasseh replaces Dan (which means Judge or G-d’s Judgment). Therefore, the substitution of Manasseh for Dan signifies the forgiveness of G-d, Who forgives and forgets our sins.
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