A captivating photo showcasing a serene landscape, with a lone figure standing on the ancient grounds of Ramah, evoking the essence of the biblical character and their significance in "The Chosen."

Who Is Ramah In The Bible The Chosen?

The name Ramah appears several times in the Bible, referring to different places and people. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: There is no specific person named Ramah who is referred to as “the chosen one” in the Bible.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the different references to Ramah in the Bible and analyze if any of them point to a chosen figure.

We will cover the meaning and origin of the name Ramah, the various places called Ramah, the mention of Ramah in biblical prophecy, and the connections between Ramah and the idea of being chosen or elected in the Bible.

The Meaning and Origin of the Name Ramah

The name Ramah has rich biblical meaning and significance. It first appears in the Old Testament as the name of a city located on the border between the northern and southern kingdoms of ancient Israel.

Etymological Meaning

In Hebrew, the name Ramah (רָמָה) literally means “hill” or “high place.” This stems from the Hebrew word ram (רָם), meaning “to be high.”

Some Bible scholars believe Ramah got its name because it was located on a high hill. Others think the name might refer to the high ground near the city that was used for worship, similar to a “high place.”

Biblical Significance

Ramah first appears in the biblical text in Joshua 18, where it demarcates part of the border between the Israelite tribes of Benjamin and Ephraim:

“On the north side the border went from the Jordan at the end of Jericho to the waters of Jericho into the hill country, and then up from the hill country to Bethel. From Bethel it ran to Luz, and on to the border of the Archites at Ataroth.

Then it descended westward to the district of Japhlet, as far as the border of Lower Beth-horon, then to Gezer, ending at the Mediterranean Sea.” (Joshua 18:12-14)

This places Ramah just north of Jerusalem. The city shows up later in Israel’s history as an assembly point for the prophet Samuel and King Saul (1 Samuel 15:34). It was also fortified by King Baasha of Israel during wars with Judah (1 Kings 15:17-22).

So while the name Ramah denoted “high place,” the city itself bordered both northern and southern kingdoms and played a strategic military role in Israel’s defense.

Connection to Rachel’s Tomb

An interesting theory connects the name Ramah with Rachel’s tomb. In Jeremiah 31, the weeping of Rachel “in Ramah” symbolizes her mourning for the exiles taken to Babylon:

“A voice was heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

Rachel was one of Jacob’s two wives and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She died giving birth and was buried near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:16-20). Her tomb remains a revered site today.

Some speculate Ramah refers to the height near Rachel’s tomb where exiles were gathered before their journey to Babylon. Her spirit is seen weeping over them from her lofty burial place.

A Chosen Place

While the precise origin of the name is uncertain, clearly Ramah was an important border city and strategic high point in Israel’s territory. It witnessed pivotal moments in Israel’s history and somehow connects even with the matriarch Rachel.

So in the Bible, Ramah emerges as a chosen place – a high point in geography, military defense, and even symbolic significance for the prophets and mothers of Israel.

The Different Places Called Ramah in the Bible

Ramah in Benjamin

Ramah was a city located in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. It was near Bethel and about 5 miles north of Jerusalem (Joshua 18:25). This Ramah may be the same place where Rachel died and was buried (Genesis 35:19-20).

Ramah in Naphtali

Another Ramah was located in the territory allotted to the tribe of Naphtali. It was near or in the district of Galilee (Joshua 19:36). This could possibly be the same as the Ramah where Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, was buried (Genesis 35:8).

Ramah in Egypt

The prophet Jeremiah referred to a Ramah located in Egypt. This was a place where Jewish refugees settled after fleeing from Jerusalem (Jeremiah 40:1). It was probably an existing city with a sizable Jewish colony.

Ramah in Samuel

This town of Ramah gained fame as the residence of Samuel the prophet. It was also the place where he anointed Saul the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 1:1, 9:1–10). This Ramah was located in the hill country of Ephraim about 5 miles from Bethel and Shiloh.

The Prophecy Concerning Ramah in Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah delivers an ominous prophecy concerning the town of Ramah in Jeremiah 31:15-17. This passage describes the weeping and mourning in Ramah following the tragic exile of the people of Israel from their homeland.

The grief expressed echoes through the generations as a reminder of the suffering caused by disobedience to God.

Ramah was a town located about five miles north of Jerusalem. It served as a gathering point where exiles were assembled before being deported to Babylon. The scene of tearful mothers grieving over their children departing into exile was heart-wrenching.

Jeremiah prophesies that “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15) Rachel was one of the matriarchs of Israel who had died giving birth to Benjamin centuries earlier.

She represents the sorrow of all the mothers weeping for their children.

The despair in Ramah was so intense that Jeremiah declares it could be heard from a great distance. The mourning permeates the atmosphere. It reflects the intense grief over the loss of an entire generation through exile. The inconsolable weeping strains the limits of human emotion.

Yet even in this deep darkness of exile, there is hope. “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears…There is hope in your future,” Jeremiah prophesies in verse 17. God had not forgotten or abandoned his people.

The time would come when their exile would end and they would return to their homeland once again.

Centuries later in the book of Matthew, this prophecy finds a secondary meaning and fulfillment. When King Herod orders the slaughter of all male infants around Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth, Matthew recognizes the agony of the mothers mourning the loss of their children.

The sorrowful scene in Bethlehem echoes the mourning in Ramah centuries earlier. Out of this deep grief, the hope proclaimed by Jeremiah will find its climatic realization in the Messiah who has come to comfort his people.

The prophecy concerning Ramah powerfully captures the themes of loss, grief, and hope that characterize much of Jeremiah’s message. Even in the depths of despair, he calls the people to lift their eyes in hope to the restoration and renewal God will bring about in keeping with his promises.

The Cassandra-like vocation of this weeping prophet finds its answer in the compassionate Messiah who weeps over the sorrow of God’s people.

The Concept of the Chosen in Connection to Ramah

Ramah and Rachel’s Children as the Chosen

The story of Ramah is intertwined with Rachel and her children Joseph and Benjamin in the Bible. As Jacob’s favored wife, Rachel could be considered “the chosen one,” and her first son Joseph was clearly Jacob’s favorite child (Genesis 37:3).

When Rachel died giving birth to her second son Benjamin near Ramah, she named him Benoni, meaning “son of my sorrow” (Genesis 35:18). However, Jacob chose to name him Benjamin, meaning “son of the right hand” – once again indicating favor and chosen status.

These stories connect the concept of the “chosen” directly to Ramah through Rachel and her treasured sons.

The Choice of Ramah as a Gathering Place

In 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel chose Ramah as a gathering place to judge and lead the Israelites. By picking Ramah rather than his hometown or another location, Samuel established it as a chosen site for religious leadership and guidance for the people.

References in the prophecy books of Jeremiah and Hosea also refer to Ramah as a place of gathering for those being called back from exile in Babylon (Jeremiah 31:15; Hosea 5:8). So its selection by religious leaders like Samuel marked Ramah as a special chosen location for assembly and inspiration in biblical history.


In summary, while there are several important references to Ramah in the Bible, there is no clear evidence pointing to a specific figure called “Ramah the chosen one.”

The name Ramah is applied to various places, including a city in Benjamin associated with Rachel and prophecies about exile and restoration. There are connections between Ramah and the chosen people or children of Israel.

However, the exact phrase “Ramah the chosen” does not appear in the Bible. The name Ramah means “height” and several hills or elevated places share this name without being specified as divinely elected individuals.

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