An entire chapter this time! Feel free to read the passage immediately below, but if all of those words are looking kinda "no thanks", don't fret, I'll have a summary at the beginning of my... review.
Genesis 34Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing must not be done. But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. Ask me for as great a bride price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.”
The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.”
Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor's son Shechem. And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father's house. So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem's house and went away. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”
Here's the gist:
• Jacob's daughter, Dinah, went out "to see the women of the land."
• The prince of the land, Shechem, kidnaps her and rapes her. (she was most likely 15 years old or even possibly younger according to many who have studied the text)
• He liked what he
• Shechem's dad, Hamor, goes to Jacob, telling him that his son really, really wants to marry Dinah. (like, "ask for whatever you want" really.)
• Jacob's sons answer with "Absolutely! After all of your men circumcise themselves!"
• Hamor and Shechem go to their town and tell every guy to be circumcised. I'm certain everyone was super happy to hear this command.
• Three day's later, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, kill all the men in the city (including Hamor and Shechem) while they're sore from the circumcision. They also plundered the city and captured all the women and children. (oh yeah, they also rescued Dinah)
• Jacob scolds his sons, seemingly more worried about his reputation than the bloodshed.
• Passage ends with the brothers responding to Jacob, "Should he (Shechem) treat our sister like a prostitute?" Sounds like complete justification for the murder, ransacking and hostile-takeover of an entire city and its inhabitants to me!
In a nutty nutshell, two of Jacob's sons destroy a city because one of its leaders raped their sister. Oh, and those "little ones" and "wives" they took from the city? Now Jacob's tribe has few more warbrides and slaves! Yay! Nothing like some lying, murder, terrorizing, rape, and enslavement to even the score!
Rape isn't cool. (I know, what a bold stance) Something else uncool is how this passage portrays Shechem as someone to be pitied and is eventually betrayed.
This entire chapter has an uncharacteristically narrative structure to it. I know the Bible has storylike segments throughout it, but this chapter has the makings of an entire movie (which, if honestly made, would not be well-received by Christians) in its 31 verses. Whoever put the book of Genesis together thought to put an odd amount of emphasis on this odd story of rape and revenge.
Why is this story odd? (v2)Starting off, a teenage (possibly younger) girl is raped and immediately the offender falls in love with her. I don't know much about rape, but I would imagine most raped-by-a-stranger stories end with the victim being murdered or being discarded... but the weird focus in this story almost makes it like "hey... maybe being raped by a rich, powerful guy ain't all that bad if he then takes a liking to you and desires to marry you."
(v8)I-raped-a-girl-and-I-liked-it (Shechem) then tries to make right with her family with the added benefit of allegiance between Jacob's people and his own people. Most people familiar with their Bible would probably expect the story to end with Dinah (notice how she has zero say in the matter?) being pawned off to Shechem in exchange for (v12)"whatever they wanted".
(v13-17)Nope, Jacob's sons tell (v13)(deceitfully) Prince can't-keep-it-in-thy-pants (and his dad, who must be so proud of his rapist son) "tell you what, we'll accept your offer if you and all the men of your city circumcise yourselves."
With a wince and a are-you-sure? glace from his father, Shechem and Hamor agree to the terms and head back home. (v20-24)At the city gate, they told everyone the great news!
"Hey, everyone, chop the tip of the foreskin on your penis off and my son will be able to marry the girl you saw him drag into his house the other night!"
Either Hamor's people really liked him or were really afraid of him? I wouldn't cut off a piece of my penis just so someone can marry somebody on a quick fancy. A tattoo or something, maybe... but leave my penis out of your marriage! (good advice in general)
Immediately after that persuasive speech every man in the city did the deed and every store in the city was quickly out of ice packs and gauze. (v25)In the very next verse, "on the third day", Simeon and Levi attacked the city, killing Shechem and Hamor and all the males (who had nothing to do with the injustice committed against their sister) while everyone is still recovering from taking the knife to their man-bits. (v26-29)They then plundered the city, taking their livestock, their wealth, their belongings, and "all their little ones and their wives." (slaves and battle-brides, score!)
(v30)Upon his two murderous, thieving, enraged sons returning home with their loot and captives, Jacob scolded them with "you're making me look bad!" Seriously, all of Jacob's dialogue/reactions in this chapter are bizarre. He never seems to properly react to discovering that his only daughter has been raped (and kidnapped.) And once two of his sons have finished ransacking/murdering a city, Jacob scolds them with worry about his reputation and vulnerability. Father of the year, everyone!