How much does this custom among the Indian woman of repairing to the hilltops in the night, and pouring forth their wailings for the dead, call to mind the beautiful and affecting passage of Scripture, "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children
, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
"In Ramah there was a voice heard,--weeping, and lamentation, and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children
, and would not be comforted."
'A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children
; refusing to be comforted because they were no more' (Jer.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children
, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.
Rashi refers to Pesikta Rabbati 3:4, which has Jacob explaining why he had acted as he did: "But you should know that I buried her there by the word of God, that she might help her children when Nebuzaradan would exile them: (2) For when they passed along that road, Rachel came forth from her grave and stood by her tomb beseeching mercy for them, as it is said, A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children
Rather, we see 'Rachel weeping for her children
' (Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:16-18) and the immense and incredulous anguish of the 'Women of Jerusalem', who mourn Jesus' death.
For Christians it is at the end of the year at the commemoration of the Holy Innocents on December 28 that the same words, as quoted in Matthew's Gospel, speak a poignant message: A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children
; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.
To tell of the "Holy Innocents"--those male children Herod condemned to death--the gospel writer quotes Jeremiah: "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children
; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more" (Matthew 2:18).
She conceived again and died giving birth to another boy, Ben-Oni, whose name means, significantly, "son of my sorrow"--a boy renamed by his father, who called him Benjamin, which means "the son of my right hand:' Rachel was buried in a tomb on the way to Bethlehem (Genesis 35:18-19), and it is to this Rachel that the prophet Jeremiah later referred: "This is what the Lord says: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping; Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more'" (Jeremiah 31:15).
Rachel weeping for her children
, refuses to be consoled, "because they are no more [2:18]."
The phrase " Rachel weeping for her children
refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not, " which appears in Jeremiah 31:15, was later taken by Matthew to be a prophecy of Herod's massacre of the Innocents after the birth of Jesus (Matt.
As the prophet Jeremiah had foretold, 'A voice was heard in Rama, sobbing and loudly lamenting: it was Rachel weeping for her children
, refusing to be comforted because they were no more.'