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Rachel
Personal Information
Born c. 1580 BC
Paddan Aram
Died 1739 BC
Ramah, Canaan
Parents Laban,
Siblings Leah
Spouse(s) Jacob
Child(ren)
Jacob Joseph,
Benjamin
Accomplishments

Rachel (Hebrew: רָחֵל, Modern Rakhél) was the favorite of Biblical patriarch Jacob's two wives as well as the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel.  Rachel was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife. Rachel was a niece of Rebekah (Jacob's mother), Laban being Rebekah's brother, making Jacob her first cousin.

Early life and family Edit

Born around 1570 BC [1], of Laban and an unnamed wife, his second daughter was named "Rachel" an Aramaic or Hebrew word meaning "Ewe." It may be assumed that this was a term of endearment. She grew to young adulthood as a shepherdess in the plush plains near the Euphrates River.

Her father was as crafty as his sister Rebekah[2], claiming a custom of his people to give his elder daughter in marriage first. After waiting seven years to consummate a relationship with her "true love" Rachel saw her sister married to him first. After the wedding week, she became Jacob's second wife. The relationship was a rocky one, especially when Leah began having children while she was barren.

Children Edit

Leah had proven to be very fertile, having a total of seven seven children, six boys and a girl. Among those were the ancestors of both the priesthood (Levi) and monarchy (Judah) of the nation of "Israel" that would arise from the 12 "tribes" that were united under 3 kings for a total of 120 years.

Finally, after Leah had her last child, a daughter named Dinah[3], Rachel gave birth to Joseph[4]. About that time she left with Jacob to return to his homeland. Six years later she would die in childbirth bringing her second child into the world. Before she died, she named her second son Benoni ("son of my sorrow"). However, Jacob named him Benjamin (son of [the] right hand). She died near Bethlehem in Canaan[5].

Legacy Edit

Joseph would become a "savior" (and type of the Messiah) of his whole family. Additionally, his grandsons would be the ancestors of the largest tribes of the "northern" nation of that would retain the name "Israel," but lose the true religion to the southern kingdom which would go by the name of "Judah." Ironically, the tribe of Benjamin, as small as it was, stayed true to the monarchy first held by one of its own: Saul, son of Kish.

The true religion that came to be known as Judaism would be preserved by Mordacai and Esther, descendants of Benjamin in the Persian diaspora[6]. Centuries later, after the Messiah had come, another Benjaminite by the name of Saul would launch the fully true religion named in reference to the Messiah (or Christ) -- Christianity[7].

ReferencesEdit

  1. Based on her being of child bearing age when she first met Jacob, and her dying in 1539 BC. She would have been at around 20, then having waited 7 years while Leah had children, then borne Joseph. She died 6 years later giving birth to Benjamin. 1570-20-7-6 = 1539. Dates based on the work of The Chronology of the Bible, by Frank R. Klassen.
  2. Compare Gen. 27:5-16 with Gen. 29:21-7)
  3. Gen. 30:21
  4. Gen. 30:22-24
  5. Gen. 35:16-19
  6. This story is found in the book of Esther.
  7. See the story of Paul in the Book of Acts.