Genesis 34


‘Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, ‘Get me this girl as my wife.’ When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so, he did nothing about it until they came home. Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.’ Genesis 34:1-7

The first thing we notice whilst reading through this chapter is that God isn’t mentioned at all throughout. Jacob puts himself and his family in a bad situation and surrounds himself with ungodly people and as a result he finds himself reaping the consequences of his own decisions and actions.

Jacob had taken his family to a place they should have never been. He was at Shechem for the wrong reasons, wealth and there was a city nearby, Genesis 33:18.

Dinah was Leah’s daughter and Jacob’s only daughter and any female who was alone was regarded as being available and if anything happened the person involved didn’t need to apologise.

How could Dinah do this? Why didn’t Jacob look after her?

It was Jacob’s compromise with worldly things, that put them in this situation. No one deserves to be raped, but here it seems Dinah, unknowingly put herself is a situation where she mingled with pagan people who had more or less no moral standards.

Shechem, who was the son of Hamor the Hivite, took advantage of the teenager, and it’s clear that he wants Dinah, not for love but purely just for sex. He probably wanted to marry her in order to add her to his collection, so to speak. Dinah was given no choice but to submit to him.

Jacob’s attitude wasn’t very good, notice, he wasn’t upset when he found out that Dinah had been raped, in fact, he doesn’t do anything until the family of sons could be brought together. If the leaders of any household or a church don’t do anything, when problems arise, then people will take the law into their own hands.

‘But Hamor said to them, ‘My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.’ Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, ‘Let me find favour in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.’ Genesis 34:8-12

There’s now a meeting of two families, Hamor and Shechem meet and it seems, Shechem wanted to make intermarriages but this would be dangerous. When we read these verses, it seems as though Dinah’s brothers were calm and collective but I’m sure underneath all of that they would be raging.

Hamor was arguing that Jacob and his sons would be given the privilege of intermarriage with his family, and the bonus of trading the land and ownership of property. This offer if it tells us anything, it tells us that Jacob and his family were still seen as travellers in this land, even though they’ve been here for 10 years.

‘Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. They said to them, ‘We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.’ Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. The young man, who was the most honoured of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. ‘These men are friendly toward us,’ they said. ‘Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So, let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.’ All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.’ Genesis 34:13-24

Notice that Dinah’s brothers replied ‘deceitfully’ to Shechem and Hamor, they make them an offer which was circumcision. It’s clear they have evil intentions, but they cover them up with godly words. They felt justified in what they were doing because of the way their sister was treated and they were going to use this covenant to attack the people.

Dinah’s brothers had absolutely no intention of allowing their sister to intermarry and so, they came up with a plan to have Hamor’s men in such a weak physical condition after being circumcised that they would simply strike them dead. Hamor and Shechem are clearly worldly and materialistic in their thinking.

‘Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.’ But they replied, ‘Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?’ Genesis 34:25-31

Simeon and Levi massacred all of the men, but this action actually disgraced this covenant. They were following their father’s attitude and they did it because their sister has been disgraced.

It’s clear that Jacob knew absolutely nothing about this plan and was really upset about it and his fear now was that the other families of the Canaanites and Perizzites would get together and fight against Jacob and his family.

Jacob is only bothered about himself, but the truth is, he brought trouble onto himself, he taught his children to be deceptive, they must have heard him lie to Esau.

Jacob and his family saw the wealth of the place instead of where God wanted them to go, this whole event could have been easily missed, if only Jacob had obeyed God’s command to go to Bethel, Genesis 31:3.

Go To Genesis 35



"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

John 3:16