[b-hebrew] Fw: Re: Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Sep 29 16:50:00 EDT 2011

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III:
Thank you for posting those very interesting comments by Dr. Claude 
Mariottini regarding the left-handedness of Benjamin.  It is fascinating that YMYN 
at one point may have signified “west”, not “south” as usually supposed:  “
The inhabitants of the Holy Land had the sea (yam) on the right, hence 

that side jamin, literally, “sea-side”; and the highlands of Aram on the 

hence semol, “the left.”  Different nations derived their expressions for 

and left from conceptions peculiar to themselves.”  If BN-YMYN on one level 
means “Son of the West”, that would actually make geographical sense, as 
Jacob’s other 11 sons are definitely born in the “east”.
But I must disagree with the following assertion that you quoted from that 
article:  “It was by a euphemism that the name of Jacob’s son was 
Ben-jamin. Among the Greeks also the “left” was euphemistically called εὐὠνυμος, 
good-omened, because it was wished to avoid the ominous ὰριστερός [“
left”].  A similar custom must have obtained in Israel, since just in the 
tribe of Benjamin there were, as we are informed (Judg. 20:16), large numbers of 
men who,like Ehud, were  i. e. left-handed….”
The Patriarchal narratives are older than the rest of the Bible.  The early 
Hebrew author of the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives had no idea what 
characteristics a future tribe of Benjamin might have.  He had no idea that 
such tribe might end up having more lefthanders than other tribes.
BN-YMYN is  n-o-t  a “euphemism”!  No way.  In looking at Rachel’s newborn 
son, Jacob knew that (i) Joseph, who was Rachel’s firstborn son and had 
been heavily favored by Jacob with a ‘coat of many colors’, had vanished a 
month or so ago, and was presumed by Jacob to be dead, and (ii) Rachel herself 
had just now died in childbirth.  Jacob’s plan at that point was to honor 
both Joseph and Rachel by choosing Joseph’s only full-brother, being Rachel’s 
apparently only living son, to be Jacob’s heir-apparent, the “Son of my 
Right Hand”:  BN-YMYN.  Genesis 48: 14, 17, 18 makes clear that if Jacob puts 
his “right hand”/YMYN on the head of one “son”/BN of Joseph, then that son 
[Ephraim] will have a finer inheritance than Joseph’s firstborn son.  
Similarly, at the time of Benjamin’s birth, and for the next 15 years [until all 
the Hebrews moved to Egypt], Jacob heavily favored Benjamin, just as Jacob 
for the preceding 10 years had heavily favored Joseph.  Thus we see Jacob 
holding back Benjamin, his favored son, in sending all 10 of his oldest sons to 
Egypt to buy food for the starving Hebrews in Canaan.
For 15 long years Rachel’s second-born son was Jacob’s heir-apparent, 
being Jacob’s favorite son [in Joseph’s absence], and as far as Jacob knew 
being the only living son of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel.  As such, from the 
moment of Benjamin’s birth [about a month after Joseph’s disappearance], and 
for 15 years thereafter, Jacob was planning to name Benjamin as Jacob’s 
successor, to be the leader of the next generation of Hebrews.  So for 15 years 
Benjamin was Jacob’s heir-apparent and was indeed BN-YMYN, “Son of my Right 
Hand”.  That name is not a euphemism.
E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g  about this sequence makes perfect sense if and only if 
chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback, which takes us back to the time 
period shortly before the bloody Shechem incident and Benjamin’s birth.  All of 
the “contradictions” that Prof. Yigal Levin’s article deftly identifies in 
chapter 37 of Genesis disappear entirely, once it is realized that chapter 37 
of Genesis has been deliberately told out of normal chronological order.  
You comment:  “Your calendrical analysis was years (?) ago shown to be very 
faulty.”  Au contraire.  Once we realize that Joseph is a “boy”/nar per 
Genesis 37: 2, who has witnessed 17 fall and spring New Years, being age 8½ in 
12-month years, we can see that chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback.  
Benjamin is born in Year 13 tenfold, 130 years [in 12-month years] after Abraham’
s birth, with Benjamin’s birth being reported in chapter 35 of Genesis.  
Joseph was born in Year 120, so Genesis 37: 2 is referring to Year 128.5 [120 
+ 8½ = 128.5], being a flashback.  Periods of years out east in 
Naharim/Mitanni/Harran, where there was only one major New Year [the spring New Year] 
every 12 months, are set forth in terms of 12-month years [for example the 
period of 7 years in which Leah gives birth to 7 children with no twins].  So 
we know that Jacob’s family returns to Canaan in the 7th year after Joseph’s 
birth, which is Year 127.  Jacob initially settles at Succoth, so the 
bloody Shechem incident cannot occur until several years [3 years] after Jacob 
gets back to Canaan.  [Benjamin is born in Year 130.]   
Mathematical proof that Joseph was born in Year 120 is that Joseph is twice 
said to die at stated age 110, which is age 55 in 12-month years, meaning 
that Joseph dies in Year 175.  [120 + 55 =175.]  That means that Abraham dies 
at exactly the half-way point of the Patriarchal narratives, dying at 
stated age 17½ tenfold, at stated age 175, which is age 87½ in 12-month years, 
being Year 87.5.  Judah is born 2½ years in [12-month years] before Joseph is 
born in Year 120, which is Year 117.5, with the accent on 17½.  And Terakh 
dies 17½ years [in 12-month years] after the fulfillment of the Covenant with 
Isaac’s birth, with Isaac being born when Abraham is stated age 100, 
Abraham being age 50 in 12-month years at Isaac’s birth, in Year 50.  [Terakh was 
stated age 70, being age 35 in 12-month years, at Abram’s birth.  So when 
Terakh dies at stated age 205, being age 102½ in 12-month years, that is Year 
67.5:  102½ - 35 = 67½.  67.5 – 50 = 17½.]  
See how every age in the Patriarchal narratives makes perfect sense on all 
levels, once we recognize that (i) Joseph was born in Year 120, (ii) 
Benjamin was born in Year 130 [in chapter 35 of Genesis, being Year 13 tenfold;  
historically the ruler of Shechem was assassinated in Year 13], and (iii) 
chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback, initially to Year 128.5 when Joseph is 
stated age 17, being age 8½ in 12-month years [which is 1½ 12-month years after 
Jacob returned to Canaan in Year 127].  Then Joseph has that later dream of 
11 stars bowing down to him at age 9½ in 12-month years [which is the 
equivalent of being stated age 19], in Year 129.5, on the eve of the bloody 
Shechem incident [and shortly before Benjamin’s birth], which occurs in Year 130 
[Year 13 tenfold].    
I respectfully disagree with the assertion that Benjamin’s name is a “
euphemism”.  Not.  And there are no “contradictions” in chapters 37 and 35 of 
Genesis.  None.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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