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Benjamin

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Benjamin (disambiguation).

In the Old Testament, Benjamin (בִּנְיָמִין "Son of my right hand" but in some Rabbinical traditions "Son of the south", Standard Hebrew Binyamin, Tiberian Hebrew Binyāmîn) is the younger son of Jacob and Rachel (Gen. 35:18).

His birth took place on the road between Bethel and Ephrath, characterized later by Christian writers as at a short distance from Bethlehem, because many centuries later the prophet Micah referred to "Bethlehem Ephrata", There is no other connection with Bethlehem. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, "son of my pain", an ill-omened name which was changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity were the tribe of Benjamin, sometimes translated "Benjamites" (Gen. 49:27; Deut. 33:12; Joshua 18:21).

The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one (Num. 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 (Gen. 49:27) that the figure of a wolf was on the tribal standard: "Benjamin is a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he shall devour the prey, at evening he shall divide the spoil."

This tribe is mentioned in Rom. 11:1; Phil. 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 Josh. 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 (Judg. 20:20, 21; 21:10). (See GIBEAH ¯T0001476.)

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 ((2 Sam. 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 (Ezra 1:5; 10:9), and to this day the other ten are referred to as the lost tribes of Israel.

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

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

Reference

  • Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

External link

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