Rachel — ewe, “the daughter”, “the somewhat petulant, peevish, and self-willed though beautiful younger daughter” of Laban, and one of Jacob’s wives (Gen. 29:6, 28). He served Laban fourteen years for her, so deep was Jacob’s affection for her. She was the mother of Joseph (Gen. 30:22–24). Afterwards, on Jacob’s departure from Mesopotamia, she took with her her father’s teraphim (31:34, 35). As they journeyed on from Bethel, Rachel died in giving birth to Benjamin (35:18, 19), and was buried “in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave”. Her sepulchre is still regarded with great veneration by the Jews. Its traditional site is about half a mile from Jerusalem.
This name is used poetically by Jeremiah (31:15–17) to denote God’s people mourning under their calamities. This passage is also quoted by Matthew as fulfilled in the lamentation at Bethlehem on account of the slaughter of the infants there at the command of Herod (Matt. 2:17, 18).