New Defender's Study Bible Notes
35:1 go up to Bethel. It is strange that during all the ten years or so that Jacob had been back in Canaan he had never yet gone back to nearby Bethel to build his altar, as he had promised God he would do when he was leaving Canaan (Genesis 28:20-22). He may have been spiritually uncomfortable with how content he allowed his family to become in their compromising and worldly prosperity at Shechem.
35:2 the strange gods. His family and servants still had some of the pagan images and charms they had brought from Syria, not to mention the spoils of Shechem. These spoils had to be buried before they could really meet God at Bethel (like many modern believers who try to retain many of the accouterments of ungodliness from which they had been once delivered).
35:8 Allon-bachuth. Allon-bachuth means “The Oak of Weeping.” Deborah was Rebekah’s nurse and accompanied her when she left her home to marry Isaac. Deborah no doubt stayed with Rebekah until Rebekah’s death. She had known and loved Jacob ever since he was born, and evidently had gone to live with him on the occasion of one of his trips home from Shechem to Hebron to visit his aged father Isaac. Her aged body finally yielded up its spirit after the trauma of Shechem and the arduous climb up to Bethel.
35:19 Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem. It was here that Rachel died and here that Jesus was born, as prophesied in Micah 5:2. Rachel’s son Benjamin (“son of my right hand,” first named by Rachel, Benoni, “son of pain”) was the progenitor of the tribe that would eventually inhabit this portion of the Promised Land. Hence the phrase, “Rachel weeping for her children” (Matthew 2:18; Jeremiah 3l:15), when Herod sought to slay the male children of Bethlehem. Note also the reference to Ephratah in Psalm 132:6.