Benjamin was the twelfth and last son born to Jacob. Rachel, who had waited patiently for several years to bear children of her own, had recently given birth to Joseph, but was to die giving birth to Benjamin.
Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid, for you have another son." (Genesis 35:16-17)
As she breathed her last she named her son Ben-Oni, meaning "son of my sorrow", but his father renamed him Benjamin, meaning "son of my right hand".
When Benjamin was still a child, Joseph was sold into slavery by his other brothers. Years later, when Joseph became prime minister of Egypt, a famine struck the land and the only place to obtain any food was in Egypt. His older brothers came to him to buy grain and Joseph used Benjamin as a test to see whether the years had softened the hearts of his brothers. When he realized that they had, and that they were willing to risk their lives for their youngest brother, he forgave them and the whole family of Jacob was joyously - and tearfully - reunited.
The tribe of Benjamin - the Benjaminites - was the second smallest of the twelve tribes of Israel. During the march it walked beside Manasseh and Ephraim on the west of the Tabernacle. At the entrance into Canaan it counted 45,600 warriors. After entering the Promised Land, Benjamin received the smallest of the allotments of the Tribal Lands. Their territory was located immediately to the south of Ephraim, measuring about 42 kilometers in length and 20 kilometers in width. Their eastern boundary was the Jordan River, and their major cities included part of Jerusalem.
When the Israelites split into two kingdoms at the start of the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam, the tribe of Benjamin was the only one to remain with Judah. The other ten formed the northern kingdom of Israel, and later disappeared in history as the "Lost Ten Tribes."
Many years after the northern kingdom was conquered, Judah and Benjamin were conquered by the Babylonians, but they did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians. Judah and Benjamin form the Jewish people of today.
This was the prophecy of his father concerning Benjamin.
"Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder." (Genesis 49:27)
King Saul, and Judge Ehud, were descendants of Benjamin, as was Paul and the prophet Jeremiah. After the division of the Kingdom, the land of Benjamin served as a buffer zone between Israel and Judah.