Genesis 34

Dinah and the Shechemites

1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land.
2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her.
3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.
4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.”
5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.
6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob.
7 Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in[a] Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.
8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife.
9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves.
10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade[b] in it, and acquire property in it.”
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask.
12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”
13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.
14 They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us.
15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males.
16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you.
17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.”
18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem.
19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter.
20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city.
21 “These men are friendly toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours.
22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are.
23 Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.”
24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.
25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male.
26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where[c] their sister had been defiled.
28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields.
29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”
31 But they replied, “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.

Cross References 60

  • 1. S Genesis 30:21
  • 2. S Genesis 33:19
  • 3. S Genesis 33:19
  • 4. S Genesis 10:17
  • 5. Deuteronomy 21:14; 2 Samuel 13:14
  • 6. ver 26
  • 7. ver 19
  • 8. S Genesis 24:67
  • 9. Genesis 50:21; Isaiah 14:1; Isaiah 40:2
  • 10. S Genesis 21:21
  • 11. ver 2,13,27; Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:4; Deuteronomy 27:20; Deuteronomy 33:6; 1 Chronicles 5:1
  • 12. Judges 14:2-5
  • 13. 1 Corinthians 5:2
  • 14. Genesis 39:19; Genesis 49:6-7; 2 Samuel 12:5; 2 Samuel 13:21; Esther 7:7; Proverbs 6:34
  • 15. Deuteronomy 22:21; Judges 19:23; Judges 20:6; 2 Samuel 13:12; Jeremiah 29:23
  • 16. S Genesis 20:9; Joshua 7:15
  • 17. S Genesis 21:21; Deuteronomy 21:11
  • 18. ver 16,21; Deuteronomy 7:3; Joshua 23:12
  • 19. ver 23; Genesis 46:34; Genesis 47:6,27
  • 20. S Genesis 13:9; Genesis 20:15
  • 21. Genesis 42:34
  • 22. S Genesis 33:19
  • 23. S Genesis 32:5
  • 24. Exodus 22:16; Deuteronomy 22:29; 1 Samuel 18:25
  • 25. S ver 5
  • 26. S Genesis 27:36
  • 27. Genesis 17:14; Judges 14:3; 1 Samuel 31:4; Isaiah 52:1
  • 28. 1 Samuel 11:2
  • 29. ver 22; Exodus 12:48
  • 30. S ver 9
  • 31. S Genesis 33:19
  • 32. Genesis 49:3; 1 Chronicles 11:21
  • 33. ver 3
  • 34. S Genesis 18:1; Ruth 4:1; 2 Samuel 15:2
  • 35. S Genesis 33:19
  • 36. S ver 9
  • 37. S ver 15
  • 38. ver 28; S Genesis 12:16
  • 39. S ver 10
  • 40. S Genesis 18:1; Genesis 23:10
  • 41. Joshua 5:8
  • 42. S Genesis 29:33
  • 43. S Genesis 29:34
  • 44. Genesis 49:5; Malachi 2:16
  • 45. Jdg 18:7,10,27; Ezekiel 38:11
  • 46. Genesis 49:7
  • 47. S ver 7; Genesis 48:22
  • 48. ver 3
  • 49. 2 Kings 21:14
  • 50. S ver 5
  • 51. Genesis 43:18
  • 52. S ver 23
  • 53. S Genesis 31:26
  • 54. Numbers 14:3; Numbers 31:9,53; Deuteronomy 2:35; Joshua 7:21
  • 55. 2 Kings 8:12; Isaiah 13:16; Lamentations 5:11; Amos 1:13; Zechariah 14:2
  • 56. Genesis 43:6; Exodus 5:23; Numbers 11:11
  • 57. Exodus 5:21; Exodus 6:9; 1 Samuel 13:4; 1 Samuel 27:12; 2 Samuel 10:6; 1 Chronicles 19:6
  • 58. S Genesis 13:7
  • 59. Genesis 35:26; Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5; Deuteronomy 10:22; Deuteronomy 26:5; 1 Chronicles 16:19; Psalms 105:12
  • 60. ver 2

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary


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

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