In Genesis 46:21 (NASB)

And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.

In Numbers 26:35 (NASB)

These are the sons of Ephraim by their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthelahites; of Becher, the family of the Becherites; of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites.

More specifically, in Genesis, Becher is linked to Benjamin; in Numbers, he's linked with Ephraim.

What's the reason for this difference?

  • Have you take into consideration that in the Tanakh there exist a number of homonyms? Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:03
  • @SaroFedele yes Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:04
  • @SaroFedele so you'd say that's the case here? Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:05
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    More probably, yes. Also its meaning is a very common one ('a young camel', see e.g. Isa 60:6). See also the other male variants: BKRI (in a construct state, according many lexicographers) in 2 Sam 20:1; BKRU (1 Chr 8:38). as well as a female one: BKRE (a young she-camel. Jer 2:23). Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:13
  • @SaroFedele you're welcome to answer that! Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:22

2 Answers 2



Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

first begotten; first fruits

It could be a common name, so the two Becher's could be different individuals. On the other hand, Easton's Bible Dictionary offers this explanation:

First-born; a youth, the second son of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21), who came down to Egypt with Jacob. It is probable that he married an Ephraimitish heiress, and that his descendants were consequently reckoned among the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 26:35; 1 Chronicles 7:20, 21). They are not reckoned among the descendants of Benjamin (Numbers 26:38).


In Genesis 46, Becher is listed as the son of Benjamin when Jacob comes to live in Egypt with the rest of the family at the behest of Joseph, now the second-highest person in Egypt.

In Numbers 26, Becher is listed as one of the family heads just before the nation of Israel enters the Promised Land.

What is the timeframe? We are looking at more the 400 years difference. So the Becher in Numbers could be a different individual than the one listed in Genesis.

Another theory is that Becher could have married into the Ephraimite family. McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia discusses this in the article under the subject of Becher:

As regards the posterity of Becher, we find nevertheless the singular fact of there being no family named after him at the numbering of the Israelites in the plains of Moab, as related in Numbers 26. But the no less singular circumstance of there being a Becher, and a family of Bachrites, among the sons of Ephraim (ver. 35) has been thought to suggest an explanation. The slaughter of the sons of Ephraim by the men of Gath, who came to steal their cattle out of the land of Goshen, in that border affray related in 1Ch 7:21, had sadly thinned the house of Ephraim of its males. The daughters of Ephraim must therefore have sought husbands in other tribes, and in many cases must have been heiresses. It is therefore possible that Becher, or his heir and head of his house, married an Ephraimitish heiress, a daughter of Shuthelah (1Ch 7:20-21), and that his house was thus reckoned in the tribe of Ephraim, just as Jair, the son of Segub, was reckoned in the tribe of Manasseh (1Ch 2:22; Nu 32:40-41). The time when Becher first appears among the Ephraimites, viz., just before the entering into the promised land, when the people were numbered by genealogies for the express purpose of dividing the inheritance equitably among the tribes, is evidently highly favorable to this view. (See Nu 26:52-56; Nu 27.) The junior branches of Becher's family would of course continue in the tribe of Benjamin. Their names, as given in 1Ch 7:8, were Zemira, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jerimoth, and Abiah; other branches possessed the fields around Anathoth and Alameth (called Alemeth 6:60, and Almon Jos 21:18). As the most important of them, being ancestor to King Saul, and his great captain Abner (1Sa 14:50), the last named, Abiah, was literally Becher's son, it would seem that the rest (with others not there named) were likewise

  • 1
    This isn't correct. The Becher in Numbers is listed as the son of Ephraim, who is no longer alive, but whose descendants form the Becherite family, just like all the other heads of families listed in Numbers, who are identical for the most part with the sons listed in Genesis
    – b a
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 21:16
  • @ba So in your estimation, this Becher is over 400 years old?
    – agarza
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 21:39
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    I said he was dead. Try looking at the surrounding verses in Numbers 26, and compare with Genesis 46. They are all the grandsons and great-grandsons of Jacob, who are dead by the time of the census
    – b a
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 22:23
  • 1
    Genesis 46:10: And the sons of Reuben; "Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi." Numbers 26:5-6: "the children of Reuben; "Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites: Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites." Were there two different people named Reuben who lived 400 years apart from each other who had 4 sons with the exact same names? No. Everyone in the lists is the same. Only when we come to Becher in Genesis, he is listed as a son of Benjamin, but in Numbers he is listed as a son of Ephraim.
    – b a
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 23:08
  • 1
    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – b a
    Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 10:11

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