“These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The total number of descendents of Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific. They multiplied and grew exceeding strong, so that the land was filled with them.”
This book will talk about the leaving or Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Thus it begins with a list of those who went to Egypt, the eleven sons of Israel with their households, since Joseph was already there. A complete list of the individuals involved can be found in Genesis, chapter 46. This list has only 70 males since they did not count women and children. The first generation of the twelve sons of Israel all died out, but the Israelites multiplied and grew exceeding strong so that there were a lot of them in Egypt. All this sounds good so far. It also brings up the question as to how the sons of Israel developed into tribes if there were so many of them.