Ραμᾶ, the Greek form of Ramah. found in Mt 2:18, referring to Jer 31:15. The original passage alludes to a massacre of Benjamites or Eph-raimites (comp. vers. 9, 18) at the Ramah in Benjamin or in Mount Ephraim. This is seized by the evangelist and turned into a touching reference to the slaughter of the innocents at Bethlehem, near to which was (and is) the sepulchre of Rachel. The name of Rama is alleged to have been lately discovered attached to a spot close to the sepulchre. If it existed there in Matthew's day, it may have prompted his allusion, though it is not necessary to suppose this, since the point of the quotation does not lie in the name Ramah, but in the lamentation of Rachel for the children, as is shown by the change of the υἱοῖς of the original to τέκνα. The allusion is doubtless to Ramah, one of the leading cities of Benjamin, and not, as many have supposed, to some place of that name near Bethlehem. The passage is a difficult one, but the difficulty may be solved by a careful examination of the topography of the district. The difficulties are these:
1. Why is Rachel, the mother of Benjamin, represented as weeping for her children, seeing that Bethlehem was in Judah and not in Benjamin? The reply is, Rachel died and was buried near Bethlehem (Ge 35:19); the border of the tribe of Benjamin reached to her sepulchre (1Sa 10:2); not only were the children of Bethlehem slain, but also those "in all the coast thereof," thus including part of Benjamin. The spirit of the departed Rachel is then represented as rising from the tomb and mourning her slaughtered children.
2. But why was the voice of lamentation heard in Ramah nearly ten miles distant? The answer is now easy. So deep was the impression made by the cruel massacre, that the cry of distress went through the whole land of Benjamin, reaching to the capital of the tribe.