(Gen 34:1 NASB) Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land.
(Gen 34:2 NASB) And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.
Gen 34:2: Dinah went to town to see the women there and Shechem took her by “force.” The normal thought would mean that he raped her. But that might not necessarily be so. The Hebrew word for “force” is anah.
H6031a. anah, [776a]; a prim. root; to be bowed down or afflicted:– afflict(16), afflict at all(1), afflicted(22), affliction(1), by force(m)(1), disturbed(1), do violence(1), humble(12), humbled(6), humbling(1), Leannoth(1), mistreat(1), oppressed(1), oppressors(1), ravish(1), ravished(2), silenced(m)(1), submit(1), treated harshly(1), violate(1), violated(5), weakened(1).
The same Hebrew word is used in describing how an Israelite can take a captive woman as his wife (Deut. 21:13-14). Ezekiel describes the sins of Israel and uses this same term in describing their sin and it does not appear to be describing rape (Ezek. 22:10-11). It could just indicate a sexual encounter that should not have taken place.
It is possible, if not likely, that this was something short of “rape” on the part of Shechem.
(Gen 34:3 NASB) And he was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.
Gen 34:3: Shechem loved Dinah and spoke tenderly to her. The thought of violent rape does not fit very well. The biggest problem with this union is that it’s not allowed according to Torah.
Jacob should not have set up his home so close to the pagan city. He exposed his family to evil that otherwise could have been avoided.
(Gen 34:4 NASB) So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.”
(Gen 34:5 NASB) Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in.
(Gen 34:6 NASB) Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.
Gen 34:6: Shechem wants to marry Dinah. But this union could not work even if the sex had not taken place.
Jacob kept the incident to himself for a period of time. He knew that her brothers would not be happy about this.
(Gen 34:7 NASB) Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
Gen 34:7: The sons of Israel were very angry about news of the incident. The text says that such a thing ought not to be done.
(Gen 34:8 NASB) But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage.
(Gen 34:9 NASB) “And intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
(Gen 34:10 NASB) “Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it, and acquire property in it.”
Gen 34:10: This is not going to happen. As mentioned many times previously, the Torah of Elohim was probably known to the people at the time and intermarriage with pagans is not allowed.
Jacob knew this was wrong (Deut. 7:1-4).
(Gen 34:11 NASB) Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me.
(Gen 34:12 NASB) “Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”
Gen 34:12: Shechem sounds eager to please. But he is being deceitful. A dowry was customary for the girl just as Jacob paid for his wives with 14 years of service to Laban.
It would appear that Shechem knew that he must pay a dowry according to Torah (Ex. 22:16-17).
(Gen 34:13 NASB) But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor, with deceit, and spoke to them, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.
(Gen 34:14 NASB) And they said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us.
Gen 34:14: The sons of Israel had concocted a plan in order to gain revenge because they felt disgraced.
(Gen 34:15 NASB) “Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised,
(Gen 34:16 NASB) then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people.
(Gen 34:17 NASB) “But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”
Gen 34:17: They are making circumcision the requirement for this union and joining of the families.
(Gen 34:18 NASB) Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son.
(Gen 34:19 NASB) And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father.
(Gen 34:20 NASB) So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city, and spoke to the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:20: The most honorable of the household was Shechem. It is strange that such a term would be used to describe a man who allegedly raped a girl.
Hamor and Shechem called the men of the city to the gates of the city to persuade them to be circumcised. They must be smooth talkers.
(Gen 34:21 NASB) “These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them.
(Gen 34:22 NASB) “Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised.
(Gen 34:23 NASB) “Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.”
Gen 34:23: They convinced the men on the premise that they could have the property and livestock of Jacob through marriage. His livestock must have grown abundantly again.
(Gen 34:24 NASB) And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
(Gen 34:25 NASB) Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male.
Gen 34:25: All the men were circumcised. The very part of the body used to defile Dinah is now the enablement of the revenge of Israel’s sons. But this ruthless response does not go unpunished. Jacob prophesies that the tribes descending from Simeon and Levi would be dispersed throughout Israel (Gen. 49:5-7).
Getting revenge for being disgraced is not justice.
(Gen 34:26 NASB) And they killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth.
Gen 34:26: Dinah was staying in Shechem’s house, which is strange if this was a rape. It would appear that Dinah was playing the harlot with Shechem and her brothers were ashamed.
(Gen 34:27 NASB) Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister.
(Gen 34:28 NASB) They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field;
(Gen 34:29 NASB) and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses.
Gen 34:29: The sons of Jacob plundered the city and took everything and all the women and little ones. This was not sanctioned by Elohim. It was a sad example of plain revenge.
(Gen 34:30 NASB) Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me, by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I shall be destroyed, I and my household.”
(Gen 34:31 NASB) But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”
Gen 34:31: Jacob is greatly concerned that this act would cause severe problems with other people they came across. But he is silenced by the question of his sons.
This is one of the few Scripture chapters that ends with a question being asked. “Should he treat our sister as a whore?” It is a good question. It appears that she was living with Shechem. Who all is at fault here? Why?
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas