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Friday, October 20 2017
The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel
Studies In This Series:
"Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother"
Rachel (pronounced in Hebrew as raw-kale) was the mother of two of the Israelite patriarchs, Joseph and Benjamin, and the grandmother of two other Israelite patriarchs, Ephraim and Manasseh (see the Fact Finder question below).
The first meeting of Jacob and Rachel happened in Syria (see Jacob In Syria), at the home town of Jacob's mother Rebekah (see The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah), as a meeting of cousins: "Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son."
"29:9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 29:12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father.
Within a month however, Jacob declared that he was in love with Rachel. He then asked for a marriage contract with Laban - Rachel's father and Jacob's uncle.
"29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
The wedding night, seven years later, held a surprise - in the darkness, Laban had substituted his firstborn daughter Leah in place of Rachel (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah). Laban then offered the marriage of Rachel too, a week later, which Jacob accepted - in exchange for seven more years of work. Along with Leah and Rachel came their personal servants, Bilhah and Zilpah - who would later themselves become additional wives of Jacob.
"29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid.
Jacob's lack of love for Leah degenerated further into outright hate. Nevertheless, Leah was having the children that she wanted, while Rachel did not. Why?
"29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." (Genesis 29:31 KJV)
Rachel later came to realize the cause of her problem. She then resorted to appointing her servant Bilhah to be a surrogate wife and mother in her place (another well-known example was Sarah's appointing Hagar as a surrogate wife of Abraham; see The Birth of Isaac and The Expulsion Of Hagar).
"30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Then, after nearly fourteen years of marriage, at the end of the two seven-year marriage-contracts, the LORD enabled Rachel to have a child of her own as she wanted. She named him Joseph.
It was also at that time that Jacob asked to return to the land of Canaan. Laban then made a more profitable contract, for Jacob, that resulted in Jacob owning most of what had belonged to Laban (see Speckled and Spotted - How Did He Do It?).
'30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 30:23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.
Of all of the fourteen Israelite tribal patriarchs, only Benjamin was born in what became the land of Israel. But even then, it was a tragic birth - although the baby survived, Rachel, the mother, died. The long and stressful journey may have been a factor for baby-due Rachel, although another about to give birth woman, centuries later, made the long journey to Bethlehem, gave birth, and survived (see The King Who Was Born In A Barn and The Rachel Prophecies).
"35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
Fact Finder: What did the death of Rachel have to do with Jacob's adoption / promotion of Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh from grandsons to sons?
This Day In History, October 20
1632: Sir Christopher Wren was born. He became one of Britain's most outstanding architects.
1720: The Caribbean pirate known as Calico Jack (actual name John Rackham, born of English and Cuban parents) was captured by the Royal Navy. The pirate was famous for his "Jolly Roger" flag, a skull with crossed swords, that contributed to the popularization of the design. The origin of the Jolly Roger is unknown, however some historians believe that it was derived from "Old Roger," a term for the Devil.
1740: Charles V, Holy Roman emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) and head of the house of Habsburg, died. Two of the Wars of the Spanish Succession developed directly from his death.
1921: The Treaty of Ankara between France and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was signed. It formalized the French recognition of the Assembly rather than the government of Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI, as the sovereign power in Turkey (listen also to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1822: Conservative politician Andrew Bonar Law became the first (and to this day only) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to have been born outside of the British Isles. He was born in New Brunswick, Canada.
1827: In the Greek War of Independence, the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were devastated by the British, French and Russians at the Battle of Navarino.
1867: Ottawa was proclaimed the capital of Canada. Founded in 1827 by Col. John By, Ottawa was first named Bytown. It was renamed after the Ottawa Indians in 1854. In 1858 Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of the "United Provinces of Canada," and in 1867 it became the capital of the sovereign nation of Canada.
1911: Roald Amundsen set off with 4 others on his journey to the South Pole. They arrived on December 14.
1930: Jews in "Palestine" ("Palestine" is an English-language rendering of "Philistine"; see Where Is Palestine?) were banned from purchasing Arab land by the British authorities. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Britain controlled Palestine from the end of World War 1 in 1918 to Israeli independence in 1948 (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration).
1935: The "Long March" of Chinese communists led by Mao Zedong ended. Of the 80,000 who set out, only 9,000 completed the 6,000 miles (9,700 kilometers) to Yanan.
1944: Aachen became the first large German city to fall to the advancing allied forces near the end of the Second World War (1939-1945; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars and The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator).
1971: West German Chancellor Willy Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1973: During their Watergate investigations of Nixon himself, President Nixon fired Watergate Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.
2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by rebel forces after the Battle of Sirte (see also Libya In History And Prophecy).