Oak of Weeping


Genesis 35:1-9

Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”  So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.  There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,  God appeared to him again and blessed him.  God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.

Please notice the passage that I highlighted in bold above.   I sat for the longest time this morning asking the Lord, “Why did You put that information into this passage; what is the importance?”     It seems to just be dropped into the middle of another story.  So confused!  I didn’t even know that Rebekah had a nurse, let alone that her name was Deborah.  So?  I decided to just keep reading but the passage would not leave my thoughts.  Alright, so it has to be of some importance, but what?

I prayed and I asked for understanding and I waited.  I thought of the many people who have cared for my mother in her advanced years.  Without those caring servants it would be difficult to impossible to provide Mom with quality of life and allow her to maintain her dignity.  I have made it a point to learn the names of Mom’s caregivers and to express gratitude to them often because they care for someone I love dearly.

Deborah cared for Rebekah and here is God’s Thank You note to Deborah for her willing servant’s heart.  Even in the midst of declaring the nation of Israel, God acknowledges what the world (you or I) might have missed; the care of one individual for another and His thankfulness for that servant’s heart.

By the way Allon Bakuth translates to “Oak of Weeping.”

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