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Genesis 34





There are many different accounts in the bible that come to mind when we think about the bible. Even if we aren’t students of God’s word.  Movies are made of many of these accounts, like the 10 Commandments for instance. The Old Testament points forward to Jesus Christ the Messiah and all that takes place in the New Testament. The New Testament and its writers as well as Jesus himself referenced the Old Testament, the law and the prophets many times, quoting them verbatim. Occasionally there those accounts with only passing mentions of people, places, and things. For instance, Jabez mentioned in 1 Chronicles in a few versus of scripture, known for his famous prayer. The thief on the cross talked about in Luke 23, the one who defended Christ who he was hanging beside. There is the giant. No, not Goliath but one of his descendants Mentioned in 2 Samuel 21 in one of King Davids many battles he led the Israelites through. There are 4 giants written of there and Israel defeated all of them. At the end of the chapter, it is mentioned that one of these giants had 6 fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. 24 in all! All these accounts have deep and powerful teachings even though they are never mentioned again in Gods word and seem to be a “one off” account, with little importance.

Chapter 34 is no different. It contains some information that is never mentioned again but gives us explanation and teaching to help each of us grow in our walk with Jesus.

It’s important to set the tone here and keep in mind all that has taken place in the previous 3 or 4 chapters. It can be easy to simply turn a page and start a new chapter and think I terms of a new story.  Chapter 34 starts with Dinah the daughter of Leah who went out to visit the daughters of the land. Wait what! The next several verses reveal that they are still in Shechem. Problem. All the way back in chapter 31 God told Jacob to go to Bethel, 30 - 40 miles from where he wrestled with God. In chapter 33 we find that his brother Esau was coming 75 plus miles from the south in Edom to meet his brother Jacob. They meet and have a wonderful reunion and Esau tells them all to get under way to go back to his place.

We just heard the account in chapter 33 where Jacob all but says no to his brother telling Jacob to come down to his place where they will have all the room they need and finally convinces Esau that all the young animals and children can’t move as fast, so they go at an easier pace get there easier. Esau relents and returns to Edom to await Jacob’s arrival.

However, as chapter 33 closes, that is not the direction Jacob takes his family. Instead of south he continues East to Succoth. Jacob then builds himself a house, stalls, and barns for his animals. He is settling in. So, at the close of chapter 33 we find he has now come safely to the city of Shechem where he bought land and pitched a tent.

Chapter 34 opens with Jacobs only daughter Dinah who goes out to visit the daughters of the land. This starts something that is one of the most shameful incidents in Israels history. Many have wondered how old Dinah might have been in this chapter.  Using the lineages listed in the book of Genesis and when Jacob’s children we born many scholars have come up with a suggested range of 15 or 16 years old for Dinah. Whatever her age at that time, growing up with older brothers and then having opportunity to meet many other young women her age to get to know, how they dressed, what they did through their days was probably tugging at her curiosity very hard. While on her way to meet these young ladies or after meeting them the local king’s son, Shechem, the name’s sake of the city saw her, wanted her, took her and raped her. While he didn’t show any remorse for what he did to this young woman he was smitten with her.  Verse 3 tells us that he was deeply attracted to her and loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.

Now this in no way excuses what happened to Dinah. This is all taking place almost 600 years after the great flood. Roughly 160 years after the destruction of Sodom and Gomora. The flood where God destroyed all the wicked, saving only Noah and his family. The same city that Gid destroyed all the wicked except for Lot and his family. So, what we are reading is about how the world has become again in these past 500 – 600 years. Men are back to doing what they think is right in their own eyes. When we read what happens after Dinah goes to visit wouldn’t have been uncommon especially to a single unaccompanied your woman. This is the land of Canan that God would give to His people the Hebrews after setting them free from Egypt.

Back to Genesis 34. Now in verse 4 Shechem speaks to his father and tells him to get this girl for a wife.

Folks, this is the first 4 verses of chapter 34! I’m in dad mode now. Thinking, where was I when she wandered off. Where was her mother, Leah? This kind of thing didn’t happen while in the country. City living is a whole different story, and they weren’t ready for it.

I can only imagine how Jacob felt and what might have been going through his mind in verse 5. I’m having a hard time dealing with what I think I might be thinking and doing.

Now after hearing how his daughter was defiled Jacob keeps this to himself as his sons were all out in the fields. Meanwhile Hamor, Shechem’s father came to speak with Jacob about their kids getting married. Now enter the sons, back in from taking care of the livestock and hear the conversation Jacob and Hamor are having, Hearing what happened they get…;  how can one say it. They were angry, grieved, distraught, and that’s being nice.

But Hamor spoke to them on behalf of his sone. How much he cared for Jacob’s daughter. He said, “the soul of my son longs for your daughter”. This wasn’t love Shechem had for Dinah. As recorded in this chapter, “his soul longed for her”. This was a lustful desire for her and what he might gain from her. He longed for her, but we cannot say he loved her. Man, he violated her!

Deceit is now the path all will take. Hamor continues to speak, feeling himself in a tight spot and makes a deal.

Come, buy land, marry our daughters and we will marry your daughters. Shechem, becoming desperate, even says he will do whatever you ask and pay whatever you want.

Notice how the conversation has now shifted in verse 13. Jacob is not making the deal, his sons are. They are angry about what has happened and while they may really be concerned for Dinah they are speaking out of their flesh and want no less than a pound of their flesh for what has happened to their sister. They want to satisfy their own anger.

So, in deceit they work up a scheme and tell Hamor and Shechem that this just can’t happen. We are Hebrews and are circumcised. There is no way our sister can marry an uncircumcised Canaanite.

Unless…….. all the men of Shechem were to be circumcised like us, then it might work. If not, we take Dinah and go home.

This seemed to make sense to these men, Hamor and Shechem.  You have a deal! Shechem and Hamor being respected men, go the city gates gathering all the men in the city and explain what is going to happen and why. Telling them in the end what will really happen is that all the Hebrews stuff will be ours. More deceit. So, all men, driven by greed I suppose get in line and get circumcised.

 3 days later, while the Shechemites are still too sore to do anything Jacobs two sons, Simeon and Levi who were Dinah’s full brothers take swords and enter the city unawares and killed every male in the city. They also killed Hamor and Shechem and took Dinah from Shechem s house. That’s right. Dinah was still there. She hadn’t come back or been brought back home. Now the rest of Jacobs sons come upon the dead men and loot the entire city. They took all the livestock, property, their wives and their children because of how they treated their sister.

Now these sons of Jacob proudly go home with all their spoils, But Jacob isn’t happy. Jacob told his sons how much trouble they had brought down to his house. He tells him that they made him stink to all the people of this land. He is now worried that the Canaanites and Perizzites will join forces to destroy them all. They replied, still angry, “why should we allow him to treat our sister like a prostitute”?


What can we take away from this?


We live in a corrupt world and as followers of Christ the Enemy will constantly try to deceive us into do as the world does.

Dads, you should be the first date your daughter goes on. They need to know how Godly men should treat women. Especially them.

Deceit destroys. Everyone. Absolutely everyone.

Jacob shouldn’t have made the right turn at Succoth but should have gone straight southwest to Bethel.

When the Lord tells you where you are to go, what you are to do, go there and do as He the lord ask’s.


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Very thorough and nice summary of Genesis chapter 34. Thank you

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