And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. (Genesis 35:4 KJV)

But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. (Genesis 35:8 KJV)

So the idols were buried "under an oak" and Deborah Rebekah's nurse was buried beneath Bethel "under an oak"

Why the mention of Rebekah?

H439 - 'Allown Bakuwth = Outline of Biblical Usage: Allon Bachuth = "oak of weeping"

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    The answer may well be very banal - in a hot climate when you have to work hard to dig a hole - do it in the shade of a tree. hence things tended to buried under trees.
    – Dottard
    Feb 4, 2021 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


Is there a correlation between Genesis 35:4 and Genesis 35:8?

In Gen. 35:4, the Hebrew word used is אִלָה (elah H424) which can be translated as a big tree, elm, oak, teil-tree, or terebinth.

The Insight on the Scriptures article entitled "Big Tree" says the following:

A tree considered likely to be among “the big trees” of the Bible is the terebinth, or turpentine tree (Pistacia palaestina or Pistacia atlantica). (Ge 12:6; 14:13) It is a common tree in Palestine and has a thick trunk and widespreading branches. Some varieties may attain to heights of as much as 15 m (50 ft), providing excellent shade.

As Dottard commented, if you work in the heat you tend to favor the shade whenever possible.

Why the mention of Rebekah?

It was not Rebekah herself but her nurse, Deborah, that was noted for being buried "under an oak". Again, if you have to work in the heat at least work in the shade.


As Dottard and agarza pointed out, oak trees were large and provided excellent shade. Here are some more examples from the OT:

Jos 24:26

And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD.

Jdg 6:11

The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite

Jdg 6:19

Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah[fn] of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

1Ki 13:14

and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied.

Hos 4:13

They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth

Now back to Genesis 35:

4 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. 5Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

6Jacob 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.

8Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.

An oak tree was big. It served nicely as a sort of address or location identifier. Also, it provided excellent shade to sit under or dig.

Is there a correlation between Genesis 35:4 and Genesis 35:8? If so, what is the spiritual meaning behind it?

'Under the oak's were just practical convenient locations. I doubt there is any spiritual significance.

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