December 04, 2006
Breadcrumb: An unpleasant first
In Gen. 35:16-19, we have another Biblical first: the first death from childbirth. Rachel had hard labour with her second son, Benjamin, and in fact died. It is not surprising that a matriarch died in childbirth; it is more surprising that it took so long for the text to mention such an occurrence. After all, one of the leading causes of female death throughout history, until very recently, was childbirth. The text, here, is only pointing out the obvious to its readers: women, even important women, often died while giving birth.