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Reuben (rōˈbən) [key], in the Bible, Jacob's eldest son and eponymous ancestor of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. He interceded for his brother Joseph's life and guaranteed the safe return from Egypt of another brother, Benjamin. When Palestine was occupied his tribe, with that of Gad, was allotted the pasture lands E of the Jordan; Reuben was given the region adjoining the Dead Sea and S of Gad. After this the Reubenites are unreported until, with the Gadites, they were deported to Assyria by King Tiglathpileser in his campaign of 733–32 B.C.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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