Genesis – Chapter 34: Dinah and the Shechemites

Little happened in Genesis Chapter 33.  Jacob returns to meet his older brother Esau.  Instead of showing anger toward Jacob, Esau shows love, something God should do more of.  Sorry, couldn’t help throwing that jab in there.  🙂  Let’s see what Chapter 34 brings us.

“Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land.” – Genesis 34:1

Now we have the background as to who Dinah is.

“When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and violated her.  His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.” – Genesis 34:2-3

To Jacob and Jacob’s son’s credit, they are not pleased by this.

“Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what happened.  They were filled with grief and fury, because Shechem had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.” – Genesis 34:7

Good, Jacob’s sons clearly understand the difference between right and wrong.  Hamor, Shechem’s father, goes to Jacob to bargain for Dinah as Shechem’s wife.  They then say:

“We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised.” – Genesis 34:14

Just as I gain some respect for the Bible, a ridiculous statement such as this appears.  There are several things wrong with this, started with the common theme of men GIVING a female relative to another man.  Women are NOT property, but the Bible says they are.  Second, let’s take a closer look at why Jacob’s sons are not willing to give Dinah to Shechem.  They aren’t willing to give Dinah away because Shechem is not circumcised.  Really!?!??!  Circumcision is the thing holding them up?  Not the fact that Shechem RAPED Dinah!?!?!  Wow!  It can’t possibly get worse, right?  Wrong! (Note:  As you’ll see below, it appears Jacob’s sons were doing this as a trick and may or may not have intended to give Dinah away to her rapist.

“We will give our consent to you on one condition only:  that you become like us by circumcising all your males.” – Genesis 34:15

Let me translate.  You raped our sister.  We’re not really worried about that.  However, you haven’t chopped off the tip of your penis.  That’s a problem.  Chop off the tip of your penis and you can have our women.  Yes, this is really in the Bible!!!

“Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem.” – Genesis 34:18

ROFL!  I can picture it now.  Hamor and Shechem are stroking their beards in deep thought, finally coming to the conclusion they were horny enough to chop off the tip of their penises.  LOL!

“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.” – Genesis 34:25

This is a tough one.  Maybe the sons had no intention of giving their sister away.  We don’t know for sure.  However, the approach taken to remedy the situation is the wrong approach.  Jacob’s sons are probably not thinking clearly.  I certainly wouldn’t if I had a daughter who was raped.  That’s why we have a justice system that leaves the family out of the decision making.  What’s the best approach to take?  Jacob’s sons could have killed just Hamor and Shechem and be done.  Killing the rest of the males was plain wrong and should never have happened.  Those males were innocent in the rape of Dinah.  Jacob’s sons are not punished, by Jacob, nor by God.  God could send an appropriate message here, but doesn’t.

Chapter 34 was certainly an interesting chapter.  Dinah is raped.  Jacob’s sons are justifiable upset and come up with an elaborate plan to trick the rapist and the rapist’s people into circumcising themselves.  While still in pain, Jacob’s sons kill the rapist and his people.  It would be great to see the Bible provide advice on punishing the rapist without killing innocent people.

Coming Soon:  Genesis – Chapter 35:  Jacob Returns to Bethel

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