Women in the Bible: Rachel
Rachel is an interesting character. She’s the wife of Jacob and also his first cousin. Talk about ick! We read about her in Genesis 29-31 & 35.
For some reason, I’m drawn to her, but I don’t know why.
We know she’s beautiful. For Jacob, it’s love at first sight. But there’s calamity when her dad pawns off her older sister, Leah, on Jacob, her unsuspecting betrothed. Though Rachel does marry Jacob, too, the sisters spend their lives vying for his attention.
Jacob favors Rachel, but doesn’t completely ignore Leah, either. While the younger wife has Jacob’s affection, it’s the older Leah who keeps getting pregnant. Their competition heats up and the sisters each offer their maids to their husband to make more babies, and they each have two boys.
Later in one of the oddest moves ever, Rachel trades a night with her husband for food. I guess she was really hungry. As a result Leah has another son.
Eventually Rachel gets pregnant, too, and she has Joseph. Instead of being satisfied over finally having a child, she immediately asks God for another son.
Her story ends a few years later when she dies giving birth to her second son, Benjamin. It’s a tragic end to a tragic life.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.