Genesis Chapter 34

In the last part of the book of Genesis, Jacob returned to the land of his family in Canaan. Jacob is living righteously and has been favored of God and blessed greatly for his faith. The story of his family continues as follows:

1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
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.
3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
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’s daughter Dinah was out in the land when a man named Shechem saw her and took advantage of her. He decided he wanted to marry her. Jacob learned what had happened and waited to say anything to his family until his sons had returned from working in the field.

6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
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.
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.
9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
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.
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.
13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
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:
15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
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.
17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
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’s father, Hamor, went to talk to Jacob about his son marrying her. Her brothers were angry at what had happened to their sister, but Hamor said that his son wanted to marry Dinah. Then he went even further to request that the sons of Jacob marry his daughters, and unite their families. He offered what ever they desired of his, as a gift for allowing Dinah to marry his son. The sons of Jacob (the footnote, says Simeon and Levi, who were also the children of Leah) said that they could not allow this because the family of Hamar was uncircumcised, but that if the men in their family would be circumcised they would allow it. Hamor and his son Shechem were happy with this arrangement. In order to get what he desired, Shechem was prepared to be circumcised. They did not know, however, that the sons of Jacob were being deceitful and did not really plan on going through with the arrangement.

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

Hamor and Shechem arranged for the brothers to be allowed into the city and the land around it, because they planned to be joined families through marriage. They convinced the men of their city to be circumcised so that they would all benefit from the arrangement. Then all the men there were circumcised.

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.
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.
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
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,
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.
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.
31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Simeon and Levi went to the city while the men were recovering from their circumcisions, and killed them, including Hamor and Shechem. They also took Dinah back to their home. Then the rest of the sons ransacked the city to get revenge for what they had done to Dinah. They took everything there of value, including the wives and children. Jacob, knowing what they had done, told them that they had brought trouble upon him. Now, he felt that others would join together against them for what they had done to the people of that city, and possibly destroy his family. Their response was that they had done this because Shechem should not have been able to treat their sister as he had.

This is an example of what the desire for revenge can become. They were angry for the wrong that was done against their sister, and in that anger they killed many. Revenge is not a righteous motive for fighting against another. Jacob, who was a righteous man, knew that nothing good could come of their making this wicked decision out of anger. I am sure that the Lord was not pleased with their choices and I imagine that I will read about what bad may come of it later in the Bible. What we should learn from this, is that those who wish to do the will of the Lord, will find a way to have forgiveness for the wrongs others do to them, no matter how awful they may be. If we instead, follow our natural desire for revenge and anger, we will be hurting ourselves far more then those we are angry with.


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