Benjamin [Bĕn'jamĭn]—son of the right hand.
1. The youngest son of Jacob and the only one born in Canaan; founder of a tribal family. His mother, Rachel, who died in giving birth to Benjamin, named him with her last breath Benoni “son of sorrow.” Jacob changed the name to Benjamin (Gen. 35:18, 24).
The prophecy of Jacob regarding Benjamin is short and easily verified. Personal courage and martial temperament, a characteristic of the Benjamites throughout history, are before us in Benjamin as a ravening wolf devouring the prey and dividing the spoil. Benjamin was the last, the bravest and the best-beloved tribe of all the tribes of Israel, the center of the affections of the whole family, and the dwelling place of the beloved of the Lord (Deut. 33:12).
Some Benjamites of the Bible are the second of the Judges, Ehud, Saul, the first of Israel’s kings and Saul of Tarsus, who was “not a whit behind the chiefest of the apostles.” Although “the smallest of the tribes” (1 Sam. 9:21), Benjamin was not to be despised. Christ came from a small village. In the division of the land, as Joshua records it, Jerusalem was assigned to Benjamin (Josh. 18:28)—a fact referred to by the psalmist, “There is little Benjamin their ruler.” Between the shoulders of Benjamin, the God of Israel caused His name to dwell. In Benjamin He “covered Israel all the day long.”
The tribe of Benjamin, as the seat of God’s love, ought to be the meeting place for all Israel; Jerusalem is so, in a figure. It has open gates for all the tribes of Israel.
2. A son or descendant of Harim who put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:32).
3. A son of Bilhan and a great-grandson of Benjamin (1 Chron. 7:10).
4. One who took part in the repair of the wall (Neh. 3:23).