Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 34

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary



In this chapter we observe the first bitter fruits of Israel’s contact with the heathen.

Verse 1

1. Dinah Now grown to be a blooming girl of twelve or fourteen years .

Went out to see the daughters of the land Josephus says: “While the Shechemites were observing a feast, Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, went into the city, looking at the fashion ( κοσμον , order, or, perhaps here, ornamentation) of the women of the country . ” There is no occasion, however, for the supposition that the abduction was occasioned by any such public meeting of Dinah and Shechem . Jacob’s family had now resided many years near the city, and probably Dinah had formed the habit of free intercourse and friendship with the young women of the place.

Verse 3

3. Spake kindly Hebrews, spoke to the heart of the girl . He won her by tender words . She appears not to have been an unwilling party to the sin . “A gadding girl,” says Schroder, “and a lad who has never gone beyond the precincts of home, are good for nothing . ”

Verse 7

7. Came… heard… grieved… wroth Jacob had silently meditated the matter before his sons came, (Genesis 34:5,) and probably felt all the dangers, shame, and trouble necessarily arising from the rape, but hesitated what to do . But his sons, with all the passion and daring of youth, feeling the deep disgrace incurred, allowed their sense of wrong to generate in them the darkest purposes of revenge .

Wrought folly in Israel This is the language of the writer, not of Jacob’s sons . He speaks as one would naturally do after the name Israel had become national and historic .

Verse 13

13. Sons of Jacob answered “Jacob had scarcely time to advance a reply; for his sons eagerly availed themselves of their share of the influence generally allowed to brothers in the matrimonial arrangements of their sisters; and they acted with a zeal to which he thought he might safely trust the matter. But he was doomed to soon perceive his error.” Kalisch.

Deceitfully In this they seem to have inherited something of their father’s duplicity in his younger days. And men, like Hamor and Shechem, under the impulses of ambition and of love, are easily deceived, and led to concede or adopt any thing that will serve their purpose and desire.

Verse 19

19. He was more honourable That is, Shechem was the most honourable and distinguished person of the royal house of Hamor the Hivite .

Verse 24

24. Every male was circumcised “The readiness of the Shechemites to submit to circumcision may be accounted for if circumcision had by this time become a rite known to others besides the descendants of Abraham . Herod . , 2: 104 . At all events, it was now practiced not only by the sons of Jacob and his household, but by the Ishmaelites and the family and household of Esau, all growing into important tribes in the neighbourhood of the Shechemites.” Speaker’s Commentary.

Verse 25

25. On the third day After the operation was performed . At this time the pain and fever arising from the wound in the flesh attains its height, and renders the person weak and helpless . Jacob’s sons had planned for this .

Simeon and Levi The second and third sons of Leah, Dinah’s own brothers. Genesis 33:34 . These are mentioned as leaders in all this action of cruelty. Perhaps some of their brothers went with them, (see Genesis 34:27,) but are not specially mentioned because they were not leaders in the action. We are not to suppose that Simeon and Levi, alone and unattended, wrought all the slaughter and ruin here described. They doubtless commanded a large number of the servants of the household. Comp. Genesis 14:14.

Verse 30

30. Jacob said to Simeon and Levi His words of reproof partake here largely of worldly policy and prudence . He fears the bad odour in which he will be held by his Canaanitish neighbours, and the danger of their combining together to destroy him . But in the inspiration of his dying psalm, when utterly lifted above all earthly policies and dangers, he cursed the wrath and anger which prompted the bitter cruelties at Shechem.

Genesis 49:5-7.

I being few in number Hebrews, I, males of number; that is, the males of my family, capable of fighting, are so few as to be easily numbered .

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 34". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/genesis-34.html. 1874-1909.
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