God Hasn’t Forgotten You, Deborah (Genesis 35:8)

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It’s easy to feel forgotten.

Time moves forward, “important” events happen around you, and sometimes, you just feel like you’re not a part of anything or anyone’s life.

I’ve felt that, and I’m sure you have too.

To be honest, I almost did that to Deborah in Genesis 35:8. I read the verses beforehand, saw the passing mention of Deborah, and kept right on moving.

Then I stopped. Who is this Debroah, I thought. And why did the Text just stop the story to mention her death?

As it turns out, there are a few things that are worth mentioning about her, and a whole lot that we can imply. According to tradition, and every reliable source that I could find, this is the same nurse that accompanied Rebekah when she first met Jacob.

According to Genesis 24:59, when Abraham’s servant first meets Rebekah, and she agrees to marry Jacob, Rebekah’s nurse goes along with her. Most believe that nurse to be this Deborah, which means she’s been by Rebekah’s side before Jacob and Esau were born, and now way after they’ve fought and reconciled.

That’s quite a lengthy time of service. It’s assumed that she outlived Rebekah, and she very nearly outlives Rachel, too (Genesis 35:20). Depending on who you read, some scholars estimate her age at somewhere between 130-160 years of age when she died.

Moreover, whereas the deaths of Sarah and Rachel are recorded in Scripture, Rebekah’s is not. Why Rebekah’s nurse’s death is mentioned instead just compounds that mystery even more, and possibly reveals the honor she held among the family of Jacob.

Speaking of Jacob, it’s easy to miss how much of an impact Deborah’s death has on him. The name of the oak that Deborah is buried under is called Allon-bacuth, which translates to “oak of weeping.”

Imagine that, then. Rebekah’s nurse, whose name is mentioned no more than twice in the entire Bible, lives through multiple generations, is an eyewitness (and probable confidante) to many notable events, travels with Jacob, and means so much to those people that they bury her under the “oak of weeping.”

Not bad for a “forgotten” person, huh? The next time you think that your presence doesn’t matter, remember Deborah. Think about how important this “background” character was to some of the major figures in Scripture. If God remembers her, He knows who you are, too.