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Friday, June 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 34

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-5

Dinah Raped

The place Jacob chose to live has a disastrous effect on his family. Dinah, the only girl among eleven brothers, wants to see and get to know some other girls. That cannot but be girls of the world. She seeks to socialize with “the daughters of the land”. But girls in the world are never without the attention of men. She attracts the attention of Shechem. He “saw her; he took her and lay with her by force”.

The fact that a worldly man like Shechem wants to marry a girl like Dinah from a believing family also says a lot about the girl. She will have adapted herself to the world, so Shechem sees her as one of them. Nor do we get the impression that Dinah has offered strong resistance. Dinah will not have agreed directly with what Shechem did to her. Shechem will have exerted a certain amount of coercion, but she did not have the resistance to say no.

We must give our children space to develop, but that does not mean giving them the freedom to satisfy their curiosity in visiting a worldly surrounding. What do we allow them to view on the television and on the internet? Where do we take them? To what do we allow their eyes and ears to get used to? How do we teach them to deal with the satisfaction of their needs? If we let them go free, we should not be surprised that our children are ‘raped’. Their bodies and/or minds are taken possession of by someone to whom we would never want to give our child.

Jacob is here again the absent father. He hears of the event, but there is no reaction from him to hear. For Shechem, rape is more than just an act. He loves Dinah and wants to marry her. That is in any case neat to him and in this he is an example for contemporary morality, which unfortunately is also found to be broad among Christians. Sexual intercourse gives an obligation (2 Samuel 13:14-Nehemiah :).

Verses 6-12

Request for the Prenup

Hamor makes his son’s request known to Jacob and his sons. Before he defends his son’s cause and can record the benefits of becoming brothers-in-law, we see the reaction of Jacob’s sons as they hear of the event. The sons are outraged. They rightly state: “Such a thing ought not to be done” (cf. 2 Samuel 13:12). Unfortunately, however, the same must also be said about the way in which they deal with this. Their attitude is downright bad.

In this mind they hear Hamor. Hamor presents the benefits this will have for both families. More commitments will follow. He also offers them the land to settle there. He wants to give them whatever they want as a bridal payment and gift. In this way the land of Canaan becomes a gift from the enemy to Jacob and his descendants, and is not taken possession of as the land promised by God that He gives them.

The enemy is still acting in the same way today. He proposes all kinds of advantages to the believer to persuade him to enter into an unlawful connection with (someone of) the world.

The fact that nothing of this offer comes to pass is not due to the spiritual attitude of Jacob’s sons. God uses their evil mind here to destroy the foolish proposal of Hamor.

Verses 13-19

The Condition

Not Jacob, but his sons respond to the request of Hamor. Here too Jakob is handing over the initiative. The sons reveal the nature of their father and speak “with deceit” in the proposal they then make. They propose that all the men in the city be circumcised. That is to say, all these men accept the outward sign that they belong to the descendants of Abraham.

They abuse something that should be of special significance to them, something given by God as a sign of His covenant with Abraham and his descendants. But what have they seen of it in the life of their father? What do our children see in our lives from the truths we have come to know?

What the brothers do is comparable to learning a Christian behavior in order to be integrated into a Christian community. It has happened that parents gave permission for the marriage of their daughter on condition that the man would visit the church or be baptized. A change in the heart has not been mentioned, nor has the emphasis been placed on it. As long as he adapts himself in his behavior. This lesson we can learn from what is happening here.

Verses 20-24

Discussion of the Condition

Hamor and Shechem go with the condition to their city and present it to the men of the city. They defend the condition by pointing out the benefits this will bring to the city. They also speak of Jacob’s sons as men who are “friendly” to them, men who have no evil in mind. The men of the city agree with the proposal and they all let themselves be circumcised. They act out of greed and not out of any desire for the God of Israel to live with Him.

Verses 25-29

The Revenge of Simeon and Levi

Circumcision is an extremely painful matter for adult men. Simeon and Levi take advantage of the defenselessness of the men of the city to take revenge for what has been done to their sister. After the deceit comes the violence. After completing their massacre, they go to Shechem’s house to pick up Dinah and take her back home. They also plunder the defeated and the city. Everything that they consider to have any value, they looted.

When Jacob lies on his deathbed, he gets back to it (Genesis 49:5-Judges :). The behavior of his sons is on the one hand Jacob’s fault. On the other hand, these men are fully responsible for what they do.

Verses 30-31

Reaction of Jacob

Jacob’s reproach has to do with being made “odious” himself. He is more concerned about what people will say than about the dishonor done to God.

Jacob has no answer to the brothers’ defense. It is bad when parents have to be reprimanded by children. According to the order of God, that should be the other way around.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 34". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-34.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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