Dinah goes to town
- 34:1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, went into town to visit the ladies there.
- 34:2 Prince Shechem raped her. He was a son of the town ruler, Hamor the Hivite.1
- 34:3 After Shechem raped her, he decided he loved her.2 So he spoke tenderly to her, hoping she would fall in love with him.
- 34:4 Shechem told his dad Hamor, “This girl is a keeper. Get her for me. I want to marry her.”
- 34:5 When Jacob got the news that his daughter had been violated, he said nothing about it until his sons came home later that day after taking care of the livestock.
- 34:6 Shechem’s dad, Hamor, came to talk with Jacob.
- 34:7 Jacob’s sons were out in the field when they got news of the rape. They rushed home, livid at the disgraceful thing Shechem had done to Jacob’s daughter—something that should never have happened.
- 34:8 Hamor told Jacob, “My son’s heart belongs to your daughter. He wants to marry her. Please give her to him.
- 34:9 Let this marriage be just the start of your family’s relationship with the people of our town. Give your daughters to our men as wives. Take our daughters for your men as wives.
- 34:10 You can stay here. There’s plenty of land. Buy the land you want. Settle on it. Make a living from it."
- 34:11 Shechem told Dinah’s father and brothers, “Please think of me as a good person and I will give you whatever you ask.
- 34:12 I’ll pay whatever bride price you want, no matter how high it is. Just, please, give me this young woman so I can marry her.”
- 34:13 Jacob’s sons lied to Shechem and his father Hamor, since Shechem had raped their little sister Dinah.
- 34:14 They said, “We can’t let you marry her. You’re not circumcised. It would disgrace our family if she married you.
- 34:15 There’s only one way we would let you marry her. Your people have to become like family to us. You and all the males in your town have to get circumcised.
- 34:16 Only then can we let you marry our women. Only then can we marry yours. And only then can we live as one people.
- 34:17 But if you won’t listen to us and go through with this circumcision, we will take our sister and leave this place.”
- 34:18 This demand seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem.
- 34:19 Young Shechem didn’t hesitate to do as he was asked. He wanted Jacob’s daughter that much. No one in Hamor’s family, except Hamor himself, carried more authority than Shechem.
- 34:20 Hamor and his son Shechem went back to the city’s meeting place, the gate into the town. There they addressed a meeting of the town men. They said:
- 34:21 “These folks are friendly. I say we let them live here and trade with us. There’s enough land for everyone. We should marry their daughters, and let them marry ours.
- 34:22 There’s just one catch. They’ll stay here and become part of our town only if every male among us will get circumcised—just as their males are circumcised.
- 34:23 But think of it. Won’t all of their animals and property become ours? All we have to do is consent to this one request and they will agree to live here with us."
- 34:24 All the men at the meeting did what Hamor and Shechem told them to do. Every male in town got circumcised.
Dinah's brothers go to town to kill freshly circumcised men
- 34:25 Three days later, when the men were hurting and still walking cockeyed, two of Jacob’s sons went to town. With swords. Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s full brothers, figured there was still some cutting left to do. They killed every man and boy.
- 34:26 They murdered Hamor and his son Shechem, slitting them with swords. They rescued their sister Dinah. Then they went back to their camp.
- 34:27 Jacob’s other sons went to the city later and found the men dead. They looted the place, since the city, in a sense, had looted their sister.
- 34:28 Jacob’s sons took flocks, herds, and donkeys, along with crops harvested from the field.
- 34:29 They took everything worth anything in the city and in the houses. They took the survivors as slaves: women and children.
- 34:30 Jacob told Simeon and Levi, “You’ve brought me a wagonload of trouble and it might as well be manure because now I stink to high heaven. That’s what everyone in this land will think of me—the Canaanites and the Perizzites.3 If they unite against me, I don’t have enough men to fight them off. I will die and my family will die with me.”
- 34:31 In a push back the two brothers answered, “Was it fine and dandy for him to treat our sister like a hooker for hire?”
Hivites were a group of people descended from Noah’s son Ham and Ham’s son Canaan. They lived in Canaan, in what is now Israel and Palestinian territories.
More literally, “His soul stuck to her.”
A group of people living in what is now Israel and Palestinian territories.
Here’s the obvious question. Why would anyone—even the prince of a city kingdom named after him: Shechem—think he could get away with raping a woman who has 11 brothers?
The Genesis writer says prince Shechem raped Dinah, “then he decided he loved her” (34:3). Author Stephen M. Miller says a literal read is “His soul stuck to Dinah.” We never get to hear from Dinah. The writer simply reports that she does not return home until her brothers come and take her home several days later. It’s just a guess, but how would you fill in the details of the story in a way that makes some sense?
Jacob doesn’t seem to show much emotion when he finds out what happened to his daughter: “He said nothing” (34:5). How would you explain that?
Shechem and his father came to Jacob and asked if Shechem could marry Dinah. How do you think Jacob should have answered?
Dinah’s brothers—possibly led by her two full brothers Simeon and Levi—hatched a creative plot. They convinced villagers to circumcise all the males and then later they attacked the village, killed all the men walking cockeyed, and enslaved the others. If you had to rate villains in this story, how would Simeon and Levi compare to Shechem, the rapist in lust if not love?
Who do you think Dinah’s brothers felt they were avenging most of all: their sister, their family name, or the family unit of Leah—Jacob’s unloved wife?
The Laws of Moses, centuries later, would require a rapist to marry his victim: “When a man comes upon a virgin who has never been engaged and grabs and rapes her and they are found out, the man who raped her has to give her father fifty pieces of silver. He has to marry her because he took advantage of her. And he can never divorce her” (Deuteronomy 22:29 MSG). (See also Miller’s YouTube video: Marriage by Rape.) How do you think that solution compares to the one Dinah’s brothers thought up?
LIFE APPLICATION. When Jacob found out what his sons had done, he said, “You’ve brought me a wagonload of trouble and it might as well be manure because now I stink to high heaven. That’s what everyone in this land will think of me” (34: 30). Without naming names, what are some bad behaviors you have observed in people you know that would have left other members of their family saying the same thing Jacob said?
LIFE APPLICATION. When someone does us wrong and we retaliate, how do the feelings we get about that compare to those we experience when someone does us wrong and we let it go, gradually releasing the feelings of hate?