Benjamin: son of my right hand. (1.) The younger son of Jacob by Rachel
(Gen. 35:18). His birth took place at Ephrath, on the road
between Bethel and Bethlehem, at a short distance from the
latter place. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her
last breath named him Ben-oni, son of my pain, a name which was
changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity are called
Benjamites (Gen. 49:27; Deut. 33:12; Josh. 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. 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
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).
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 (Judge.
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). (Compare 2 Kings