Categories: Jacob, Joseph, Joseph, Men in the Old Testament
- Benjamin is Jacob’s twelfth son and a full brother to Joseph.
- He is the only son born in the land of Canaan.
- Jacob and his family are approaching Ephrath when Rachel goes into labor.
- Scholars aren’t sure whether Ephrath is another name for Bethlehem or Bethel.
- Rachel dies shortly after Benjamin’s birth.
- With her dying breath, she names him Benoni, which means “son of my misfortune” or “son of my sorrow.”
- After her death, Jacob changes his name to Benjamin, meaning “son of my good fortune” or “son of my right hand.”
- Some scholars think the reference to “my right hand” is a metaphor for strength. Others think it means “south,” referring either to the place of his birth or the future location of the Tribe of Benjamin as one of the southern tribes.
- Jacob changes the unfavorable nature of the name to a more favorable one.
- Nothing more is heard about Benjamin until the time of the famine.
- When Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain, he keeps Benjamin at home.
- He is afraid some harm might come to him.
- When Joseph questions the motives of the ten brothers, one blurts out that they used to be twelve. The youngest is with their father.
- Joseph tests them by saying they must bring the youngest brother to him.
- After keeping them in prison for three days, Joseph sends nine of them home with grain. He keeps Simeon until they return with Benjamin.
- The brothers return home and tell Jacob that Benjamin must accompany them.
- Jacob flat out refuses saying, “My son will not go down with you. His brother is dead and he is all I have left. If something bad happens to him on the road, you’ll put my gray, sorrowing head in the grave.”
- Eventually, however, the grain runs out.
- Jacob has to relent; he sends Benjamin with his nine brothers back to Egypt.
- Upon seeing Benjamin, Joseph invites the brothers to dine with him at his house.
- Benjamin is served five times more than his brothers.
- As the brothers are leaving, Joseph instructs his steward to put his divining cup in Benjamin’s sack.
- After giving them a head start, Joseph instructs his steward to confront them.
- The brothers all deny having the cup.
- They are convinced of their innocence. They promise that if the cup is found among them, that brother will die, and the rest of them will become Joseph’s slaves.
- The cup is found in Benjamin’s sack.
- The brothers tear their clothes and accompany Benjamin back to Egypt.
- They beg for Benjamin’s life; Judah offers his life instead of Benjamin’s.
- They reaffirm how grieved their father will be if anything happens to Benjamin.
- At this point, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.
- After inviting all of them to join him in Egypt, Joseph gives them provisions for the journey and a set of garments; Joseph gives three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments to Benjamin.
- Benjamin goes with Jacob and his descendants to Egypt.
- The children of Benjamin include ten sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
- Scholars think each name is a tribute to Joseph.
- Bela, means, “swallow,” and refers to Joseph being swallowed up.
- Becher, means, “first born,” and honors Joseph as being Rachel’s firstborn.
- Ashbel, means, “capture,” a reference to Joseph’s captivity.
- Gera, means, “grain,” a reference to Joseph’s role as governor in Egypt.
- Naaman, means, “grace,” and refers to Joseph’s eloquent speech.
- Ehi, means, “my brother,” and refers to Joseph as being Benjamin’s only full brother.
- Rosh, means, “elder,” referring to Joseph being older than Benjamin.
- Muppim, means, “double mouth,” in reference to Joseph carrying on Jacob’s legacy.
- Huppim, means “marriage canopies,” a reference to Joseph’s marriage.
- Ard, means “wanderer/fugitive,” a reference to Joseph’s early life in Egypt.
- Upon his deathbed, Jacob gives a blessing for Benjamin.
- He says, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey, and at evening dividing the spoil.”
- Indeed, the Tribe of Benjamin is known for its warriors.
- Ehud, Saul, and Jonathan come from this tribe. So does the apostle, Paul.
- The tribes of Benjamin and Judah comprise the southern kingdom.