ESV - 18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."
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This verse from Matthew is a quotation of Jeremiah 31:15, which spoke of the sorrow caused by the conquest of Israel by Babylon, and the subsequent exile of the Israelites there. However, it was also a prophetic reference to the slaughter of children in the area around Bethlehem that was ordered by Herod the Great after learning that Bethlehem was the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:2), whom Herod perceived as a threat to his rule. Rachel is mentioned in this connection because she was Jacob's favorite wife (as well as the mother of Joseph (who had enabled Israel to survive in Egypt prior to the exodus) and of Benjamin), who had died in childbirth near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19), and was buried there, thus becoming associated with that region, with its inhabitants regarded as her figurative "children".
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