BEN'JAMIN, n. A tree, the Laurus Benzoin, a native of America, called also spicebush. It grows to the height of 15 or 20 feet, with a very branchy head. 1. A gum or resin, or rather a balsam. [See Benzoin.]
n 1: gum resin used especially in treating skin irritation [syn: benzoin, gum benzoin, benjamin, gum benjamin, asa dulcis] 2: (Old Testament) the youngest and best-loved son of Jacob and Rachel and one of the twelve forebears of the tribes of Israel
I. nounEtymology: Hebrew Biny?m?nDate: 14th century a son of Jacob and the traditional eponymous ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel II. biographical name Judah Philip 1811-1884 American Confederate statesman & lawyer
German literary critic. Born into a prosperous Jewish family, Benjamin studied philosophy and worked as a literary critic and translator in Berlin from 1920 until 1933, when he fled to France to avoid persecution. The Nazi takeover of France led him to flee again in 1940; he committed suicide at the Spanish border on hearing that he would be turned over to the Gestapo. Posthumous publication of his essays has won him a reputation as the leading German literary critic of the first half of the 20th cent., as well as one of the first serious writers about film and photography. His independence and originality are evident in the essays collected in Illuminations (1961) and Reflections (1979). His writings on art reflect his reading of K. Marx and his friendships with B. Brecht and T. Adorno.
Benzoin Ben*zoin" (b[e^]n*zoin"), n. [Cf. F. benjoin, Sp. benjui, Pg. beijoin; all fr. Ar. lub[=a]n-j[=a]w[=i] incense form Sumatra (named Java in Arabic), the first syllable being lost. Cf. Benjamin.] Note: [Called also benjamin.] 1. A resinous substance, dry and brittle, obtained from the Styrax benzoin, a tree of Sumatra, Java, etc., having a fragrant odor, and slightly aromatic taste. It is used in the preparation of benzoic acid, in medicine, and as a perfume. 2. A white crystalline substance, C14H12O2, obtained from benzoic aldehyde and some other sources. 3. (Bot.) The spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Flowers of benzoin, benzoic acid. See under Benzoic.
son of my right hand. (1.) The younger son of Jacob by Rachel (Gen. 35:18). His birth took place at Ephrath, on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem, at a short distance from the latter place. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, son of my pain, a name which was changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity are called Benjamites (Gen. 49:27; Deut. 33:12; Josh. 18:21).
The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one (Num. 1:36, 37; Ps. 68:27). 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; 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. 18:21-28.
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 (Judg. 20:20, 21; 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. 19:16, 17), which continued after his death (1 Kings 11:13; 12:20). After the Exile these two tribes formed the great body of the Jewish nation (Ezra 1:5; 10:9).
The tribe of Benjamin was famous for its archers (1 Sam. 20:20, 36; 2 Sam. 1:22; 1 Chr. 8:40; 12:2) and slingers (Judge. 20:6).
The gate of Benjamin, on the north side of Jerusalem (Jer. 37:13; 38:7; Zech. 14:10), was so called because it led in the direction of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. It is called by Jeremiah (20:2) "the high gate of Benjamin;" also "the gate of the children of the people" (17:19). (Comp. 2 Kings 14:13.)
ben'-ja-min (binyamin, or binyamin; Beniaein, Beniamin):
1. The Patriarch:
The youngest of Jacob's sons. His mother Rachel died in giving him birth. As she felt death approaching she called him Benoni, "son of my sorrow." Fearing, probably, that this might bode evil for the child--for names have always preserved a peculiar significance in the East--Jacob called him Benjamin, "son of the fight hand" (Ge 35:17 ff). He alone of Jacob's sons was born in Palestine, between Bethel and Ephrath. Later in the chapter, in the general enumeration of the children born in Paddan-ar am, the writer fails to except Benjamin (Ge 35:24). Joseph was his full brother. In the history where Benjamin appears as an object of solicitude to his father and brothers, we must not forget that he was already a grown man. At the time of the descent of Israel to Egypt Joseph was about 40 years of age. Benjamin was not much younger, and was himself the father of a family. The phrase in Ge 44:20, "a little one," only describes in oriental fashion one much younger than the speaker. And as the youngest of the family no doubt he was made much of. Remorse over their heartless treatment of his brother Joseph may have made the other brothers especially tender toward Benjamin. The conduct of his brethren all through the trying experiences in Egypt places them in a more attractive light than we should have expected; and it must have been a gratification to their father (Ge 42 ff). Ten sons of Benjamin are named at the time of their settlement in Egypt (Ge 46:21).
2. The Tribe:
At the Exodus the number of men of war in the tribe is given as 35,400. At the second census it is 45,600 (Nu 1:37; 26:41). Their place in the host was with the standard of the camp of Ephraim on the west of the tabernacle, their prince being Abidan the son of Gideoni (Nu 2:22 f). Benjamin was represented among the spies by Palti the son of Raphu; and at the division of the land the prince of Benjamin was Elidad the son of Chislon (Nu 13:9; 34:21).
The boundaries of the lot that fell to Benjamin are pretty clearly indicated (Jos 18:11 ff). It lay between Ephraim on the North and Judah on the South. The northern frontier started from the Jordan over against Jericho, and ran to the north of that town up through the mountain westward past Bethaven, taking in Bethel. It then went down by Ataroth-addar to Beth- horon the nether. From this point the western frontier ran southward to Kiriath-jearim. The southern boundary ran from Kiriath-jearim eas tward to the fountain of the waters of Netophah, swept round by the south of Jerrus and passed down through the wilderness northern by shore of the Dead Sea at the mouth of the Jordan. The river formed the eastern boundary. The lot was comparatively small. This, according to Josephus, was owing to "the goodness of the land" (Ant., V, i, 22); a description that would apply mainly to the plans of Jericho. The uplands are stony, mountainous, and poor in water; but there is much good land on the western slopes.
4. Importance of Position:
It will be seen from the above that Benjamin held the main avenues of approach to the highlands from both East and West: that by which Joshua led Israel past Ai from Gilgal, and the longer and easier ascents from the West, notably that along which the tides of battle so often rolled, the Valley of Aijalon, by way of the Beth-horons. Benjamin also sat astride the great highway connecting North and South, which ran along the ridge of the western range, in the district where it was easiest of defense. It was a position calling for occupation by a brave and warlike tribe such as Benjamin proved to be. His warriors were skillful archers and slingers, and they seem to have cultivated the use of both hands, which gave them a great advantage in battle (Jud 20:16; 1Ch 8:40; 12:2, etc.). These characteristics are reflected in the Blessing of Jacob (Ge 49:27). The second deliverer of Israel in the period of the Judges was Ehud, the left-handed Benjamite (Jud 3:15).
The Benjamites fought against Sisera under Deborah and Barak (Jud 5:14). The story told in Jud 20:21 presents many difficulties which cannot be discussed here. It is valuable as preserving certain features of life in these lawless times when there was no details in Israel. Whatever may be said of the details, it certainly reflects the memory of some atrocity in which the Benjamites were involved and for which they suffered terrible punishment. The election of Saul as first king over united Israel naturally lent a certain prestige to the tribe. After the death of Saul they formed the backbone of Ish- bosheth's party, and most unwillingly conceded precedence to Judah in the person of David (2Sa 2:15,25; 3:17 ff). It was a Benjamite who heaped curses upon David in the hour of his deep humiliation (2Sa 16:5); and the jealousy of Benjamin led to the revolt on David's return, which was so effectually stamped out by Joab (2Sa 19 f). Part of the tribe, probably the larger part, went against Judah at the disruption of the kingdom, taking Bethel with them. 1Ki 12:20 says that none followed the house of David but the house of Judah only. But the next verse tells us that Rehoboam gathered the men of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Jeroboam. It seems probable that as Jerusalem had now become the royal city of the house of David, the adjoining parts of Benjamin proved loyal, while the more distant joined the Northern Kingdom. After the downfall of Samaria Judah assumed control of practically the whole territory of Benjamin (2Ki 23:15,19, etc.). Nehemiah gives the Valley of Hinnom as the south boundary of Benjamin in his time (Ne 11:30), while westward it extended to include Lod and Ono. Saul of Tarsus was a member of this tribe (Php 3:5).
(4) A great-grandson of Benjamin, son of Jacob (1Ch 7:10).
(5) One of those who had married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:32, and probably also Ne 3:23; 12:34).