Some things never change. Brothers can fight with each other like cats and dogs, but, in the end, few relationships are as linked or loyal or loving as that between brothers. The relationship between Benjamin and Joseph seems to have been no different.
Benjamin was the younger brother of Joseph, and the son of Jacob and Rachel. Benjamin had 11 brothers in all… and 1 sister; but, only Joseph was his full brother. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. She wanted to name him Ben-Oni (“son of my sorrow”), but Jacob named him Benjamin (“son of my right hand/strength”) instead (Gen. 35:18).
Benjamin grew up with the problems – and privileges – of being the baby of the family. He also lived with the knowledge that his mother died giving him birth.
Benjamin faced more tragedy when his older brother, Joseph, was said to have been killed by a wild animal while in the fields. His 10 older brothers returned home, sheepishly handing Joseph’s blood-soaked “coat of many colors” over to their father. Joseph had actually been sold to slave traders by his older brothers, but Jacob didn’t know that… and, from that point on, Benjamin became his #1 concern.
After Joseph had been sold into slavery by his older brothers… and had risen to a high position in the Egyptian government, Joseph’s older brothers went to Egypt to get food. They did not recognize Joseph when they saw him, but he recognized them. Joseph tested his brothers’ hearts to see how they would respond… and to see if they possibly regretted what they had done to Joseph years before.
Through the process of testing, Benjamin was brought back to Egypt to stand before Joseph… brother to brother. Joseph couldn’t hold back any more; he revealed his true identity to his brothers… and encouraged them to move the family to Egypt where he could care for them all.
The only words or actions recorded by or about Benjamin in the whole Bible is in Gen. 45:14: “Benjamin embraced (Joseph), weeping”.
Joseph cared for all of his family… but especially Benjamin (Gen. 45:22).
Benjamin was the most prolific of Jacob’s 11 sons; fathering at least 10 sons himself. His tribe – the Benjamites – became known as good fighting men… known for being left-handed and having skill with a sling (Judges 20:15,16).
Tragedy in life usually helps us re-assess our priorities… to affirm what’s most important.
It seems Benjamin very much appreciated his family… especially his brother, Joseph.
Take time each day to show your loved ones you love them.
You can read Benjamin’s story in Genesis 35:16—49:28.