Genesis 35:16-20 (NKJV)

16 Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel laboured in childbirth, and she had hard labor. 17 Now it came to pass, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, “Do not fear; you will have this son also.” 18 And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name Ben-Oni; but his father called him Benjamin. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.


The thread of redemptive history winds through Bethlehem, and the story begins in the book of Genesis. One of Scripture’s greatest love stories ended when Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel, died during childbirth and was buried in Bethlehem. Genesis 35:16-20 gives us: (1) the longest account of the death of a woman in the Bible; (2) the story of the first woman in Scripture to die during childbirth; (3) the first occurrence of the word “grave” in the Bible when referring to death; and (4) the first time in Scripture a gravestone was erected.

But there’s more. With her dying words, Rachel named her son, Ben-Oni, which means, “Son of My Sorrow.” But Jacob renamed the boy Benjamin, which means, “Son of the Right Hand.”

Think of it. A Man of Sorrows, born in Bethlehem, who came to dwell at the right hand of his beloved father. As early as Genesis 35, we have inklings of our Lord’s own story—nearly two thousand years before He came. The whole Bible is about Jesus! You can trust a Book like that, and you can trust the Savior of whom it speaks.