Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Genesis 34 "Dinah"

Genesis 34:1 "And Dinah the daughter of Leah which she bare unto Jacob went out to see the daughters of the land."

We go from the most tender chapter to a chapter of violence.

Dinah is the baby sister of 12 boys. We have not heard from her since her birth several chapters back. In this chapter her brothers are out working in the fields, Jacob is home and Dinah is bored. She decided to go into town and 'hang-out' with the local girls. They are camped near Shechem, a city or area named for the son of a man named Hamor.

Dinah must have been good looking for she attracted Shechem and he took her to his bed. Word got back to Jacob but he held his peace until the sons came from the field. Apparently a message was sent for Simeon and Levi showed up soon.

Now, Dinah is still in the house of Shechem, but Hamor, his father, asked for her hand on behalf of his son. It is not the best way to approach the issue. It is like saying "Ha, my son has your daughter in his house and has slept with her but now he loves her and wants you to give her to him." The sin would really make me mad but the gall of the father would really burn me. He has not even brought Dinah back to her father and he is asking for her hand. The son is to cowardly to come himself and do it. I can understand the actions of Simeon and Levi later.

First though, a plan is forming. Hamor must not have known the crafty side of Jacob. He read Hamor's real ( v23) intentions and did a little trickery of his own. He told them that they would be glad to intermarry with them if only they would be circumcised as they were. Hamor jumped at the idea as did Shechem for he loved Dinah v18.

v23 "Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us." The two men argued at the gate of the city.
V18 "And their words, pleased Hamor and Shechem Hamor's son." After Jacob had presented the counter offer to them.

Three days later while the men of the city were sore (V25) Simeon and Levi took up their swords and slew every male in the city and took Dinah back to her fathers house. Then the other sons "...spoiled the city because they had defiled their sister." v27

Jacob was upset. You will notice that even though his name has been changed to Israel. He is called Jacob at times. I believe it is because sometimes he acts like the old Jacob and becomes fearful instead of acting like a prince as Israel. Jacob is concerned for his family and their safety which is good but Simeon and Levi did rescue their daughter albeit by extreme measures.
v30"...Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites an 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."

Simeon and Levi were grown and had a mind of their own as judged by this verse.
v31 "And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?"

We have here some ground work for the years to come. Actions like those of Simeon and Levi are the fodder for legends. Two men slay a whole city and did not even wait for their 10 brothers. Remember the people of this area are those the Israelites will fight someday after their captivity. Jacob knows they are not strong enough to defeat the whole area but a little intimidation goes a long way. If two of the boys can do this though what of all twelve. As I said it is the thing a legend is made of. But Jacob is told by the Lord to leave the area and go back to Bethel (the place of prayer). Dinah has been defiled. Simeon and Levi have slain many men. Jacob is fearful. It is time to pray.

Had this not happened the way it did, Jacobs people would have intermingled with the local people and there would have been no Israel and the protector of the promise would have dissolved. Satan was certainly working to stop them from becoming a nation even through Dinah.

Proverbs 11:5 "The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wicknedness."

1 comment:

Librarianguish said...

Hi Milton - I just wanted to let you know I answered your comment about the house photo. I've included a couple of links there for you, and there is more information about the house on one of the photos. Thanks for your interest - it's an historic house called the Ferry House, located in Washington state.

Peace and blessings to you.