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Genesis 34

34
The Rape of Dinah. 1#The story of the rape of Dinah and the revenge of Jacob’s sons on the men of the city of Shechem may reflect the relations of the tribes of Simeon and Levi to their Canaanite neighbors around Shechem; the tribes are represented by their eponymous ancestors. Jacob’s farewell testament (49:5–7) cites this incident as the reason for the decline of the tribes of Simeon and Levi. Ominously, vv. 30–31 leave the situation unresolved, with Jacob concerned about the welfare of the whole family, and Simeon and Levi concerned only about the honor of their full sister. The danger to the family from narrow self-interest will continue in the Joseph story. Dinah, the daughter whom Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit some of the women of the land. 2When Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite,#Hivite: the Greek text has “Horite”; the terms were apparently used indiscriminately to designate the Hurrian or other non-Semitic elements in Palestine. the leader of the region, saw her, he seized her and lay with her by force. 3He was strongly attracted to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and was in love with the young woman. So he spoke affectionately to her. 4Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this young woman for a wife.”
5Meanwhile, Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah; but since his sons were out in the field with his livestock, Jacob kept quiet until they came home. 6Now Hamor, the father of Shechem, went out to discuss the matter with Jacob, 7just as Jacob’s sons were coming in from the field. When they heard the news, the men were indignant and extremely angry. Shechem had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter; such a thing is not done.#2 Sm 13:12. 8Hamor appealed to them, saying: “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. 9Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10Thus you can live among us. The land is open before you. Settle and move about freely in it and acquire holdings here.”#Hamor seems to be making concessions to Jacob’s family in the hope of avoiding warfare between the two families. 11Then Shechem appealed to Dinah’s father and brothers: “Do me this favor, and whatever you ask from me, I will give. 12No matter how high you set the bridal price and gift, I will give you whatever you ask from me; only give me the young woman as a wife.”
Revenge of Jacob’s Sons. 13Jacob’s sons replied to Shechem and his father Hamor with guile, speaking as they did because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14They said to them, “We are not able to do this thing: to give our sister to an uncircumcised man. For that would be a disgrace for us. 15Only on this condition will we agree to that: that you become like us by having every male among you circumcised. 16Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters in marriage; we will settle among you and become one people. 17But if you do not listen to us and be circumcised, we will take our daughter and go.”
18Their proposal pleased Hamor and his son Shechem. 19The young man lost no time in acting on the proposal, since he wanted Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more highly regarded than anyone else in his father’s house. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and said to the men of their city: 21“These men are friendly toward us. Let them settle in the land and move about in it freely; there is ample room in the land for them. We can take their daughters in marriage and give our daughters to them. 22But only on this condition will the men agree to live with us and form one people with us: that every male among us be circumcised as they themselves are. 23Would not their livestock, their property, and all their animals then be ours? Let us just agree with them, so that they will settle among us.”
24All who went out of the gate of the city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the males, all those who went out of the gate of the city,#All those who went out of the gate of the city: apparently meaning all the residents. By temporarily crippling the men through circumcision, Jacob’s sons deprived the city of its defenders. were circumcised. 25On the third day, while they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah, each took his sword, advanced against the unsuspecting city and massacred all the males.#Gn 49:6. 26After they had killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, they took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.#Jdt 9:2. 27Then the other sons of Jacob followed up the slaughter and sacked the city because their sister had been defiled. 28They took their sheep, cattle and donkeys, whatever was in the city and in the surrounding country. 29They carried off all their wealth, their children, and their women, and looted whatever was in the houses.#Jdt 9:3–4.
30Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: “You have brought trouble upon me by making me repugnant to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I have so few men that, if these people unite against me and attack me, I and my household will be wiped out.” 31But they retorted, “Should our sister be treated like a prostitute?”
34
Revenge against Shechem
1One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the area. 2But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. 3But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words. 4He said to his father, Hamor, “Get me this young girl. I want to marry her.”
5Soon Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter, Dinah. But since his sons were out in the fields herding his livestock, he said nothing until they returned. 6Hamor, Shechem’s father, came to discuss the matter with Jacob. 7Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob’s family,#34:7 Hebrew a disgraceful thing in Israel. something that should never be done.
8Hamor tried to speak with Jacob and his sons. “My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,” he said. “Please let him marry her. 9In fact, let’s arrange other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we will give you our daughters for your sons. 10And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Settle here and trade with us. And feel free to buy property in the area.”
11Then Shechem himself spoke to Dinah’s father and brothers. “Please be kind to me, and let me marry her,” he begged. “I will give you whatever you ask. 12No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it—just give me the girl as my wife.”
13But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor. 14They said to them, “We couldn’t possibly allow this, because you’re not circumcised. It would be a disgrace for our sister to marry a man like you! 15But here is a solution. If every man among you will be circumcised like we are, 16then we will give you our daughters, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves. We will live among you and become one people. 17But if you don’t agree to be circumcised, we will take her and be on our way.”
18Hamor and his son Shechem agreed to their proposal. 19Shechem wasted no time in acting on this request, for he wanted Jacob’s daughter desperately. Shechem was a highly respected member of his family, 20and he went with his father, Hamor, to present this proposal to the leaders at the town gate.
21“These men are our friends,” they said. “Let’s invite them to live here among us and trade freely. Look, the land is large enough to hold them. We can take their daughters as wives and let them marry ours. 22But they will consider staying here and becoming one people with us only if all of our men are circumcised, just as they are. 23But if we do this, all their livestock and possessions will eventually be ours. Come, let’s agree to their terms and let them settle here among us.”
24So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp.
27Meanwhile, the rest of Jacob’s sons arrived. Finding the men slaughtered, they plundered the town because their sister had been defiled there. 28They seized all the flocks and herds and donkeys—everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. 29They looted all their wealth and plundered their houses. They also took all their little children and wives and led them away as captives.
30Afterward Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me! You’ve made me stink among all the people of this land—among all the Canaanites and Perizzites. We are so few that they will join forces and crush us. I will be ruined, and my entire household will be wiped out!”
31“But why should we let him treat our sister like a prostitute?” they retorted angrily.