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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 34

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-12

A Tragic Incident

The move to Shechem ( Gen_33:18-20 ) proved to be a costly one. Dinah, Leah's daughter, was abducted and raped by Shechem the son of Hamor. He also truly fell in love with her. So, he talked to her in a soothing way in an effort to gain her favor. Jacob learned of the incident while his sons were working in the field. He told them upon their return. They responded naturally with grief and anger.

Hamor tried to reach an agreement for a marriage between his son and Jacob's daughter. He suggested such would open the door for other marriages between their two people and allow Jacob to be considered a citizen instead of a resident alien. Of course, he also thought he could share in Jacob's wealth and gain any daughters of Israel as potential brides for his sons. He expressed his willingness to give any dowry required and other gift which might simply go to Jacob ( Gen_34:1-12 ).

Verses 13-31

Deception and Slaughter

Jacob's sons agreed to the marriage contract, but the text tells us they were acting deceitfully. They told Hamor they could not allow one of the women of Israel to marry an uncircumcised man. They said if Hamor and the other men of Shechem would agree to be circumcised, then the two peoples could intermarry. Hamor went to the leaders of the city who met at its gates to ask for their support. He argued that they would gain women to marry and Jacob's wealth would be theirs. So every male in Shechem was circumcised.

On the third day after circumcision was performed, the men were sore. It was then that Simeon and Levi took their swords and slaughtered all the men. They also took the wealth of the city including the wives. When Jacob found out what his sons had done, he said they had acted hastily without taking into account potential consequences of their actions. It was possible the allies of Hamor would attack Jacob and his family. However, even these words from their father did not elicit a penitent response from Simeon and Levi ( Gen_34:13-31 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 34". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-34.html. 2014.
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