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Genesis - Chapter 34

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 34:1-4 Dinah wandered into Shechem where Jacob had camped near and mingled with the women there. Hamor’s son, Shechem, raped Dinah. Even though what Shechem did violated Dinah, he came to love her and treated her tenderly afterward, so much that he asked his father Hamor to get her for his wife.

Notes: Dinah’s association with the women of the land possibly carries negative connotations.

Genesis 34:5-7 Jacob heard what happened, but did nothing until his sons returned from the fields so they could be included in on the matter of what was to be done. Jacob’s sons were very angry as to what was done to their sister.

Genesis 34:8-12 Not only did Hamor ask for Dinah to be his son’s wife, but he further tried to appease by offering to exchange daughters in marriage and share the land with each other and become one people. In addition, Shechem asked them to name the price, whatever they asked for Dinah, and he would pay it.

Notes: Jacob for some reason is not part of the negotiations. The sons appeared to hijack the negotiations and the scriptures are silent on what Jacob thought of the deal.

Genesis 34:13-17 Jacob’s sons pretended (Deceived – Just as their father Jacob was known for but now far exceeds anything he had ever done) to accept Hamor’s offer in order to use the opportunity for revenge. The condition was that all the males in the city of Shechem would have to be circumcised.

Notes: While Jacob’s sons are right to insist that circumcision is necessary in order for both groups to become one people, their intention, as revealed in subsequent events, is otherwise.

Genesis 34:18-24 Hamor appealed to his people to accept the offer to be circumcised, emphasizing the fact that because they would become one people, all Jacob’s wealth would become theirs also. The people agreed to the conditions.

Genesis 34:25 Three days after all the males were circumcised and still in great pain, Simeon and Levi (Leah’s children) decided to execute the brothers plan (Although all of Jacob’s sons were involved in the deception of Hamor and Shechem, Simeon and Levi alone executed it) of deceit and wipe them all out with the sword, having no fear of Hamor’s people gaining the victory for the males were in too much physical pain to fight back.

Genesis 34:26-29 Simeon and Levi also killed Hamor and Shechem and then took Dinah back to their camp. All the brothers then plundered all the goods and spoils from the city, all their wealth, including their wives and children.

Genesis 34:30 Jacob, not in on the plot and completely unaware of it, was horrified when he learned what Simeon and Levi had done. Jacob’s reputation was now ruined. Jacob feared that other inhabitants of the area would seek to destroy Jacob and his camp.

Genesis 34:31 Simeon and Levi did not seem to care or worry about what Jacob feared, but simply clung to the fact that their sister was defiled and something should have been done about it.

Notes: Almost as soon as Jacob returns to Canaan, an incident threatens the future security of his whole family. While the rape of Dinah by Shechem is inexcusable, the punishment meted out by Simeon and Levi far exceeds the crime. While they are reluctant to acknowledge any fault on their part, Jacob is very conscious of how their actions have endangered his entire household. Furthermore, circumcision, which was intended by God to bring divine blessing, leads on this occasion to death and destruction. All of this takes place without any reference to God.

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