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Deceit’s Tragic End

Genesis 35:16-20

They set out from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth, and her labor was difficult. During her difficult labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for this is another son for you.” With her last breath – for she was dying – she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob set up a marker on her grave; it is the marker at Rachel’s grave to this day.

Rachel asked for another son with the birth of Joseph, and God was faithful to grant her request. Jacob asked God to judge between him and Laban and said that anyone who had stolen Laban’s idols must die. God was faithful to grant his request, as well. Rachel died giving birth to the very thing she wanted most – another son. While Scripture doesn’t specifically connect Rachel’s death with Jacob’s covenant, we find her death just a few chapters later. Jacob finished his years out with Leah as his only wife. Rachel allowed her insecurities and greed to rob her of her future.

Rachel named her second son Ben-oni, which means son of my sorrow. Jacob quickly changed the name to Benjamin, meaning son of my right hand. Jacob apparently did not want this son to go throughout life with a name that displayed his mother’s death. I can only imagine the complex he would have had being called a son of sorrow. Jacob saw him as a son of his right hand, one who would always be with him and involved in everything he did. Benjamin would take the special place in his heart that Rachel had previously held. 

When someone is your right hand person, that person is the one you trust to follow out all major, responsibilities. You can depend upon that person and include him in all decisions. When you use your right hand and take the hand of the person next to you, you, in effect, take his/her left hand. The Benjamites were known to be left-handed, and many scholars believe Benjamin was left handed. This is a sign of his position with Jacob as the son of his right hand. 

Jacob buried Rachel on the way to Ephrath, also known as Bethlehem. She is the only major figure in Abraham’s line of promise that is not buried in the cave at Machpelah, where he buried Sarah. She died on the way to her promise because she chose to hang on to that which was not rightfully hers. She was a woman deeply loved and cherished but never content. How sad it is to miss God’s best because we choose to hang on to lesser things.

If you learn nothing else from Rachel’s life, learn to embrace the grace God has given you. Know that you are deeply loved and highly favored, and never take it for granted. Bask in His goodness toward you, and learn to be content with His blessings. Leah’s life should teach you that you cannot earn true love. Grace is never deserved, and nothing you can do will grant you the love your heart so desperately desires. God sees your pain and injustice, and you must allow Him to vindicate you. Praise Him alone for the blessings He gives you, and accept where God has placed you. Let His love for you fill that void. We will all face situations that are just not fair in this lifetime, but we are not without a God who has destined us for great purpose and will bless us according to that purpose. Don’t take matters into your own hands to secure some kind of future you think you deserve. Trust God to fulfill His great plan, and live to see your promise fulfilled. He really does know what He is doing, and what He has for you is well worth the journey!

Have a blessed day!

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