Genesis 34 (ESV)
Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done.
8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife” . . . Continue Reading
Victims and Predators
Genesis 34 is such a disturbing chapter on so many levels. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah when going “out to see the women of the land (Genesis 34:1) is raped by Shechem who was the son of Prince Hamor the Hivite. Young Dinah was vulnerable and Shechem” was a predator.
Genesis 34:3 offers insight into Shechem’s corrupted mind, twisted thinking and darkened heart when it says his “soul was drawn to her” and in his mind he “loved” her and he “spoke tenderly to her.” His words may be “tender” but his actions are violent and speak louder than any of his disgusting sweet talk spoken to Dinah. Now in his possession, he wants to keep her for himself and tells his father to “get me this girl for my wife” (Genesis 34:4).
It’s interesting to read that “Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter” and “held his peace” because his sons were “with his livestock in the field” (Genesis 34:5). How did Jacob hear about this? Who told him? Was this defilement done openly where people could hear him attacking her? Did word get around?
Either way, someone told Jacob and while Hamor is on his way to speak to him, someone (possibly the same person) went and told Jacob’s sons who were still in the field. Thankfully Jacob is not alone for long and in the very next verse we read, “The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done” (Genesis 34:7).
When Hamor goes out to speak with Jacob, he brings his son Shechem with him (Genesis 34:11) which is not mentioned in Genesis 34:6. After Hamor proposes they trade daughters and property with each other, Shechem, adding insult to injury, speaks to Jacob and his sons saying, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.”
Is this the kind of “sweet talk” he was saying to Dinah? Enticing her with the benefits of being married to the prince’s son?
The response from Jacob’s sons reveals they had payback in mind. In Genesis 34:13 they said, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us” (Genesis 34:14) followed by their requirements to allow Shechem to marry Dinah: “Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone” (Genesis 34:13-17).
Incredibly, this news actually pleased Hamor and Shechem and in Genesis 34:24 we read, “And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.”
Three “sore” days later, Simeon and Levi (Dinah’s brothers) kill all the males with their swords. They killed Hamor and Shechem and rescued Dinah (who was still in Shechem’s house). Then they took everything and everyone that was in the city and in the field. Not only did this mass circumcision hinder their ability to fight back, but the men suffered for three days before they were killed.
This dark chapter ends with Jacob confronting his sons for what they’ve done (Genesis 34:30) and their justification for it (Genesis 34:31).
So Dinah is rescued but her rescuers captured all the newly widowed wives and their children and plundered the city, taking their flocks, herds, donkeys, whatever was in the city and in the field all their wealth and everything that was in the houses.
Who are the victims now and who are the predators that prey on the vulnerable?
Thank you for reading my daily online journal today. Far from commentaries these are just my initial thoughts after reflecting on what I’ve read from a chapter in God’s Word each morning. This not only helps me apply what I’ve read because I’m reflecting and sharing instead of only reading but it also allows me to encourage others to prayerfully consider doing the same.
In His Care,