Genesis 34 - Outline of Genesis (Book Notes menu page)
34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob,
went out to see the daughters of the land.
34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her,
he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
{ie., he raped her}
Jacob had entered into commercial relationship with these people (33:19).
Dinah explored other avenues of friendship with the world (v.1), which ''led to a companionship of shame.'' [GWms]
As the situation spiraled downward, Israel (the family line) was increasingly in danger of becoming assimilated with the ungodly.
34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob,
and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter:
now his sons were with his cattle in the field:
and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard [it]:
and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth,
because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter;
which thing ought not to be done.
34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying,
The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter:
I pray you give her him to wife.
34:9 And make ye marriages with us,
[and] give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
34:10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you;
dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
34:11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren,
Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give.
34:12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift,
and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.
34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully,
and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
34:14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing,
to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that [were] a reproach unto us:
34:15 But in this will we consent unto you:
If ye will be as we [be], that every male of you be circumcised;
34:16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us,
and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised;
then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son.
34:19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing,
because he had delight in Jacob's daughter:
and he [was] more honourable than all the house of his father.
Shechem was more honourable...-
His desire to marry the girl he had defiled was honorable.
The fact, that he had dishonored her at the first, hints at the low moral character of his people, who were, in general, less honorable than he.
Israel should not have been entertaining closer relationship with these people.
Jacob did not take the leadership in his family.
  1. he deferred to the counsel of his sons. v.5
    Jacob might have resolved the situation privately between himself and Hamor (v.6).
  2. he did not propose a just resolution.
    His sons were rightly angry at a wrong that should not have been done (v.7).
    But the situation could have been resolved honorably by either...
    1. giving Dinah to Shechem in marriage.
      At least, he was honorable enough to want to marry her.
      However, this would have brought unwanted inter-relationship between the family of Israel and the ungodly Canaanites. v.9,10; cp. Gen 24:3; 26:34,35
    2. taking Dinah and departing from the area. cp. v.17
  3. he allowed his sons to speak deceitfully. v.13
    In this they reflect the influence of uncle Laban (eg., 31:7), and of Jacob in his prior way of life.
a reproach unto us (v.14)-
Jacob and his sons ignored the real reproach: the sin of rape.
The issue became 'circumcision,' the token of the Covenant.
To put this in today's context:
  • Rather than leading Shechem to repentance of sin and faith in Christ for forgiveness of sin (which would have brought him truly into the family of God), they offered the whole unsaved clan 'church membership.'
  • Shechem was ready to profess their religion in order to gain Dinah. But the external religious ritual would not have brought him into relationship with God. A person who professes faith, but who remains an unbeliever at heart, is a poor choice of marriage partner for any believer. cp. 2Cor 6:14
34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city,
and communed with the men of their city, saying,
34:21 These men [are] peaceable with us;
therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein;
for the land, behold, [it is] large enough for them;
let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
34:22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people,
if every male among us be circumcised, as they [are] circumcised.
34:23 [Shall] not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs [be] ours?
only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city;
and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

External religion is acceptable to the world, for its social and economic benefits. v.23
Jacob had been blessed and enriched by God. His neighbors had their eye on his riches, not on his God.
34:25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore,
that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren,
took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
34:26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword,
and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out.
34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city,
because they had defiled their sister.
34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses,
and that which [was] in the city, and that which [was] in the field,
34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive,
and spoiled even all that [was] in the house.
Simeon and Levi and the other sons of Jacob who took part (v.27) were in the wrong.
God would have dealt with Shechem for his sin. cp. Rom 12:19-21
God will hold Simeon, Levi and their brothers accountable for their crimes.
34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink
among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites:
and I [being] few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me;
and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
Jacob did not condemn Simeon & Levi for their treachery and murder.
Rather, his complaint concerns how their actions will affect him (note the pronouns ''I'' and ''me''). This self-centeredness and his lack of trust in God (cp. Gen 28:14,15) are indications of his immaturity in his walk with the Lord. Much later, when he had grown old and spiritually mature, he would condemn their actions and speak of the consequences (49:5-7).
Jacob (like many believing parents, today) was in anguish for the worldliness of his children.
Yet, he was only reaping what he had sowed (Gal 6:7,8), by...
  1. the example of his life -
    • his decisions had been based on self-direction, rather than on faith in God's Word.
    • his dealings with others had modeled the way of deception before his children.
  2. the environment of his household -
    • the influence of uncle Laban had reinforced the way of deception.
    • the influence of Shechem (the city), where he had chosen to settle for worldly advantage, exposed his family to moral and spiritual dangers. If he had not settled short of Bethel (Gen 31:13), the dishonor upon Dinah, and the dishonorable conduct of his sons, may well have been avoided. But God used this situation to chasten him and move him on, to the place of communion with Him.
    • the unrest in his home. His family, like that of Abraham, suffered internal strife due to multiple wives. The bitterness of Leah, who felt unloved, overflowed in the lives of her children. Several of them fell into trouble: Dinah, Simeon & Levi (in ch.34), Reuben (35:22) and Judah (ch.38).
Yet, God would bring good out of this troubled family, to bless all the families of the earth.

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