[b-hebrew] Benjamin

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Fri Jul 2 11:10:20 EDT 2004

At the risk of repeating some of the things already said in the thread on
"Judah", certainly both meanings are used in different contexts. On one
hand, Ben-Yamin was the most "southern-born" of all of Jacob's sons, since
all the others were born in Haran. Assuming this story to be somewhat
aetiological, the Benei Yamin were the southernmost of all the tribes of the
origial "Israel" (that is, excluding Judah), sitting at the southern edge of
Mount Ephraim (18th century Mari, by the way, supplies us with another tribe
called "Benei Yamin", who lived south of the city). The "pre-monarchal"
stories emphasize Benjamin's status as "Joseph's younger brother". And, as I
said, at least some of the references to the Benjaminites' "left handedness"
seem to me to be puns.

On the other hand, the etymolgy given in Gen. 35:18 is quite clear: his
mother called him Ben-oni and his father called him Ben-yamin. "On" means
"strength", usually sexual: look at Jacob's blessing for Reuben: "you are my
firstborn, my might (KoXiY) and the begining of my strength (ONi)".


----- Original Message -----
From: "Stoney Breyer" <stoneyb at touchwood.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 3:39 PM
Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune --

> GFS:It does, however, refer to the south.
> SB: Does it? In light of their consistent characterization mightn't the
> b'nei Yamin be banditti calling themselves something like 'Sons of the
> Strongarm' - and denoting their elite as something like the Masonic
> 'handfast'?

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