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Rachel was the youngest daughter of Laban and was second wife of Jacob. She was Jacob's favorite wife to her old sister Leah and despite being the favorite had only two children: Joseph and Benjamin.

Biography

Encounter with Jacob

Rachel, who was a shepherd first encountered Jacob when she was guiding the sheep back to her father.[1] Jacob saw her great beauty[2] and because he was charmed by her, he finished the task of the giving the sheep water that was instructed to Rachel by Laban for her.[3] Afterwards Jacob expressed her love to Rachel by a kiss.[4] Rachel therefore told her father of these things as she presumably also loved Jacob.[5] Laban allowed Jacob to stay with him and Rachel for a month and it was planned for Jacob to work for him. When Laban asked his nephew what his wages shall be, Jacob pledged that he would work for him for seven years in exchange for marrying Rachel.[6] Laban saw it more fitting to give Rachel to Jacob rather than anyone else so he agreed to the pledge and so Jacob worked to keep his flocks.[7] By the time the seven years were finished, Laban gave Jacob a feast, but since Rachel was the younger daughter to her older sister Leah, it was not customary in Laban's country to wed the youngest daughter before the oldest. Thus Jacob had to work for another seven years in order to have Rachel.[8]

Having children

Laban permitted Jacob and Rachel to be married before the indentured servant-hood was over, but the labor had to be continued still. Rachel being the prime target for marriage from Jacob was loved more than Leah and Rachel and her husband tried to have children. God seeing that Jacob did not show love to Leah allowed her to have children leaving Rachel childless.[9] Rachel was jealous of her sister having children so she gave her handmaid Bilhah to Jacob as a wife in order to build a family line for herself. Bilhah had Dan and Naphtali with Jacob.[10] Leah did the same by giving her handmaid as a wife to Jacob and they had children.[11] Eventually after one of Leah's sons Reuben had begun picking from the field Rachel coveted the mandrakes that he had obtained. Rachel requested to her sister that they were given to her, but Leah required a reward. Therefore Rachel promised Leah that she could lie down with Jacob for the night.[12] Finally, God remembered Rachel and allowed her to give birth to a son. She called him Joseph in the hopes that God will give her another one.[13]

Fleeing from her father

Some years later Jacob requested to set free since his servanthood period was over. Rachel and her sister had a conversation with Jacob about Laban's attitude towards Jacob and revealed his commandment by God to travel elsewhere. Rachel (as well as Leah) was upset that their father had forgotten their inheritance and so when they begun to leave Rachel stole Laban's idols.[14] Laban in anger chased after them once the family fled and overtook Jacob, who assured him they had nothing of his, but was unaware of the fact that Rachel had stolen his idols.[15] Laban searched their tents including Rachel's. Rachel had the stolen idols in a saddle bag and was sitting on it claiming she was going through her period (of seven days of uncleanness).[16]

Verses

  1. Genesis 29:9 (Link)
  2. Genesis 29:17 (Link)
  3. Genesis 29:10-11 (Link)
  4. Genesis 29:11 (Link)
  5. Genesis 29:12-14 (Link)
  6. Genesis 29:15 (Link)
  7. Genesis 29:19-21 (Link)
  8. Genesis 29:21-29 (Link)
  9. Genesis 29:30-35 (Link)
  10. Genesis 30:1-8 (Link)
  11. Genesis 30:9-12 (Link)
  12. Genesis 30:14-21 (Link)
  13. Genesis 30:22-24 (Link)
  14. Genesis 31:4-21 (Link)
  15. Genesis 31:22-32 (Link)
  16. Genesis 31:33-35 (Link)

es:Raquel

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