An Old Testament Women Who Prophesied, Though She Was Not Known As A Prophet

The first recorded prophecy from a women comes from Rachel (the traditional site of her tomb is shown above).

Rachel was the favored wife of Jacob. The younger sister of Leah, Rachel was noted more for her beauty than for her character, or spiritual depth and maturity. God had not been impressed with Rachel’s good looks, for God looks at the heart, and that’s why He had blessed Leah with all her sons. Her worth, while never fully realized by her husband, was great in the eyes of God. 

Leah seemed to have had the stronger faith, she longed for her husband’s love but instead experienced God’s blessing in having children. Rachel was not so strong in faith, she had her husband’s love, but seeing her sister Leah receive honor for her children made Rachel bitter with envy. Rachel saw herself in a great struggle, not with God, but with her sister.

Rachel was barren and became so jealous of her sister that she demanded children from Jacob. Her demand struck hard at Jacob’s virility and male ego, so Jacob struck back just as fiercely. He used spiritual language, and used God’s name, to rebuke her, and his spirit was harsh. 

Even though the Bible says Jacob had a great love for Rachel it’s not very evident at this difficult time in Rachel’s life. Her jealousy implied that she lacked a sense of assurance of Jacob’s love. When Jacob’s mother Rebekah had been barren, Isaac had been gentle and tender, he had prayed for his wife. But Jacob didn’t pray for Rachel.

Nevertheless, at long last God granted Rachel a child, and she received a prophetic word, 

“she called his name Joseph, saying, “The Lord will add to me another son.” (Genesis 30:24 Modern English Version MEV)

She knew, prophetically, one more son would be granted.

From clues given in the text, it must have been nearly seven years after her marriage to Jacob that Rachel finally gave birth to Joseph. Sadly, when her prophecy was finally fulfilled, and the second son came, Rachel died giving birth to to the baby she had bee looking forward to for so long, her second son. As her life faded away, just before she died, Rachel named her baby boy “Ben-oni,” or “son of my suffering.” (Jacob renamed his twelfth son “Benjamin,” “son of my right hand.”)

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