The story of the first men and their relationship with God is presented in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. Strictly speaking, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are called the founding fathers of the Jewish people, or even patriarchs. The second son of Isaac, Jacob, went through great difficulties in his marital life with Rachel and Leah. Here are a number of biblical passages that tell the story of Jacob and Rachel and the impact it had on the subsequent history of the Jewish people.

Jacob and Rachel

On the order of his father Isaac: "Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.” (Genesis 28:1-2), Jacob set out and met Rachel. Rachel was the daughter of Laban, who was himself Rebekah's brother. The Bible tells us that she had a beautiful look and a beautiful face.  "When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.” (Genesis 29:10-11) Jacob had to work for seven years, in addition to the seven years he had already worked, to be able to marry Rachel. However the biblical story tells us: “So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20) Of his two wives Rachel and Leah, Jacob loved the younger Rachel more than he loved Leah.

Rachel in the Bible: Mother of Joseph and Benjamin

Jacob loved Rachel, but she was sterile and only Leah gave him children because God had made her very fruitful. “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1) After several years, the Lord listened to Rachel’s prayer, and Rachel gave Jacob a son. She named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add to me another son.” (Genesis 30:24) The second son she had was the last of Jacob's sons: Benjamin. It is written that: As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni (son of grief). But his father named him Benjamin (rightful son). (Genesis 35:18)

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