Journey Through The Scriptures

The Twelve Tribes of Israel, Part II

Lesson 7: Violent Outcasts

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 49:27; Deuteronomy 33:12; Judges 20:1-43)

The Benjamites truly fulfilled Jacob’s words when he said, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf.” Perhaps the most skilled of all the tribes in battle, the Benjamites were effective archers and users of the sling. Their land inheritance was in a key area for defense, making them the most important warriors between Israel and the enemy. One skill that the Benjamites had to their advantage was their ability to use the sling and fight with both hands, which gave them a fundamental advantage in battle.

Moses spoke of Benjamin as “the beloved of the LORD,” but the history of this tribe turned tragic as the Benjamites became the enemy of their own people. They descended to terrible cruelty in the incident that provoked the Benjamite war of Judges 20, with the heartbreaking result of Israelites killing their brothers. This tribe also did not align themselves with David and the tribe of Judah. Saul, the deeply-flawed first king of Israel, was a Benjamite, and the tribe did not like relinquishing power. Their revolt against King David was quelled by Joab, the commander of David’s army.

Study Questions

  1. How were the Benjamites like ravenous wolves?
  2. Why would using both hands make such a difference in combat?
  3. What aspect of Benjamin’s history was Moses referring to by his tender picture of Benjamin as a dearly-loved child?
  4. How was King Saul’s sad demise representative of the history of the Benjamites?

Something to Think About

Sometimes we allow skills that can be a blessing to be a means of improving our own status. The Benjamites fought valiantly for the Lord, but then used their skills to fight God’s people and His appointed ruler. Let us learn from the Benjamites and submit to God’s authority, rather than trying to force our own.