Benjamin son of Rachel was the full-brother of Joseph. Even so, the main portion of Benjamin was destined to be permanently associated with Judah. The present-day Jews include many from Benjamin: According to legend, this may apply especially to the Jews of Germany and/or Rumania. descendants of Benjamin are also to be found amongst the Ten Tribes. We suggested that offshoots from Benjamin were to be found amongst the Normans and Wallooons (Belgium). Others have claimed for Norway or Scotland which we doubt. The banner of Benjamin was colored “like all the colors, including the twelve colors, and a wolf was illustrated upon it” (Midrash Bamidbar Rabah 2:7). The gem stone of Benjamin was a “yashpeh” indentified with the jasper. Some forms of the jasper stone (a variety of Chalcedon) are indeed multi-colored.
Benjamin was the youngest brother. One Commentator (Eliyahu Ki Tov) claimed that this influenced his character and that he felt permanently deprived or “put upon” by the other Tribes.
He was the darling of his father who doted upon him.
Benjamin had aristocratic qualities. Saul the first king of Israel was from Benjamin. They were jealous of Judah and of the House of David. Despite this quite a few of the most loyal leading warriors and dignitaries in the Kingdom of David came from Benjamin. This shows an ability to ignore petty differences and work for the good of the generality. The case of the Concubine at Gibeah (Judges ch.19) involved an attempt at homosexual rape followed by the gang-banging to death of the woman of a traveller. The Tribe of Benjamin refused to give up the culprits and fought against all the other Tribes until they were almost wiped out. This shows tendencies to unnatural lust, extreme violence, disregard of others, alongside family loyalty, self-sacrifice, and warrior talents. His symbol is the wolf and he can exhibit wolf-like qualities in both the good and bad sense. Adolf Schickelgruber, alias Hitler, nicknamed himself “Wolf” and began his crusade against the Jewish people by tormenting the Jews of Germany amongst whom were many from Benjamin, also symbolized by a wolf. There may be a message here that by attempting to abandon what made them unique the Jews of Germany left an opening for their enemies to get at them by adopting those characteristics they themselves had sought to abandon?
Benjamin is not noted for spiritual depth. Though often extremely intelligent he is not necessary intellectual or introspective. He relies on instinct. Benjamin is often succesful. He is capable of succeeding where others would not, of failing over and over gain but in the end coming through. If he succeeds and then fails he is liable to make a come-back where others would have given up.
Mordecai and Esther were of the Tribe of Benjamin. They showed tact, diplomatic skill, courage, self-sacrifice, coolness under pressure, determination, and in the end sufficient ruthlessness to eliminate the enemies of their people. They also accepted reality and worked within its limitations bending the situation to their own advantage or rather to the higher purpose they had dedicated themselves to.
Michal the first wife of David exemplifies the womenfolk of Benjamin. She lets it be known which man she has set her eyes for. She dedicates herself to her husband and risks her life for him. She is the one who reveals to David the plot against him and shows him how to escape. She defies her father yet makes an excuse which though palpaly false is tactful and gives Saul an excuse to ignore her behavior if he so wishes. She expects her husband to respect himself and considers his honor as representative of her own. This shows both refinement and tendencies to “snobbishness”.
She is not beyond reproving her husband in a disrespectful manner. She is aware that she is the daughter of a king in her own right and seems to demand respect for it in addition to the status given her by marriage. She is socially conscious of “class” and resents being equated with maidservants. The womenfolk of Benjamin may allow themselves to be “given over” but in general are noticeably more chaste than their menfolk. They have their own self-respect and standards of behaviour. They are intense and protective, feminine yet enterprising.
“Benjamin, Tribe of Israel”
The Banner of Benjamin
Created by Natatie Palik
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