Later, they set out from Bethel, and while they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth, and her labor was difficult.
Genesis 35:16-29Genesis 35:16-29. These family records mingle well with the story of God's grace. The mothers "Ben-oni is the father's Benjamin." Out of the pain and the bereavement sometimes comes the consolation. A strange blending of joy and sorrow is the tale of human love. But there is a higher love which may draw out the pure stream of peace and calm delight from that impure fountain. Jacob and Esau were separated in their lives, but they met at their father's grave. Death is a terrible divider, but a uniter too. Under the shadow of the great mystery, on the borders of an eternal world, in the presence of those tears which human eyes weep for the dead, even when they can weep no other tears, the evil things of envy, hatred, revenge, alienation do often hide themselves, and the better things of love, lessee, brotherhood, amity come forth. Jacob was with Isaac when he died, and Esau came to the grave. - R.
1. Providence ordereth the saints below no long settlement, but to move sometimes from desired places.
Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.I. IN ITS SOLEMN AND MELANCHOLY ASPECT.
1. It was death upon a journey.
2. It was death in the time of travail.
3. It was death just when his old fond desire was accomplished.
II. IN ITS HOPEFUL AND PROPHETIC ASPECT.
1. It teaches the doctrine of victory through pain.
2. It teaches that death is not annihilation. "As her soul was in departing (for she died)" (ver. 18). Death is here represented, not as the complete extinction of all thought and feeling, but as the separation of soul and body. It is not a sinking into nought, but only a change of state and place.
3. It teaches us what is the characteristic mark of God's chosen people. Israel of old had the portion of affliction, and thus became the time of the Messiah, whose peculiar and distinctive mark was, that He was "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). Rachel was the ancestress of the suffering children of Israel.
4. It teaches a lesson of encouragement to all mothers dying in similar circumstances.
(T. H. Leale.)
2. Motions from Bethel to Ephrath, from God's comforts to God's chastenings are ordered to God's saint's by himself.
3. Providential afflictions may betide God's dearest servants unexpectedly in their ways.
4. Souls exorbitantly desirous of children, may have them from God with bitterness enough (ver. 16).
5. The bitterest pains in child-bearing may befall the best of women.
6. It is the midwife's honour, with God's Spirit, to be pitiful and comfortable unto women in travail.
7. God doth add sons to His in their earnest desires sometimes, wherein they may take little delight (Genesis 30:24),
8. Providence sometimes brings living children out of dying mothers (Ver. 17).
9. Killing pains in child-bearing may befal souls to much longing for children.
10. Dying mothers in their passions may name children their griefs and not their joy.
11. Souls die not, but go out of bodies to God who gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
12. Tender affection in fathers name their children more dear which they have with loss of wives (ver. 18).
13. Rachels may die when Leahs live, the beloved before the despised.
14. Comely interment is a duty to relations in all places, where providence calleth them away.
15. Places notable for births and burials are sometimes noted by God's spirit (ver. 19).
16. It is suitable to nature and not contrary to grace, to set up and keep memorials of deceased relations.
17. Durable monuments of providences may be useful for posterity.
18. It is not unlawful to leave monuments of the dead, only vanity and superstition avoided (ver. 20).
(G. Hughes, B. D)
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