But Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died
That is, when, and quickly after they were come to Bethel; a nurse of Rebekah's came with her to Canaan, when she married Isaac, and is generally thought to be this Deborah, which is not improbable, ( Genesis 24:59 ) , though she might have more nurses than one, as great personages sometimes have, and then it will not be so difficult to answer the objection made here; that Rebekah's nurse, whom Jacob is supposed to leave in Canaan when he went to Padanaram, should now be in his family when he returned from hence; since the reply would be, that that nurse and this Deborah were not the same; but supposing them to be the same, which is most likely, this is accounted for several ways: according to Jarchi, who had it from an ancient writer of theirs F21, Rebekah sent her to fetch Jacob home, according to her promise, ( Genesis 27:45 ) ; but it is not very probable that she should send a woman, and one so ancient, on such an errand: rather, this nurse of hers, after she had accompanied her to Canaan, and stayed awhile with her there, returned to Haran again, and being very useful in Jacob's large family, and having a great respect for them, returned again with them, and which she might choose in hopes of seeing Rebekah once more, whom she had a strong affection for; or, when Jacob was come into the land of Canaan to Shechem, he might send for her from Hebron to be assisting in his family; or going to visit his parents, which he might do before he went with his whole family to them, might bring her with him to Shechem, who travelling with him to Bethel died there: her name signifies a bee, as Josephus F23 observes: and she was buried beneath Bethel;
at the bottom of the hill or mountain on which Bethel stood: under an oak;
of which there were many about Bethel, ( 1 Kings 13:14 ) ( 2 Kings 2:23 2 Kings 2:24 ) ; and it was not unusual to bury the dead under trees, see ( 1 Samuel 31:13 ) ; and the name of it was called Allonbachuth;
the oak of weeping, because of the weeping and mourning of Jacob's family at her death, she being a good woman, an ancient servant, and in great esteem with them. The Jews have a tradition that the occasion of this weeping, or at least of the increase of it, was, that Jacob at this time had the news of the death of Rebekah his mother; so the Targum of Jonathan,
``there tidings were brought to Jacob of the death of Rebekah his mother, and he called the name of it another weeping;''and so Jarchi.
F21 R. Moses Hadarsan.
F23 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 2.