Biblical Figure. Rachel was a Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban. Her older sister was Leah, Jacob's first wife; their mother was Adinah. Her aunt Rebecca was Jacob's mother. Rachel is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 29 when Jacob happens upon her as she is about to water her father's flock. She was the second daughter of Laban, Rebecca's brother, making Jacob her first cousin. Jacob had traveled a great distance to find Laban. Rebekah had sent him there to be safe from his angry twin brother, Esau. During Jacob's stay, he fell in love with Rachel and agreed to work seven years for Laban in return for her hand in marriage. On the night of the wedding, the bride was veiled and Jacob did not notice that Leah, Rachel's older sister, had been substituted for Rachel. Later Jacob confronted Laban, who excused his own deception by insisting that the older sister should marry first. He assured Jacob that after his wedding week was finished, he could take Rachel as a wife as well, and work another seven years as payment for her. She gave birth to four sons. Rachel became jealous of Leah and gave Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah, to be a surrogate mother for her. Bilhah gave birth to two sons that Rachel named and raised (Dan and Naphtali). Leah responded by offering her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob, and named and raised the two sons (Gad and Asher) that Zilpah bore. According to some commentaries, Bilhah and Zilpah were half-sisters of Leah and Rachel. After Leah conceived again, Rachel was finally blessed with a son, Joseph who would become Jacob's favorite child. Rachel was buried on the road to Efrat, just outside Bethlehem, and not in the ancestral tomb at Machpelah. Today a site claimed to be Rachel's Tomb, located between Bethlehem and the Israeli settlement of Gilo, is visited by tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Bio by: Larry Cañonga