About Jesus Steve Sweetman
And the Shechemites (ch. 34:1 – 31)
In verse 1 we see Dinah
mentioned. In Genesis 30:21
we see that Dinah was born from Leah.
Here in verse 1 she goes out and visits with her friends where
she lived. These were not
part of her family, but were part of the people who lived in this area
before Jacob had moved to this location.
In verse 2 a man named
Shechem raped Dinah while she was away from home.
Shechem was the son of the ruler of that area.
So he was an important person.
This is the beginning of problems for Jacob and his family while
in the area where they should not have been.
God wanted them in
Verse 3 may sound
strange. It tells us that
Shechem loved Dinah. That
sounds strange coming from a man who has raped her.
Nevertheless, Shechem tells his father, the ruler of the land, to
get Diana for his wife. I
think things would have gone better all around if he would have just
asked his father to get Dinah for his wife instead of raping her.
We see in verse 5 that
when Jacob heard that Dinah was raped his sons were in the fields with
their livestock. Jacob kept
quiet about this until his sons returned.
Verse 7 states that the sons left the field as soon as they heard
the news. They were furious.
It's a little too late,
but Hamor, Schechem's father, asks Jacob for Dinah.
You can imagine how Jacob would have felt hearing this request.
In verse 7 we see that
the brothers of Dinah upon returning home, were both grieved and
furious. The text states
that such a disgraceful act "was a thing that should not have been
done." Even though
there was much immorality in those days, rape was not considered
acceptable, even in a man's world as it was back then.
Verse 8 suggests to me
that Hamor was begging Jacob for Dinah.
He said that his son "had his heart set on her".
He said, "please" give Dinah to Shechem.
Was Shechem's heart set on her, or was his hormones raging?
It's hard to say.
In verses 9 and 10 Hamor
tells Jacob to allow intermarriage.
He suggests that they can be one big happy family.
They can work together, trade together, and live together.
It would be more than a marriage between Shechem and Dinah, but a
marriage between two cultures. Israel
has always had this problem, that is, the marriage between them and
others, something that God specifically said no to.
The church and individual Christians have done the same by
marrying ourselves with the world.
Verse 11 sure shows the
nerve of Shechem. He says to
Jacob and to the brothers that if he could find favour in their eyes, he
would give them anything to have Dinah as his wife.
Well, after raping Dinah, I'm not sure how Shechem can expect to
find favour in Jacob and his son's eyes. He
repeats himself in verse 12 when he says, "just name the
price". Whatever it
takes, he will give in order to have Dinah as his wife.
I can't really say what
is going through Shechem's mind, but his understanding of women must be
pretty low, and it makes me wonder how much in love he really was with
Dinah. If he expected Jacob
to hand over his daughter for a price, that doesn't speak well of how he
feels about women. If Jacob
would have done that, it wouldn't speak well of how he felt about women
either. I know that was a
man's world back then, and women were less important than men, but this
would be going farther than the cultural norm in my thinking. Men
did provide a dowry to the father of the bride in those days, but the
attitude expressed by Shechem seemed to be more of a purchase of Dinah
than providing a dowry. Part
of the reason for a dowry was to provide security for the woman in case
her husband died. Her father
would have the dowry to help her out, much like an insurance policy.
Shechem seems to have the
feeling that he can pay his way out of his problems.
If he can just pay the price, Jacob's family will forgive him.
This shows his arrogance and lack of respect and good will.
Verse 13 tells us that
Jacob's sons replied to this request in a "deceitful" way,
something that they surely learned from their father, the master of
The brothers turned down
the request, not based on the fact that Shechem had raped Dinah, but
based on the fact that Shechem and the men in his society were not
circumcised. We know
that God told Abraham that all his descendents must be circumcised or
else they would be cut off from among Abraham's descendents.
On the other hand, God did allow for foreigners to join Israel
if they were circumcised.
In verses 15 through 18
the brothers state their position. They
are willing to give Dinah to Shechem, and also willing to live together
in harmony, even to the extent of marrying wives from Shechem's
community. There was just
one condition, and that was every man among Shechem's people must be
circumcised. This is
where the deceit comes in as we will see later.
The brothers were not really interested in making a deal.
They had other plans in mind. The
brothers were actually using something that was from God, that is,
circumcision, to help them in their deceit.
In verse 18 we learn that
this proposal seemed good to Hamor and Shechem, so in n verse 20 Hamor,
Shechem and the other men of their city went to the gate of the city to
talk this over. In those
days such city wide gatherings were usually held at the gates to cities.
City gates were like our town halls today.
It appears to me that
Shechem had more hormones than brains.
He jumped at the idea of everyone getting circumcised.
I don't see Shechem being a very bright individual.
He appears to be arrogant, selfish, thoughtless, and stupid.
The discussion that took
place at the city gate is seen in verses 21 through 23.
The plan was a full amalgamation between the two groups of
people. Hamor and his people
thought they would gain financially from the deal because Jacob's
livestock would be as good as theirs.
The important thing to note here is that this deal was not meant
simply to exchange women. It
was an integration of two peoples, something God had always said was not
to be. Israel
was to remain distinct and not inter-marry.
The decision was made in
verse 24. Hamor and his men
decided to be circumcised. Remember,
these are grown men who were willing to be circumcised.
This must have meant lots to these men.
Verse 25 explains why the
plan that was devised by the sons of Jacob was deceptive.
The test states that three days after the men were circumcised,
Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed all the men.
The verse says that the men were still in pain because of the
circumcision. Some medical
people suggest that the third day after such a procedure is the worse
day for pain. It is clear
that Simeon and Levi would have known this.
So once again, deception rules in God's people.
Even though Dinah was raped, this was no way to respond, as we
In verse 26 we see that
Simeon and Levi stabbed Hamor and Shechem and took Dinah from Shechem's
house. Apparently she had
been living with him prior to the deal being formalized.
I'm not sure why she was living with Shechem.
You would think she wouldn't want to live with him. I
wonder if she was living with him against her will.
In verses 27 through 29
we see that the two sons didn't just kill the men.
They took all their possessions and even their women.
It was literally a war zone.
Jacob is not happy at all
with what Simeon and Levi did as
seen in verse 31. He is now
afraid that other people who live in
Verse 31 closes this with
the response of Simeon and Levi. They
simply asked, "should he have treated our sister as a
prostitute." They were
simply saying that Shechem got what he deserved,
But the point is that they went a little overboard in response to
one man's deed. They killed
all the men, took their women and possessions, just because of one man's
wrong. Their response is
definitely not in line with the sin, as grievous as their sin was.