Foundations Themes in Genesis – Study 115

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 115 (Key verse: Genesis 49:27)

Benjamin is the last son of Jacob whom he addressed before his death in Egypt:

Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Gen 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

The theme of the last days encompasses so many aspects in the lives of God’s elect as these sons of Jacob and their offspring also enlighten some of these aspects for us:

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [Greek: aiōn = age] are come.

What these sons of Israel encountered after the death of Jacob typify the lives of God’s elect who are indeed caused by God to listen and hear His voice. The elect of God can see that these words of Jacob are all part of the whole prophecy and revelation of Jesus Christ and His works in them:

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Benjamin: his birth and the meaning of his name

Benjamin was Jacob’s last born son from his favourite wife, Rachel, and the only son who was born in Canaan – the rest were all born in Padanaram back in Mesopotamia (Gen 28:5-7; Gen 31:18). Benjamin was actually born while they were still journeying after Jacob and his family left that area to live in Canaan:

Gen 35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
Gen 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
Gen 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul [Hebrew: nephesh – life] was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni [meaning son of my sorrow]: but his father called him Benjamin [son at my right hand].
Gen 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

These two sides of Benjamin through the two names from his mother and father also helps to see how this son of Jacob and his offspring not only reveal the good in God’s creation (represented by those on His right hand), but also the evil or those things which bring sorrow, as appointed by God (Gen 48:13-20; Job 2:10; Psa 16:11; Isa 45:7; Mat 25:31-34; Mat 26:64). We also see this division within the symbols found in Jacob’s final words to his youngest son, Benjamin:

Gen 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin [Hebrew: ṭâraph = tear in pieces] as a wolf: in the morning [Hebrew: bôqer = dawn] he shall devour the prey, and at night [Hebrew: ereb = dusk] he shall divide [Hebrew: châlaq = to be smooth/bring division] the spoil.

Here we see the symbol of a wolf and its distinctive activities in the morning and in the evening, with specific references to a prey and a spoil.

Benjamin: the symbol of a wolf

A wolf is part of the beastly kingdom, even as that animal kingdom reflects or typifies our natural state:

Ecc 3:18 I [Solomon] said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

Man was created on the sixth day with all the other “beasts of the earth” and as such this is how God wants us to see the natural “estate of the sons of men”:

Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

All physical things reflect and typify the works of God in us, if we can “read” that and can “hear” from the spirit of God how to then compare the spiritual with spiritual to apply or “keep” the words from God’s mouth (Mat 4:4; Rev 1:3):

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The natural man cannot apply God’s Word within because he is obsessed with the outward appearance of things which God uses to blind him with:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

This is one of the biggest miracles from God as He blinds the eyes of those He does not want to see where His spiritual kingdom is at this stage and how He is working all things according to His perfect plan for this creation (Ecc 1:13; Luk 17:20-21; Joh 9:39-41; Eph 1:11):

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them [the multitudes] in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

As the words of God are used to both close and open eyes and ears, so there are always a negative and positive applications in all these symbols in the scriptures through which this perfect plan of God is beautifully put together (Exo 14:19-20). These two distinctive ways of applications in the final analysis also highlights this truth of the two Adams and how God uses them:

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Benjamin is compared to a wolf by Jacob, and the Hebrew word for wolf is “zeêb” and this word also relates to the colour yellow according to Dr James Strong:

H2061: zeêb – From an unused root meaning to be yellow; a wolf: – wolf.

The Hebrew word for “yellow” is tsâhôb, and here is where this word first appears in the scriptures:

Lev 13:30 Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow [tsâhôb] thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard.

This is the condition of the first Adam as the wolf negatively relates to our unclean land, referring to our flesh or our spiritual leprosy. But this wolf preys on sheep which is a type of God’s flock (Joh 10:1-16). This is where the activities of this evil wolf are focused as God also revealed to the prophet Ezekiel:

Eze 22:23 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 22:24 Son of man, say unto her [the physical city of Jerusalem – the type of the spiritual harlot (Isa 1:10-23; Gal 4:25; Rev 17:1-18)], Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.
Eze 22:25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.
Eze 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Eze 22:27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
Eze 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.
Eze 22:29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

Spiritual wolves are “in the midst [of God’s flock and] are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to receive dishonest gain” – they cause divisions and does not divide properly among the clean and unclean? (Rom 16:17; 1Co 3:1-4; Gal 5:19-21; Tit 3:10). These wolves use spiritual deceptions with a flattering tongue which cause God’s flock to follow them because “…at night [they] shall divide [Hebrew: châlaq]” and bring intensive pain (Psa 55:21; Pro 20:19; Isa 30:9-10):

Pro 29:5 A man that flattereth [Hebrew: châlaq = to be smooth/bring division] his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening [Greek: harpax = extortion] wolves.

But Jesus, the good Shepherd, sees no problem sending His sheep among the wolves to get the necessary spiritual experience, and to see how He provides for us as we keep watching and applying His words through wisdom (Luk 16:8):

Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

It indeed takes time and patience to see through the sheep facade of these Babylonian wolves as their true fruits will eventually appear (Luk 21:19):

Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

But if these wolves are only out there, then our own eyes are still blinded to our own deceitful false prophet and his words in us. As the first Adam was made a corrupt creature from the Potter’s hand, so we are all first a ravening evening wolf driven by the spirit of the world in us (Jer 18:4; Hab 1:5-11; Rom 7:13-24; Rom 8:5-8; Rom 8:20):

1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

This is the spirit of the Pharisee in us who is a hypocrite pointing also at other’s shortcomings and mistakes to satisfy our lust for recognition of our outward display of good works (Mat 7:21-23):

Luk 11:39 And the Lord said unto him [a certain Pharisee who was upset that Jesus did not wash before dinner], Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

It is this ravening spirit in us that drives us to believe we are spiritually mature long before the beam is removed from our own eye and the fruit of the spirit of God is produced (Mat 7:1-5; Gal 5:22-23):

1Co 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1Co 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
1Co 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
1Co 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

We should “take heed…unto [our]selves” and see the wolf in our own camp before we can be in a position to be my brother’s keeper and not his killer, as Cain is such a tragic example of (Gen 4:1-9):

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Of all these warnings we also take note of in the life of the tribe of Benjamin.

The tribe of Benjamin: the violent and merciless arrogance of the flesh

When the tribes of Israel settled in Canaan, the Benjamites occupied territory in the south of the land. But they also did what all the other tribes were guilty of – they did not drive out the Canaanites, even the spiritual wolves, from among themselves:

Jdg 1:21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day.

The evil wolves within the hearts of the tribe of Benjamin caused them to even be an adversary to their own brothers in Israel. They indeed brought sorrow to Israel. For example, we read in the book of Judges how this tribe was not given to hospitality, and very arrogant and violent in nature. In one instance mentioned in Judges we read one of the goriest and horrific stories recorded in the Bible, for our admonition. This story played out in a certain Benjamite city, namely Gibeah, when a “certain Levite”, his concubine, their servant and two asses came to this city one evening:

Jdg 19:14 And they [this unnamed Levite and his family] passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.
Jdg 19:15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.

An old man, who was not a Benjamite, but from the tribe of Ephraim who only sojourned in Gibeah, took this family to his dwelling there and gave them lodging and food for that evening (Jdg 19:16-21). But this very showing of hospitality and decency brought this ravening wolf spirit in the hearts of certain men in the tribe of Benjamin to demand of this old man to hand over this Levite to them for sexual purposes:

Jdg 19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

The Levite then eventually gave his concubine to them, and these Benjamites raped her, and in the process she died (Jdg 19:22-28). This Levite then divided the dead body of his concubine in twelve pieces and sent it to all the tribes of Israel with a note to explain what happened. The other tribes then united against the tribe of Benjamin and demanded that those men who were guilty be delivered to them. But the Benjamites protected the guilty men and even went into battle against the other tribes. In the process nearly all the males in the tribe of Benjamin were killed, except for six hundred men who fled and eventually found mercy:

Jdg 20:47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months.
Jdg 20:48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.

All the tribes of Israel promised not to give their daughters to these Benjamites because they witnessed the “wolf in the evening” character of all these Benjamite men (Jdg 21:7; Jer 5:6). But one city did not join in the battles against the tribe of Benjamin and from them women were taken to wife with these six hundred men of Benjamin:

Jdg 21:8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly.

This is how the tribe of Benjamin was saved to play important roles in the future life of the nation of Israel. One such role was that they produced the first king of Israel, namely Saul, who ruled Israel for forty years (Act 13:21):

1Sa 9:1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
1Sa 9:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

Very interestingly, Saul came from the very city where this concubine of the Levite was killed, namely Gibeah. Gibeah is actually also called “Gibeah of Saul” in the scriptures:

1Sa 15:34 ….and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.

With all his “goodly” physical attributes Saul eventually also displayed the same spirit of the earthy wolf like those men in the tribe of Benjamin. Saul’s rulership was meant to only be for a limited time period to also reveal to us the limited rulership of the fleshly Adam in us. But Saul was set up by God to be a fierce and merciless adversary to the true King typified by David. David could only reign after the death of Saul, and it is only after we have been judged for our role in all evil that we can rule in the true temple of God:

Rev 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

The tribe of Benjamin: The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him

The wolf indeed also has a positive application, and this we see in the blessing of Jacob and Moses:

Gen 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

Deu 33:12 And of Benjamin he [Moses] said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

The tribe of Benjamin produced a few leaders in Israel among whom was a judge called Ehud, whom God used to free Israel from the rule of the Moabites when Ehud, who was left-handed, used a dagger to kill the fat king of the Moabites, Eglon, who typifies the lusts and pride of our natural man from whom we are being released.

Jdg 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
Jdg 3:15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

The tribe of Benjamin in general is known as the tribe who had skillful left-handed warriors who could sling stones without missing their target (Jdg 20:16). Here the left hand is also used as a positive application for God’s use as all things, even the evil, are God’s instruments to bring forth His desires. God uses all for His purpose and will bring all the wicked in the first Adam to be righteous in Christ (Gen 50:20; Pro 16:4; 1Co 15:22-28):

1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

When the kingdom of Israel was divided after the death of Solomon, it was this tribe of Benjamin who remained faithful to the tribe of Judah in the south of Canaan, and to the city and temple which God chose to put His Name to. This all typifies spiritual Zion, the city of God who is “Jerusalem which is above” – Christ and His elect (Psa 46:4-5; Mat 5:14; Gal 4:26; Rev 21:1-7):

Deu 12:5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come.

Psa 78:68 But [God] chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
Psa 78:69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

Two other Benjamites, Mordecai and Esther, were used by God to save the whole Jewish nation and bring freedom from the Babylonian and Persian rule:

Est 2:5 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
Est 2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.
Est 2:7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.

In the New Testament scriptures we see another example of how God used this tribe of Benjamin. The apostle Paul also declares that he was in physical terms from this tribe which he counted as a loss for his spiritual connection in Christ (Rom 11:1). This spiritual conversion to deem flesh as nothing is also seen in the name change from the old Benjamite name of “Saul”, to “Paul” (meaning “little”):

Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Php 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Spiritually this tribe of Benjamin indeed typifies those who are sealed to be the spiritual Israel of God knowing that they are the wolves who shall completely devour and destroy the prey of flesh in the evening to eat His bread in the morning – the resurrection from death (Exo 12:10; Exo 16:12; Psa 50:22; Hos 6:1). Because the elect are the witnesses of all the works of Christ in them, they are also the wolves who shall divide the spiritual “spoil” among all in Adam. In the process they will be used by God to eventually bring spiritual harmony to all through their Head, Jesus Christ (Isa 65:23-25; Oba 1:21; Eph 1:10; 1Co 15:28):

Rev 7:8…..Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

Isa 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together…


Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the website, including these topics and links:

What Exactly is A Soul?
The Spiritual Significance of Being Right or Left Handed
Animals in Scripture – Wolves
Colors in Scripture – Yellow
Animals in Scripture – The Four Beasts in The Middle and Around The Throne

Other related posts