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Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil (Genesis 49:27).

I’ve recently stumbled across a yt channel that believes Paul was a false apostle said that the benjamite wolf prophecy was about Paul being he was a benjamite. Side note: does anybody know any resources addressing people who claim Paul was a false apostle?

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    Please see the Tour and the Help (below, bottom left) : Questions about biblical topics but without a specific Bible passage are off-topic as hermeneutical methods cannot be applied when no text is referenced. If you think Paul was a 'false apostle' you will have to throw away 65% of your bible - Paul, Mark and Luke's contributions.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 19, 2023 at 11:04
  • @NigelJ... I think the question is looking for help in refuting the idea that Paul was a false apostle, not supporting it. Nov 19, 2023 at 17:22
  • @Bertram... Welcome to the group. Please do include the verse in question (Genesis 49:27). It would also help for us to know the basic argument from the yt channel. I took a guess, but for future reference please include more information. Nov 19, 2023 at 17:24
  • :@DanFefferman The OP appears to be researching 'resources that claim'.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 19, 2023 at 17:29
  • @NigelJ... "resources addressing people who claim" not "resources that claim". I added the relevant quotation in the hope that the question will not be closed. Nov 19, 2023 at 17:33

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Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil (Genesis 49:27).

People are free to interpret prophecies as they wish, but the wolf being Paul is farfetched and I definitely disagree that this is what the prophecy means. I presume the idea is that Paul 'devoured the prey' by perverting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then 'divided the spoils' by tearing apart the church through his doctrine. For those who think Paul was a false apostle, it fits, but that does not make it correct. There are two much more likely events that fulfilled the prophecy.

  • During the period of the judges, certain members of the tribe of Benjamin acted as ravenous wolves by raping and murdering a Levite's concubine (Judges 19) and then "divided the spoils" by carrying off hundreds of young Israelite women after the ensuing bloody war that nearly destroyed the tribe. (Judges 21:23)

  • The prophecy may also refer to the Benjamite Saul's defeat of the Amalekites. After he slaughtered them earlier in the day, he despoiled them (in the evening), contradicting the instruction of the prophet Samuel.(1 Samuel 15)

Conclusion: The prophecy of Benjamin as a "ravenous wolf" was fulfilled long before Paul lived. It refers either to the episode of the Levite's concubine and the ensuing war in which the remnant of Benjamin carried off numerous young women from other tribes, or to the King Saul wiping out nearly all of the Amalekites and then despoiling them later in the day. The other prophecies of Gen. 49 deal with tribal histories. Thus, I prefer the first of the two possible fulfillments because it focuses on the tribe as a whole, rather than a single representative. See this question for more details.


The OP asks for resources to address people who think Paul was a false apostle. Here are some possibilities. They also include Paul's own statements defending his apostleship.

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  • Not at all... I am merely explaining what I think the idea is, not agreeing with it.... It does "fit" in a sense, but I immediately go on to say " but there are two much more likely events that fulfilled the prophecy." You must have missed my saying " this [interpretation] is farfetched." But I'll take the responsibility for not making my meaning clear. I'll edit it accordingly. Nov 19, 2023 at 18:39
  • This is a perfectly good answer and thus, I am mystified by the downvote. Upvoted to balance things out. +1.
    – Dottard
    Nov 19, 2023 at 20:45
  • @Dottard Edit appreciated. My previous comment deleted.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 19, 2023 at 21:10
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Genesis chapter 49 is the last words of Jacob to his sons. It prophesies what will happen to them in days to come (vv49:1).

After the Northern Kingdom was conquered by Assyria, the northern tribes disappeared, leaving the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Simeon and some Levites in the south. The prophesy to Simeon and Levi (vv49:7) had already been realised as they dispersed among the tribe of Judah. The prophesy to Judah can be traced to the coming of the Messiah (vv49:10). As for the prophecy to Benjamin, will it extend to Paul?

Rashi comment on below, retrieved from sefaria.org

בנימן זאב יטרף means BENJAMIN IS A WOLF THAT TEARETH (i.e. “wolf” is not the object of the sentence but the word אשר must be supplied before יטרף). He prophesied that they (Benjamin’s descendants) will be “rapacious” in the time to come; thus the Benjamites were told (Judges 21:21) “and catch you every man his wife”, as you will find in the story of the concubine of Gibeah. Further he was prophesying concerning Saul (who was of this tribe) who vanquished his enemies on all sides, as it is said (1 Samuel 14:47) “So Saul took the kingdom… and fought on every side… against Moab… and against Edom… and whithersoever he turned himself he put them to the worse”.

בבקר יאכל עד IN THE MORNING HE EATETH HIS PREY — עד is an Aramaic word synonymous with the Hebrew words בזה and שלל, prey, which are rendered in the Targum by עדאה; and there is another example of its use in the Hebrew text of the Bible: (Isaiah 33:23) “Then is the prey of great spoil (עד שלל) divided”. He (Jacob) says this (“in the morning eateth his prey”) with reference to Saul who rose as Israel’s champion in the period when Israel began to flourish and shine (i.e. in the morning of his history; indeed some editions have “בקרן”, at the morning-dawn of Israel, instead of פריחתן) (Midrash Tanchuma, Vayechi 14).

ולערב יחלק שלל AND AT EVEN HE DIVIDETH THE SPOIL— even after the sun of Israel will have set through Nebuchadnezzar who will exile them to Babel, יחלק שלל HE WILL DIVIDE THE SPOIL, viz., Mordecai and Esther who will be of the tribe of Benjamin will divide the spoil of Haman, as it is said, (Ester 3:7) “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman” (Cf. Midrash Tanchuma, Vayechi 14). Onkelos translates it as having a reference to the portions which the priests received of the holy sacrifices in the Temple which was situated in the territory of Benjamin.

The interpretation of a prophecy is indeed subjective. I notice the prophecy of Benjamin has just three sentences (vv49:27), much shorter than Judah (vv49:8-12) and Joseph (vv49:22-26), who had once reigned the Southern and Northern Kingdom respectively. Therefore, I would doubt if this prophecy would end up in the Apostle Paul.

My observation is, the prophecy is more likely to talk about the characteristic of the Benjaminite, rather than on any specific person. It begins by calling the Benjaminite a ravenous wolf, which vividly describes their warlike character, consistent with the event of Gibeah (Judges 19-21), Saul who was the first king of Israel, Mordecai and Esther who save the nation from extinction, and Paul who fought the false teachers in the early church.

Therefore the prophecy to the Benjamite is not limited to a specific person, but rather to the tribe as a whole. This characteristic is neither good nor bad, it depends on whether one is walking with God. Paul and Esther are seen to have received blessings from God, but the event in Gibeah and the destiny of Saul were disasters.

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