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Benjamin – 12 Tribles of Israel

Benjamin – Twelve Tribes of Israel

The Tribe of Benjamin בִּנְיָמִין “Son of my right hand” but in some Rabbinical Judaism traditions “Son of the south”, Standard Hebrew Binyamin, Tiberian Hebrew Binyāmīn) is one of the Hebrew tribes, founded by Benjamin son of Jacob. The Book of Judges chapters 19 to 21 describes an episode in which all of the rest of Israel attacks and defeats the Benjamites in the battle at Gibeah, in retaliation following a disgraceful incident. To complete the defeat, all the civilians, including women and children, in the Benjamite towns and villages are then killed, and the other tribes vow that they will never allow their women to marry Benjamites ever again. However, so as to not exterminate a tribe of Israel, they then provide four hundred virgins, spoil from another town they have massacred, as wives to the Benjamites, and also allow them to raid a festival and carry off some of the women.

Later, when the Kingdom of Israel was divided, the tribe of Benjamin joined with the tribe of Judah to form the Kingdom of Judah, while the other tribes formed the reduced kingdom of Israel which was subsequently conquered and the people exiled. Benjamin was very much the minor partner, as the ruling House of David came from the far more numerous and powerful tribe of Judah. Thus it was the tribe of Judah who in time became identified with the entire people of the southerly Israelite kingdom, and gave their name to the Jews.

Benjamin was born in Bethlehem and was the last son of Jacob and Rachel. The birthing of Benjamin brought the death of his mother and in her final moments, Rachel (soul) called him ‘Benoni’ (son of my sorrow), but Israel (spirit) called him Benjamin, meaning the son of my right hand (Gen 35:18). Also means: in the widest sense of son (grandson, great-grandson, etc. thereby covering all generations to come). It was the bringing of Benjamin to Joseph in Egypt that released the provision of food to Israel (Jacob).