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GRIFFIN COMMENTS GEN 34 (Gen 34:1) And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. You cannot help wonder how much family attention this girl received at home with a family full of conflicts. It could be that everything was fine, but chancesare she was a lonely, naĂŻve, young teenage girl who felt lonely and wanted to have some excitement and meet people, and be acceptable somewhere. There is also a tendency at that age for youth to try their wings and escapeparental authority. Of course the fallacy of that attitude is they are without enough experience to know how to handle life situations. (Gen 34:2) And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. Sure enough she met someone right away who was also looking for a good time, and who had no scruples about violating the moral purity of a young lady, and very quickly they were involved in an affair where she was hoping to find love and he was just out for a good time. The inhabitants of that country were to the family of Jacob what the present world is to the Christian. It is dangerous to the interests of the soul to indulge in the vain curiosity of knowing the evil ways of the world. What is called " seeing life" may prove, in many cases,to be but tasting death. Familiarity blunts the senseof things sinful, and increasesthe danger of temptation. (T. H. Leale)

(Gen 34:3) And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. Apparently Shechem did care about Dinah, which is unusual. Ordinarily a young man like this has no concern for the girl he defiles. But he must have considered that this girl would make a good wife and he was very likely at the age that he was looking for a life companion so he would take advantage of this occasion. He tried to win her affection with tender words. (Gen 34:4) And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. GRIFFIN COMMENTS GEN 34—PAGE 1


Now he was following the custom of his day. Ordinarily parents prepared for marriages for their children, and often the children did not have anything to do with it. It appears however that in this case, the children did, or at least the man did. There is no way to know what Dinah's attitude and hopes were about the affair, for she appears to have been kept by Shechem in his own home during this whole affair. (Gen 34:5) And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. The fact that it says he heard about it and the fact that later when they had destroyed the city it says they took Dinah and left, it appears that Dinah was still in the home of Shechem. That would mean that either she did not come home immediately after this or he detained her in hopes of working out marriage arrangements. (Gen 34:6) And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. The father of Shechem very likely was simply trying to work out a marriage for his son and coming from a pagan world he had expected his son might do something like this, as it would be common in such a world as we find in Jacob's day. Hamor's name means "Donkey" so apparently people of those days did not think of the animal in a derogatory way as would be done today. (Gen 34:7) And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. It appears that they came out of the field becausethey heard it and wanted to see what they could do about it. So they apparently sat down to listen to the proposition. It was this that aggravated the offense of Shechem; he wrought folly against Israel, the prince of God, in lying with the daughter of Jacob. Here both the names are

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given; Jacob, whosedaughter was defiled, and Israel, the prince of God, against whom the offense was committed. (Adam Clarke)

(Gen 34:8) And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. Hamor probably saw here more than just a daughter for his son. He could solve the problem of his son’s marriage easily enough but this would give them great economic benefit as well. He saw a way to increaseboth his prestige and his wealth by this merger of the city and Jacob's family. No doubt his motive was totally selfish. (Gen 34:9) And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. It was probably not uncommon in that day for entire cities to be influenced by marriages, especially among the influential of the city and often cities had officials from kings to magistrates. So Hamor could see that both parties could be made better off with such a union with this man who was becoming wealthy among them, and if they could pool their resources they could also build up a good security system among themselves, with military, government, and anything else that would spell prosperity. (Gen 34:10) And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. He opened wide the door of invitation, to join first in marriage then in economic matters and a real community could have been established out of this agreement. The larger their community the less likely they would be taken by some outside military force. Of course he did not know of God's role in the life of Jacob and was only looking at the human side of things. (Gen 34:11) And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Now the man himself joined in with the conversation in order to obtain Jacob's daughter to be his wife. He opened himself up to whatever they might require becausehe was infatuated with her and at the moment at least it was worth anything in the world to him, just to get such a fine girl to be his wife.

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The consideration of the proposal for marriage belonged to Jacob, and he certainly showed great weaknessin yielding so much to the fiery impetuosity of his sons. The sequel shows the unhappy consequencesof that concession. (JFB)

(Gen 34:12) Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. It might even be something to brag about later on if they should ask an exorbitant amount, so he was glad to open himself up to their demands. Should they require a great amount he could tell far and wide what a great bargain he got and how much she cost. However, I doubt if he was prepared for the answer he received. (Gen 34:13) And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: Since Simeon and Levi were the ones who later slew all the men of the city, the question arises, “Which sons of Jacob are answering Shechem, here?” Did they all talk it over and decide what should be done and the agreement would be just for the two to go and slay them? Or is this Simeon and Levi answering Shechem and none of the others knew what their motive is? (Gen 34:14) And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: There was an element of truth to what they said, becauseit would not be right for them to be involved with people in a covenant who were uncircumcised. However, their real concern was not keeping Abraham’s covenant, at the moment, their concern was how to get revenge on those who defiled their sister? Thus they used the right wording to achieve devious ends. (Gen 34:15) But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; Circumcision was important to Israel and should anyone, including these strangers fail to be circumcised, they could never be a part of the nation of Israel. This was the token of Abraham's covenant that was required of anyone who was part of the promises granted to Abraham.

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Their fault is even greater since they made religion a disguise for their deceit.

(Geneva Bible) (Gen 34:16) Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. It is doubtful that Jacob was the one who made this decision, though he was the head of the house. Most likely he was allowing the sons to answer, not knowing what their motive was. [we will become one people] The ecumenical trend has always been a temptation to God's people. There are people in the world who see no problem with joining with God's people and think the differences are only superficial, but there must forever be a distinct line of demarcation between God's people and the people of the world. The sons of Jacob mention more than one daughter. There is no way to know whether Jacob had more daughters than this, but it is very likely that he did. (Gen 34:17) But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. This was probably what they hoped for; that these men would consider that too much and they could take Dinah and go their way, for Abraham had said there was to be no alliances with the Canaanites. However, if they would be willing to be circumcised, the two brothers Simeon and Levi intended to commit murder and destroy the entire city. (Gen 34:18) And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. Hamor and Shechem did not flinch at that offer for they saw no real problem with it. The only cost was sorenessfor a few days and they had lost no money, and trade would be open between them, their families could marry among each other. One reason I find it hard to believe Jacob went along with this was becauseof the feeling in his family all the way back to Abraham that they should marry within the family.

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(Gen 34:19) And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. [he was more honorable than all the house of his father] That does not speak much of the others, but he very likely was looked up to and had great influence so it would be no difficulty between the two of them to convince their community to go along. After all they could see how everyone in the community could benefit. (Gen 34:20) And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, The gate of the city was always the place of judgment. The Elders and wise men gathered there and advised people counseling on all kinds of problems and meeting the needs of the community. Hamor and Shechem, being influential were able to easily have an audience with them and they were willing to listen. There was deception on both sides. The sons of Jacob were deceitful in seeing that these men were circumcised so they could avenge their sister. Thesemen were deceitful in trying to obtain the wealth of Jacob. (Gen 34:21) These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. They offered something to the community in good faith that the people they were dealing with were faithful men and honorable. They had heard no bad reports of them in the past, so everything looked positive. Jacob was as honorable as they thought, but at least two of his sons were not quite that honorable, as they would soon find out. (Gen 34:22) Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.

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It is possible that circumcision was common enough in the land at that time so that there would be no hesitation in fulfilling this obligation. Whether that was the reason they consented so readily or not we do not know, but one thing is sure they trusted these two men and believed they were dealing with a like-minded people as Hamor and Shechem. (Gen 34:23) Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. Their big push was that everybody in the community would benefit from it, not only in giving their daughters in marriage, but in sharing in the economy. He had to make it appear that everyone would become wealthy from this transaction. They could not see the pitfalls that always accompany a "get-rich-quick" scheme. Selfishnessand covetousness always lie at the root of such transactions. (Gen 34:24) And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. There appeared to be no hesitation or delay. Immediately they went to the businessof circumcision and every man there without exception was circumcised, the young and the old alike. The petty princes in Asiatic countries have ever been absolute and despotic, their subjects paying them the most prompt and blind obedience. (Adam Clarke)

(Gen 34:25) And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. They had nothing to worry about. All the men would be at home resting and waiting until the sorenesswas gone. There would be no men in the fields, nobody out on the streets, every man would be at home and easy to find and easy to slay. Therefore these two killed them all. When once a concealment or a deceit has been practiced in matters where all should be fair and open as day, confidence can never be restored, any more than you can restore the white bloom of the grape or plum that you once pressed in your hands. (H. W. Beecher)

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(Gen 34:26) And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. We hear nothing more of Dinah after this, so we wonder whatever happened to her? Wasshe happily married later? Did they allow her to marry? The fate of women was seldom the best anyway in the time of the Old Testament, and something like this could have ruined her for life in that type of society and culture. (Gen 34:27) The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. One reason that it appears the other sons must have known about what these two did is becausethey all now came right away, as though they were waiting for the moment and began to plunder the city, knowing they had nothing to fear since every man was gone. It does not appear that their desire to spoil the city was due to greed, but revenge. (Gen 34:28) They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, We do not know how much wealth Jacob had accumulated since he left Laban, but we know that this must have greatly increased their wealth. One problem however they would incur from this increasewould be the idols of gold or other precious metals that would be kept by Jacob's family. Later when the family went to Bethel Jacob had them put these away. (Gen 34:29) And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. They left nothing behind of all they found in Shechem, and felt justified in doing so becauseDinah was defiled. We do not hear of any other plundering of cities that they did so this was very unusual, and the statement made by Jacob later also tells us that he was more honorable than that. This was certainly not his idea. He had joined these men in faith of a continuing relationship, though such was not the will of God. How much he knew about that issue we do not know. (Gen 34:30) And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites GRIFFIN COMMENTS GEN 34—PAGE 8


and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. Now he had another thing to worry about. The news of this would spread fast and without doubt everyone would begin to look at this in a negative way becausethe sons of Jacob had been deceptive and the inhabitants of the land would not blame it on the two sons alone, for they would believe that the entire family was involved. (Gen 34:31) And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? No they should not have, but that missesthe point. The situation of their sister could have been worked out another way, and more justly, but this offense had no way of rectifying itself. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression. They could get themselves in trouble with people like this that would never be rectified.

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GRIFFIN COMMENTS GEN 34  

Apparently Shechem did care about Dinah, which is unusual. Ordinarily a young man like this has no concern for the girl he defiles. But he m...

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