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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 34: Dinah and the Shechemites


v.1-4 Dinah in trouble with the Shechemites

v.5-7 Jacob's sons are outraged

v.8-12 Hamor seeks to set the situation right

v.13-17 The Sons persuade the Shechemites they need to be circumcised

v.18-24 All the males of the city conform

v.25-29 Simeon & Levi kill off all the males of the city

v.30-31 Jacob is distressed



v.1-4 Dinah in trouble with the Shechemites


v.1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land.

v.2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her.

v.3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.

v.4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”


[Notes: Having settled near Shechem it is perhaps not surprising that Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, goes visiting. She attracts the attention of the son of the ruler of that area, who is also known as Shechem, and he ends up raping her. He asks his father, the ruler, for her as his wife.]



v.5-7 Jacob's sons are outraged


v.5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

v.6 Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob.

v.7 Meanwhile, Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob's daughter—a thing that should not be done.


[Notes: Hamor visits Jacob but some of the sons are outraged when they hear what has happened to their sister.]



v.8-12 Hamor seeks to set the situation right


v.8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife.

v.9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves.

v.10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.”

v.11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask.

v.12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”


[Notes: Hamor asks that Dinah might be given to his son as his wife.]



v.13-17 The Sons persuade the Shechemites they need to be circumcised


v.13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.

v.14 They said to them, “We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us.

v.15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males.

v.16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you.

v.17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go.”


[Notes: The sons plot revenge and say that the requirement of circumcision separates them so if there is to be a coming together of the two peoples, the men of Shechem would need to be circumcised.]


v.18-24 All the males of the city conform


v.18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem.

v.19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father's family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter.

v.20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city.

v.21 “These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours.

v.22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are.

v.23 Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”

v.24   All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.


[Notes: This seems no doubt strange but acceptable and so the ruler and his son communicate this to their people who agree to this.]



v.25-29 Simeon & Levi kill off all the males of the city


v.25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male.

v.26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left.

v.27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled.

v.28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields.

v.29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.


[Notes: Having been circumcised in later ages, the men of Shechem are naturally feeling sore and somewhat weak. It is at this point of their vulnerability that Simeon and Levi sneak into the city and butcher all the men, looting the city and its occupants.]



v.30-31 Jacob is distressed


v.30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”

v.31 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”


[Notes: Jacob rebukes his two sons but they are not repentant.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 34


1. Rape is a horrible thing, yet one where justice should be applied, not revenge. If in doubt, pray against perpetrators that they will be exposed and dealt with by the law.

2. Rough justice in their day, in the absence of the means of law being applied, may be understandable but, as Jacob pointed out, only opens the way for ongoing feuds. As weak as it may appear, committing it to God, is indeed the answer. (Consider Rom 12:19)



Continue to Chapter 35