“16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, ‘Don’t despair, for you have another son.’ 18 As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni.But his father named him Benjamin.19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.Jacob had twelve sons:23 The sons of Leah:Reuben the firstborn of Jacob,Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.24 The sons of Rachel:Joseph and Benjamin.25 The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:Dan and Naphtali.26 The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:Gad and Asher.Someone observed, ‘Death is the ultimate statistic. One out of one dies!’ These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”NIV

Truly, in life we are in the midst of death. But what is also true is that life goes on for everyone else, and people who may see each other little at other times (maybe never see one another) often come together for a funeral (29b). Bereavement is such a potent human experience, and it can bring people together, if only for a few hours.

I found both of these quotes helpful, and I hope you do too

‘Three deaths are recorded in chapter 35, for death is one of the facts of life. Jacob’s obedience to God did not prevent him from experiencing trials. He lost a friend, Deborah; a favourite wife, Rachel; and then his beloved father.’ Warren W. Wiersbe, ‘With the Word’, pp.39,40.

‘From Bethel to Bethlehem is not far. The one, the ‘’house of God’’; the other, the “house of Bread.” We need them both if we are to bear up under the repeated shocks of life, such as the death of the old nurse Deborah, the death of our beloved Rachels, the sins of our children, and the breakup of the old home. Well is it for Jacob that he had got right with God before these repeated waves broke upon him.’ F.B.Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.28.

PRAYER: Lord, may I seek to be so right with you, and so rooted in you, that I am anchored when the storms of adversity threaten to toss my little life around.