Genesis 34

Dinah Defiled

1 Dinah, Leah's daughter whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see some of the young women of the area.
2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, a prince of the region, saw her, he took her and raped her.
3 He became infatuated with Dinah, daughter of Jacob. He loved the young girl and spoke tenderly to her.[a]
4 "Get me this girl as a wife," he told his father Hamor.
5 Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah, but since his sons were with his cattle in the field, he remained silent until they returned.
6 Meanwhile, Shechem's father Hamor came to speak with Jacob.
7 Jacob's sons returned from the field when they heard [about the incident] and were deeply grieved and angry. For Shechem had committed an outrage against Israel by sleeping with Jacob's daughter, and such a thing should not be done.
8 Hamor said to Jacob's sons, "My son Shechem is strongly attracted to your[b] daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.
9 Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.
10 Live with us. The land is before you. Settle here, move about, and acquire property in it."
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Grant me this favor,[c] and I'll give you whatever you say.
12 Set for me the compensation[d] and the gift; I'll give you whatever you ask me. Just give the girl to be my wife!"
13 But Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
14 "We cannot do this thing," they said to them. "Giving our sister to an uncircumcised man is a disgrace to us.
15 We will agree with you only on this condition: if all your males are circumcised as we are.[e]
16 Then we will give you our daughters, take your daughters for ourselves, live with you, and become one people.
17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go."
18 Their words seemed good in the eyes of Hamor and his son Shechem.
19 The young man did not delay doing this, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most important in all his father's house.
20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men there.
21 "These men are peaceful toward us," they said. "Let them live in our land and move about in it, for indeed, the region is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as our wives and give our daughters to them.
22 But the men will agree to live with us and be one people only on this condition: if all our men are circumcised as they are.
23 Won't their herds, their possessions, and all their livestock become ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us."
24 All the able-bodied men[f] listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the able-bodied men[g] were circumcised.
25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords, went into the unsuspecting city, and killed every male.
26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went away.
27 Jacob's [other] sons came to the slaughter and plundered the city because their sister had been defiled.
28 They took their sheep, cattle, donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field.
29 They captured all their possessions, children, and wives, and plundered everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me, making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. We are few in number; if they unite against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed."
31 But they answered, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?"

Genesis 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

Dinah defiled by Shechem. (1-19) The Shechemites murdered by Simeon and Levi. (20-31)

Verses 1-19 Young persons, especially females, are never so safe and well off as under the care of pious parents. Their own ignorance, and the flattery and artifices of designing, wicked people, who are ever laying snares for them, expose them to great danger. They are their own enemies if they desire to go abroad, especially alone, among strangers to true religion. Those parents are very wrong who do not hinder their children from needlessly exposing themselves to danger. Indulged children, like Dinah, often become a grief and shame to their families. Her pretence was, to see the daughters of the land, to see how they dressed, and how they danced, and what was fashionable among them; she went to see, yet that was not all, she went to be seen too. She went to get acquaintance with the Canaanites, and to learn their ways. See what came of Dinah's gadding. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. How great a matter does a little fire kindle! We should carefully avoid all occasions of sin and approaches to it.

Verses 20-31 The Shechemites submitted to the sacred rite, only to serve a turn, to please their prince, and to enrich themselves, and it was just with God to bring punishment upon them. As nothing secures us better than true religion, so nothing exposes us more than religion only pretended to. But Simeon and Levi were most unrighteous. Those who act wickedly, under the pretext of religion, are the worst enemies of the truth, and harden the hearts of many to destruction. The crimes of others form no excuse for us. Alas! how one sin leads on to another, and, like flames of fire, spread desolation in every direction! Foolish pleasures lead to seduction; seduction produces wrath; wrath thirsts for revenge; the thirst of revenge has recourse to treachery; treachery issues in murder; and murder is followed by other lawless actions. Were we to trace the history of unlawful commerce between the sexes, we should find it, more than any other sin, ending in blood.

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Lit spoke to her heart
  • [b]. Hb your is pl, showing that Hamor is speaking to Jacob and his sons.
  • [c]. Lit May I find favor in your eyes
  • [d]. Or bride-price, or betrothal present
  • [e]. Gn 17:23-27
  • [f]. Lit All who went out of the city gate
  • [g]. Lit all the males who went out of the city gate

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 34

This chapter gives an account of the ravishment of Dinah by Shechem, Ge 34:1-5; of his father Hamor and him treating with Jacob and his sons about the marriage of her, Ge 34:6-12; of the condition proposed by Jacob's sons, circumcision of all the males in Shechem, which was agreed to by Shechem and his father, Ge 34:13-19; of the men of Shechem being persuaded to yield to it, Ge 34:20-24; and of the destruction of them on the third day by Simeon and Levi, and of the plunder of their city and field, and of the captivity of their wives and children by Jacob's sons, which gave Jacob great offence, and in which they justified themselves, Ge 34:25-31.

Who is supposed to be at this time about fourteen or fifteen years of age: for that she was but about nine or ten years old is not to be credited, as some compute it {z}: she is observed to be the daughter of Leah, partly that the following miscarriage might bring to mind her forwardness to intrude herself into Jacob's bed, and be a rebuke unto her; and partly to account for Simeon and Levi being so active in revenging her abuse, they being Leah's sons: of Dinah it is said, that she

\\went out to see the daughters of the land\\; of the land of Canaan, to visit them, and contract an acquaintance with them; and she having no sisters to converse with at home, it might be a temptation to her to go abroad. According to the Targum of Jonathan, she went to see the manners, customs, and fashions of the women of that country, to learn them, as the Septuagint version renders the word; or to see their habit and dress, and how they ornamented themselves, as Josephus {a} observes; and who also says it was a festival day at Shechem, and therefore very probably many of the young women of the country round about might come thither on that occasion; and who being dressed in their best clothes would give Dinah a good opportunity of seeing and observing their fashions; and which, with the diversions of the season, and shows to be seen, allured Dinah to go out of her mother's tent into the city, to gratify her curiosity. Aben Ezra's note is, that she went of herself, that is, without the leave of either of her parents: according to other Jewish writers {b} there was a snare laid for her by Shechem, who observing that Jacob's daughter dwelt in tents, and did not go abroad, he brought damsels out of the city dancing and playing on timbrels; and Dinah went forth to see them playing, and he took her, and lay with her, as follows.

{z} R. Ganz. Tzemach David, par. l. fol. 6. 2. {a} Antiqu. l. 1. c. 21. sect. 1. {b} Pirke Eliezer, c. 38. fol. 42. 2. 08940-950104-0921-Ge34.2

Genesis 34 Commentaries