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Rachel

ra'-chel (sheep, ewe)
RELATED:
Benjamin, Bilhah, Dan, Israel, Jacob, Joseph, Laban, Leah, Naphtali
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Easton's Bible Dictionary

ewe, "the daughter",

(1) "the somewhat petulant, peevish, and self-willed though beautiful younger daughter" of Laban, and one of Jacob's wives ( Genesis 29:6 , 29:28 ). He served Laban fourteen years for her, so deep was Jacob's affection for her. She was the mother of Joseph ( Genesis 30:22 - 24 ). Afterwards, on Jacob's departure from Mesopotamia, she took with her her father's teraphim ( Genesis 31:34 , 31:35 ). As they journeyed on from Bethel, Rachel died in giving birth to Benjamin ( Genesis 35:18 , 35:19 ), and was buried "in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave". Her sepulchre is still regarded with great veneration by the Jews. Its traditional site is about half a mile from Jerusalem.

(2) This name is used poetically by ( Jeremiah 31:15 - 17 ) to denote God's people mourning under their calamities. This passage is also quoted by Matthew as fulfilled in the lamentation at Bethlehem on account of the slaughter of the infants there at the command of Herod ( Matthew 2:17, 2:18 ).


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Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

sheep

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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(ewe, or sheep) The younger of the daughters of Laban, the wife of Jacob (B.C. 1753) and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. The incidents of her life may be found in Genesis 29 - 33 , 35. The story of Jacob and Rachel has always had a peculiar interest. The beauty of Rachel, Jacobs deep love and long servitude for her, their marriage, and Rachels death on giving birth to Benjamin, with Jacobs grief at her loss, ( Genesis 48:7 ) makes a touching tale. Yet from what is related to us concerning her character there does not seem much to claim any high degree of admiration and esteem. She appears to have shared all the duplicity and falsehood of her family. See, for instance, Rachels stealing her fathers images, and the ready dexterity and presence of mind with which she concealed her theft. ( Genesis 31:1 ) ... "Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. (B.C. 1729.) And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave; that is the pillar of Rachels grave unto this day." ( Genesis 35:19 , 35:20 ) The site of Rachels tomb, "on the way to Bethlehem," "a little way to come to Ephrath," "in the border of Benjamin," never been questioned. It Is about two miles south of Jerusalem and one mile north of Bethlehem.

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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ra'-chel (rachel, "ewe"; Rhachel (Genesis 29:6; Jeremiah 31:15, the King James Version "Rahel")):

1. Biography:

An ancestress of Israel, wife of Jacob, mother of Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel was the younger daughter of Laban, the Aramean, the brother of Jacob's mother; so Rachel and Jacob were cousins. They met for the first time upon the arrival of Jacob at Haran, when attracted by her beauty he immediately fell in love with her, winning her love by his chivalrous act related in Genesis 29:10. According to the custom of the times Jacob contracted with Laban for her possession, agreeing to serve him 7 years as the stipulated price (Genesis 29:17 - 20). But when the time had passed, Laban deceived Jacob by giving him Leah instead of Rachel. When Jacob protested, Laban gave him Rachel also, on condition that Jacob serve 7 years more (Genesis 29:21 - 29). To her great dismay "Rachel was barren" (Genesis 29:30 , 31), while Leah had children. Rachel, envious of her sister, complained to Jacob, who reminded her that children are the gift of God. Then Rachel resorted to the expedient once employed by Sarah under similar circumstances (Genesis 16:2); she bade Jacob take her handmaid Bilhah, as a concubine, to "obtain children by her" (Genesis 30:3). Dan and Naphtali were the offspring of this union. The evil of polygamy is apparent from the dismal rivalry arising between the two sisters, each seeking by means of children to win the heart of Jacob. In her eagerness to become a mother of children, Rachel bargained with Leah for the mandrakes, or love-apples of her son Reuben, but all to no avail (Genesis 30:14). Finally God heard her prayer and granted her her heart's desire, and she gave birth to her firstborn whom she named Joseph (Genesis 30:22 - 24).

Some years after this, when Jacob fled from Laban with his wives, the episode of theft of the teraphim of Laban by Rachel, related in Genesis 31:19 , 34 , 35 , occurred. She hoped by securing the household gods of her father to bring prosperity to her own new household. Though she succeeded by her cunning in concealing them from Laban, Jacob later, upon discovering them, had them put away (Genesis 35:2 - 4). In spite of all, she continued to be the favorite of Jacob, as is clearly evidenced by Genesis 33:2, where we are told that he assigned to her the place of greatest safety, and by his preference for Joseph, her son. After the arrival in Canaan, while they were on the way from Beth-el to Ephrath, i.e. Bethlehem, Rachel gave birth to her second son, Benjamin, and died (Genesis 35:16).


2. Character:

In a marked manner Rachel's character shows the traits of her family, cunning and covetousness, so evident in Laban, Rebekah and Jacob. Though a believer in the true God (Genesis 30:6 , 8 , 22), she was yet given to the superstitions of her country, the worshipping of the teraphim, etc. (Genesis 31:19). The futility of her efforts in resorting to self-help and superstitious expedients, the love and stronger faith of her husband (Genesis 35:2 - 4), were the providential means of purifying her character. Her memory lived on in Israel long after she died. In Ruth 4:11, the names of Rachel and Leah occur in the nuptial benediction as the foundresses of the house of Israel.


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Tags:

ancestress of israel, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, daughter of laban, died in giving birth to benjamin, mother of joseph, rachel, wife of jacob

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