Genesis 34

Genesis 34 has Shechem a Hivite, seizing Dinah who was daughter of Jacob and Leah, and lying with her.  He is in love with her and wants her as his wife.  He asks his father Hamor to go to Jacob and make that happen.  Word of this transgression spread quickly, first to Jacob and then to Dinah’s brothers.  It didn’t sit well “he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done”.  Hamor does come to make the request for marriage as his son had asked.

Hamor’s request is sweeping, not just for Dinah but to live peaceably and to intermarry and dwell together.  Shechem went even farther asking that he be received and pay any price for Dinah to be his wife.  “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. Ask me for as great a bride price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife”.  He obviously is love struck but unfortunately didn’t do things quite in the right order.

So Jacob’s boys listened to the requests and put together a deceitful plan.  “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. Only on this condition will we agree with you – that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised”.  They intend to have every male in the land be circumcised, not so they can meet the request of Hamor and Shechem, but so they can put them in a disadvantaged state and be able to get revenge.  Ingenious plan with a poor motive.  But Hamor and Shechem were strong leaders and “all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised”.

So the impact of the circumcision is pretty severe and on the third day, when all the men were sore and unfit for battle, Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi took their swords and got revenge.  “The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered”.  They didn’t just kill Shechem, but all the men of the city, and they took all that was there for themselves.  Jacob wasn’t enamored as he knows it will stir up trouble and he may have a battle on his hands, but the boys were not listening.

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