Is there any reason why there is such variance in these lists?

In Genesis (46:21) lists ten sons.

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

Numbers (26:38-40) lists five. Two that are sons of Benjamin in Genesis 46 (Ard and Naaman) are grandsons in this list.

The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites; Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites; and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.

There are two lists in 1 Chronicles in successive chapters. Chapter 7 (v. 6) clearly states that Benjamin had only three sons.

The sons of Benjamin: Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.

1 Chronicles 8 (v. 1-2) lists five sons

Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.

There are a total of seventeen names in the four lists. Only one is common to all four lists: Bela. Ashebel is in three of the lists and Becher and Huppim/Hupham are each in two. Each of the other names occurs in only one of the lists.

  • 5
    See Rashi to Bamidbar 26:13 (quoting the Talmud Yerushalmi). 5 complete families of Binyamin were killed by the Levites when trying to retreat. (see there that the Tanchuma says that they died out in the plague)
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 0:10
  • 1
    I'm not sure if it is connected, but almost the entire tribe of Binyamin was wiped out in the times of the Judges. See sources brought here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/29975/…
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 0:17
  • @Menachem Possibly connected to Chronicles. Doubtful it would be connected to the conflict in the 2 Torah listings.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:42
  • @DanF: My first column was addressing the 2 Torah Listings, the second one was addressing the Chornicles listings
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 17:22
  • Is Binyamin the only shevet with such discrepancy?
    – sds
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


The Hizkuni to Bereishis 46:21 says that actually (according to Divrei Hayamin I 8:1-5) Binyamin had 11 sons (the 11th son had not yet been born at the time he descended to Mitzraym), making the list in Bereishis correct if you consider this.

The second list (in Bamidbar) had five sons because it shows the five of the ten families of descendents of Binyamin that were killed by the levites, so they were not counted here (see the source by @Menachem above).

The reason why their names differ from list to list is because some of them were sinners that repented. (It is well known that the Torah rename people's names after important events, positively or not). See, for instance Tzeror Hamor to Bereishis 46:21 for more details on this case.


The Malbim to Chronicles chapter 7 vs. 6 explains that the Benjamin listed there is actually a descendant of Yissachar and that the verse is continuing with the lineage of Yissachar listed in the verses prior to this one

  • Welcome to Mi yodeya Joe! Thanks for the answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 4:41

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