The Life of Joseph - Lesson 47, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
With the completion of the blessing of Joseph, the first son of Rachel, Jacob turns to Rachelís second son Benjamin, the very son whose birth caused her death.
Genesis 35:18, And it came to pass as her soul was in departing she called his name, Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin.
As Rachel was dying in child birth, as was the usual custom of the mother naming the child, she named Benjamin, Ben-oni.
Ben-oni means son of sorrow.
This name was the name given by Benjaminís mother and perhaps did not last past Rachelís death, for Jacob called Ben-oni, Benjamin which means son of my right hand.
Keep this name in mind as we look at the characteristics of this tribe in the latter days.
Son of my right hand means a son who is a helper or protector, one who could be counted on to help in time of trouble.
So Benjamin was the only son of Jacob that was named by Jacob, all of his other sons were named by their mothers.
But in reality all his sons were named by their mothers but Benjaminís name by his mother would have been a constant reminder of Rachelís sorrow to Jacob, causing Jacob to call his last son, Benjamin, instead of Ben-oni.
Genesis 49:27, Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.
In this blessing Jacob as is his practice outlines the character of Benjamin and what this character will translate into in the latter days.
He pictures Benjamin as a wolf, the largest member of the canine family and also a powerful predator.
A wolf is a social creature living in packs and sharing the spoil of the hunt.
Benjamin is pictured as a wolf who has caught his prey in the morning and is in the process of breaking or plucking off pieces of the prey, devouring the prey and then distributing the portions to the rest of the wolf pack.
In other words Benjamin is pictured as a powerful tribe who will be successful over his enemies.
It is a tribe that will generate spoil sufficient for its needs but also sufficient to distribute to others.
It is a helper tribe, it is a tribe of the right hand as Jacob so named it.
It is a tribe who will not only protect itself but will divide that protection to others.
The territory allotted to Benjamin was small, only about 400 square miles. (Santa Rosa County has about 2000 square miles.)
But this territory was in rugged terrain, and in a strategic position for the defense of the whole land, including the area of what was to become the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem.
They were close to the seat of power.
God placed the right tribe in the right place to work His will.
For Benjamin had the right character for this kind of work.
For Benjamin was to become a warrior tribe.
Issachar was pictured as an ass wallowing in the mire but Benjamin was pictured as a wolf devouring his prey and sharing his prey.
God knew where to place each tribe in the land to meet each need.
Remember the story in the book of Judges when Eglon the fat king of Moab was assassinated by Ehud (ay-khood) the son of Gera, a left handed Benjamite.
Ehud, under the guise of delivering a present to Eglon stabbed this enemy of Israel with an 18 inch dagger.
Eglon was so fat that the haft or handle of the dagger also went in after the blade and Ehud could not withdraw the dagger.
This assassination of the Moabite king led to the overthrow of the Moabites.
And this overthrow was led by a son of Benjamin.
Judges 3:28, And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.
Deborah and Barak sang of Benjaminís prowess against Amalek.
Benjamin was quick to respond to the call:
Judges 5:12-14, Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty. Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people;
The valor of the sons of Ulam is expressed in, 1 Chronicles 8:14, And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sonsí sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.