Genesis 34

1 Forsooth Dinah, the daughter of Leah, went out to see the women of that country.
2 And when Shechem, the son of Hamor (the) Hivite, the prince of that land, had seen her, he loved her, and he ravished her, and (he) slept with her, and oppressed the virgin by violence (and he oppressed the virgin with violence).
3 And his soul was bound fast with her, and he pleased her sorry with flatterings. (But his soul was bound fast to her, and he tried to appease her sorrow with flattery.)
4 And he went to Hamor, his father, and said, Take to me this damsel (for) a wife. (And he went to his father Hamor, and said, Get me this young woman for a wife.)
5 And when Jacob had heard this thing, while his sons were absent, and occupied in the feeding/in the pasturing of [the] sheep, he was still, till they came again (until they returned home).
6 Soothly when Hamor, the father of Shechem, was gone out to speak to Jacob,
7 lo! his sons came from the field. And when this thing that befelled was heard, they were wroth greatly; for he had wrought a foul thing in Israel, and he had done a thing unleaveful in the defouling of the daughter of Jacob. (lo! his sons came in from the field. And when they heard what had befallen, they were enraged; for Shechem had done a foul, or a vile, thing in Israel, and he had done an unlawful thing in the defiling of Jacob's daughter.)
8 And so Hamor spake to them (And Hamor said to them), The soul of my son Shechem hath cleaved to your daughter; give ye her (for) a wife to him,
9 and (so) join we weddings together; give ye your daughters to us, and take ye our daughters (for yourselves),
10 and dwell ye with us; (yea,) the land is in your power; till ye, and make ye merchandise, and wield ye it (work ye it, and make ye merchandise, and possess ye it).
11 But also Shechem said to the father and brethren of her, Find I grace before you, and whatever things ye ordain I shall give; (And Shechem said to her father and her brothers, I pray that I find grace before you, and whatever things ye ask for, I shall give you;)
12 increase ye the dower, and ask ye (for) gifts, and I shall give willfully that that ye ask; only give ye this damsel (for) a wife to me. (increase ye the dowry, and ask ye for gifts, and I shall willingly give what ye ask; only give ye to me this young woman for a wife.)
13 The sons of Jacob answered in guile to Shechem and (to Hamor,) his father, and they were (made) fierce for the defouling of the maidenhood of their sister, (And Jacob's sons answered guilefully, or deceitfully, to Shechem, and to his father Hamor, for they were enraged by the defiling of their sister's maidenhood,)
14 We may not do this that ye ask, neither we may give our sister to a man uncircumcised, which thing is unleaveful and abominable with us. (and they said, We cannot do this thing that ye ask, for we cannot give our sister to an uncircumcised man, for such a thing is unlawful and abominable with us.)
15 But in this we shall be able to be bound in peace, if ye will be like us, and each of male kind be circumcised in you; (But by this we shall make a covenant with thee, if ye will be made like us, and each of your males be circumcised;)
16 then we shall give and take together our daughters and yours (then we shall give our daughters to you, and we shall take your daughters for ourselves); and we shall dwell with you, and we shall be one people.
17 Forsooth if ye will not be circumcised, (then) we shall take our daughter, and we shall go away.
18 The proffering of them pleased Hamor, and Shechem, his son, (And their proffer pleased Hamor, and his son Shechem,)
19 and the young waxing man delayed not, that not he fulfilled anon that that was asked; for he loved the damsel greatly, and he was (the most) noble in all the house of his father. (and the young man delayed not, but he fulfilled at once what was asked for; for he greatly loved the young woman, and he was the most noble in all of his father's household.)
20 And they entered into the gate of the city, and spake to the people, (And so they went to the city gate, and said to the people,)
21 These men be peaceable, and will dwell with us; make they merchandise in the land, and till they it, which is large and broad, and hath need to tillers; we shall take their daughters to wives, and we shall give our daughters to them. (These men be peaceful, and will live with us; so let them make merchandise in the land, and let them work it, which is large and broad, and hath need of men to work it; and we shall take their daughters for our wives, and we shall give our daughters to them.)
22 One thing is, for which so great good is delayed; if we circumcise our males, and follow the custom of the folk, (But before that they will live with us, and we become one people, there is one thing which they require us to do; we must first circumcise all our males, and so follow this folk's custom,)
23 both their substance, and sheep, and all things which they wield, shall be ours; only assent we in this, that we dwell together, and make one people. (then their chattel, and sheep, and all the things which they possess, shall be ours; so let us assent in this matter, so that we can all live together, and be one people.)
24 And all (the) men assented, and (so) all [the] males were circumcised.
25 And lo! in the third day, when the sorrow of [the] wounds was most grievous, two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, [the] brethren of Dinah, took swords, and entered into the city boldly; and when all [the] males were slain, (And lo! on the third day, when the pain from their wounds was most grievous, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took swords, and boldly entered into the city, and killed all the males;)
26 they killed Hamor and Shechem together, and took Dinah, their sister, from the house of Shechem. And when they were gone out, (and they killed Hamor and Shechem, and took away their sister Dinah from Shechem's house. And when they had left the city,)
27 [the] other sons of Jacob felled in on the slain men, and rifled the city, for the vengeance of [the] defouling of the virgin (to take vengeance for their sister's defiling).
28 And they wasted the sheep of those men, and droves of oxen, and asses, and all things that were in the houses and fields, (And they destroyed the sheep of those men, and their herds of oxen, and their donkeys, and all the things that were in their houses and in their fields,)
29 and (they) led away (as) prisoners the little children, and [the] wives of those men. And when these things were done hardily (And when these things were fully done),
30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me, and have made me hateful to (the) Canaanites and Perizzites, [the] dwellers of this land; we be few, [and] they shall be gathered together (against me), and shall slay me, and I shall be done away, and mine house. (Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have brought in trouble on me, and have made me to be hated by the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the inhabitants of this land; yea, we be few, and now they shall be gathered together against me, and shall slay me, and I and all of my household, or all of my family, shall be done away.)
31 Simeon and Levi answered, Whether they ought to mis-use our sister as a whore? (And Simeon and Levi answered, Should they be allowed to mis-use our sister like a whore?)

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.

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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.