18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.
20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their’s be our’s? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
K.J.V. Bible Text
As I began reading verse 18 of Genesis 34, I could hardly believe what I was reading. What seems to me to be a radical act for grown men to take—circumcision—especially as it would link them to an outside group of people, seems to have been agreed upon without much reluctance by Shechem. Apparently, he was circumcised at once (He must have really loved Dinah) and then went to speak to the other men of the city to convince them to also participate in the arrangement. In convincing the men to do so, there is an indication in their argument that they did not take Jacob’s people as a threat. In their minds, rather than allowing outsiders to benefit from joining their people, they felt that the livestock, property and other possessions of Jacob’s people would be theirs if they could convince Jacob and his sons to dwell in their city.
The ruler and his son did convince the men to be circumcised; and three days later, before they had recovered from the procedure, two of Dinah’s brothers, Levi and Simeon, attacked and killed all the males of the city including Hamor and his son Shechem. They took Dinah from Shechem’s house. Jacob’s sons then looted the city and carried off all the wealth, women and children.
Jacob was upset about this because he knew that by their actions, Simeon and Levi had made his people obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites who lived in the land before they arrived. He feared that they would join forces and attack and destroy his small band. Simeon and Levi were unrepentant, saying that Shechem should not have treated their sister like a prostitute.
Whew! This chapter contained high drama and at this point I find myself wondering; was Shechem really a man who did evil or was this problem the difference in the two cultures? Today people often joke about cave men carrying off their brides while brandishing a club. Could Shechem have been behaving in a way common to his people without realizing how it would be viewed by Jacob’s people?
Even in the Bible I can’t see some things as completely black or white. Within the shades of gray, however, I am sure the Lord will make things right.
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