The specially chosen people of God were the descendants of Abraham and Sarah. God
promised them in Genesis that they would have a son that would become a great nation.
Genesis 15:1-6 Later the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision, "Abram, don't be afraid! I will protect you and reward you greatly." But Abram answered, "LORD All-Powerful, you have given me everything I could ask for, except children. And when I die, Eliezer of Damascus will get all I own. You have not given me any children, and this servant of mine will inherit everything." The LORD replied, "No, he won't! You will have a son of your own, and everything you have will be his." Then the LORD took Abram outside and said, "Look at the sky and see if you can count the stars. That's how many descendants you will have." Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD was pleased with him.
Abraham and Sarah finally had their promised son and named him Isaac (Genesis 21:1-3). I have done prior postings on Abraham, the Abrahamic Covenant that God made, the sons of Abraham. I hope you will look them up and study them.
Isaac had a son named Jacob and God changed Jacob's name to Israel. Jacob/Israel had 12 sons from which came the twelve tribes of Israel. For 400 years this ever growing family became a nation but was enslaved in Egypt
This nation is called Israel and it's people were called Israelites, Hebrews, Jews. The Egyptians called them Hebrews because they enslaved them and forced them to make bricks for their building projects. The Egyptian word for "dusty ones". All of this history is in the book of Genesis.
After 400 years of captivity, God used Moses to lead them out of Egypt and they travelled in the Wilderness for 40 years before finally going into the Promised Land of Canaan. This was called the Exodus. God helped them to take this land and they divided it between the Twelve Tribes which is found in the book of Joshua.
While they were nomads in the desert, wandering for 40 yrs, God used Moses to bring them the Jewish Law and to prepare their traveling worship center, the Tabernacle.
He assigned Priests to work in the Tabernacle with Aaron, Moses' brother, as High Priest.
The vestments of the High Priest included a breastplate with 12 stones that represented the Twelve tribes of Israel. I have done an extensive study in prior postings on the Tabernacle and the priestly vestments and Tabernacle furniture.
Jacob’s Last Blessing Over His Sons
Genesis 49 Jacob called his sons together and said: My sons, I am Jacob, your father Israel.
Come, gather around, as I tell your future.
Reuben, you are my oldest, born at the peak of my powers; you were an honored leader.
Uncontrollable as a flood, you slept with my wife and disgraced my bed. And so you no longer deserve the place of honor.
Simeon and Levi, you are brothers, each a gruesome sword.
I never want to take part in your plans or deeds. You slaughtered people in your anger, and you crippled cattle for no reason.
Now I place a curse on you because of your fierce anger. Your descendants will be scattered among the tribes of Israel.
Judah, you will be praised by your brothers; they will bow down to you, as you defeat your enemies.
My son, you are a lion ready to eat your victim! You are terribly fierce; no one will bother you.
You will have power and rule until nations obey you and come bringing gifts.
You will tie your donkey to a choice grapevine and wash your clothes in wine from those grapes.
Your eyes are darker than wine, your teeth whiter than milk.
Zebulun, you will settle along the seashore and provide safe harbors as far north as Sidon.
Issachar, you are a strong donkey resting in the meadows.
You found them so pleasant that you worked too hard and became a slave.
Dan, you are the tribe that will bring justice to Israel.
You are a snake that bites the heel of a horse, making its rider fall.
Our LORD, I am waiting for you to save us.
Gad, you will be attacked, then attack your attackers.
Asher, you will eat food fancy enough for a king.
Naphtali, you are a wild deer with lovely fawns.
Joseph, you are a fruitful vine growing near a stream and climbing a wall.
Enemies attacked with arrows, refusing to show mercy.
But you stood your ground, swiftly shooting back with the help of Jacob's God, the All-Powerful One-- his name is the Shepherd, Israel's mighty rock.
Your help came from the God your father worshiped, from God All-Powerful. God will bless you with rain and streams from the earth; he will bless you with many descendants.
My son, the blessings I give are better than the promise of ancient mountains or eternal hills. Joseph, I pray these blessings will come to you, because you are the leader of your brothers.
Benjamin, you are a fierce wolf, destroying your enemies morning and evening.
These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is how Jacob gave each of them their proper blessings.
Jacob told his sons: Soon I will die, and I want you to bury me in Machpelah Cave. Abraham bought this cave as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, and it is near the town of Mamre in Canaan. Abraham and Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebekah. I buried Leah there too.
Purchase of the field and the cave in it, from the sons of Heth.
And Jacob finished commanding his sons, and he gathered his feet into the bed. And he expired, and was gathered to his people.