"Rachel Weeping For Her Children"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

Context: At the birth of Jesus, the Magi or wise men, seeing "his star in the east," travel to Jerusalem where they ask Herod the whereabouts of the one "born King of the Jews." Troubled by the threat to his power, Herod tells them to find the child that he too may worship the new King. After paying homage to the Christ and being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the wise men go immediately to their own country. Joseph, told by an angel of Herod's plan to kill the child, takes his family and flees into Egypt. Furious with the Magi, Herod orders that all male children two years old or under be killed, thus causing a tragedy comparable to the exile of the tribes of the north, over whom Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin and of the northern tribes, sorrowed (Jeremiah 31:15). Her tomb is at Rama, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem:

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.

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