Rachel - Bible study activities

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Young woman on her wedding day

Rachel's story

Scroll of the Bible text

The Bible text

Young Middle Eastern woman dressed in bridal regalia 

Women's Lives 
Choosing a husband

The Eye of Truth: close-up of a man's eye

Bible People: Jacob
Lies, lies, lies

Figurines excavated at Ur, original home of Abraham and Sarah; the terephim may have looked something like this

Archaeology and ancient religions
the Terephim

Large Middle Eastern family of many generations

What were families like?

Maps of the Bible lands

Bible Maps: see where they travelled

Woman in the late stages of pregnancy


Statue of a man from ancient Egypt

What happened to Rachel's son? 
Joseph of Egypt

Woman's face from an ancient Egyptian wall mural

Rachel's son and That Woman: 
Potiphar's Wife

'The Scarlet Pimpernel' with Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard

 Is it ever right to lie to someone for their own good? 

Bible Study Activities has a list of movies that explores this question.


Looking for a mediation on Rachel's story? 
Try  WHY, GOD?

Jacob and Rachel, from the Sistine Chapel painting by Michelangelo










'The Blind Side' scene from the movie

'The Blind Side': trying to get the best out of life with what you're given

Activities for individuals or groups

Deception - it's everywhere

The story of Rachel is permeated with deception. Virtually everyone in the story is deceitful or deceived, at one point or another.

'String of Lies' by Tad Lauritzen Wright

'String of Lies' by Tad Lauritzen Wright

Make a list of some of the ways that deception occurs in the modern world - for example

  • in the media which favors one point of view, politician or brand name 

  • in the reporting of news 

  • in advertising in all forms of the media

  • in our personal lives: big lies and little lies

  • or in any other forms you can think of. 

Is it alright to tell a lie for a good cause?

Does it matter? Why, why not?

Give examples and discuss the impact this has on your life and world view.

Movies about 

making the best of a bad deal 

Can you name the films?

Can you see a connection with Rachel's story?

Forrest Gump Big Love
Random Harvest

The Blind Side

Answers HERE (see 'Rachel')  Can you think of others?


Focus questions for the story of Rachel  

Rachel and Jacob, by William Dyce

Rachel and Jacob, 
by William Dyce

1. Read Rachel's story at Bible Text.
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends with? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God's interaction with the main characters? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. What is happening on either side of the story, in the chapters before and after it? Does this help you understand what is happening?
5. The narrator has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
6. Are these types of people still present in the world? Does it remind you of some aspect of your own story?


Deciding what's important

Jacob is prepared to work for seven years to get Rachel as his wife. She is prepared to wait seven years for him.

  • Have there been things in your life that were so important that you were prepared to make great sacrifices to get/achieve them?

  • Were they worth the wait and effort?

  • What have been the most important people/things/events in your life?

  • Were there things you thought were important that turned out to be a disappointment?

Make lists of these items, and compare the items with someone else's - or just spend some quiet time thinking about it by yourself.

Write Rachel's biography

The story of Rachel and Jacob is the most famous love story in the Bible. Rachel herself became a byword for womanly beauty, loyalty and steadfast love. We know quite a lot about her, but intriguingly there is much that must be imagined. What happened to her on the wedding night, when Jacob made love to her sister Leah? Did she have suspicions beforehand? What were her feelings towards Leah? How much did she and Jacob plan events when they escaped? Did she ever have doubts about Jacob, or was she privy to his thoughts all the time? What was it like when she died? 

We can't know  the answers to these questions for certain, but we can have opinions.

Write a short biography of Rachel, or at least an outline of her life (see Bible Text: Rachel for help with this). Open book

  • Collect your data

  • Organise it into time sequence or subject matter

  • Match a Bible text to each time sequence or subject

  • Read these texts carefully, noting the nuances of the passage and jotting down questions as you go

  • Write character outlines for each person

  • Divide Rachel's life into separate sections

  • Write a list of questions for each section

  • Answer the questions, making each answer a paragraph or set of paragraphs; you must have grounds for arguing your point if it is contentious

  • Read your responses from start to finish, to make sure you have the correct sequence of events and to spot any important bits you might have missed

  • Polish your material by editing out unnecessary words or phrases

Congratulations. You've written Rachel's biography.


In depth study of one person's story
Choose one of the people in this story and develop a PowerPoint presentation about them for your Bible Study Group. 

Teraphim,similar to the ones Rachel stole and hid;  small religious figurines from southern Mesopotamia, 4,000-5,000BC

Teraphim,similar to the ones Rachel stole and hid; small religious figurines from southern Mesopotamia, 4,000-5,000BC

The presentation should include 
 *  a supporting picture/painting of each person 
 *  a map of Israel showing the cities and areas where the story took place.  
You may use other websites to support your ideas.

In your presentation, answer the following questions:

1. What are the main events of the person's life?

2. What were their main qualities? What made them stand out from the crowd?

3. What obstacles did they face? Did they overcome them, or go with the flow? 

4. Which part of their story appeals to you most? Why?

Include short quotations from the Bible texts to illustrate the points you are making. 


Extra Websites

Bible Clothes and Houses
What Rachel wore, the tents they lived in 

What were families like in ancient Israel? How were they different to ours?

Bible Maps: see the great distance these people travelled

Bible Women: Major Events 
Information on the dowry and bride-price

Childbirth in the ancient world

Lies, lies, lies - the story of Rachel's husband Jacob

The Terephim, ancient religious beliefs and practices
Bible Archaeology: Ancient Religions

Nomadic Tents
Photographs of the sort of tent Rachel lived in

What happened to Rachel's son Joseph? Joseph of Egypt

Rachel's son and That Woman 
Potiphar's Wife


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