Genesis 35:16-29

Talks for Growing Christians

The Deaths of Rachael and Isaac

Genesis 35:16-29

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Lesson Number 79

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Faithfulness to God does not exempt the believer from times of sorrow.
  2. The faithfulness of God will sustain the believer in times of sorrow.

Practical Application

  1. Do you say Ben-Oni or Benjamin in your time of sorrow?


  1. What does “Back to Bethel” mean?
  2. The twelve sons of Jacob became the twelve tribes of Israel. Since Levi received no tribal territory, who made up the twelve tribes?
  3. List some of the incidents in Jacob’s life showing that God does not exempt the believer from times of sorrow.
  4. How was the faithfulness of God seen in the naming of Jacob’s last son?
  5. How can God be known as the God of comfort?


  1. Jacob returned to Bethel, where God had revealed Himself to him, and promised to protect him and bring him safely home. Bethel is the place associated with the revival that took place in Jacob’s life. “Back to Bethel” has come to mean getting your act together with the Lord and obeying Him fully.
  2. Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s sons), Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
  3. When Jacob was returning from Hebron to Bethel Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. There was incest between Reuben and Bilhah. Reuben did not receive the blessing of the first-born son and he lost his legal status. Joseph had already been sold into Egypt.
  4. Rachel named him Ben-Oni, meaning son of my sorrow, but Jacob named him Benjamin, meaning son of my right hand. Through all of the hard times, Jacob was sustained by God.
  5. Only in times of sorrow and trials.


  1. When Jacob returned to Bethel, it was the high point of his life. However, tragedy after tragedy came upon him, all within about a twelve-year span. As a Christian, do you believe that you should be exempt from tragedy and sorrow?
  2. How has God sustained you in times of sorrow? Can you say with Jacob, “Benjamin,” rather than “Ben-Oni?


  1. Do you look on the human side of sorrow or from God’s side? Remember Romans 8:28. Believe Romans 8:28.

Key Verses

  • “Rachel labored in childbirth...and as her soul was departing she named her son Ben-Oni, but Jacob called him Benjamin.” Genesis 35:16-18
  • “The sons of Jacob were twelve...” Genesis 35:22
  • “Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” Genesis 35:29

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