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Genesis 24:59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.

What role did the nurse play? Was she mentioned in some other places?

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There are several fascinating aspects of the narrative in Gen 24:

  • Rebecca's mother is mentioned but not named in Gen 24:53 as the recipient of gifts
  • Rebecca's father (Bethuel, V24) is not given gifts, but her brother received gifts, suggesting that perhaps Bethuel had died by this time (?? - even though he is mentioned again in Gen 28:2, although this di not necessarily make him still living)
  • The nurse (named as Deborah in Gen 35:8) is also given prominence in the story

There are only a very few times in Scripture where children were nursed by anyone other than the mother - Rebecca appears to have been one. This suggests that Rebecca's mother was either disinclined or unable to lactate and hired a nurse to do so.

In any case, it was apparently the custom, at least in Laban and Bethuel's house that when a daughter was given in marriage, she was also given a personal attendant as occurred later for Leah (Gen 29:24) and Rachel (Gen 29:29).

Thus, since Deborah had nursed and presumably attended Rebecca for all of her life, she was the logical choice for Rebecca's attendant, and so she was given and went along with Rebecca back to Isaac.

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Genesis 24:59 So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her.

Then Isaac Married Rebekah and produced Esau and Jacob. Jacob went to Laban in Haran and got his wives.

The nurse' name was revealed after she died and Jacob buried her after returning from Haran.

Genesis 35:6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7There 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. 8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) Deborah.--As she was at Hebron with Rebekah when Jacob journeyed to Haran, he must have somehow gone thither before this, have seen his father, and told him of his fortunes. Apparently Rebekah was then dead, and Jacob brought back Deborah with him. (See Note on Genesis 33:18.) How dear she was to them is shown by their calling the tree under which she was buried the oak of weeping. This oak was "beneath Beth-el," that is, in the valley below it. Deborah must have died at a great age, for she gave Rebekah suck, and must therefore have been grown up at her birth. Now Jacob, when he returned from Padan-aram, was ninety-seven years of age; and as he was born twenty years after his mother's marriage--if we allow the shortest possible space for the interval spent at Succoth and Shechem--Deborah must have been nearly 160 years of age. This again confirms the conclusion that Dinah's dishonour occurred very soon after the arrival of Jacob at Shechem. (See Note on Genesis 34:1.)

Rebekah's nurse is one of the unsung heroines in the Bible.

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