And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor.…
1. Providence ordereth the saints below no long settlement, but to move sometimes from desired places.
2. Motions from Bethel to Ephrath, from God's comforts to God's chastenings are ordered to God's saint's by himself.
3. Providential afflictions may betide God's dearest servants unexpectedly in their ways.
4. Souls exorbitantly desirous of children, may have them from God with bitterness enough (ver. 16).
5. The bitterest pains in child-bearing may befall the best of women.
6. It is the midwife's honour, with God's Spirit, to be pitiful and comfortable unto women in travail.
7. God doth add sons to His in their earnest desires sometimes, wherein they may take little delight (Genesis 30:24),
8. Providence sometimes brings living children out of dying mothers (Ver. 17).
9. Killing pains in child-bearing may befal souls to much longing for children.
10. Dying mothers in their passions may name children their griefs and not their joy.
11. Souls die not, but go out of bodies to God who gave them (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
12. Tender affection in fathers name their children more dear which they have with loss of wives (ver. 18).
13. Rachels may die when Leahs live, the beloved before the despised.
14. Comely interment is a duty to relations in all places, where providence calleth them away.
15. Places notable for births and burials are sometimes noted by God's spirit (ver. 19).
16. It is suitable to nature and not contrary to grace, to set up and keep memorials of deceased relations.
17. Durable monuments of providences may be useful for posterity.
18. It is not unlawful to leave monuments of the dead, only vanity and superstition avoided (ver. 20).
(G. Hughes, B. D)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.