Genesis 34 : First chopped, then sworded

July 4, 2023 ·

Summary:
Jacob’s daughter Dinah is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor, a Hivite. Shechem expresses his desire to marry Dinah, and Hamor proposes intermarriage between their families. However, Jacob’s sons, furious over Dinah’s assault, demand that the men of Shechem undergo circumcision before any further discussions take place. Agreeing to the terms, the men of Shechem undergo the procedure. Three days later, while still recovering and in pain, Levi and Simeon, two of Jacob’s sons, retaliate by killing all the men of Shechem’s city and seizing their possessions. This act angers Jacob, although Levi and Simeon remain deeply resentful over their sister’s violation.

Key verse:

30. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.”

My thoughts:
Though Dinah should never have been raped, the revenge carried out by Jacob’s sons cannot be justified. They resorted to lying, deception, and murder.

According to Israel’s laws, intermarriage with neighboring nations was forbidden to maintain Israel’s purity before God. Occasionally, individuals could join the Hebrew nation if they fully adhered to the entire law, including circumcision. In this case, Levi and Simeon deceive the Hivites by pretending to agree to intermarriage, only to use it as a ruse to kill them.

The chapter does not explicitly provide a moral judgment on the actions of Levi and Simeon. It merely narrates the events, leaving us to evaluate their rightness or wrongness based on God’s character as revealed in other passages.

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