In the Beginning
Here are the highlights from Genesis 34. A violent attack occurred against Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. I was discussed that violence has been around since shortly after the fall and has been occurring at an alarming rate since. (Cain and Able)
Shechem, son of Hamor saw this woman, took her and forced himself upon her (raped her) which violated her or “defiled” her.
The Hebrew wording says that he “laid her” indicating that this was much more brutal than most people realize. “Defiling” her means “he made her to suffer”.
Strangely, this scene takes a turn from violence to “I think I love you. Scriptures state that Shechem was strongly attracted to Dinah. And asked his father to get her for my wife. Many commentaries state that in ancient cultures like this one, it was prohibited to rape or take by force a woman from your own clan but that rarely this was prohibited from another clan. So the possibility existed that Shechem didn’t think it was actually wrong or right. That didn’t change the fact that Jacob’s son were not happy about it.
Hamor begins the negotiating for Dinah and intermarriages between the 2 clans and skirts around the issue of rape against Jacob’s daughter and say that no price is too high for her hand.
Levi and Simeon would not have it and deceitfully devised a plan saying, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a reproach to us. But on this condition we will consent to you: If you will become as we are, if every male of you is circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us; and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if you will not heed us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and be gone.
This was never going to happen as it had been laid out by the sons. It was not God’s plan for these 2 clans to become one clan. But Hamor went to the town gate and spoke with the leaders and it was agreed to become circumcised. Note that Hamor added to the deal when speaking to the town leaders that the property and animals would be included in this deal along with the daughters of Jacob.
People will do just about anything for money/wealth. According to a poll, What would you do for a million dollars, 38% of those polled would kill their family pet, 8% would give up a limb, 1% would have their tongue removed and 51% would burn their country flag. All this for a chance at wealth.
While the men were in considerable pain from the circumcision, Simeon and Levi walked straight through the front gates of the city, swords in hand and killed all the men and plundered the city. Jacob has been silent through this whole ordeal until now. He complains that shame and mockery has been brought on his name and that now his life will be on the line. I find this hard to grasp that his concern seems to not be for his daughter or for this massive loss of life but for his name. Perhaps, and this is only one of those what if’s, perhaps his concern is that he is a representative of the Lord God and that any shame might not only fall on him but on the name of his God. The text doesn’t state this. I am just wondering. Jacob is upset and the son’s equally. The chapter ends with these striking words, But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?
Verse of the Week
Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; For in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel
– Genesis 49:5-7.
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