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“A cry is heard in RAMAH,

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Weeping and great mourning,


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weeping for her children,

and not comforted, because they are no more.”


“An outcry is heard in THE SPECIAL PLACE,

Weeping and great mourning are heard there, THE ONE WHO IS SOFT AND GENTLE LIKE A SHEEP, is weeping for her children,

refusing to be comforted, because they are gone forever.”



The name “Ramah” means “height, or high place.” A high place was a special place. The high place alone was neither a negative or a positive, but it was considered special. In this case I take it as a special place with a positive reputation, not a negative one. In ancient times many religious rituals took place on high places. That is why they became popular locations for idol worship throughout Israel’s history. But I doubt there is any reference in this name to idol worship; it is simply an indication of a special place.

Ramah is actually several miles North of Jerusalem, whereas Bethlehem sits several miles South of Jerusalem. Did someone get the wrong location? No. In the minds of the ancient peoples this prophetic statement fit perfectly, for it described the emotion and the sentiment with complete accuracy, even depicting its level of intensity. In fact, by choosing to use the name Ramah instead of Bethlehem, it places the emphasis on the meaning of the name rather than the actual location; it is a type of symbolism because one thing is standing in for another. The power of this name is that it shows how this terrible evil ruined a special place.


“Rachel” means “ewe, or sheep,” and also “soft and gentle,” and by implication, “innocent.” Here soft, gentle, innocent mothers had been bereft of their children, and were refusing any attempts to comfort them. They were inconsolable in their grief. The text does not mention anger, but that had to be there too.