“Son of happiness”, “Son of the south”, “Son of the right hand”.
Yip, let’s talk about the name Benjamin.
With a smile, because this Benjamin here, for sure is a son of happiness.
First things first:
Jacob had 12 sons.
Out of his son Judah, came the jews.
They were supposed to bring light to the world, with as annoying side-effect, that darkness too would ferociously chase them in order to kill that flame.
His 11th son Joseph, was the favorite one, talented, universally loved, successful, powerful, influential in history. A true hero. Always protecting and loving…
The 12th son… Benjamin.
That’s why the youngest of a family is named “the Benjamin”. The bigger the family, the more this youngest can have the traits of the original Benjamin.
“Son of the right hand“? Benjamin was definitely preferred by both his father and his formidable brother Joseph. Both protected him at every turn, or made sure he received 5 times the portion or garments of anyone else. Joseph, really, only had eyes for Benjamin. For these 2 youngest sons came from the same mother, Rachel.
Whenever you read about a descendant of Benjamin, you read about someone being protected by the superpower of the day. For example Esther was chosen by the Persian King Xerxes, which enabled her to pull off one of the great tricks of history: getting her people out of captivity.
Born with a silver spoon.
Benjamin will never be King, but will be the right hand, guest of honor and under the wings of protection (ain’t that right, Benjamin Netanyahu?) That’s why he feels so confident in life. If he’s not under the wing of a president, it’s under the wing of God. Born under a very sunny constellation. He can get away with anything. Problem? Solution. If only because older siblings, parents and kings will all come to the rescue. There’s always a savior. A human one or a divine one. And if there is no such savior, his positivity and confidence will rescue him.
Out of Benjamin came a family and then a tribe.
Recurring traits of the Benjamites:
Aristocratic demeanor, formal, well-bred and polite.
Socially conscious, freedom loving, having a penchant for religion and spirituality, and a strong brotherly feel towards jews: they want that other tribe to do well.
But that’s peace time. Come injustice or war, or simply boredom, they are courageous, ferocious and absolutely warrior-like. Benjamites have no problem standing up for their beliefs, against all others if needed, standing up with a sword against all their friends, up to the point of self-sacrifice. And don’t be too surprised in fights: chances are high that they’re ambidextrous.
Loving and loved, protective and protected – and dangerous: in peace as in war, you want a Benjamin on your side. For he does not only bring a fighting spirit to the table, but also a friend in High Places, and on top of that the advantage of surprise: you don’t see it coming. (“What? Our sweet little Benjamin?? I thought that at least from that side I was safe”).
Arriving in The Promised Land, each of the 12 tribes received a region (later: The United Kingdom of Israel, named after the nickname of patriarch Jacob). The Tribe of Benjamin carved out the smallest but most important region: a circle around Jerusalem.
Compare that to Judah, who had to make do with the southern desert (Judea) between Gaza, the strip of the Filistines, and the Dead Sea. Basically a dusty pile of rocks without any river or not-dead sea (which in the end, was to their advantage: they had to learn to be creative, there was no other option). How could the new Israel in 1948 turn the land so green again so quickly? How come that the world turns to Israel for water solutions? Well, how about practise?
How is it Israel that can be at the forefront of 5G and EMP-weapons? For starters, try reading stories of burning bushes and opening seas on a daily basis. Of course you start wondering how such things are done.
OK, back to the Benjamites: some famous ones:
King Saul is not a pleasant character to write about. A King to be feared if ever there was one. Little of the good Benjamite traits, a lot of the bad ones. God ran out of patience, and started looking for a better leader for his people (found in little shepherd David, of the tribe of Judah).
The son of King Saul, Jonathan, was the opposite: all the good traits. Jonathan had cause to hate or envy David, who wanted to dethrone his father, but instead: he loved him, thought him to be the more righteous king – and it was a love with a capital L. Or LGBT, some say. Against all odds and in all battles and all youth and all solitude, he fought for his friend David to become his King. David said: “Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than the love of women”. The emblematic jew, king and writer of Psalms – and the Benjamite par excellence: Their souls were knit together, and have always been, all the way up to Bob Marley.
Paul was a terribly cruel persecuter of the first Christians. A true inquisitioner. So Jesus not just stopped him, but called him to His side. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer? At any rate, Paul converted, and started 3/4th of everything we know about Christianity. So much so that it can be tricky: was that Jesus’ opinon… or Pauls? Paul was so zealous about his friendship with Jesus, that Jonathan&David spring to mind, or Benjamin&Joseph. Almost marriages.
Flash forward some 1500 years, and then another 2000 years, and the Jews are still here. They’re even back in Israel, revived its ancient language and its currency, made it prosperous and turn green, just as what was predicted. But what happened with the other tribes? Nobody knows. Most likely: led into captivity and assimilated somewhere else. It would be typical for the Tribe of Benjamin to have destructed itself, for being a tad too war-loving or into self-sacrifice.
Many in the West Indies believe that they might be the lost Tribe of Benjamin: via Ghana led into captivity to Jamaica and Cuba. The mother of Bob Marley (that singer about Exodus and Zion and my hero) is said to be a Benjamite.
Other, far less believed theories: the Norwegians, the Spanish. There’s something to say for all of them. But also not. Where do we find a – possibly – really small tribe or country, with fighting spirit, and, conditio sine que non: basking in the special love and protection of a greater king? I can only think of Israel itself. But that’s the tribe of Judah, not of Benjamin, so maybe you have a better idea?
There’s also the theory that it’s a spiritual gene, a sort of AI-like soul-cloud with members spread over the world, just like the jews did. And, just like the jews, will one day go back to Jerusalem. Ergo: when you believe you are a Benjamite, you are a Benjamite.
The name Benjamin…
Always was a non-name. There are but very few people in history, that were named Benjamin.
My own parents wanted to name me Benjamin, if it weren’t for a town hall in 1967, who didn’t allow it: that name didn’t exist; it was not the name of a Christian Saint. Biblical was not enough. You needed papal approval. The influence of Paul.
But also in 1967: the brand new and miniature new Israel conquered Jerusalem. Benjamins’ city. After 1900 years of absence. Which might or might not be a reason why the name Benjamin, for the first time in history, started its march upwards, up into popularity lists. If you know a Ben, Benny, Benjamin or Benjamine, chances are very high they are GenX, Millennial or GenZ. Not from the enormous mass of Baby Boomers.
The Benjamin Generation and Wolf
There’s this strange theory floating around:
The Benjamin Generation = the small and last generation of believers. This small generation will receive abundant and undeserved grace. Probably right because it’s so small, and will have to endure so much ridicule and persecution, surpassing that of the first Christians.
(Leave that up to Benjamites, to be able to stand up against, and bear the mob. Or to have the feel to be under special wings of protection. They are the ones spotting the first ripple of a Tsunami, while all the rest keeps playing on the beach).
On his deathbed though, Jacob gave each of his sons a prophecy.
About Benjamin he said: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the spoils”.
Do you know how intelligent as well as nice a wolf is? You can’t hunt a wolf. You won’t even see one, or know one is there. The wolf sees you, can smell you a mile away, and absorbs your every move. Until he or she, knows you inside out, whether you spell danger or not, and is ready. He has X-rayed you. That’s why you’ve got many a wolf in your life, without you knowing it.
There are whole countries in Europe, who suspect they have wolves, but do not actually know. And that’s countries with 10 million inhabitants, and wolf-investigation-committees.
Note: ‘Lone wolf’ is an oxymoron, coined by someone who probably didn’t know wolves: no creature is more pack-minded, tribal, forever knitting the most protective and protected tapestry, to love and be loved in the safest possible environment.
A Benjamite is not like a wolf. A wolf is like a Benjamite.
“In the morning… and in the evening”: ergo, from dusk till dawn, from the beginning to the end, of life or of history, Benjamin will thrive. He is made for unrest and battle and hunt. Very politely and friendly so. For he has already got his den or cave, and his training and all his protection. He can afford to be nice and a son of happiness. Whatever the hardships in the past or in the present, he will reap the rewards, the spoils are waiting.
Never worry about a Benjamite, or whether there is still such a tribe, or where it is, or what has happened to it. Whatever the answer is…
He, she, they, it… will be perfectly alright.
In the morning and in the evening.
If at every turn they had protectors of the calibre of Xerxes, Jacob, Joseph, David, Jesus… what is there to worry about?
If there’s such a thing as a tribe of Benjamin, then it probably has to remain hidden and unknown. Tiny and spread, means that it has to have wolf-like surprise qualities. O, well, don’t break your head over it; it will all become clear.
1. At one point the Tribe of Benjamin went to war with all other tribes at once. They were outnumbered 15 to 1. Guess who was winning? The 11 other tribes had to turn to God for help. Only then they won, and reduced the Benjamites to a tribe of 700 only. Not 11 tribes combined AND God were able to (or eager to) make that 0.
2. When the Kingdom once split into 2, this was into Israel in the north (10 tribes), and Judea in the south (2 tribes: Judah and Benjamin). Again those soul mates. And thus the possibility that Benjamin vanished by merging into Judah.
PS: What is the likelihood that it are the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin who are the “2 witnesses”, “2 olive trees”, “2 lampstands” in the Bible? Do you know of any other 4000 year long friendships?
A Benjamite might well be nothing but the 5th column in the world who will stand shoulder to shoulder with the tribe of Judah, once the whole world turns against it. Only a Benjamite has no fear for anything of all that. It’s his bread and butter. If the world is in shock, saying “the dollar has collapsed” or “America has fallen!” or “Israel is the root cause of all problems!”, a Benjamite will think: “O hello moment, are you there… again?”. Not to say: “I was born for this time”.
Don’t ever worry about a Benjamite, they have a talent to land on their feet and be joyful in everything. Do you know someone who was never out of a job, never broke anything, hardly knows where to find a doctor or pharmacy, is joyful in poverty and walks with a smile through a famine? That’s a Benjamite.