Tribe of Benjamin

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Tribes of Israel
Reuben
Simeon
Levi
Judah
Dan
Naphtali
Gad
Asher
Issachar
Zebulun
Joseph:
    Manasseh
    Ephraim
Benjamin

The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one (Num 1:36f; Ps 6827). 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 and 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 Josh 18:21ff.

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 (Jdg 20:20f; Jdg 21:10). (See Gibeah.)

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 19:16f), which continued after his death (1 Kg 11:13; 1 Kg 12:20). After the Exile these two tribes formed the great body of the Jewish nation (Ez 1:5; Ez 10:9).

The tribe of Benjamin was famous for its archers (1Sam 20:20, 1Sam 20:36; 2 Sam 1:22; 1Chr 8:40; 1Chr 12:2) and slingers (Jdg 20:6).


This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.
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