Jacob had twelve sons. They were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. From them, came 12 clans of which 10 became lost.
Jacob had really wanted to marry Rachel, but Leah was older and he had to marry her first and then work for 7 more years to be able to marry Rachel. Leah had 6 sons, the first 6 listed. She also had Dinah. Zilpah, the hand maid of Leah, became his concubine and gave Jacob Gad and Asher. Rachel gave Jacob Joseph and Benjamin. She died in childbirth with Benjamin. Her handmaid, Bilhah, gave Jacob two sons, Dan and Naphtali.and remained his concubine. Son Reuben got into trouble by fooling around with Bilhah.
Moses gave the priestly office to the tribe of Levi. Moses and his brother Aaron were from this tribe. Moses gave the job of priest to Aaron. He divided the tribe of Joseph into the tribes of Ephraim (Joseph's younger son with Asenath) and Manasseh (first son of Joseph and Asenath). Asenath was the daughter of Pot-phera, priest of On, wife of Joseph, and mother of Ephraim and Manasseh. The name is Egyptian. Levi was not to receive any land because their job was to be the teachers who traveled around. Moses wanted to keep the division of land amongst 12 tribes receiving territory and 12 was a sacred number.
Moses died at age 120 and was not allowed into the promised land and when this happened, Joshua became the leader. Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh received land in what became in our generations “Transjordan.” Naphtali and Asher were on the Sidonian frontier in the Galilee. Issachar and Zebulun were placed in the Valley of Jezreel area. Ephraim and the other half of Manasseh were placed in the mountains of Samaria with Benjamin to their south and Judah further south. Dan was along the seacoast around Jaffa and Simeon was put in the Negev.
It wasn’t all that easy. The Danites were expelled from their inheritance by the Amorites and so moved on to the sources of the Jordan River. Other tribes also didn’t succeed in occupying the entire areas assigned to them. Simeon’s men seized further land in Seir and the territory of the Amalekites.
The tribal divisions were maintained under the judges but King Solomon 961 -920 BCE, son of King David and Bathsheba, adopted a different administrative division of the country. After he died, the country split into 2 with the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and most of Benjamin making up the southern kingdom of Judah. They had broken off from Israel. Benjamin had occupied territory between Ephraim and Judah which included Jerusalem. At one time they were almost exterminated in a war with the other tribes. King Saul, the 1st king of Israel, was a Benjamite. The land between Israel and Judah after the division of the kingdom was partitioned between the two eventually.
When the Assyrian kings invaded, Tiglath-Pileser III in 732 BCE and Sargon in 721 BCE , the northern tribes were exiled, chiefly to Assyria, Media (in what was later to be called Persia) and the lands neighboring Aram-Naharaim. (This is the biblical name for the NE area of Mesopotamia. It is the land of origin of the patriarchs, and nearly all the names of the ancestors of Abraham, such as Serug, Nahor, and Terah, correspond to place-names in this region.) So, in reality, some were sent back to their original homeland.
A large section of the population of the southern kingdom of Judah was exiled by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon in 586.BCE.. Nebuchadneszsar II (604-561 BCE) inherited the Assyrian Empire and after his conquest of Judah (597 and 586) had exiled many Jews to Babylon.
The Ten Tribes had been exiled previously and constituted a large Jewish population. Many remained in Babylon even after Cyrus permitted a return to their land of Israel. Towns such as Nehardea, Nisibis and Mahoza had an all Jewish population. In the 1st century BCE a Jewish state was set up around Nehardea by 2 brothers, Anilai (Anilaos) and Asinai (Asinaios), and this lasted for some years. The Jews of Babylon remained in constant touch with the Jews of Israel and even supplied some of their leaders like Hillel.
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia