Jacob’s sons - Who’s who?! - Clothing notes

Below you can see the cartoon of the famous story, found in Genesis 37, where Jacob gives a coat of many colours to his favourite son, Joseph. I spent quite some time designing each son’s costume, paying particular attention to colours that reflect the prophesy Jacob speaks over each one, in Genesis chapter 49.

Below is a copy of the Genesis 37 cartoon, with labels to show who is who.

Genesis 37 - Jacob's sons - Who's who

Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son) is described by Jacob as being ‘as unruly as the waves of the sea’ & so I thought I would create a double sea wave pattern with a blue & green colour scheme on Reuben’s robe, which reflects this prophecy.

Simeon & Levi were described together by Jacob: ‘Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.’

I have shown Simeon in the above cartoon illustration with is back to the viewer, on the left. He is dressed in blood red colours, & has a sling & stone behind his back… truly a man of violence!

Along with his brother Simeon, Levi is described by his father Jacob as a man of violence. I decided to use 2 crossed swords to represent that violent nature.

The colour scheme I chose for Levi was silver & brown on white. In the cartoon above, you can see Levi on the right of the scene, with a dagger clasped behind his back.

Described by his father Jacob in Genesis 49:9 as, ‘a lion’s cub… you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?’

I have shown Judah in the cartoon above as having a great shaggy mane, quite literally like a lion himself! He is also dressed in a yellow/orange lion-coloured robe, complete with fur trimmings!

Described by his father Jacob as follows: ‘Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path…’

In the cartoon illustration above, Dan can be seen behind the multicoloured coat. Dan is clothed in serpent green. I decided to take the connection between the snake & Dan more literally, & showed him in a green scaled, snake-skin robe!

‘Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns.’ This is how Jacob describes his next son.

I depict Naphtali himself in the right of the illustration above, complete with deer’s head robe!

Described by his father Jacob: ‘Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels.’

You can’t see much of Gad, the man, in the above illustration, but he carries a big scimitar sword & is dressed in a pale yellow robe.

Jacob prophesied about Asher: ‘Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king.’

The Asher character in the above cartoon illustration is dressed in grape-purple robes, holding a plate of food in his right hand!

Jacob’s prophesy for his son Issachar doesn’t sound altogether encouraging: ‘Issachar is a scrawny donkey lying down between two saddlebags. When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labour.’

The man Issachar can be seen standing on the right of the cartoon illustration above, with robes of donkey-grey colour.

Described by his father Jacob as: ‘Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend towards Sidon.” These were Jacob’s prophetic words over his next son, Zebulun.’

The man Zebulun can be seen to the left of Jacob in the above cartoon, with blue/green sea coloured robes, complete with a brown starfish pin holding his turban together – which is my reference to the sea for him! That also differentiates him from Reuben, who also has sea coloured robes.

In the illustration above, Joseph has taken off his old outer robe (unseen) & is only dressed in his inner robe. We see him here receiving the new multicoloured robe from Jacob, his father.

Finally we have Jacob’s youngest son, Benjamin. Jacob prophesied over Benjamin: ‘Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.’

This youngest son of Jacob is shown to the left of the cartoon above, in red & grey robes. He has a wolf’s head pendent, & even his turban appears to have wolf-like “ears” in it!

Skin & hair colours
I have made the skin & hair colour of several of the son’s of Jacob similar, which is to reflect their particular parentage. We know that four different women gave Jacob his 12 sons. I thought it might be interesting to make all the sons of Leah have the same skin & hair colour, whilst the sons of Rachel, Zilpah & Bilhah should also share their own particular skin & hair colouration.

Genesis 35:22-26 (NLT) tells us who was the mother of each son:
‘These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:
The sons of Leah were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, were Dan and Naphtali.
The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant, were Gad and Asher.’

Links to other articles:

Follow this link to read the BC Encyclopaedia article which describes how the 12 tribes were arranged around the camp & in what order they set off from the camp:
Hebrew camp & marching order

Follow this link to read the BC Encyclopaedia article describing the tribal banners of the 12 sons of Jacob:
Jacob’s sons & their tribal banners

Follow this link to see how I draw Jacob & his 12 sons on the BC gallery page, with download and purchase options:
Bible Cartoon: Genesis 37 – Joseph’s Dreams – Scene 02 – The coat of many colours

Follow this link to read the BC Blog article describing the 12 sons of Jacob:
Jacob’s sons – who’s who?

Return to BC Encylopaedia Index page