Genesis 49:27

27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey, and at evening dividing the spoil."

Genesis 49:27 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 49:27

Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf
All the three Targums apply this prophecy to the priests offering the daily sacrifice, morning and evening, in the temple, which stood in the lot of Benjamin, and dividing what was left, and eating it. But it respects the tribe itself, compared to a wolf for its fortitude, courage, and valour, as well as for its rapaciousness, it being a warlike tribe; and the Jewish writers F17 say, that it is compared to a wolf, because of its strength. Wolves, said to be devoted to Mars, are called "martial" wolves by Virgil F18 and Horace F19; and we have an early instance of the valour and success of this tribe in a war waged with all the other tribes, and in two pitched battles, in one with 26,000 men it beat 400,000, ( Judges 20:15-25 ) , and if this tribe is compared to a wolf for rapaciousness, this may be illustrated by the remainder of those, after the loss of a third battle, catching and carrying away the daughters of Shiloh, and making them their wives, ( Judges 21:23 ) . Some apply this to particular persons of this tribe, as to Saul the first king of Israel, who was of Benjamin; and who as soon as he took the kingdom of Israel, in the morning, in the beginning of that state, fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines, and the Amalekites, ( 1 Samuel 14:47 1 Samuel 14:48 ) and to Mordecai and Esther, who were of the same tribe, who after the captivity, and in the evening of that state, divided the spoil of Haman, ( Esther 8:1 ) this is observed by Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Ben Gersom. Some of the Christian fathers have applied the prophecy to the Apostle Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin; who in the morning of his youth was a fierce and ravenous persecutor, and made havoc of the church of God: and in the evening, or latter part of his life, spent his days in dividing the spoil of Satan among the Gentiles, taking the prey out of his hands, turning men from the power of Satan unto God, and distributed food to the souls of men. In a spiritual sense he was a warlike man, a good soldier of Christ, and accoutred as such, had a warfare to accomplish, and enemies to fight with; and did fight the good fight of faith, conquered, and was more than a conqueror through Christ, and is now crowned: and why may it not be applied to Christ himself, seeing the blessing of Benjamin by Moses, ( Deuteronomy 33:12 ) seems to belong to him? he is God's Benjamin, the son and man of his right hand, as dear to him as his right hand, in whom his power has been displayed, and who is exalted at his right hand; and may as well be compared to a wolf as to a lion, as he is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and as God himself is compared to a lion and bear, ( Hosea 13:7 Hosea 13:8 ) and who is expressly said to divide the spoil with the strong, ( Isaiah 53:12 ) spoiled principalities and powers, delivered his people as a prey out of the hands of the mighty, and will make an utter destruction of all his and their enemies. Some of these things were done in the morning of the Gospel dispensation, and others will be done in the evening of it, ( Colossians 2:15 ) ( Revelation 19:11 Revelation 19:15 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F17 Targum Jon. Aben Ezra & Gersom, in loc.
F18 Virgil. Aeneid. 9.
F19 Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode. 17.

Genesis 49:27 In-Context

25 by the God of your father, who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey, and at evening dividing the spoil."
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, blessing each one of them with a suitable blessing.
29 Then he charged them, saying to them, "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my ancestors—in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite,