The Tribe of Benjamin: King Saul, Paul of Tarsus, And Future Role
The Tribe Of Benjamin has a significance that has yet to be appreciated. Recalling that he is the only son of Israel born in Eretz Israel, and that his birth resulted in the death of Rachel, his mother, and the mother of Joseph, one expects some unique role to be played by the Tribe that bears his name. Benjamin was threatened with slavery in Egypt as a test of the bothers’ repentance. Judah was willing to sacrifice his freedom for the lad’s. Yeshua the Moshiah is from Judah. So Benjamin must have significance. Here was foreshadowing of the willing sacrifice of Yeshua for all of Lost Israel, but somehow uniquely also for lost Benjamin.
Brother Paul, Saul of Tarsus, was indeed a Benjaminite. King Saul the Benjaminite did not honor the Kingship of Israel, “Is it a little thing to have the King Of Israel as father-in-law?” asked David, when Saul’s courtiers approached him with this offer. (I Sam.18: 23).
Saul had made several poor decisions as King Of Israel. None would have been detrimental in themselves, but for the fact that they were done through his office of King.
Samuel anointed Saul at the behest of The Lord. In I Samuel 10:6-8: “The spirit of YHVH will pass over you and you will prophecy with them and you will be transformed into another person. After these signs come upon you, do for yourself (to prepare for Kingship) as best you can, for Elohim is with you. Then you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; BEHOLD, I will go down with you to offer burnt offerings, to sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and I will inform you what you are to do.” But, skip to I Samuel 13:8-15:
8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘now, the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the YHVH’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the YHVH’s command.”
15 Then Samuel left Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred. (See below for symmetry.)
So though Saul asks David later on if having the King of Israel as father-in-law is no small thing, the question ought be: should being the King Of Israel count as no small thing?
Paul of Tarsus was perhaps getting antsy about the lateness of Yeshua’s return. His epistles, upon which much of Christian theology is based, are themselves letters of encouragement to keep watchful and patient. Yet, there is already a sense of preparing for a long, or even a very long wait. Paul has taken it upon himself to shape a religion that can withstand a prolonged period of waiting for The Return of Messiah. Clearly to maintain a religion for generations he needed to make it marketable. This religion had to propagate through geography as well as time. To propagate through geography required the conversion of adults. Adult circumcision is not a practice with much appeal! Paul, (like Saul) thought he had to take matters into his own hands for the good of the Church or Israel.
Like ”Saint” Paul, Saul, could not overcome the temptation of compromising the word of the Lord, for “commonsense”. Saul first of all, did not await the instructions of the prophet by whose anointment he was made king. “Commonsense” told him that Samuels’s delaying would result in the loss of the battle. So he took it upon himself, to bravely set out to do battle. As an individual, or as a Judge this would be heroic, but not in a King Of Israel! And when the battle was won, despite the command to leave none alive, not even the livestock, because Amalek had attacked Israel whilst in the Wilderness, King Agag and the best of the livestock were alive. When Samuel arrived just before the end of the seven-day period to find the battle already fought and the best of the flocks and herds alive, in contradiction to his orders, which were from YHVH, he became angry with Saul.
Was Saul too merciful toward King Agag, or, was he awaiting Samuel’s word? Or after the fact of the battle, did he wish to have a client king in his power, (commonsense)? Did he preserve the best of the livestock in order to make a sacrifice of victory to YHVH or was it against commonsense to “waste” the best of livestock?
Saul destroyed his own Kingship. But, I suspect he was zealous in his desire to pass it to his son Jonathan. Jonathan however was zealous for David! And Samuel finally found the One who would be the true King of Israel, that same David.
Paul, like Saul was a righteous well-meaning soul, but was not great enough for his role, as Apostle to the Gentiles. Both in the ultimate analysis sought to soften and “rationalize” the Word of God. Saul, allowing Agag to live, was like Paul, allowing Sunday and the Pagan Culture of the Hellenistic World to live, to become absorbed into a new thing called “Christianity”.
BUT in humility, we must recognize that nevertheless, Saul indeed had been King of Israel, and Paul indeed had made it possible for Christianity to become global. The Globalization of Christianity allowed The Word Of God to be available to all, and for the few with ears to hear it; it contains the path past Saul to David, and Solomon. Yeshua is ben David. As the son of Mary Yeshua was human, and allowed himself to be vulnerable. Solomon built The Temple and is a type for Messiah’s return, in Power and Glory. Jews all over the world recite without understanding the Blessing For Davidic Reign. “The offspring (seed in Hebrew) of your servant David, may you speedily cause to flourish (to sprout in Heb.), and enhance his pride through your Salvation, for we hope for your salvation all day long. Blessed are You, Adenoi (YHVH in Heb.), Who causes the Pride (or Glory in Heb.) of Your Salvation to flourish.”
“Baruch ata YHVH matzmiach keren Yeshua.” “Yeshua” means Salvation!
More on Benjamin:
In Rabbinic and Talmudic Literature the ramifications of King Saul’s sparing of Agag overnight, was that Mrs. Agag was allowed to sleep with him. She conceived. And many, many, many generations later his descendant, Hamen, lobbied the King of Persia to allow for the total genocide of the Jews. The King was confident that the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah had passed without any incident, thus nullifying any lingering fear of YHVH. The Book Of Esther begins with a great party the King is throwing, with a description of the cloths and textiles, and golden utensils that point to those looted from Solomon’s Temple. Through a series of events Mordechai also of Benjamin, has his niece Esther as one of The Kings concubines. Together Esther and Mordechai turn the tables on Hamen and he is hanged upon the gallows he had built for Mordechai. The King reverses the plot and allows the Jews all over his empire, to arm themselves and attack their would be attackers. This is commemorated in the post-Torah holiday of Purim.
Jacob had given Joseph the special Tunic, which seemed to be part of what antagonized his other brothers. Joseph gave his full brother Benjamin many suits of clothes more than he gave his other brothers from the other mothers. Jonathan, Saul’s son, a Benjaminite placed his own shield, sword and armor on David, thus sealing the fact that Judah the Royal Lineage, would be God’s apparent Hand within Israel, as Israel would be God’s Hand in the World. But, the worldly power was still to be exercised by Joseph and his sons. But the source of this power was to be kept secret from the World and even from its self!
Rachel’s son Benjamin is indeed like the Church of St. Paul. Or, more exactly, it will become the Tribe in which those who come out of her will come out into! Those who remain will be like the Benjaminites who refused to surrender the rapists and killers of the Concubine from Bethlehem. Raping and killing of a concubine, bride, from Bethlehem: is this not a chilling description of the Hellenization and Paganization of the Israelite Messiah? This story is found in Judges 19.
A Levite from Mount Ephraim took as wife a concubine from Bethlehem. She ran home to her father’s house. Her husband pursued after a period of four months. He rode forth with his attendant (un-named; Ruach HaKodesh?) and with a pair of donkeys. (The Donkeys sound like an echo of Saul’s going forth from his father’s house with his attendant in search of two lost donkeys! It was on this trip that Samuel noted him, and anointed him King.) He goes to cajole her and not to coerce her. After three days (three days of Jonah, three days of David hiding in the hole for to avoid Saul, three days of Yeshua in the grave: etc etc. etc.) she agrees to return with him. On the way home they stayed the night in Gibeah, a Benjaminite city, the home of Saul.
In a replay of Lot, and the angels in Sodom, the people of the town go full out Zombie. The man who took them in tried to offer the zombie mob his own virgin daughter, like Lot. But this time, to no avail. The Zombies rape and kill the Concubine from Bethlehem. Her husband cuts her corpse into 12 pieces and sends them to all the tribes and demands vengeance.
All the people of Israel went out and assembled as one. But for some reason the other Benjaminites decide to defend their fellow tribesmen of Gibeah, despite their hideous crime. The rest of Israel proscribes the entire house of Benjamin. After a back and forth series of battles, finally Benjamin is defeated. All but six hundred men of Benjamin were killed. (Note that the same number of men was left with Saul!) These survivors were the ones who fled to the Rock Of Rimmon where they stayed for four months! (Recall that the concubine had fled home to her father for four months, and that precipitated this entire tale!)
Judges: 21:1 “The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah, saying, ‘None of us will give his daughter as a wife to Benjamin’”. But as tempers cooled they “wept in loud lament. They said, ‘Why Oh YHVH, Elohim of Israel, has this happened in Israel, that one tribe of Israel should be missing from Israel today?’” (Judges 21:2-3). In order to save Benjamin from extinction the six hundred surviving men needed wives. But all the tribes had sworn not to allow their daughters to wed them.
They determined that despite commanding all of Israel to muster, Jabesh-Gilead did not. That was grounds for war. Jabesh Gilead was destroyed but for the four hundred virgins identified and saved. That left two hundred Benjamin men without wives. They then recalled the annual holiday at Shiloh. Judges 21:21 “And see and behold if the daughters of Shiloh go out to perform the dances, you shall emerge from the vineyards and each of you grab his wife from the daughters’ of Shiloh, and go to the Land Of Benjamin”. If their fathers or brothers complain, don’t worry, we will tell them to allow it for the sake of Israel.
In re: to the House Of Benjamin, King Saul and Saint Paul, it seems as if their role has been one of being added to and being taken from. King Saul was given his crown and lost it. Joseph gave Benjamin suits of cloths, but Jonathan the Benjaminite gave his clothes to David of the House Of Judah. The tribe of Benjamin was decimated, but then was given special allowance to take Israelite wives and thus remain or return to Israel! Saint Paul “opened” the gates of Israel to gentiles, and gave them the opportunity to see the Word. Some remnant has taken that golden opportunity of having the Word offered and saw beyond the offerer. Those who have, sought to marry into Israel with all their heart and soul, and did not sit on the Rock Of Rimmon calling it “Spiritual Israel”. No, they came down and were married.
Just what was this Holy Day to YHVH that was celebrated by virgins dancing in the fields of Shiloh? Judges 11 tells of another strange occurrence. Gilead, a heroic Judge had a wife and many sons. He also had a son from a “strange” woman. The prudish translators ignore the word “Zonah”, or Harlot, and translate it as “strange”. This son, Jephthah was a mighty man of valor. His brothers scorned him as illegitimate and denied him an inheritance. But when the Ammonites made war, a mighty man was good to have. He let them make him their chief, or Judge, on condition that he will remain so when his services are no longer needed. A complicated history is recounted that seems like it could be from today’s Middle East Report.
When Israel was in the Wilderness, they were refused transit by Edom and Moab. They had to swing further east into modern Jordan. They came to Arnon, which was once controlled by Ammonites, but had been conquered by Amorites. Israel was forbidden from attacking Edom, Moab and Ammon as these were descended from Esau, and Lot respectively, but not from attacking Amorites. They defeated King Sihon and the Amorites.
Now hundreds of years later, the Ammonites claim that the territory that Israel conquered from Amorites originally was Ammonite. And they demanded its return. Is this not like the parade of Empires that conquered Eretz Israel over the millennia? How dare one who lost the land to another complain when a third party takes it in return! Jephthah asks them, why did you not attempt to regain the lands in the last three hundred years, but only now? Like Hamas and Hezbollah; where were they when “the West bank” and Gaza were ruled from Istanbul, or from London, or from Amman (Ha!) or from Cairo?
Jephthah wiped the floor with them, and routed their armies. He vowed to YHVH that if victory were granted him, he would make an offering of the first thing that he sees leaving his house when he returns. Returning in victory to his home he sees his only child, his daughter, coming out with drums and dancing. He ripped his clothes in mourning. But the girl said “You have opened your mouth to YHVH—do to me according to what has come out of your mouth, since YHVH has wreaked for you against your enemies, the Children of Ammon”. But “Let this thing be done for me: Let me be for two months and I shall go wail upon the mountains and weep over my virginity, I and my friends.” (I choose to believe that the girl’s sacrifice was of marriage and bearing children, rather than actual human sacrifice. That perhaps the holiday of the virgins prancing in the hills is related to Jephthah’s daughter supports the idea that remaining virginal was her sacrifice.)
So, the dancing virgins of Shiloh may likely be the celebrating of the Tradition of the Daughter of Jephthah of Gilead. Gilead was of Manasseh the brother tribe of Ephraim, both of Joseph! So Benjamin after its massacre is revitalized by marriages with virgins of Joseph’s lineage. And Joseph’s mother, Rachel, is also Benjamin’s mother!
If Joseph’s great power prophesied by Jacob and Moses was made manifest through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh; and further as many believe only the USA and The British Empire fulfill the description; then who or where is Benjamin? Recall that both Joseph and Benjamin are sons of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite, and representative of worldly beauty and power (as opposed to Leah, Jacob’s first wife, through trickery; Leah and her sons represent the spiritual power and beauty of Israel.) The tribal territory of Benjamin included part of Jerusalem. In order to honor David, when the Kingdom was ripped out of the hand of Solomon’s son Rehoboam, Benjamin was left to the Southern Kingdom. Thus, the Southern Kingdom being predominantly made of Judah and Benjamin and later forged into The Jewish People by their experience in Babylon, contained Leah and Rachel, a microcosm or fractal of the United Kingdom. Benjamin currently is hidden, subsumed within the Jewish People. But, The Book Of Revelations states there will be Twelve Gates in New Jerusalem. Who will pass through the gate labeled “Benjamin”? Given that Paul was a Benjaminite, clearly they are present in Christianity and Judaism. In both cases however they have lost the knowledge of their own identity. Perhaps many Messianic Jews, and the ]emerging Torah Observant Believers in Yeshua who are leaving the Sunday-Church are of Benjamin? In addition Benjamin will consist of those gentiles living amongst Joseph (the English Speaking world) who have been engrafted into Israel. Currently lost by false doctrines of Saul/Paul, they will be reclaimed by Grace; the Grace symbolized in the giving of the virgins of Gilead. And when? Shiloh! Shiloh is alternatively translated as The End of Days as well as a place. As written in Daniel, “until Shiloh” is a Time.
Just as Judah was willing to sacrifice his freedom for Benjamin, so too Yeshua the son of David, of the House of Judah sacrificed his life to invite all the World into the House Of Israel. To be an Israelite one must be in a tribe. Benjamin is the empty vessel awaiting those from the nations who seek Yeshua of Israel and gain Israel of Yeshua.
A comparison of King Saul with Paul of Tarsus:
Paul’s letter to Galatians as we know gives his views on Circumcision. What we need is to determine whether or not Paul’s Theology is eternal, or has served its purpose?
Is there no meaning to the fact that both Saul (Paul) of Tarsus and King Saul were Benjaminites? King Saul was necessary but not sufficient. Samuel identified him as YHVH instructed him to do. So, did YHVH err in selecting Saul to be King? Especially since both Jacob and Moses said that Yehuda would hold the scepter and throne of Israel, not Benjamin? YHVH does not err, not in Eden and not then with Samuel and not with Saul, and not with Paul on the road to Damascus.
King Saul’s role perhaps was to destroy the power of Amalek and make the conditions favorable for David. At every possible point in time, it is possible to take the leap of faith. However, it is only from certain places that the leap may conceivably be taken from. An Aztec living before the arrival of Cortez would have had no opportunity to make the individual choice to choose Yeshua and Israel. In every generation there must be a platform from which to take that leap.
The platform must be one that maintains the integrity of the Scriptures. The Roman Catholic Church served a necessary role as transmitter of the Scriptures from the demise of The Classic Roman Empire to the threshold of the Modern and the printing press. But even while the RCC was preserving the word, it was NOT the Kingdom of the Word. It served as a Platform from which those who had a mind to seek could seek and those who had a heart to knock could knock and enter into relationship with Yeshua and Israel. Back to King Saul, he initiated and maintained the Platform of an Israelite Kingdom but is was necessary for individuals to recognize David as the Rightful King. Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir placed his own armor and shield upon David.
Paul of Tarsus was necessary for his Theology that made it feasible for the multitudes to become Christians. BUT becoming a Christian was a PLATFORM. It was necessary but not sufficient. “The Church” with its Collective Salvation for those who punch all the tickets of the sacraments, allowed the spread of Churchianity to the entire world. This allowed all the world access to the Platform where each can make an individual leap of faith! Paul himself said he was apostle to the gentiles. But he also claims that the gentiles are engrafted into Israel via Yeshua. Therefore the instant someone is converted by Pauline Doctrine is the instant when he is no longer the Apostle to that individual! Every individual must choose for himself whether to follow Saul or David.
I am just working this out, but I think I am getting the hair-on -end feeling I get when I open a new door of thought.