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Genesis Thirty Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Genesis 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Dinah. Dinah must have been at least in her teens by this time, so that Jacob and his family must have lived in Succoth and Shechem almost ten years. Her older brothers—Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah—were thus at least in their twenties.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.

Genesis 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.

Genesis 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.

Jacob held his peace. Jacob apparently took no part in the subsequent negotiations and plans, perhaps so grieved and distressed that he went off by himself. Probably he suddenly realized his dreadful mistake in settling so close and so long to such a callously immoral pagan city as Shechem. However, he compounded his mistake by being so indecisive in this crisis, abdicating his responsibility to Dinah's two hot-headed older brothers.

Genesis 34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:

Genesis 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:

Genesis 34:15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.

Genesis 34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son.

Genesis 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.

more honourable. That is, Shechem was “honored” more than anyone else. Because of the high esteem in which he was held by the others, and by his willingness to be circumcised, the other men agreed to submit to a religious rite which they knew would be painful and questionable.

Genesis 34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

slew all the males. This act of murderous revenge, preceded by deception and blasphemy, was no doubt reconciled in the minds of Simeon and Levi as a case of the end justifying the means. The name of Israel had been tarnished severely (Genesis 34:7), their beloved sister not only raped but bargained for like a harlot, and the whole affair treated as a matter-of-fact commercial arrangement by the city's king. The crime could not be ignored, but they could not take vengeance on Shechem only, since the rest of the men were as guilty as he in their attitudes about it (these men would themselves have defiled Dinah if they had had the opportunity, but they had to defer to their “honored” prince). Also, if the other men would have been spared, they would immediately have responded with a vendetta against all the Israelites. Jacob, by God's wisdom, could surely have found a better solution, but in his grief had withdrawn from the whole situation.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.

Genesis 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,

Genesis 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.

wives took they captive. Critics have alleged that the women were taken by the sons of Israel for their own sexual purposes, but this is certainly an unwarranted assumption. They took the women and children “captive” (they at least spared their lives and provided for their future sustenance), evidently using them as servants thereafter. Jacob already had a significant retinue of servants, and they probably joined them.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?