1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 45,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Tribal Distribution of Palestine, Benjamin, Dan

 

BENJAMIN

 

Benjamin was assigned the territory north of Judah and east of Dan. 

 

This area was only twenty-five miles from east to west and about fifteen at its widest extent from north to south, yet it included many cities important in Biblical history: Jericho, Bethel, Gibeon, Mizpeh, and Ramah. 

 

Jerusalem was on the border between Judah and Benjamin. 

 

Saul, Israelís first king, was a Benjamite, a choice which minimized the rivalry between Judah and Ephraim.

 

Benjaminís loyalty remained true to Judah when Jeroboam led away the ten tribes to form the Northern Kingdom. 

 

Benjamin was the last son to receive Jacobís blessing in Genesis 49. 

 

When Rachel gave birth to her first son, Joseph, she gave him a name which was a prayer to God for a second son. 

 

Joseph means ďlet him addĒ.

 

Benjamin then was the son whom God added to Rachel but he was also the very son whose birth caused her death.  

 

Gen. 35:18, And it came to pass as her soul was in departing she called his name, Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin.

 

As Rachel was dying in child birth, as was the usual custom of the mother naming the child, she named Benjamin, Ben-oni.

 

Ben-oni means son of sorrow. 

 

This name was the name given by Benjaminís mother and perhaps did not last past Rachelís death, for Jacob called Ben-oni, Benjamin which means son of my right hand. 

 

Keep this name in mind as we look at the characteristics of this tribe in the latter days. 

 

Son of my right hand means a son who is a helper or protector, one who could be counted on to help in time of trouble.

 

So Benjamin was the only son of Jacob that was named by Jacob, all of his other sons were named by their mothers. 

 

But in reality all his sons were named by their mothers but Benjaminís name by his mother would have been a constant reminder of Rachelís sorrow to Jacob, thereby Jacob was led to call his last son, Benjamin, instead of Ben-oni. 

 

But Jacob in his blessings of his sons says this about Benjamin:

 

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

 

In this blessing Jacob, as is his practice, outlines the character of Benjamin and what this character will translate into in the latter days. 

 

He pictures Benjamin as a wolf, the largest member of the canine family and also a powerful predator. 

 

A wolf is a social creature living in packs and sharing the spoil of the hunt.

 

Benjamin is pictured as a wolf who has caught his prey in the morning and is in the process of breaking or plucking off pieces of the prey, devouring the prey and then distributing the portions to the rest of the wolf pack.

 

In other words Benjamin is pictured as a powerful tribe who will be successful over his enemies. 

 

It is a tribe that will generate spoil sufficient for its needs but also sufficient to distribute to others. 

 

It is a helper tribe, it is a tribe of the right hand as Jacob so named it. 

 

It is a tribe who will not only protect itself but will divide that protection to others.

 

The territory allotted to Benjamin was small, only about 400 square miles. 

 

(Santa Rosa County has about 2000 square miles.)

 

But this territory was in rugged terrain, and in a strategic position for the defense of the whole land, including the area of what was to become the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem.

 

God placed Benjamin in the most suitable geography in accordance with His plan.

 

They were close to the seat of power. 

 

God placed the right tribe in the right place to work His will.

 

For Benjamin had the right character for this kind of work. 

 

For Benjamin was to become a warrior tribe. 

 

Jacob in his prophesy pictured his son Issachar as an ass wallowing in the mire but Benjamin was pictured as a wolf devouring his prey and sharing his prey. 

 

God knew where to place each tribe in the land to meet each need.

 

Remember the story in the book of Judges when Eglon the fat king of Moab was assassinated by Ehud (ay-khood) the son of Gera, a left handed Benjamite. 

 

Ehud, under the guise of delivering a present to Eglon stabbed this enemy of Israel with an 18 inch dagger. 

 

Eglon was so fat that the haft or handle of the dagger also went in after the blade and Ehud could not withdraw the dagger. 

 

This assassination of the Moabite king led to the overthrow of the Moabites. 

 

And this overthrow was led by a son of Benjamin.

 

Judges 3:28,  And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. 29And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. 30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

 

Deborah and  Barak sang of Benjaminís prowess against Amalek.

 

Benjamin was quick to respond to the call:

 

Judges 5:12-14,  Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam. Then he made him that remaineth have dominion over the nobles among the people: the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty. Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people;

 

The valor of the sons of Ulam is expressed in:

 

1 Chron 8:14,  And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sonsí sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.  

DAN

 

Dan was assigned the land west of Benjamin, extending to the Mediterranean. 

 

Since most of this area was occupied by the Philistines, the Danites were forced to find other territory. 

 

This was done when a portion of the tribe migrated northward and took Laish, at the foot of Mount Hermon, near the headwaters of the Jordan, which they renamed Dan. 

 

This northern Dan was considered the northern boundary of Israel.

 

This is how Jacob described Dan over 400 years prior to the division of the promised land.

 

Genesis 49:16,17  Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.  Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.  

 

Lets go back in scripture and see Danís beginning so we may understand Jacobís words better.

 

Genesis 30:1-6,   And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacobís anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in Godís stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?   And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.  And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.  And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.

 

So Dan was the first son to be born by proxy to Rachel. 

 

In todayís manner of speech we would call Bilhah a surrogate mother. 

 

Bilhah bearing upon Rachelís knees simply means that what Bilhah bears will be set upon Rachelís knees as if Rachel bore the baby herself. 

 

Bilhah is simply to be the one who carries the child but not officially the mother.

 

We see here how Rachel named the son of her handmaid and she named him according to what she thought God had done. 

 

She claimed that God had heard her cry of barrenness and judged her worthy of a son and had given her this son though Bilhah so she named him Judge or Dan (Dawn) in the Hebrew.

 

So Jacob may be using a trait of Dan to describe what will become a tribal trait in the latter days. 

 

Perhaps Dan had a tendency towards treachery and Jacob in this blessing is cautioning him against that.

 

In any case Jacob pronounces for Dan a role as one of the tribes of Israel and indicates that Dan will play a part in suppressing the enemies of Israel.

 

Dan, born of a handmaid, would help its people get their rights.

 

The tribe of Dan produced only one judge, but he was an outstanding character of the Bible, the mightiest of the judges, the man Samson.  

 

Paul lists Samson among those heroes of faith in the letter to the Hebrews.