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Genesis 34

34
Dinah and the Shechemites
1 Now Dinah, Leah’s daughter whom she bore to Jacob, went to meet#tn Heb “went out to see.” The verb “to see,” followed by the preposition בְּ (bÿ), here has the idea of “look over.” The young girl wanted to meet these women and see what they were like. the young women#tn Heb “daughters.” of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who ruled that area, saw her, he grabbed her, forced himself on her,#tn Heb “and he took her and lay with her.” The suffixed form following the verb appears to be the sign of the accusative instead of the preposition, but see BDB 1012 s.v. שָׁכַב. and sexually assaulted her.#tn The verb עָנָה (’anah) in the Piel stem can have various shades of meaning, depending on the context: “to defile; to mistreat; to violate; to rape; to shame; to afflict.” Here it means that Shechem violated or humiliated Dinah by raping her. 3 Then he became very attached#tn Heb “his soul stuck to [or “joined with”],” meaning Shechem became very attached to Dinah emotionally. to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He fell in love with the young woman and spoke romantically to her.#tn Heb “and he spoke to the heart of the young woman,” which apparently refers in this context to tender, romantic speech (Hos 2:14). Another option is to translate the expression “he reassured the young woman” (see Judg 19:3, 2 Sam 19:7; cf. NEB “comforted her”). 4 Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Acquire this young girl as my wife.”#tn Heb “Take for me this young woman for a wife.” 5 When#tn The two disjunctive clauses in this verse (“Now Jacob heard…and his sons were”) are juxtaposed to indicate synchronic action. Jacob heard that Shechem#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had violated his daughter Dinah, his sons were with the livestock in the field. So Jacob remained silent#sn The expected response would be anger or rage; but Jacob remained silent. He appears too indifferent or confused to act decisively. When the leader does not act decisively, the younger zealots will, and often with disastrous results. until they came in.
6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went to speak with Jacob about Dinah.#tn Heb “went out to Jacob to speak with him.” The words “about Dinah” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity. 7 Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the field when they heard the news.#tn Heb “when they heard.” The words “the news” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. They#tn Heb “the men.” This sounds as if a new group has been introduced into the narrative, so it has been translated as “they” to indicate that it refers to Jacob’s sons, mentioned in the first part of the verse. were offended#tn The Hebrew verb עָצַב (’atsav) can carry one of three semantic nuances depending on the context: (1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10); (2) “to experience emotional pain; to be depressed emotionally; to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10-11); (3) “to be embarrassed; to be insulted; to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself; Gen 6:6; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 6:6). The third category fits best in Gen 34:7 because Jacob’s sons were not merely wounded emotionally. On the contrary, Shechem’s action prompted them to strike out in judgment against the source of their distress. and very angry because Shechem#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had disgraced Israel#tn Heb “a disgraceful thing he did against Israel.” by sexually assaulting#tn Heb “by lying with the daughter of Jacob.” The infinitive here explains the preceding verb, indicating exactly how he had disgraced Jacob. The expression “to lie with” is a euphemism for sexual relations, or in this case, sexual assault. Jacob’s daughter, a crime that should not be committed.#tn Heb “and so it should not be done.” The negated imperfect has an obligatory nuance here, but there is also a generalizing tone. The narrator emphasizes that this particular type of crime (sexual assault) is especially reprehensible.
8 But Hamor made this appeal to them: “My son Shechem is in love with your daughter.#tn Heb “Shechem my son, his soul is attached to your daughter.” The verb means “to love” in the sense of being emotionally attached to or drawn to someone. This is a slightly different way of saying what was reported earlier (v. 3). However, there is no mention here of the offense. Even though Hamor is speaking to Dinah’s brothers, he refers to her as their daughter (see v. 17). Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us.#tn Heb “form marriage alliances with us.”sn Intermarry with us. This includes the idea of becoming allied by marriage. The incident foreshadows the temptations Israel would eventually face when they entered the promised land (see Deut 7:3; Josh 23:12). Let us marry your daughters, and take our daughters as wives for yourselves.#tn Heb “Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.” In the translation the words “let…marry” and “as wives” are supplied for clarity. 10 You may live#tn The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here. among us, and the land will be open to you.#tn Heb “before you.” Live in it, travel freely in it,#tn The verb seems to carry the basic meaning “travel about freely,” although the substantival participial form refers to a trader (see E. A. Speiser, “The Verb sh£r in Genesis and Early Hebrew Movements,” BASOR 164 [1961]: 23-28); cf. NIV, NRSV “trade in it.” and acquire property in it.”
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s#tn Heb “her”; the referent (Dinah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your sight, and whatever you require of me#tn Heb “whatever you say.” I’ll give.#tn Or “pay.” 12 You can make the bride price and the gift I must bring very expensive,#tn Heb “Make very great upon me the bride price and gift.” The imperatives are used in a rhetorical manner. Shechem’s point is that he will pay the price, no matter how expensive it might be. and I’ll give#tn The cohortative expresses Shechem’s resolve to have Dinah as his wife. whatever you ask#tn Heb “say.” of me. Just give me the young woman as my wife!”
13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully when they spoke because Shechem#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had violated their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot give#tn Heb “we are not able to do this thing, to give.” The second infinitive is in apposition to the first, explaining what they are not able to do. our sister to a man who is not circumcised, for it would be a disgrace#tn The Hebrew word translated “disgrace” usually means “ridicule; taunt; reproach.” It can also refer to the reason the condition of shame or disgrace causes ridicule or a reproach. to us. 15 We will give you our consent on this one condition: You must become#tn Heb “if you are like us.” like us by circumcising#tn The infinitive here explains how they would become like them. all your males. 16 Then we will give#tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence. you our daughters to marry,#tn The words “to marry” (and the words “as wives” in the following clause) are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity. and we will take your daughters as wives for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people. 17 But if you do not agree to our terms#tn Heb “listen to us.” by being circumcised, then we will take#tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence. our sister#tn Heb “daughter.” Jacob’s sons call Dinah their daughter, even though she was their sister (see v. 8). This has been translated as “sister” for clarity. and depart.”
18 Their offer pleased Hamor and his son Shechem.#tn Heb “and their words were good in the eyes of Hamor and in the eyes of Shechem son of Hamor.” 19 The young man did not delay in doing what they asked#tn Heb “doing the thing.” because he wanted Jacob’s daughter Dinah#tn Heb “Jacob’s daughter.” The proper name “Dinah” is supplied in the translation for clarity. badly. (Now he was more important#tn The Hebrew verb כָּבֵד (kaved), translated “was…important,” has the primary meaning “to be heavy,” but here carries a secondary sense of “to be important” (that is, “heavy” in honor or respect). than anyone in his father’s household.)#tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause explains why the community would respond to him (see vv. 20-24). 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate#sn The gate. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the location for conducting important public business. of their city and spoke to the men of their city, 21 “These men are at peace with us. So let them live in the land and travel freely in it, for the land is wide enough#tn Heb “wide on both hands,” that is, in both directions. for them. We will take their daughters for wives, and we will give them our daughters to marry.#tn The words “to marry” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity. 22 Only on this one condition will these men consent to live with us and become one people: They demand#tn Heb “when every one of our males is circumcised.” that every male among us be circumcised just as they are circumcised. 23 If we do so,#tn The words “If we do so” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons. won’t their livestock, their property, and all their animals become ours? So let’s consent to their demand, so they will live among us.”
24 All the men who assembled at the city gate#tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.” agreed with#tn Heb “listened to.” Hamor and his son Shechem. Every male who assembled at the city gate#tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.” was circumcised. 25 In three days, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword#tn Heb “a man his sword.” and went to the unsuspecting city#tn Heb “and they came upon the city, [which was] secure.” In this case “secure” means the city was caught unprepared and at peace, not expecting an attack. and slaughtered every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left. 27 Jacob’s sons killed them#tn Heb “came upon the slain.” Because of this statement the preceding phrase “Jacob’s sons” is frequently taken to mean the other sons of Jacob besides Simeon and Levi, but the text does not clearly affirm this. and looted the city because their sister had been violated.#tn Heb “because they violated their sister.” The plural verb is active in form, but with no expressed subject, it may be translated passive. 28 They took their flocks, herds, and donkeys, as well as everything in the city and in the surrounding fields.#tn Heb “and what was in the city and what was in the field they took.” 29 They captured as plunder#tn Heb “they took captive and they plundered,” that is, “they captured as plunder.” all their wealth, all their little ones, and their wives, including everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought ruin#tn The traditional translation is “troubled me” (KJV, ASV), but the verb refers to personal or national disaster and suggests complete ruin (see Josh 7:25, Judg 11:35, Prov 11:17). The remainder of the verse describes the “trouble” Simeon and Levi had caused. on me by making me a foul odor#tn In the causative stem the Hebrew verb בָּאַשׁ (ba’ash) means “to cause to stink, to have a foul smell.” In the contexts in which it is used it describes foul smells, stenches, or things that are odious. Jacob senses that the people in the land will find this act terribly repulsive. See P. R. Ackroyd, “The Hebrew Root באשׁ,” JTS 2 (1951): 31-36. among the inhabitants of the land – among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I#tn Jacob speaks in the first person as the head and representative of the entire family. am few in number; they will join forces against me and attack me, and both I and my family will be destroyed!” 31 But Simeon and Levi replied,#tn Heb “but they said.” The referent of “they” (Simeon and Levi) have been specified in the translation for clarity. “Should he treat our sister like a common prostitute?”
34
Chapter 34
Dinah
1Dinah was the daughter of Leah and Jacob. One day she went out to visit the young women who lived near Shechem city. 2Hamor the Hivite ruled that region. When his son, Shechem, saw Dinah, he took hold of her. Dinah could not get free and Shechem had sex with her. 3He liked Dinah very much. He loved her. He spoke kind words to her so that she would love him too. 4Shechem said to his father, Hamor, ‘I want to marry this girl. Please get her for me.’ 5Jacob heard that Shechem had had sex with his daughter. At that time, Jacob's sons were taking care of his animals in the fields. So he did not do anything until his sons came home.
6Shechem's father, Hamor, went to talk to Jacob about Dinah. 7Jacob's sons now heard what had happened and they came home from the fields. They were very angry because Shechem had done such a bad thing. When he caught Dinah and had sex with her, he had brought shame on Jacob's family. It was a bad thing that nobody should ever do.
8Hamor said to Jacob and his sons, ‘My son Shechem loves your daughter. Please give her to him so that she can be his wife. 9There should be more marriages between your people and our people. Our men should marry your daughters and our daughters should become wives for your men. 10Then you can live among us. You can live anywhere you want to in this land. You should live here, buy and sell things. Buy land and houses here.’ #34:10 Hamor wanted the Hivites to have some of Jacob's riches.
11Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, ‘I would like to make you happy. So ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you. 12I will pay you the gifts that you ask for Dinah. It can be as much as you like. I will pay it all, because I want to have Dinah as my wife.’
13Because of the bad thing that Shechem had done to Dinah, Jacob's sons decided to deceive him. And they deceived his father Hamor too. 14They said, ‘We cannot give our sister to a man who has not been circumcised. We would be ashamed to do this. 15If you want to marry Dinah, you must do one thing. You must circumcise all your males. Then you will become like us and we will agree for you to marry Dinah. 16Then we will give you our daughters so that your men can marry them. And our men will marry your daughters. We will live among you, so that we become one people with you. 17But your men must agree to be circumcised. If not, we will take our sister with us and we will leave this place.’
18This idea seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19Shechem's family respected him as an important person. So, he and his father quickly did what Jacob's sons told them. Shechem agreed to do it because he wanted very much to marry Dinah. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of the city. They spoke to their men there. 21They said, ‘Jacob's family are our friends. Let them live in our land, and buy and sell things. This land is big enough for them and us. We can marry their daughters, and they can marry our daughters. 22But we must do the one thing that they have asked us to do. We must circumcise all our males in the same way that they do. If we do that, they will agree to live among us. 23Then their things and their animals will all become our things. So we should agree to be circumcised, as they ask. Then they will live among us.’
24All the men who were at the city gate agreed with Hamor and Shechem. So every male in the city was circumcised.
25Three days after the men were circumcised, they still had a lot of pain. Then two of Jacob's sons attacked Shechem's men with their swords. None of the men were prepared to fight. #34:25 The men in the city could not fight against Simeon and Levi. They had too much pain. Jacob's two sons were Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers. They killed every male in the city. 26They killed Hamor and his son Shechem. Then they took Dinah from Shechem's house and they left.
27Jacob's other sons also saw that the men of the city were dead. So they took everything that they wanted from the city. They did that because it was the place where Shechem had done a very bad thing against their sister. 28They took all the sheep, goats, cows and donkeys. They took everything that was in the city and in the fields near there. 29They carried away every valuable thing for themselves. They also took all the men's wives and their children. They took everything from the houses in the city.
30When they returned to Jacob, he said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have brought bad trouble to me! The people who live in this land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, will hate me. I will be like a bad smell to them. We do not have many men to fight for us. If the Perizzites and Canaanites join together and they attack us, they will destroy our whole family!’ 31But Simeon and Levi replied, ‘Shechem should not have had sex with our sister as if she were a prostitute.’