Rachels Tomb

Rachel's Tomb

(קברִתאּרָהֵל, Kibrath Rachel; Sept. in gen. for the former half of the title μνημεῖον, but in Jer 48:7, and 2Ki 5:19, Χαβραθά. This seems to have been accepted as the name of the spot [Demetrius in Eus. Pr. Ev. 9:21], and to have been actually encountered there by a traveller in the 12th century [Burchard de Strasburg, by Saint-Genois, p. 35], who gives the Arabic name of Rachel's tomb as Cabrata, or Cabata. The present name is Kubbet Rahil, i.e. "Rachel's grave"). "Rachel died and was buried in the way Ephrath, which is Bethelehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day" (Ge 35:19-20). As Rachel is the first related instance of death in child-bearing, so this pillar over her grave is the first recorded example of the setting-up of a sepulchral monument; caves having been up to this time spoken of as the usual places of burial. The spot was well known in the time of Samuel and Saul (1Sa 10:2); and the prophet Jeremiah, by a poetic figure of great force and beauty, represents the buried Rachel weeping for the loss and captivity of her children, as the bands of the exiles, led away on their road to Babylon, passed near her tomb (Jer 31:15–17). Mt 2:17-18 applies this to the slaughter by Herod of the infants at Bethlehem. SEE RACHEL.

The position of the Ramah here spoken of is one of the disputed questions in the topography of Palestine, SEE RAMAH; but the site of Rachel's tomb, "on the way to Bethlehem," "a little way to come to Ephrath," "in the border of Benjamin," has never been questioned. It is about five miles south of Jerusalem, and half a mile north of Bethlehem. "It is one of the shrines which Moslems, Jews, and Christians agree in honoring, and concerning which their traditions are identical." It was visited by Maundrell in 1697. The description given by Dr. Robinson (1:218) may serve as the representative of the many accounts, all agreeing with each other, which may be read in almost every book of Eastern travel. It is "merely an ordinary Moslem wely, or tomb of a holy person — a small square building of stone with a dome, and within it a tomb in the ordinary Mohammedan form, the whole plastered over with mortar. Of course the building is not ancient: in the 7th century there was here only a pyramid of stones. It is now neglected and falling to decay, though pilgrimages are still made to it by the Jews. The naked walls are covered with names in several languages, many of them in Hebrew. The general correctness of the tradition which has fixed upon this spot for the tomb Rachel cannot well be drawn in question, since it is fully supported by the circumstances of the Scriptural narrative. It is also mentioned by the Itin. Hieros., A. D. 333, and by Jerome(Ep. 86, ad Eustoch. Epitaph. Pauloe) in the same century." Since Robinson's visit, it has been enlarges by the addition of a square court on the east side, with high walls and arches (Later Researches, p. 273). Schwarz (Palest, p. 109 sq.) strongly supports the identity of the true grave of Rachel with the monument which now bears that name (see also

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Bibliotheca Sacra, 1830, p. 602; Journ. of Sac. Lit. April, 1864). This monument is particularly described by Hackett (Illust. of Script. P. 101 sq.). SEE BETHLEHEM.

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