Benjamin [Heb., = son of fortune], younger son of Jacob and Rachel, eponymous ancestor of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. His mother, dying, named him BenonibĕnōˈnĪ [Heb., = son of my sorrow]. According to the Book of Joshua, the tribe of Benjamin was allotted the plateau of E central Palestine lying W of the Jordan between Jerusalem and Bethel. The tribespeople were famous archers. It has been argued that the account in Joshua relates the conquest of Canaan from the point of view of the Benjamite clans. This tradition was later expanded to present a pan-Israelite conquest account. The name survived in the High Gate of Benjamin of the Temple at Jerusalem. The Bible attests that Saul and Paul were of the tribe of Benjamin.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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