Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Deborah and Rachel’s Deaths

After Simeon and Levi’s attack on the men of Shechem, God told Jacob to move to Bethel. So, though Jacob had put down roots, purchasing land and settling in Shechem, he gathered his household together to move again.

Before moving, he gave instructions to put away any foreign gods, purify themselves, and change their garments. They gave Jacob all their idols, and he buried them under a tree in Shechem.

The family journeyed to Bethel, the land where God had appeared to Jacob when he fled from Esau.

Soon after they arrived, Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse died and was buried under a terebinth tree in Bethel, and the tree was called Allon Bachuth, which means “oak of weeping”.

This aged servant went with Rebekah when she left home to marry Isaac. At some point, she retired from Rebekah’s service and came to serve Rachel and Leah as they raised their children. She was there through the good times and the bad, and when she died, the family greatly mourned her death.

The family continued journeying, this time to Ephrath, or Bethlehem, but Rachel was pregnant and went into labor during their travel.

The midwife tried to comfort her saying, “ “Do not fear, for you have another son.” But Rachel didn’t make it. During her dying moments, she named her son Benoni, which means “son of my sorrow,” but Jacob called him Benjamin, which means “son of the right hand.”

Rachel was buried on the way to Ephrath, and Jacob placed a pillar on her grave.

Two women whose deaths are recorded in the same chapter of the Bible. One worked selflessly in the shadows, the other spent her days thinking only of herself.

We each chose the type of woman we want to be. May we be women of service, bringing joy rather than sorrow to our world.

Read the story: Genesis 35

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Deborah and Rachel's deaths

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