The Tribe of Benjamin, Gen 49:27

The Tribe of Benjamin Gen. 49:27 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

This sermon on the tribe of Benjamin illustrates the great work of salvation wrought in Jesus Christ.  You will see this unfold in Benjamin’s relationship with the tribe of Judah.

Gen 49:27 says, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf.”  But Deut 33:12 says, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, he shall dwell between his shoulders.”  These sound like vastly different prophesies.  However, a study of the history of this tribe shows you why these two prophesies are so different.

The nature of the Benjamin’s tribe is particularly vicious.  Notice how this tribe ravins as the wolf in Judges 19 and 20.

In Jud 20:12-14 There were children of Belial in Benjamin who abused a concubine until she died.    The rest of the tribes gathered together demanding that these children of Belial be put to death.  The children of Benjamin refused.  Instead, they gathered themselves together against the children of Israel for war. There were 26,700 of Benjamin against 400,000 of Israel [Jud 20:15-17]. Judah had to lead the battle [Jud 20:18]. In the first two battles Israel lost 40,000 troops [Jud 20:21, 25].  But in the third battle, Benjamin’s tribe was nearly decimated.  There were only 600 men who survived [Jud 20:47-48].

Israel had pity on Benjamin’s tribe and supplied them with 400 young virgins from Jabeshgilead for wives [Jud 21:12].  The other 200 stole their wives from the daughters of Shiloh [Jud 21:1-23] according to a plan arranged by Israel.

That concubine that was abused and killed was from Bethleham-judah [Jud 19:1].  And therein is a significant detail in this bizarre incident and the war that followed.

You see, Judah was the son of Jacob who became surety for his brother Benjamin when the sons of Jacob returned to Egypt the second time to get provender and to free Simeon [Gen 44:32-34].  If anything, these children of Benjamin should have been especially righteous in their judgment toward the men responsible for this concubine’s death.  She was from Judah!!  But when they decided to fight, instead, they were ravining like the wolf!!

You see another example of this wolf-like behavior between Saul and David when Saul was king.  According to 1 Sam 9:1-2 Saul, the first king of Israel, was from Benjamin.  Saul fought against David who was from Judah when he should have favored his help, instead.  Saul was ravining like the wolf.  As a matter of fact, Saul is a type of the antichrist and David a type of Jesus Christ.

In spite of Saul, David, who was from the tribe of Judah, made a covenant with Jonathan, who was from the tribe of Benjamin, that David would not cut off his kindness from Jonathan’s house forever [1 Sam 20:14-17].  While this covenant pertained specifically to Jonathan’s progeny [see Mephibosheth in 2 Sam 9:1-8], it is interesting that it was expanded to include both tribes.  David’s tribe joined with Jonathan’s tribe to form the two southern tribes of Israel.

After Saul’s death, Benjamin’s tribe followed Abner in making Ishbosheth, Saul’s surviving son, king over Israel instead of David [2 Sam 2:8-10].  Yet Ishbosheth falsely accused Abner of sleeping with Saul’s concubine [2 Sam 3:7-8], and so Abner determined to unite all Israel under David, and Benjamin agreed to this plan [2 Sam 3:17-19].  By this time, a number of the children of Benjamin had already joined up with David before Saul’s death [1 Chr 12:1-2; 1 Chr 12:16-18] and another 3,000 after his death [1 Chr 12:29].

In 2 Sam 23:29 one of David’s mighty men was Ittai the son of Ribbai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin [remember, Gibeah is where the concubine was abused and killed].

In 1 Ki 12:21-24 when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were divided, Judah and Benjamin were the two southern tribes that comprised Judah.  Benjamin had been pretty loyal to David.  For example, in 2 Sam 19:17, a thousand men of Benjamin met the ferry returning David to Judah after his exile from Absalom.

During the reign of Asa, Benjamin’s tribe had recovered from its near devastation.  In 2 Chr 14:8, Asa’s army was comprised of 300,000 soldiers from Judah and 280,000 from Benjamin.  They had at least 200 years to do this which is certainly plausible.  You can see in the tribe of Benjamin, when they favored Judah, they fulfilled the prophecy of Deut 33:12 rather than Gen 49:27.

Where does all of this lead?  Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and Paul the apostle was from the tribe of Benjamin [Rom 11:1].  When Paul’s name was Saul, he fought against Jesus [Acts 9:4].  He was ravining as the wolf.  But after he got saved, things changed and matched Deut 33:12, “the beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, he shall dwell between his shoulders.”

Paul was certainly the right man to choose.  Jesus needed a tough man from Benjamin who was on his side like Jonathan was to David.

These are very different prophesies concerning the same tribe.  They show you the difference between a man who fights against the Lord before he gets saved, and a man who is willing to fight for the Lord after he gets saved.  The Lord has always intended that men be on his side.  That’s his desire.  What will you do?  Are you going to honor Jesus’ surety and get saved?  Or are you going to fight him after all that he has done for you?