And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Benjamin has ten sons:
(given as grandson)
(given as grandson)
(given as grandson)
(given as grandson)
Thus in Numbers Benjamin has only five sons, but Naaman and Ard are also heads of families, and are described as sons of Bela. In Chronicles Benjamin is first described as having three sons, among whom appears Becher with numerous descendants, though omitted elsewhere, and then as having five sons, one of whom, Nohah, has a name completely different from any of those in the other three documents. And not only is Bela described as the father of Gera, Naaman, Muppim (called Sheplmphan), Huppim (called Huram), and Ard (called Addar): but also of Abihud, Abishua, Ahoah, and another Gera.Deuteronomy 21:15-16. Joseph's two sons are the same in all lists. Of the ten sons of Benjamin only five appear in Numbers Num 26:38-41, Bela and Ashbel being the same, and Ahiram, Shupham, and Hupham, being variants of Ehi, Muppim, and Huppim. In two hundred and fifty years the other five have become extinct. Naaman and Ard seem to have died early, as two sons of Bela, named after them, take their places as heads of families or clans. In Chronicles 1 Chronicles 7:6-12 we have two lists of his descendants which do not seem to be primary, as they do not agree with either of the former lists, or with one another, though some of the names recur. The descendants of Rachel are fourteen - two sons and twelve grandsons.Benjamin being now but twenty and four years old.
were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh,
Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard; in all one hundred and ten. It is a difficulty to account for it, that Benjamin, Jacob's youngest son, often called a lad at this time, and generally supposed to be about twenty three or four years of age, should have so many sons: some think he had more wives than one, which is not likely, since we never read of any of Jacob's sons that had more than one at a time; and others, that his sons were born twins, and so had them in a little time, which is a much better solution of the difficulty: but others are of opinion, that though the greater part of them might be born in Canaan, yet others might be born in Egypt; and being denominated from the greater part, and that being put for the whole, may be reckoned among the descendants into Egypt; and even those that were in Egypt, being born while Jacob was alive, might be said to descend there in his loins; which may be the best of the ways proposed for removing this difficulty: though I should rather think they were all born before the descent into Egypt, the whole narrative seems to require this of them all; for otherwise many more might be, said to descend in the loins of Jacob, or in the loins of his sons, which would greatly increase the number of those said to go down with him, after mentioned: to which it may be added, that Benjamin was at least thirty two years of age, and so may very well be thought to have had these children before he went to Egypt.And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. the sons of Benjamin] The mention of Benjamin’s sons in a list purporting to be a record of those who came with Jacob into Egypt is of course irreconcilable with the narrative. But it illustrates the separate origin of these lists of names (connected with P) from the general narrative preserved by J and E. The difficulty experienced by the ordinary reader was possibly felt in very early times. The LXX gives Benjamin three sons, Bela, Chobor, and Ashbel; six grandsons, sons of Bela, viz. Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim; and one great-grandson, Ard, the son of Gera. If this list was the original form of the genealogy, it may have been modified, in order to get rid of the strange statement, that Benjamin’s grandsons and great-grandsons went down with Jacob into Egypt. Another version is given in Numbers 26:38-40.
Becher] In LXX Χόβωρ. Cf. 2 Samuel 20:1, Sheba, the Bichrite.
Gera] Omitted in Numbers 26. In Jdg 3:15 the “judge” Ehud, the Benjamite, is the son of Gera; and in 2 Samuel 16:5 Shimei, of the family of Saul, the Benjamite, is the son of Gera.
Ehi] In Numbers 26:38, Ahiram, omitting Rosh.
Muppim] In Numbers 26:39, Shephupham; in 1 Chronicles 7:12, Shuppim. Ehi, Rosh, Muppim are probably textual variations of Ahiram and Shephupham.
Ard] = 1 Chronicles 8:3, Addar. In Numbers 26:40 Naaman and Ard are “sons of Bela.”Verse 21. - And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, - "Devouring (Gesenius); the ancient name of Zoar, one of the cities in the Jordan circle (Genesis 14:2) - and Becher, - "a Young Camel" (Gesenius) - and Ashbol, - "Opinion of God" (Gesenius), "Sprout" (Lange), "Short?" (Murphy) - Gera, "a Grain" (Gesenius), "Fighter"? (Lange) - and Naaman, - "Pleasantness" (Gesenius) - Ehi, - "Brotherly" (Lange, Murphy); = Ehud, "Joining together" (Gesenius), 1 Chronicles 8:6; styled Ahiram (Numbers 26:38) - and Rosh, - "Head" (Gesenius) - Muppim, - "Adorned One" (Lange); = Shupham (Numbers 26:38) and Shephupham (1 Chronicles 8:5), "Serpent"? (Gesenius) - and Huppim, - "Coverings" (Gesenius), or Hupham (Numbers 26:39) - and Ard - "Fugitive," "Rover" (Murphy), "Ruler"? (Lange). In Numbers 26:40 Naaman and Ard are given as the sons of Bela, and the grandsons of Benjamin; a plausible explanation of which is that Benjamin's sons died early, and were replaced in the list of heads of families by two of Bela's sons who had been named after them (Keil, Murphy, Inglis, et alii). In the same table of mishpachoth the names of Becher, Gem, and Rosh have been omitted, and that probably for a similar reason - that they died either without issue, or without a number of descendants large enough to form independent families. Genesis 46:27), "all the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt" (הבּאה for בּאה אשׁר, Ges. 109), including the patriarch himself, and Joseph with his two sons, who were born before Jacob's arrival in Egypt. If we reckon these, the house of Jacob consisted of 70 souls; and apart from these, of 66, besides his sons' wives. The sons are arranged according to the four mothers. Of Leah there are given 6 sons, 23 grandsons, 2-great-grandsons (sons of Pharez, whereas Er and Onan, the sons of Judah who died in Canaan, are not reckoned), and 1 daughter, Dinah, who remained unmarried, and was therefore an independent member of the house of Jacob; in all, therefore, 6 + 23 + 2 + 1 equals 32, or with Jacob, 33 souls. Of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, there are mentioned 2 sons, 11 grandsons, 2-great-grandsons, and 1 daughter (who is reckoned like Dinah, both here and Numbers 26:46, for some special reason, which is not particularly described); in all, 2 + 11 + 2 + 1 equals 16 souls. Of Rachel, "Jacob's (favourite) wife," 2 sons and 12 grandsons are named, of whom, according to Numbers 26:40, two were great-grandsons, equals 14 souls; and of Rachel's maid Bilhah, 2 sons and 5 grandsons equals 7 souls. The whole number therefore was 33 + 16 + 14 + 7 equals 70.
(Note: Instead of the number 70 given here, Exodus 1:5, and Deuteronomy 10:22, Stephen speaks of 75 (Acts 7:14), according to the lxx, which has the number 75 both here and Exodus 1:5, on account of the words which follow the names of Manasseh and Ephraim in Genesis 46:20 : ἐγένοντο δὲ οἱοὶ Μανασσῆ, οὓς ἔτεκεν αὐτῷ ἡ παλλακῆ ἡ Σύρα, τοὺ Μαχίρ· Μαχὶρ δὲ ἐγέννησε τὸν Γαλαάδ, υίοὶ δὲ Ἐφραΐ́μ ἀδελφοῦ Μανασσῆ Σουταλαὰμ καὶ Ταάμ. υίοὶ δὲ Σουταλαάμ. Ἐδώμ: and which are interpolated by conjecture from Genesis 1:23, and Numbers 26:29, Numbers 26:35, and Numbers 26:36 (33, 39, and 40), these three grandsons and two great-grandsons of Joseph being reckoned in.)
The wives of Jacob's sons are neither mentioned by name nor reckoned, because the families of Israel were not founded by them, but by their husbands alone. Nor is their parentage given either here or anywhere else. It is merely casually that one of the sons of Simeon is called the son of a Canaanitish woman (Genesis 46:10); from which it may be inferred that it was quite an exceptional thing for the sons of Jacob to take their wives from among the Canaanites, and that as a rule they were chosen from their paternal relations in Mesopotamia; besides whom, there were also their other relations, the families of Ishmael, Keturah, and Edom. Of the "daughters of Jacob" also, and the "daughters of his sons," none are mentioned except Dinah and Serah the daughter of Asher, because they were not the founders of separate houses.
If we look more closely into the list itself, the first thing which strikes us is that Pharez, one of the twin-sons of Judah, who were not born till after the sale of Joseph, should already have had two sons. Supposing that Judah's marriage to the daughter of Shuah the Canaanite occurred, notwithstanding the reasons advanced to the contrary in Genesis 38, before the sale of Joseph, and shortly after the return of Jacob to Canaan, during the time of his sojourn at Shechem (Genesis 33:18), it cannot have taken place more than five, or at the most six, years before Joseph was sold; for Judah was only three years older than Joseph, and was not more than 20 years old, therefore, at the time of his sale. But even then there would not be more than 28 years between Judah's marriage and Jacob's removal to Egypt; so that Pharez would only be about 11 years old, since he could not have been born till about 17 years after Judah's marriage, and at that age he could not have had two sons. Judah, again, could not have taken four sons with him into Egypt, since he had at the most only two sons a year before their removal (Genesis 42:37); unless indeed we adopt the extremely improbable hypothesis, that two other sons were born within the space of 11 or 12 months, either as twins, or one after the other. Still less could Benjamin, who was only 23 or 24 years old at the time (vid., pp. 200f. and 204f.), have had 10 sons already, or, as Numbers 26:38-40 shows, eight sons and two grandsons. From all this it necessarily follows, that in the list before us grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob are named who were born afterwards in Egypt, and who, therefore, according to a view which we frequently meet with in the Old Testament, though strange to our modes of thought, came into Egypt in lumbis patrum. That the list is really intended to be so understood, is undoubtedly evident from a comparison of the "sons of Israel" (Genesis 46:8), whose names it gives, with the description given in Numbers 26 of the whole community of the sons of Israel according to their fathers' houses, or their tribes and families. In the account of the families of Israel at the time of Moses, which is given there, we find, with slight deviations, all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob whose names occur in this chapter, mentioned as the founders of the families, into which the twelve tribes of Israel were subdivided in Moses' days. The deviations are partly in form, partly in substance. To the former belong the differences in particular names, which are sometimes only different forms of the same name; e.g., Jemuel and Zohar (Genesis 46:10), for Nemuel and Zerah (Numbers 26:12-13); Ziphion and Arodi (Genesis 46:16), for Zephon and Arod (Numbers 26:15 and Numbers 26:17); Huppim (Genesis 46:21) for Hupham (Numbers 26:39); Ehi (Genesis 46:21), an abbreviation of Ahiram (Numbers 26:38); sometimes different names of the same person; viz., Ezbon (Genesis 46:16) and Ozni (Numbers 26:16); Muppim (Genesis 46:21) and Shupham (Numbers 26:39); Hushim (Genesis 46:23) and Shuham (Numbers 26:42). Among the differences in substance, the first to be noticed is the fact, that in Numbers 26 Simeon's son Ohad, Asher's son Ishuah, and three of Benjamin's sons, Becher, Gera, and Rosh, are missing from the founders of families, probably for no other reason than that they either died childless, or did not leave a sufficient number of children to form independent families. With the exception of these, according to Numbers 26, all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob mentioned in this chapter were founders of families in existence in Moses' time. From this it is obvious that our list is intended to contain, not merely the sons and grandsons of Jacob, who were already born when he went down to Egypt, but in addition to the sons, who were the heads of the twelve tribes of the nation, all the grandsons and great-grandsons who became the founders of mishpachoth, i.e., of independent families, and who on that account took the place or were advanced into the position of the grandsons of Jacob, so far as the national organization was concerned.
On no other hypothesis can we explain the fact, that in the time of Moses there was not one of the twelve tribes, except the double tribe of Joseph, in which there were families existing, that had descended from either grandsons or great-grandsons of Jacob who are not already mentioned in this list. As it is quite inconceivable that no more sons should have been born to Jacob's sons after their removal into Egypt, so is it equally inconceivable, that all the sons born in Egypt either died childless, or founded no families. The rule by which the nation descending from the sons of Jacob was divided into tribes and families (mishpachoth) according to the order of birth was this, that as the twelve sons founded the twelve tribes, so their sons, i.e., Jacob's grandsons, were the founders of the families into which the tribes were subdivided, unless these grandsons died without leaving children, or did not leave a sufficient number of male descendants to form independent families, or the natural rule for the formation of tribes and families was set aside by other events or causes. On this hypothesis we can also explain the other real differences between this list and Numbers 26; viz., the fact that, according to Numbers 26:40, two of the sons of Benjamin mentioned in Genesis 46:21, Naaman and Ard, were his grandsons, sons of Belah; and also the circumstance, that in Genesis 46:20 only the two sons of Joseph, who were already born when Jacob arrived in Egypt, are mentioned, viz., Manasseh and Ephraim, and none of the sons who were born to him afterwards (Genesis 48:6). The two grandsons of Benjamin could be reckoned among his sons in our list, because they founded independent families just like the sons. And of the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim alone could be admitted into our list, because they were elevated above the sons born to Joseph afterwards, by the fact that shortly before Jacob's death he adopted them as his own sons and thus raised them to the rank of heads of tribes; so that wherever Joseph's descendants are reckoned as one tribe (e.g., Joshua 16:1, Joshua 16:4), Manasseh and Ephraim form the main divisions, or leading families of the tribe of Joseph, the subdivisions of which were founded partly by their brothers who were born afterwards, and partly by their sons and grandsons. Consequently the omission of the sons born afterwards, and the grandsons of Joseph, from whom the families of the two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, who were elevated into tribes, descended, forms only an apparent and not a real exception to the general rule, that this list mentions all the grandsons of Jacob who founded the families of the twelve tribes, without regard to the question whether they were born before or after the removal of Jacob's house to Egypt, since this distinction was of no importance to the main purpose of our list. That this was the design of our list, is still further confirmed by a comparison of Exodus 1:5 and Deuteronomy 10:22, where the seventy souls of the house of Jacob which went into Egypt are said to constitute the seed which, under the blessing of the Lord, had grown into the numerous people that Moses led out of Egypt, to take possession of the land of promise. From this point of view it was a natural thing to describe the seed of the nation, which grew up in tribes and families, in such a way as to give the germs and roots of all the tribes and families of the whole nation; i.e., not merely the grandsons who were born before the migration, but also the grandsons and great-grandsons who were born in Egypt, and became founders of independent families. By thus embracing all the founders of tribes and families, the significant number 70 was obtained, in which the number 7 (formed of the divine number 3, and the world number 4, as the seal of the covenant relation between God and Israel) is multiplied by the number 10, as the seal of completeness, so as to express the fact that these 70 souls comprehended the whole of the nation of God.
(Note: This was the manner in which the earlier theologians solved the actual difficulties connected with our list; and this solution has been adopted and defended against the objections offered to it by Hengstenberg (Dissertations) and Kurtz (History of the Old Covenant).)
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