First Corinthians chapter 13 is a well known passage defining love. There are 13 distinct aspects of love given in the passage, mapping 1 to 1 with the 13 tribes.
The following table explores this grid.
|Tribe||Aspect of Love|
|Judah||Love is long-suffering and kind...|
|Reuben||does not envy...|
|Gad||does not make a vain display of itself...|
|Asher||does not boast...|
|Naphtali||does not behave itself unseemly...|
|Manasseh||does not seek it's own...|
|Simeon||is not easily provoked...|
|Levi||thinks no evil...|
|Issachar||does not rejoice over iniquity, but rejoices in the truth...|
|Zebulun||bears all things...|
|Joseph||believes all things...|
|Benjamin||hopes all things...|
|Dan||endures all things.|
Notes on mapping
Within the slop of translation understanding and word choices, this grid is probably fine. Careful word study of each item should yield more profound understanding of these aspects of love as they relate to the tribes and to each of us individually and could yield better word choices for translation.
Reuben is reminded that "love does not envy." This may speak to Reuben's mistakes in his youth, such as sleeping with his father's wife. "Envy" may not be the best word choice in translation or it may be telling us exactly what was going on for Reuben when he committed his infamous sin. More study is needed to tell.
Gad tends to be attracted to bling. The balance here says the outward appearance is not so important. One does not need to "make a vain display of oneself." Things like jewelry and bling used to garner attention or to impress is a flag that this aspect of love is lacking.
Manasseh is a microcosm of the entire family. As such he can go in either of two directions. On the one hand he naturally understands diversity and differences, but on the other hand he can become self sufficient and fail to see his need of others. This passage seems to play to this tendency in reminding Manasseh that love "does not seek it's own." This seems to fit, but there may be a more obvious theme in this statement that I'm missing. Thoughts are always welcome.
Levi is told love "thinks no evil." Just thinking out loud here, but perhaps this statement lines up with Levi because he hosts the meetings at the tent. When everyone comes to the tent, bringing their sin offerings amongst other things, Levi would certainly be capable of raising an eyebrow and looking down or thinking evil of others. Obviously this could be off a bit or there may be something more pertinent or redemptive here (I don't want to look down on Levi). The challenge is to understand the grid with so little context. Individual word studies are really needed to tease out the meaning so we can confirm or correct these educated guesses.