Genesis 35:18
And with her last breath--for she was dying--she named him Ben-oni. But his father called him Benjamin.
The Marks of a Ben-OniH. Newton, D. D.Genesis 35:18
LessonsG. Hughes, B. DGenesis 35:16-20
Rachel's DeathA. Fuller.Genesis 35:16-20
The Death of RachelT. H. Leale.Genesis 35:16-20
Family RecordsR.A. Redford Genesis 35:16-29

Genesis 35:16-29
Genesis 35:16-29. These family records mingle well with the story of God's grace. The mothers "Ben-oni is the father's Benjamin." Out of the pain and the bereavement sometimes comes the consolation. A strange blending of joy and sorrow is the tale of human love. But there is a higher love which may draw out the pure stream of peace and calm delight from that impure fountain. Jacob and Esau were separated in their lives, but they met at their father's grave. Death is a terrible divider, but a uniter too. Under the shadow of the great mystery, on the borders of an eternal world, in the presence of those tears which human eyes weep for the dead, even when they can weep no other tears, the evil things of envy, hatred, revenge, alienation do often hide themselves, and the better things of love, lessee, brotherhood, amity come forth. Jacob was with Isaac when he died, and Esau came to the grave. - R.

These words were spoken of Rachel, Jacob's wife. Her youngest child had just been born: she was very sick, and was going to die. The little child was lying by her. She called to see it; she kissed it, and called his name Ben-oni. Ben-oni means, "the son of my sorrow." This child was about to occasion the death of his mother, and therefore she gave him this name. She was sorry to leave her husband, her family, and her friends; and this feeling of sorrow led her to call his name Ben-oni. "But his father called him Benjamin." Benjamin means, "the son of a right hand." Our right hand is a great comfort and blessing to us. What could we do without a right hand? Now, every child that is born into this world will be either a Ben-oni or a Benjamin. There is not much difference between these two names, but there is a great deal of difference between the natures which they represent. Now, the great question for us to consider is, What are the marks of a Ben-oni or of a Benjamin? We shall mention four things which may always be considered as the marks of a Ben-oni; and the opposite of these, of course, will be the marks of a Benjamin.

I. The first mark of a Ben-oui — "a child of sorrow" — is ILL-TEMPER. Suppose you had to walk four or five miles with a pebble in your shoe; or suppose you had to wear a coat or dress with a pin sticking in it; or suppose you had to lie all night in bed with a porcupine by your side, sticking you with his sharp-pointed quills — what an uncomfortable thing it would be! But none of these things are so uncomfortable as to be connected with an ill-temper. All peevish, cross, ill-natured children are Ben-onies — children of sorrow to their parents and the families where they dwell. There was a rich nobleman in England who had a little daughter named Anne. They were very fond of her; for she was a fine little creature, very lively, and merry, and affectionate, and exceedingly beautiful. But she had a very ill temper. When anything vexed her she would fly into a rage, and turn and strike any one that provoked her. After every fit of anger she would be ashamed and sorry, and resolve never to do so again. But the next time she was provoked it was all forgotten, and she was as angry as ever. When she was between four and five years of age, her mother had a little son, a sweet little tender baby. Anne's nurse, who was thoughtless and wicked, loved to tease her, because she was so easily irritated, and so she told her that her father and mother would not care for her now, because all their love and pleasure would be in this little brother, and they would not mind her. Poor Anne burst into a flood of tears, and cried bitterly, saying, "You are a naughty woman to say so! Mamma will always love me; I know she will, and I'll go this very moment and ask her." And she ran out of the nursery and hastened to her mother's room. The servant called after her: "Come, miss, you needn't go to your mother's room; she won't see you now." Anne burst open the door, but was instantly caught hold of by a strange woman she had never seen before. "My dear," said this woman, "you cannot see your mother just now"; and she was going on to tell that it was because she was very sick, and could not be disturbed. But she was too angry to listen; and she screamed and kicked at the woman, who was obliged to take her by force and carry her back to the nursery. When she put her down she gave the servant a charge not to let her go to her mother's room. This added to her rage. But the thoughtless, wicked servant, instead of trying to soothe and quiet her, burst out into a laugh, and said, "I told you that, miss. You see your mamma does not love you now." Then the poor child became mad with fury. She seized a smoothing-iron, and, darting forward, threw it upon the baby's head as it lay in the cradle. The child gave one struggle, and breathed no more. Anne's mother died that night of grief, Anne grew up in the possession of great riches. She had every outward comfort about her that money could procure; but she was a very unhappy and miserable woman. She was never known to smile. The thought of the terrible consequences of that one outburst of passion pressed upon her like a heavy burden all her days. Ah! what a Ben-oni this girl became! She was a child of sorrow to her parents. Her ill-temper made her so. If you give way to such tempers, my dear young friends, you will certainly be Ben-onies; but if you strive and pray against such feelings, and try to be gentle, kind, and pleasant to those around you, then you will be Benjamins — children of the right hand to your parenta. See, now, how differently such children will act. A gentleman was walking on the Battery, in the city of New York, one day, and, as he passed a little girl who was cheerfully rolling her hoop, he said to her, "You are a nice little girl"; to which she replied, patting her little brother on the head, "And Bobble is a nice little brother too." Here was a good-temper, which would make this dear child " a child of the right hand" to her parents, and cause her to be loved by all who were about her.

II. The second mark of a Ben-oni is IDLENESS. Idle children love to lie in bed in the morning; they love to do nothing all day, if they can help it, but play. It is a great trouble to get them to study, to read, or to work. Now, idle children always make idle men; for the habits which children form while they are children will surely remain with them when they grow up to be men and women. Now, we are to remember, dear children, that God is busy at all times, and almost everything that God has made is busy. Look at the sun; it is always at work, shining and shining and shining from one Fear's end to the other. In the daytime it is shining in our part of the world, and when it is night to us it is shining in the opposite part of the world. And so it is with the moon — always shining in one part of the world or the other. So it is with the sea; its waves are rising, and falling, and rolling, and flowing continually. So it is with the rivers; they are continually running, from the fountains where they spring, on, on to the ocean. And so it is with the little birds, and little fishes, and the bees, and the ants — none of these are idle. A gentleman in England had an estate which was worth over two hundred pounds a year. For a while he kept his farm in his own hands, but at length found himself so much in debt that he was obliged to sell one-half of his place to pay up. The rest he let out to a farmer for several years. Towards the end of that time, the farmer, on coming to pay his rent, asked him whether he would sell his farm. The gentleman was surprised that the farmer should be able to make him an offer for his place. "Pray, tell me," said he, "how it happens that, while I could not live upon twice as much land, for which I paid no rent, you are regularly paying me about one hundred pounds a year for the farm, and able in a few years to purchase it?" "The reason is plain," answered the farmer; "it lies in the difference between 'go' and 'come.'" "I do not understand you," said the gentleman. "I mean," said the farmer, "that you sat still and said, 'Go'; I get up and say 'Come.' You lie in bed, and enjoy your ease; I rise early in the morning, and attend to my business." In other words, this was an industrious man; there was no love of idleness about him, and this led to his success in life.

III. The third mark of a Ben-oni is PRIDE. Some children are proud of their clothes. This is very silly indeed; for the butterflies have much more beautiful clothes than we, and yet they are never proud of their dress. Some children are proud of their families. This also is very silly, for we have all sprung at first from one father. Some children are proud about their houses. This, too, is very silly, for, by-and-by, they will all crumble into the dust, from which they have been taken, while the grave is the one house to which we must all come at last. Proud children feel and think themselves better than others, and are often unwilling to engage in honest and honourable employments. Listen to what I am going to tell you. Chief-Justice Marshall was a great man; but great men are never proud. He was not too proud to wait upon himself. He was in the habit of going to market himself, and carrying home his purchases. Often he would be seen returning at sunrise with poultry in one hand and vegetables in the other. On one of these occasions a fashionable young man from the North, who had removed to Richmond, was swearing violently because he could find no one to carry home his turkey. Judge Marshall stepped up and asked him where he lived. When he heard, he said, "That is in my way, and I will take your turkey home for you." When they came to the house the young man inquired, "What shall I pay you?" "Oh, nothing," said the Judge; "you are welcome; it was all in the way, and it was no trouble to me." "Who is that polite old gentleman who brought home my turkey for me? " asked the young man of a by-stander. "Oh," said he, "that was Judge Marshall, Chief-Justice of the United States." "Why did he bring home my turkey?" "He did it," said the by-stander, "to give you a rebuke, and teach you to attend to your own business." True greatness never feels above doing anything that is useful; but especially the truly great man will never feel above helping himself; his own independence of character depends upon his being able to help himself. The great Dr. Franklin, when he first established himself in business in Philadelphia, wheeled home the paper which he purchased for his printing-office upon a wheelbarrow with his own hands.

IV. The fourth and only other mark that we shall speak of is DISOBEDIENCE. There is nothing on which the comfort and happiness of parents and families depend more than on the obedience of children. My dear children, if you want to plant thorns on the pillows of you parents, and plunge daggers into their bosoms, be disobedient. If you want to make them as uncomfortable as they possibly can be in this world, then be disobedient. This is the chief mark of a Ben-oni. I remember reading not long ago of a gentleman in England who had two sons. He was a kind, excellent, pious man, and did everything for the comfort of his children that he thought it right to do. But sometimes the boys were anxious to do things which their parents were not willing that they should do. One Sunday, the eldest boy went to his father and asked permission to take the carriage and go riding in the afternoon, instead of going to church. His father told him he could not, because it would be breaking the Sabbath. The boy was very much displeased because his father would not let him go riding, as some of the boys in the neighbourhood had been allowed by their parents to do. He was so wicked about this that he determined no longer to stay at home, because his father would not let him do just what he wanted. So the next day he persuaded his brother to go with him, and they went down to Portsmouth, a town by the seaside, intending to go to sea. Before going, however, they called on the Rev. Mr. Griffin, to assist them to get a situation on board a man-of-war. This good man, perceiving that they were not accustomed to the mode of life in which they were about to enter, inquired of them their object in going to sea. The eldest boy frankly told him they were going in order to spite their parents! Then he told him the story of what had taken place at home — of his father's unwillingness to allow him to ride on Sunday — and said he was going to sea in order to make his father feel sorry for refusing to gratify him. The good clergyman tried to show them the guilt and folly of the course they were about to pursue, and to set before them the unavoidable consequences that would result from it. The younger son was impressed by the counsels and advice of the clergyman, and went home; but the elder son resolved to go on in his evil course. Some twelve or fifteen years after this had taken place, this same clergyman was called to the prison in the town of Portsmouth to see a sailor who was condemned to be executed, and who was going to be hung in a few days. When he entered the cell of the prison he saw a wretched, miserable, squalid-looking creature sitting by a table in the cell, who looked up to him as he entered, and said, "Do you not remember me, sir?" "No," said the clergyman; "I do not recollect that I ever saw you before." Then the poor man recalled to him the story of the boy who went from home in order to spite his parents. "And are you the miserable man," said the clergyman, "who did this?" "Yes," said the poor culprit; "I followed out my own plan; I went on the course which I had chosen, contrary to your advice and to my own convictions; I plunged into all sorts of wickedness and sin, and finally became involved in a robbery and murder, for which I am now about to suffer the penalty. And all this in consequence of my disobedience to my parents!" The clergyman wrote to the father of this unhappy man, who came to visit his son in his last hours, and who had the unspeakable anguish of standing by and seeing him suffer the penalty of the law, and reap the bitter fruits of his disobedience. What a Ben-oni that son was to his father! Let us look, now, at one or two examples of an opposite character. William Hale was an obedient son. He was spending some time with his mother at the Saratoga Springs, and had become acquainted with a number of boys of his own age there. One day some half-dozen of the children were playing on the piazza, and one of them was heard exclaiming — "Oh, yes, that's capital! So we will; come on, now! Where's William Hale? Come on, Will! We are going to have a ride on the circular railroad. Come with us." "Yes, if my mother is willing," said William. "I will run and ask her." "Ah, ah! so you must run and ask your ma! — great baby-boy! — run along to your ma! Ain't you ashamed?" "I don't ask my mother," said one. "Neither do I," said another. "Neither do I," said a third. "Be a man, Will, and come along," said the first boy, "if you don't wish to be called a coward as long as you live; don't you see we are all waiting?" William was standing with one foot advanced, and his hand firmly clenched, in the midst of the group. His brow was flushed, his eye was flashing, his lip was compressed, his cheek was changing — all showing how the epithet "coward" rankled in his bosom. It was doubtful for a moment whether he would have the true bravery to be called a coward rather than to do wrong; but, with a voice trembling with emotion, he replied: — "I will not go without I ask my mother; and I am no coward, either. I promised her I would not go from the house without her permission; and I should be a base coward if I were to tell my mother a lie." When Wiliam returned to his mother to ask her permission to go, and told her of what had taken place, she threw her arms around his neck, and exclaimed: "God bless you, my dear child, and give you grace always to act in this way." Ah, my dear children, he was a Benjamin — a child of comfort — to his dear mother; and doubtless he grew up to be her support and comfort all her days. After the surrender of Cornwallis, and the victory achieved by the American arms, George Washington, when the war was over, returned in triumph to his mother's home. Everybody was homouring him and praising him as the saviour of his country and the greatest man of the age. When he reached the place of his mother's abode a large concourse of the people had met to greet him and welcome him to his home. In the centre of the assembled crowd stood his mother, and, pushing his way through the crowd around him, he hastened to pay her his respects; and, as she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him, she said to some who were congratulating her upon having so noble a son: "George always was an obedient child." He was indeed a Benjamin — a son of comfort — to his mother, and a blessing to the country and to the world; and the spirit of obedience early learned and early practised was that which went to make him what he was. And now, in conclusion, my dear children, let me ask you, Which of these two do you desire to be? Will you be Ben-onies — children of sorrow and grief — to your parents? or will you be Benjamins — children of joy and comfort and blessing — to them? If you would be the latter — Benjamins indeed — then you must watch and strive and pray against all the evils of which we have been speaking. Watch against these four marks of a Ben-oni; watch against ill-temper, watch against idleness, watch against pride, watch against disobedience; and pray God to enable you each to overcome all these evils — to erase these marks of a Ben-oni as they are beginning to fasten themselves on your character, and to earn for yourself the character of a Benjamin indeed.

(H. Newton, D. D.)

Allon, Aram, Arba, Asher, Benjamin, Benoni, Bilhah, Dan, Deborah, Eder, Ephrath, Esau, Gad, Isaac, Issachar, Jacob, Joseph, Leah, Levi, Mamre, Naphtali, Rachel, Rebekah, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun, Zilpah
Allon-bacuth, Bethel, Bethlehem, Canaan, Eder, El-bethel, Ephrath, Hebron, Kiriath-arba, Luz, Mamre, Paddan-aram, Shechem
Benjamin, Benoni, Ben-oni, Ben-o'ni, Calleth, Child, Death, Departing, Died, Dying, Hour, Named, Pass, Soul
1. God commands Jacob to go to Bethel.
2. He purges his house of idols.
6. He builds an altar at Bethel.
8. Deborah dies at Allon Bacuth.
9. God blesses Jacob at Bethel.
10. Jacob Named Israel.
16. Rachel travails of Benjamin, and dies in the way to Edar.
22. Reuben lies with Bilhah.
23. The sons of Jacob.
27. Jacob comes to Isaac at Hebron.
28. The age, death, and burial of Isaac.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 35:18

     5044   names, giving of
     5436   pain
     5561   suffering, nature of

Genesis 35:16-18

     5095   Jacob, life
     5720   mothers, examples

February the Eighth Revisiting Old Altars
"I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress." --GENESIS xxxv. 1-7. It is a blessed thing to revisit our early altars. It is good to return to the haunts of early vision. Places and things have their sanctifying influences, and can recall us to lost experiences. I know a man to whom the scent of a white, wild rose is always a call to prayer. I know another to whom Grasmere is always the window of holy vision. Sometimes a particular pew in a particular church
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Our Last ChapterConcluded with the Words, "For Childhood and Youth are Vanity"...
Our last chapter concluded with the words, "For childhood and youth are vanity": that is, childhood proves the emptiness of all "beneath the sun," as well as old age. The heart of the child has the same needs--the same capacity in kind--as that of the aged. It needs God. Unless it knows Him, and His love is there, it is empty; and, in its fleeting character, childhood proves its vanity. But this makes us quite sure that if childhood can feel the need, then God has, in His wide grace, met the
F. C. Jennings—Old Groans and New Songs

The Death of Abraham
'Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.'--GENESIS xxv. 8. 'Full of years' does not seem to me to be a mere synonym for longevity. That would be an intolerable tautology, for we should then have the same thing said three times over--'an old man,' 'in a good old age,' 'full of years.' There must be some other idea than that in the words. If you notice that the expression is by no means a usual one, that it is only
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Trials and visions of Devout Youth
'And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The National Oath at Shechem
'And Joshua said unto the people. Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. 21. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. 22. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves, that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him. And they said,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah
"And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto Me (one) [Pg 480] to be Ruler in Israel; and His goings forth are the times of old, the days of eternity." The close connection of this verse with what immediately precedes (Caspari is wrong in considering iv. 9-14 as an episode) is evident, not only from the [Hebrew: v] copulative, and from the analogy of the near relation of the announcement of salvation to the prophecy of disaster
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). In our last chapter we considered at some length the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither Sovereign nor free but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner's will-its servitude-is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

The Birth of Jesus.
(at Bethlehem of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke II. 1-7. ^c 1 Now it came to pass in those days [the days of the birth of John the Baptist], there went out a decree [a law] from Cæsar Augustus [Octavius, or Augustus, Cæsar was the nephew of and successor to Julius Cæsar. He took the name Augustus in compliment to his own greatness; and our month August is named for him; its old name being Sextilis], that all the world should be enrolled. [This enrollment or census was the first step
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Gen. xxxi. 11
Of no less importance and significance is the passage Gen. xxxi. 11 seq. According to ver. 11, the Angel of God, [Hebrew: mlaK halhiM] appears toJacob in a dream. In ver. 13, the same person calls himself the God of Bethel, with reference to the event recorded in chap. xxviii. 11-22. It cannot be supposed that in chap xxviii. the mediation of a common angel took place, who, however, had not been expressly mentioned; for Jehovah is there contrasted with the angels. In ver. 12, we read: "And behold
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Genesis 35:18 NIV
Genesis 35:18 NLT
Genesis 35:18 ESV
Genesis 35:18 NASB
Genesis 35:18 KJV

Genesis 35:18 Bible Apps
Genesis 35:18 Parallel
Genesis 35:18 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 35:18 Chinese Bible
Genesis 35:18 French Bible
Genesis 35:18 German Bible

Genesis 35:18 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Genesis 35:17
Top of Page
Top of Page