7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Benjamin


The youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, Ge 35:16-18. Rachel died immediately after he was born, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, the son of my sorrow; but Jacob called him Benjamin, son of my right hand. He was a great comfort to his father, who saw in him the beloved wife he had buried, and Joseph whose loss he mourned. He could hardly be persuaded to let him go with his brethren to Egypt, Ge 42:38. The tribe of Benjamin was small at first and was almost exterminated in the days of the Judges, Jg 20, but afterwards greatly increased, 2Ch 14:8; 17:17. It was valiant, Ge 49:27, and "beloved of the Lord," dwelling safely by him, De 33:12; for its territory adjoined Judah and the Holy City on the north. At the revolt of the ten tribes, Benjamin adhered to the cause of Judah; and the two tribes were ever afterwards closely united,

1Ki 11:13; 12:20; Ezr 4:1; 10:9. King Saul and Saul of Tarsus were both Benjamites, Php 3:5.

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son of my right hand. (1.) The younger son of Jacob by Rachel (Ge 35:18). His birth took place at Ephrath, on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem, at a short distance from the latter place. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, son of my pain, a name which was changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity are called Benjamites (Ge 49:27; De 33:12; Jos 18:21).

The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one (Nu 1:36-37; Ps 68:27). During the march its place was along with Manasseh and Ephraim on the west of the tabernacle. At the entrance into Canaan it counted 45,600 warriors. It has been inferred by some from the words of Jacob (Ge 49:27) that the figure of a wolf was on the tribal standard. This tribe is mentioned in Ro 11:1; Php 3:5.

The inheritance of this tribe lay immediately to the south of that of Ephraim, and was about 26 miles in length and 12 in breadth. Its eastern boundary was the Jordan. Dan intervened between it and the Philistines. Its chief towns are named in Jos 18:21-28.

The history of the tribe contains a sad record of a desolating civil war in which they were engaged with the other eleven tribes. By it they were almost exterminated (Jg 20:20-21; 21:10). (See Gibeah.)

The first king of the Jews was Saul, a Benjamite. A close alliance was formed between this tribe and that of Judah in the time of David (2Sa 19:16-17), which continued after his death (1 Kings 11:13; 12:20). After the Exile these two tribes formed the great body of the Jewish nation (Ezr 1:5; 10:9).

The tribe of Benjamin was famous for its archers (1Sa 20:20,36; 2Sa 1:22; 1Ch 8:40; 12:2) and slingers (Jg 20:6).

The gate of Benjamin, on the north side of Jerusalem (Jer 37:13; 38:7; Zec 14:10), was so called because it led in the direction of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. It is called by Jeremiah (Jer 20:2) "the high gate of Benjamin;" also "the gate of the children of the people" (Jer 17:19). (Comp. 2Ki 14:13.)

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("son of my right hand"), as Jacob named him; first called by his dying mother Rachel Benoni, son of my sorrow (compare Jer 31:15; Mt 2:17-18). Jesus the antitype was first "a man of sorrows" (Isa 53:3), the mother's sorrows attending tits birth also at Bethlehem; afterward "the man of God's right hand," on whom God's hand was laid strengthening Him (Re 1:17; Ps 80:17; 89:21; Ac 5:31).

1. Rachel's second son, the only son of Jacob born in Palestine (Ge 35:16-19), on the road between Betheland Bethlehem Ephrath, near the latter (Ge 48:7) (probably "the fertile", from parah, corresponding to the town's other name, Bethlehem, "bread-house.") The Arabic jamin means "fortunate". And in the expression "sons of Benjamin" or a "man of Benjamin, ... land of Benjamin," the first syllable is suppressed Benee Ha-Jemini, Ish Jemini, Erets Jemini, compare Ge 46:10. Benjamin was his father's favorite after Joseph's supposed death (Ge 44:30); as the youngest, the child of his old age, and the child of his beloved Rachel. Joseph's gifts to him exceeded far those to each of his elder brothers (Ge 43:34; 45:22).

Benjamin was only 23 or 24 years old when Jacob went down to Egypt. He clearly could not then have had ten sons already (Ge 46:6-21), or eight sons and two grandsons (Nu 26:38-40). It is plain that the list in Genesis 46 includes those grandsons and great grandsons of Jacob born afterward in Egypt, and who in the Israelite mode of thought came into Egypt "in the loins" of their fathers (compare Heb 7:9-10). Hence, arises the correspondence in the main between the list given in connection with Jacob's descent to Egypt in Genesis 46, and the list taken by Moses ages afterward in Numbers 26. Benjamin's sons, Becher, Gera, Rosh, are missing in Moses' list, because they either died childless, or did not leave a sufficient number of children to form independent families.

After the Exodus the tribe was the smallest but one (Nu 1:1,36-37; 1Sa 9:21; Ps 68:27). On march it held the post between Manasseh and Ephraim, its brother tribes, W. of the tabernacle, which it followed (Ps 80:2) under its captain Abidan, son of Gideoni (Nu 2:18-24). Palti, son of Raphu, was the spy representing it (Nu 13:9). In the division of the land Elidad, son of Chislon, represented it (Nu 34:21). Its predominant characteristic of warlike tastes is foretold by Jacob (Ge 49:27); "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf, in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night shall divide the spoil." How truly is attested by the war waged them alone (and victoriously at against all the tribes, rather give up the wicked men of Gibeah (Judges 19; 20; compare Mt 26:52). Their number was reduced thereby to 600, who took refuge in the cliff Rimmon, and were provided with wives partly from Jabesh, partly from Shiloh (Judges 21).

The period of the judges must have been a long one to admit of the increase to Benjamin's subsequent large numbers (1Ch 7:6-12,8; 12:1-8). The same determined spirit, but in a better cause, appears in their resisting Saul, their own kinsman's, appeal to them to betray David's movements (1Sa 22:7-18). Moreover Ehud, judge and deliverer of Israel from Eglon of Moab, was of Benjamin; also Saul and Jonathan, whose prowess was famed (2Sa 1:18-19,23). Also Baanah and Rechab, captains of marauding bands and murderers of Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 4). Archers and slingers, generally left handed (as also Ehud was), were the chief force of the "sons of Jacob's right hand" (Jg 3:15, etc.; Jg 20:16; 1Ch 12:2; 2Ch 14:8; 17:17).

The "morning" and "night" in Jacob's prophecy mark that Benjamin, as he was in the beginning, so he should continue to the end of the Jewish state. Similarly in Moses' prophecy (De 33:12), "Benjamin, the beloved of the Lord (attached to David = beloved after Saul's dynasty fell), shall dwell in safety by Him; the Lord shall cover him all the day long;" implying a longer continuance to Benjamin than to the other tribes. So Benjamin alone survived with Judah, after the deportation of the ten tribes to Assyria, arid accompanied Judah to and front the Babylonian captivity, and lasted until Shiloh came and until Jerusalem was destroyed. As on the march, so in the promised land, Benjamin's position was near that of Ephraim, between it on the N. and Judah on the S., a small but rich territory, advantageously placed in commanding the approach to the valley of the Jordan, and having Dan between it and the Philistines (Jos 18:11, etc.); a parallelogram, 26 miles long, 12 broad, extending from the Jordan to the region of Kirjath Jearim eight miles W. of Jerusalem, and from the valley of Hinnom S. to Bethel N.

When the Lord rejected the tabernacle of Joseph at Shiloh He chose mount Zion, Jerusalem which chiefly belonged to Benjamin (the of the Jebusite, "Jebusi, which Jerusalem" (Jos 18:28), and all the land N. of the valley of Hinnom), and only in part to Judah, God's chosen tribe (Ps 78:60,67-68). In this sense Benjamin fulfilled Moses' prophecy in "dwelling between" Judah's (the Lord's representative) "shoulders," or ridges of the ravines which on the W., S., and E. environ the holy city. Primarily, however, the idea is, Benjamin as "the beloved of Jehovah shall dwell in safety with Him (literally, founded upon Him), and he (Benjamin) shall dwell between His (Jehovah's) shoulders," as a son borne upon his father's back (De 1:31; 32:11; Ex 19:4; Isa 46:3-4; 63:9).

This choice of Jerusalem as the seat of the ark and David's place of residence formed a strong He between Judah and Benjamin, though Saul's connection with the latter had previously made the Benjamites, as a tribe, slow to recognize David as king (1Ch 12:29; 2Sa 2:8-9). Hence at the severance of the ten tribes Benjamin remained with Judah (1Ki 12:23; 2Ch 11:1). The two coalesced into one, under the common name Jews, whence they are called "one tribe" (1Ki 11:13,32; 12:20-21). Moreover, a part of Benjamin including Bethel, the seat of Jeroboam's calf worship, went with the ten tribes. Possibly Jeroboam's having appropriated it for the calf worship may have helped to alienate Benjamin from him and attach Benjamin to Judah. They two alone were the royal tribes.

David was connected with Saul of Benjamin by marriage with his daughter, and therefore, feeling the political importance of the connection, made it a preliminary of his league with Abner that Michal should be restored to him, though Phaltiel had her heart (2Sa 3:13-16). Above all, what knit together Benjamin and Judah most was the position fixed by God for the great national temple, which deprived Ephraim of its former glory (Ps 78:60-68); not in Judah only, or in Benjamin only, but on part of the confines of both, so that one text places it in Judah and the parallel text in Benjamin; compare Jos 15:63 with Jos 18:28. These elements of union between Benjamin and Judah are not obviously put forward in the sacred writings, but are found in them on close observation, just such seeds as would produce the ultimate union which the history records.

Such undesigned coincidences agree best with the belief that the narrative is minutely true, not forged. Benjamin occupied a plateau generally about 2,000 feet above the Mediterranean plain, and 3,000 feet above the valley of the Jordan. The hilly nature of the country is marked by the names Gibeon, Gibeah, Geba, Ramah, Mizpeh (watchtower), "the ascent of Bethhoron," the cliff Rimmon, the pass of Michmash. Torrent beds and ravines are the only avenues from the Philistian and Sharon plains on the W., and from the deep Jordan valley on the E. These ravines were frequented once by many wild beasts, as the names of places testify: Zeboim, "hyaenas" (1Sa 13:17-18); Shual and Shaalbim (Jg 1:35), "foxes" or "jackals"; Ajalon, "gazelle." Up these western passes the Philistines advanced against Saul in the beginning of his reign, and drove him to Gilgal in the Arabah, occupying from Michmash to Ajalon. Down them they were driven again by Saul and Jonathan. Joshua chased the Canaanites down the long slopes of Bethhoron.

The regular road between Jericho and Jerusalem was another of these passes, the scene of the parable of the good Samaritan. Lod, Ono, Aija

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1. The youngest son of Jacob by Rachel, and the only full brother of Joseph (Ge 30:22 f. Jewish EncyclopediaGe 35:17 JahwistGe 35:24 Priestly Narrative). He alone of Jacob's sons was native-born. Jahwist (Ge 35:16) puts his birth near Ephrath in Benjamin. A later interpolation identifies Ephrath with Bethlehem, but cf. 1Sa 10:2. Priestly Narrative, however (Ge 35:22-26), gives Paddan-aram as the birth-place of all Jacob's children. His mother, dying soon after he was born, named him Ben-oni ('son of my sorrow'). Jacob changed this ill-omened name to the more auspicious one Benjamin, which is usually interpreted 'son of my right hand,' the right hand being the place of honour as the right side was apparently the lucky side (cf. Ge 48:14). Pressed by a famine, his ten brothers went down to Egypt, and Jacob, solicitous for his welfare, did not allow Benjamin to accompany them; but Joseph made it a condition of his giving them corn that they should bring him on their return. When Judah (Ge 43:9 Jahwist) or Reuben (Ge 42:37 Elohist) gave surety for his safe return, Jacob yielded. Throughout the earlier documents Benjamin is a tender youth, the idol of his father and brothers. A late editor of Priestly Narrative (Ge 46:21) makes him, when he entered Egypt, the father of ten sons, that is more than twice as many as Jacob's other sons except Dan, who had seven.

The question is, What is the historical significance of these conflicting traditions? Y

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Benjamin. Ben'jamin

The youngest son of Jacob by his beloved wife Rachel. She died at his birth and named him BEN-ONI, signifying 'son of my sorrow,' but his father named him BENJAMIN, 'son of the right hand.' Ge 35:18,24. Type of Christ both as exalted at God's right hand (Benjamin), and, as rejected, the occasion of Israel's tribulation in the last days (Ben-oni), Rachel being a type of Israel (Micah 5.). Very little is recorded of Benjamin personally: he was the father of ten sons. Ge 46:21.

Benjamin was the smallest of the tribes except Manasseh in the numbering of Nu 1:37; 2:22-23. In Ps 68:27 it is called 'little Benjamin;' but in the numbering before entering the land Benjamin exceeded in number four of the other tribes. Nu 26:41. In Ge 49:27 Jacob prophesied of the tribe that it should "ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil;" typical of Christ in judgement on the earth in a future day. In De 33:12, where Moses prophesied of the tribes, he said of Benjamin, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders." So in the blessings of Ps 68:27 Benjamin is the first named of the four tribes; and in Ps 80:2, where God is called upon to save them, Benjamin is mentioned with Ephraim and Manasseh, being the three tribes which followed the ark. Nu 2:17-24; 10:22-24.

The tribe did not drive out the Jebusites, but allowed them to dwell with them in Jerusalem, Jg 1:21; this may have led to their idolatry, for when, with Judah and Ephraim, they were attacked by the children of Ammon, they confessed they had forsaken God and served Baalim. Jg 10:9-10. It may also have led to the dreadful deed which resulted in the destruction of nearly the whole tribe. Judges 19 - 21. From this they in a measure recovered their strength. At the division of the kingdom they remained with Judah, but a large portion of their lot was seized by Israel. At times they appear to be lost sight of, for Ahijah said that God had reserved to the house of David one tribe (as if Benjamin was reckoned as cut off in judgement), 1Ki 11:36. The two tribes were constantly spoken of as 'Judah,' whereas the ten tribes were called 'Israel.' On the return from the captivity, Benjamin had its share of blessing with Judah. Ezr 1:5; 10:9; Ne 11:4-36. Paul relates twice that he was of the tribe of Benjamin. Ro 11:1; Php 3:5. In the future, twelve thousand of this tribe will be sealed. Re 7:8.

The district occupied by the tribe is often simply called Benjamin. It was situated with Ephraim on its north, and Judah on its south, Dan on its west, and the Jordan on its east; it occupied about 28 miles east and west and 14 miles north and south at its widest parts. The district is mountainous with rocks and ravines, having an elevated table land. It contained the important cities of Jerusalem (in its south border), Bethel, Gibeon, Ramah, etc.

Benjamin. Ben'jamin

1. Son of Bilhan, descendant of Benjamin. 1Ch 7:10.

2, 3, 4. Three who returned from exile. Ezr 10:32; Ne 3:23; 12:34.

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(son of the right hand, fortunate).

1. The youngest of the children of Jacob. His birth took place on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem, near the latter, B.C. 1729. His mother, Rachel, died in the act of giving him birth, naming him with her last breath Ben-oni (son of my sorrow). This was by Jacob changed into Benjamin.

Ge 35:16,18

Until the journeys of Jacob's sons and Jacob himself into Egypt we hear nothing of Benjamin. Nothing personal is known of him. Henceforward the history of Benjamin is the history of the tribe.

2. A man of the tribe of Benjamin, son of bilhan, and the head of a family of warriors.

1Ch 7:10

3. One of the "sons of Harim," an Israelite in the time of Ezra who had married a foreign wife.

Ezr 10:32

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BENJAMIN, the youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, who was born, A.M. 2272. Jacob, being on his journey from Mesopotamia, as he was proceeding southward with Rachel in the company, Ge 35:16-17, &c, the pains of child-bearing came upon her, about a quarter of a league from Bethlehem, and she died after the delivery of a son, whom, with her last breath, she named Benoni, that is, "the son of my sorrow;" but soon afterward Jacob changed his name, and called him Benjamin, that is, "the son of my right hand." See JOSEPH.

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