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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 34

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 34

Now there's a time gap between chapters thirty-three and thirty-four because at the time that they had left the land of Padanaram, Dinah was less than six years old. And now she comes into the story at this point and obviously is older than that. And Dinah the daughter of Leah ( Genesis 34:1 ), Who was, of course, the first wife that Laban had given to him, the older sister and after Dinah-Leah actually, had born several sons to Jacob, she finally bore a daughter. And so she had a lot of big brothers, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and all. "And Dinah the daughter of Leah," which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land ( Genesis 34:1 ). And so what it was is of course being a little girl or a young girl now, perhaps at this point maybe in her teens or at least getting close to it, she had girlfriends. Well, where you going to get girlfriends? She's just started making acquaintances with the girls from the area of Shechem. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and laid with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spoke kindly to the girl. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this girl as my wife ( Genesis 34:2-4 ). His action was wrong, but he seemed to be an honorable person. Having done it, having wooed her and having had intercourse with her, he now is in love with her and desires that she be his wife and asked that his father make these arrangements for him. Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: and his sons were with the cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come home. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter: I pray that you would give her to him as a wife. And let us make marriages with each other, give us your daughters ( Genesis 34:5-9 ). Notice, plural, so Jacob had other daughters that are not named. "Give your daughters" unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade therein, and get your possessions here. And Shechem the son of Hamor said unto Jacob and to her brothers [that is, Dinah's brothers], Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me whatever you want for a dowry and a gift, and I will give it to you accordingly and as you shall say unto me: but give me this girl for my wife. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that's a reproach unto us: But if you'll consent unto this: and you'll be as we are, every male of you be circumcised; then we'll give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. If you will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, they communed with the men of their city, saying, Hey, these people are peaceable; we ought to live with them, the land is large enough for us all; let us take their daughters, they can have our daughters. [We'll have intermarriage, we'll become one people with them.] And they'll do this under one condition, that we be circumcised, as they are circumcised. And then shall not their cattle, their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent to them, and they will dwell with us. And unto Hamor and Shechem all of the men of the city gave ear, they hearkened unto them and they came to pass, that they were all circumcised. But on the third day, when there was a soreness, the two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah's brothers, [they were the sons of Leah] they each man took his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all of the men. They slew Hamor and Shechem the son with the edge of the sword, they took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. And the sons of Jacob came upon the slain, they spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, their oxen, their asses, and all that which was in the city, all that was in the field, all of their wealth, all of their little ones, their wives, they took captive, and spoiled all that was in the house. And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, You have troubled me to make me stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they'll gather themselves together against me, and kill me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with a harlot ( Genesis 34:9-31 )? So again, we notice that the sons were acting deceitfully. It is interesting how that again, "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" ( Galatians 6:7 ). Jacob was guilty of deceiving his father in receiving the blessing; he was then deceived by his uncle Laban. And now he sees the deceitful acts of his sons as they make this league with the people but dealing treacherously and deceitfully with them and moving in and killing them. Killing the men, taking the women as slaves and so forth, the sons of Jacob had done that which was reprehensible. Now God is really very plain and very open in showing to us that the people that He chose were not a perfect people at all. Now Simeon and Levi are to come into a judgment for this later on. Years later in the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis, it's recorded when Jacob was about to die, he gathered his twelve sons around him, around his bed. And he began to prophesy over these sons and tell them each one why they didn't receive the birthright really. We'll get into Reuben's sin a little bit further as we go along. We'll find Judah's sins. We see here the sins of Levi who was to be the father of the priestly tribe. He was deceitful, he had a horrible temper and anger, and when Jacob gathered his sons around him, turning to Simeon and Levi he said, "Cursed be thy anger for you slew a city" and all. And he was still rebuking them years later for this horrible action of theirs. The Bible does not condone what they did. Does not declare it as right. In fact, their father later on rebukes them sternly for this thing and they are-they do not receive the birthright or the blessing because of their cursed anger and temper in which they went in and slew the men of the city. Their deeds are brought up against them even later on. And so we find that God is open. He doesn't try to hide the sins of men. He doesn't in any wise come off with the idea that He uses just perfect people. If God used only perfect people, He wouldn't have anybody to work with. And so God has to use what He can, and that's us, with all of our imperfections. And so lest we get the concept in our minds, which we so easily do, that God just uses perfect people or God will just bless perfect people, God is careful to show us that these people aren't perfect at all. And yet, God chose them and God used them. And that's to encourage you because you know that you're not perfect and yet, God has chosen you and God wants to use you. And so it helps me to yield myself to God to know that I don't have to be perfect, yet He wants me to be perfect. I'm not. But He has provided for my imperfections through Jesus Christ. And thus God will use me and that to me is always an exciting thing. So God doesn't try to gloss over and give you the picture of, you know, just perfect individuals. Man, these guys are horrible. What they did was horrible. And yet God is going to use them to be the father of the nation. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Genesis 34". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/genesis-34.html. 2014.
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