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|NASB||Genesis 35:8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth.|
|Genesis 35:8 Now Deborah, [who once was] Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried below Bethel under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth (Oak of Weeping).|
I am working on Gen 35. This is what puzzled me: Why was Deborah's death specifically mentioned here while Jacob's mother Rebekah's death was not recorded until chapter 49:31? Some commentary said :-
1/ Deborah could be the one sent by Rebekah to fetch Jacob (27:45). If so, it would be strange to send out such an old woman (though not sure if she went all alone)
2/ Deborah was sent to bring the death news of Rebekah as well. If so, why not make it more specific?
If Deborah's death has any significance for Jacob, I don't recall any bible verse mentioning Jacob's relationship with her.
The above questions focus on the story context/narrative itself. I would like to take a further step on viewing the chapter.
Traditionally, the pentateuch was considered written by Moses. So, when we put our feet in the intended readers' (the ancient Israelites contemporary with Moses) shoes, what does it mean to them concerning this narrative in Jacob's story?
Thank you very much for your help.
Bible Answer: The actual reason is unknown but I included three points of view from 3 different commentaries.
Pick the answer you like best.
The mention of the death of Rebekah’s nurse Deborah (“honeybee”) shows how highly she was regarded. The great oak tree in the valley south of Bethel was called the oak of weeping because of the grief they felt.
The Complete Biblical Library Genesis, Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1996, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Chapter 35".
Since Deborah was with Jacob at this time, we assume that Rebekah had already died, and Scripture does not tell us when her death took place. Poor Jacob never saw his mother again. That part is not as tragic as the fact that she never saw him again she had just sent him away for a little while, you know. The nurse apparently had brought a message of Rebekah’s death and had come to stay with Jacob and now she dies
J. Vernon McGee, Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1983, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Chapter 35".
Now, how did Deborah come to live with Jacob? Scripture never mentions that Jacob visited his father, Isaac, after returning to the promised land. But Deborah's presence with Jacob is strong indication that he did. How else could she have been with Jacob? Her presence with Jacob also shows that Rebekah, Jacob's mother, was dead. On one of Jacob’s trips to his father's, he must have asked if Deborah could come to live with his family. Deborah had meant much to Jacob as a young man. She had nursed him as a baby and taken care of him through his childhood and teenage years. Since Scripture regards her death worth recording, she was probably a godly and wise woman who managed Jacob's household. She was perhaps a grandmother to Jacob's children as well as an advisor to him, perhaps counselling him during difficult and trying times.
Note the name Jacob gave to the oak tree where she was buried Allon Bacuth, which means "the oak of weeping" H.C. Leupold, Genesis, Vol.2, p.920. This fact, plus the fact that Jacob brought Deborah home to live with his family, strongly indicates a deep love and attachment between Jacob and her. The point is this: the revival Jacob had just experienced had given new power to bear the trials of life in this case, the loss of a loved one.
The Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible Genesis 2, Chattanooga: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996, WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "J. Jacob Returned to Bethel: The Features of Revival, 35:1-15"
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