A Strange Footnote – Genesis 35:8

In Genesis 35:8, there is a strange sentence in the midst of the story of Jacob and his sons I have a hard time shooting past…

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died,
and she was buried below Bethel under the oak;
it was named Allon-bacuth.

Talk about a minor character? And yet, for some reason, Rebekah’s nurse is mentioned by name and a location was named in honor or her. Allon-bacuth means “Oak of weeping.”

There are so many unanswered questions here. This was Rebekah’s nurse, Jacob’s mother’s nurse. She may have been with Rebekah when she left her family to marry Issac whom she had never seen. But why is it mentioned here, in the midst of Jacob and Rachel’s story? And why is it mentioned at all? What was special about this Deborah?

I don’t have answers, but can only assume that she was a faithful, committed servant who made her way into the hearts of others.

Nameless throughout her own life, she is named for eternity in God’s word.

Sometimes I feel nameless, serving as faithfully as I can, not making a huge splash on this world. I don’t have hopes or desires for a location to be named on my behalf. But I’m glad for this little footnote, this little fact that doesn’t seem to fit in the paragraph, honoring a servant. God saw Deborah in her faithfulness, in how she affected others,

…and he sees me in mine.

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