Biblical People

Biblical People: Dan

Dan is Jacob’s fifth son. His mother is Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, who serves as a surrogate mother for her mistress.

When Dan is born, it’s not Jacob who names him, or even Bilhah. Rachel gives the boy his name. She says he’s proof that God has vindicated her barren condition, having heard her prayers and given her a son—albeit through Bilhah.

The Bible doesn’t tell us any more about Dan, but as one of Jacob’s (Israel’s) twelve sons, one of the twelve tribes of Israel comes from Dan and his line.

How do we respond when someone takes credit for something we did, like Rachel claiming Bilhah’s son as her own? If our life seems to go without notice, do we realize we still matter to God?

[Read Dan’s story in Genesis 30:6 and 49:16–17.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at