Genesis 34

1 And Dina, the daughter of Lea, whom she bore to Jacob, went forth to observe the daughters of the inhabitants.
2 And Sychem the son of Emmor the Evite, the ruler of the land, saw her, and took her and lay with her, and humbled her.
3 And he was attached to the soul of Dina the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and he spoke kindly to the damsel.
4 Sychem spoke to Emmor his father, saying, Take for me this damsel to wife.
5 And Jacob heard that the son of Emmor had defiled Dina his daughter (now his sons were with his cattle in the plain). And Jacob was silent until they came.
6 And Emmor the father of Sychem went forth to Jacob, to speak to him.
7 And the sons of Jacob came from the plain; and when they heard, the men were deeply pained, and it was very grievous to them, because wrought folly in Israel, having lain with the daughter of Jacob, and so it must not be.
8 And Emmor spoke to them, saying, Sychem my son has chosen in his heart your daughter; give her therefore to him for a wife,
9 and intermarry with us. Give us your daughters, and take our daughters for your sons.
10 And dwell in the midst of us; and, behold, the land is spacious before you, dwell in it, and trade, and get possessions in it.
11 And Sychem said to her father and to her brothers, I would find grace before you, and we will give whatever ye shall name.
12 Multiply dowry very much, and I will give accordingly as ye shall say to me, only ye shall give me this damsel for a wife.
13 And the sons of Jacob answered to Sychem and Emmor his father craftily, and spoke to them, because they had defiled Dina their sister.
14 And Symeon and Levi, the brothers of Dina, said to them, We shall not be able to do this thing, to give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised, for it is a reproach to us.
15 Only on these terms will we conform to you, and dwell among you, if ye also will be as we are, in that every male of you be circumcised.
16 And we will give our daughters to you, and we will take of your daughters for wives to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will be as one race.
17 But if ye will not hearken to us to be circumcised, we will take our daughter and depart.
18 And the words pleased Emmor, and Sychem the son of Emmor.
19 And the young man delayed not to do this thing, for he was much attached to Jacob's daughter, and he was the most honourable of all in his father's house.
20 And Emmor and Sychem his son came to the gate of their city, and spoke to the men of their city, saying,
21 These men are peaceable, let them dwell with us upon the land, and let them trade in it, and behold the land is extensive before them; we will take their daughters to us for wives, and we will give them our daughters.
22 Only on these terms will the men conform to us to dwell with us so as to be one people, if every male of us be circumcised, as they also are circumcised.
23 And shall not their cattle and their herds, and their possessions, be ours? only in this let us conform to them, and they will dwell with us.
24 And all that went in at the gate of their city hearkened to Emmor and Sychem his son, and they were circumcised in the flesh of their foreskin every male.
25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, the two sons of Jacob, Symeon and Levi, Dina's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city securely, and slew every male.
26 And they slew Emmor and Sychem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dina out of the house of Sychem, and went forth.
27 But the sons of Jacob came upon the wounded, and ravaged the city wherein they had defiled Dina their sister.
28 And their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses they took, and all things whatsoever were in the city, and whatsoever were in the plain.
29 And they took captive all the persons of them, and all their store, and their wives, and plundered both whatever things there were in the city, and whatever things there were in the houses.
30 And Jacob said to Symeon and Levi, Ye have made me hateful so that I should be evil to all the inhabitants of the land, both among the Chananites and the Pherezites, and I am few in number; they will gather themselves against me and cut me in pieces, and I shall be utterly destroyed, and my house.
31 And they said, Nay, but shall they treat our sister as an harlot?

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 6

  • [a]. Alex. the chorrhæan.
  • [b]. Lit. spoke according to the heart of the damsel — to her. A literal version of the Hebrew.
  • [c]. Lit. shall not be.
  • [d]. Gr. word.
  • [e]. Gr. quadrupeds.
  • [f]. Or, slain, which seems frequently the sense in LXX.

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

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.