Rachel was the second and favorite wife of Jacob. He married her older sister Leah, first, because of a trick played on him by her father, as told in Genesis 29.
Rachel is the only one of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs not to be buried in Hebron, and we are told that she died giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, while on the road to Bethlehem – and that Jacob placed a marker on the spot. Revered by followers of the regions three monotheistic religions, Rachel’s Tomb has become a popular place of pilgrimage. Through the centuries it has come to hold a special place in the hearts of women, and Jewish women especially come here to pray for fertility and for the healthy birth of their children.
The Gospel of Matthew 2:16-18 states that Herod’s slaughter of the innocent children in Bethlehem was the fulfillment of an earlier prophecy, “A voice was heard in Ramah. lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted”, Jeremiah 31:15.
The small white-domed tomb probably dates originally from the Crusader period, but most of the present building is fifteenth century construction, with later additions.
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