There [is] little Benjamin, [with] their ruler
Or who is "their ruler" F25; that is, in the congregations or churches, where he was a ruler; or in the procession, the triumphal progress of Christ in Judea, and in the Gentile world, by the ministry of the word; where the singers and players of instruments, and damsels with timbrels, went in order: for not the tribe of Benjamin is meant, called "little", because Benjamin was Jacob's younger son; or because it was greatly weakened and reduced at Gibeah, ( Judges 20:48 ) ; and was one of the smallest tribes in Israel; and Saul's family, who was the first king of Israel, the least in that tribe, ( 1 Samuel 9:21 ) ; though the Targum interprets it of the tribe; and so Jarchi; but the Apostle Paul is here meant, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, ( Romans 11:1 ) ( Philippians 3:5 ) ; was a young man when he was converted, ( Acts 7:58 ) ; as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions have it here; was "little" in stature, as is generally reported of him, and as his name "Paul" may be thought to signify, and might be given him on that account; see ( 2 Corinthians 10:10 ) ; and was little in his own eyes, less than the least of all saints, and the chief of sinners; one born out of due time, and unworthy to be called an apostle; as well as he was little and contemptible in the eyes of others; yet he was greatly honoured by Christ, had an authority from him, was a "ruler" in his churches; set in the first place there, made an apostle, and was an apostle of the Gentiles, and not a whit behind the very chief of the apostles; and he was a principal in this progress, and therefore is named first: he was a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ, and carry it into the Gentile world; he travelled and laboured more abundantly than the rest, and preached the Gospel fully from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, render it, "there was Benjamin the younger in an ecstasy", or trance, as the Apostle Paul was, ( Acts 9:9 ) ( 22:17 ) ( 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 ) ; but our version is best;
the princes of Judah, [and] their council;
or "company", as Kimchi; their churches, or congregations over which they presided, or were the means of gathering; these were the apostles, some of which were of the tribe of Judah, of which tribe Christ was, and so must be those that are called his brethren, ( Matthew 13:55 ) ( Acts 1:14 ) ; these were "princes", not only in common with other Christians, by adoption and regeneration, but by their office, being apostles, and over others in the Lord; and besides the church at Jerusalem, where James presided, there were other churches in Judea, which had spiritual guides and governors over them; see ( Hebrews 13:7 Hebrews 13:17 ) ; and so the Septuagint version, and those that follow it, render the words, "the princes of Judah, their governors"; and so Aben Ezra interprets them, and observes that "regem", in ( Zechariah 7:2 ) so signifies; to which the sense of R. Menachem in Jarchi agrees, who renders it "their purpled ones"; so Cocceius; but Gussetius F26 renders it "their stoning"; who stoned those that preached the Gospel to them; see ( Matthew 21:35 ) ( 23:37 ) ; or stoned their enemies, conquered them; or "their stone" F1, the Messiah, that sprung from Judah, ( Genesis 49:24 ) ( Psalms 118:22 ) ;
the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali;
the rest of the apostles, who were of Galilee, in which country lay the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali: such as Peter, Andrew, James and John, Philip and Nathaniel, see ( Matthew 4:13-21 ) ( John 1:44-46 ) .
F25 (Mdr) "dominans eos", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "dominator eorum", Musculus: so Tigurine version, Cocceius.
F26 Ebr. Comment. p. 777.
F1 Vid. Teelman. Explic. Parabol. p. 312.