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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Hamor

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HAMOR (‘he-ass’). Some think that the name points to a totem clan, such as there is reason to believe existed among the early Canaanite, and other Semitic, peoples. He is ‘the father of Shechem ’ ( Genesis 33:19 , 34, Joshua 24:32 , Judges 9:28 ); but in the first and last two of these passages, the inhabitants of Shechem are called ‘the sons of Hamor’ and ‘the men of Hamor.’ It would seem, therefore, that Hamor is not to be considered an historical individual, but the eponymous ancestor of the Hamorites [cf. ‘the sons of Heth’ = the Hittites, Genesis 23:3 ], who were a branch of the Hivites ( Genesis 34:2 ); and ‘the father of Shechem’ means the founder of the place Shechem (cf. 1 Chronicles 2:50 f.).

Genesis 34:1-31 contains a composite narrative. According to p ( Genesis 34:1-2 a, Genesis 34:4; Genesis 34:6; Genesis 34:8-10; Genesis 34:13-18; Genesis 34:20-25 (partly) Genesis 34:27-29 ), Hamor negotiates with Jacob and his sons for the marriage of Shechem and Dinah, with the object of amalgamating the two peoples; circumcision is imposed by the sons of Jacob upon the whole Hamorite tribe, and then they attack the city, slaying all the males and carrying off the whole of the spoil. In the remaining verses of the chapter, the earlier narrative (J [Note: Jahwist.] ) pictures a much smaller personal affair, in which Shechem loves, and is ready to marry, Dinah; he only is circumcised, and he and Hamor alone are slain by Simeon and Levi an incident to which Genesis 49:5-7 appears to refer. It is probable that not only Hamor, but also Dinah, Simeon, and Levi, stand for tribes or communities. See, further, under these names.

There is a curious fusion of traditions in Acts 7:10 , where Jacob ‘and our fathers’ are said to have been ‘laid in the tomb which Abraham bought for a money price from the sons of Emmor in Sychem.’ Abraham bought a tomb in Machpelah, not in Shechem ( Genesis 23:17 f.), and Jacob was buried in it ( Genesis 50:13 ). Of the latter’s sons, Joseph alone is related in the OT to have been buried in the tomb bought from the sons of Hamor ( Joshua 24:32 ).

A. H. M’Neile.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Hamor'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/h/hamor.html. 1909.

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