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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Genesis 34

Verse 1

Country, when a great festival was celebrated. (Josephus, Antiquities i. 18.) Dina was urged by curiosity to see and to be seen. Let others take example from her, and beware of associating with infidels, and of opening their hearts to pleasure at fairs and nocturnal meetings.

Verse 2

Virgin. Hebrew and Septuagint, "He humbled or afflicted the virgin." It is well if she made all the resistance she was able, and resented the indignity; as she seems to have done, though Sichem tried all means to comfort her. (Haydock)

Verse 5

Heard this, perhaps, from Dina’s companion. (Menochius)

Verse 7

In Israel, or against the honour and peace of their father and all his family. --- An unlawful act, which some nevertheless commit without scruple, and even dare to represent as a matter of small consequence if they marry afterwards!

Verse 10

Command, or you are at liberty to purchase and till it as you please. (Haydock)

Verse 12

Dowry for Dina. --- Gifts for her parents and brothers, chap. xxiv. 53. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Deceitfully. The sons of Jacob, on this occasion, were guilty of a grievous sin, as well by falsely pretending religion, as by excess of their revenge. Though, otherwise their zeal against so foul a crime was commendable. (Challoner) --- In this light it is viewed by Judith ix. 2. Simeon and Levi spoke on this occasion, Septuagint, as they were afterwards the chief actors, ver. 25. There were commissioned by their father to speak for him; but Jacob was ignorant of their deceit. (Haydock)

Verse 14

Abominable. To be uncircumcised, was a reproach among the Hebrews. Yet there was no law forbidding to marry such. Laban was of this description, and the Chanaanites also; whose daughters the sons of Jacob themselves espoused, at least Juda and this very Simeon, as the Scripture assures us.

Verse 17

Our daughter, the only one of our father; who, it would hence appear, was detained by Hemor, ver. 26. (Calmet)

Verse 19

The greatest man, (inclytus) perhaps associated to his father in the government of the town. Yet he is willing to submit to this painful operation. (Haydock)

Verse 20

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Gate. Here judgment was given, the markets held, &c. They endeavoured to convince the people, that the conditions offered would be for their interest. (Menochius)

Verse 23

Ours, by mutual commerce. The Rabbin pretend the Sichemite designed to circumvent Jacob and his family. But their conduct seems to screen them from any reproach of this kind, and Jacob throws the blame upon his own sons, chap. xlix. 6. If Hemor said more than he was authorized by them to do, this will not palliate their injustice and sacrilegious perfidy. (Calmet) (Menochius)

Verse 25

Greatest. On that day a fever and inflammation likewise often take place. See Hippocrates on fractures, Valesius sac. (Phil. xii.) (Menochius) --- Brothers of Dina by Lia, and both of a fiery temper. They were assisted by some servants, (Menochius) and afterwards the other children helped to pillage the city. (Theodotion, ap. Eusebius, ix. 22.)

Verse 29

Captive. No doubt Jacob would force them to restore such ill-gotten goods. (Calmet) --- They had acted without authority, and even contrary to the known disposition of their father. They rashly exposed him to destruction, which would inevitably have taken place, if God had not protected him, chap. xxxv. 5. (Haydock)

Verse 31

Should they, &c. This answer, full of insolence, to a father who was as much hurt by the indignity offered to Dina as they could be, heightens their crime. Sichem was the only one among the citizens really guilty, unless perhaps some of his servants might have given him assistance; and Hemor, the king, might contract some stain by not causing a better police to be observed, and by not punishing his son with greater severity, and not sending Dina home, &c. But why are the harmless citizens to be involved in ruin? unless Quicquid delirant Reges, plectuntur Achivi. (Haydock)

Procopius says Hemor also abused Dina; but the plural is here used for the singular, and this author builds upon a false supposition. Calmet)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 34". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/genesis-34.html. 1859.