Gen. 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
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.
Gen. 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
Gen. 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
Now we find out why we were told about the birth of Dinah, Leah’s daughter. She decided to go out and meet some of the girls in the neighborhood. The ruler of Shechem was Hamor the Hivite (the father of many sons from whom Jacob bought his land). He had a son named Shechem, who seemed to be the heir apparent, who violated Dinah. He declared his love for her and asked his father to get her for his wife.
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.
Gen. 34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
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.
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.
Gen. 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
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.
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.
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.
Jacob heard what had happened to Dinah, but decided not to tell his sons right away. Hamor came to see Jacob with the intent of getting the girl as a wife for his son. In the meantime Dinah’s brothers heard what had happened and rushed home, grieving and furious. Hamor told them that Shechem loved (from the Hebrew for
“longeth”) Dinah and wanted to marry her. He proposed that they settle among them and let the families intermarry. (Satan is always at work trying to pollute the bloodline of Jesus.) Then Shechem spoke up (he must have come with his father) and offered to pay any price demanded to make Dinah his bride.
Gen. 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
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:
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;
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.
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.
Gen. 34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gen. 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
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,
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.
It’s interesting to me that it is the sons that answer Shechem and his father—not Jacob. (This is a man who wrestled with God and won a spiritual victory, yet he had no control over his sons.) They decided to lie, justifying their action because of the injustice to their sister. They agreed to give Shechem their sister and to intermarry if they would agree to become like them by circumcising all their males. Evidently, Shechem really was in love with Dinah and wanted to act in a way to protect her from shame (vs. 19). Hamor and Shechem agreed and convinced the rest of the townsmen to agree as well, pointing out that they would then share in Jacob’s wealth. So every male in the city was circumcised. Three days later, while the men were still in pain, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, attacked the unsuspecting city killing all the males with their swords. After killing Hamor and Shechem, they took Dinah back with them. Then the rest of the brothers looted the city. They seized flocks, herds, donkeys, women, children, and anything else of value they could find.
Guzik: “When the Bible shows its leaders and heroes in such terrible, plain truth, we can know for sure that it is a book from God. Men don’t normally write about themselves and their ancestors like this.”
And again: "Jacob’s refusal to do what is right in regard to his family will encourage two of his sons to do something, something terrible in response. When God-appointed heads do not take appropriate leadership, it creates a void, which is often filled sinfully.”
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 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.
Gen. 34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
Jacob confronted Simeon and Levi. He pointed out that their actions would cause the people of the land to hate them. In comparison, Jacob and his people were few in number. If the people of the land joined forces, Jacob’s household would be destroyed. The brothers showed no remorse; they felt justified in defending their sister’s honor. (I think the sons were so used to seeing their father in the position of blessing that they must have felt invincible.)
Thoughts – Nowhere in this narrative are we told anything of Dinah’s guilt or innocence in the whole situation. Why did Jacob allow his sons to answer in his stead to Hamor and Shechem? Did Jacob know that his sons were planning to murder the men of the city? Verse 30 indicates that he was not in on the plan. That would make it seem like he had planned to stick by the deal to give his daughter and allow his people to intermarry. You would think he would have known that that would not be pleasing to God.
Henry: “Those who act wickedly, under the pretext of religion, are the worst enemies of the truth, and harden the hearts of many to destruction.”
Smith: “If God used only perfect people, He wouldn’t have anybody to work with. And so God has to use what He can, and that’s us, with all of our imperfections. And so lest we get the concept in our minds, which we so easily do, that God just uses perfect people or God will just bless perfect people, God is careful to show us that these people aren’t perfect at all….And so it helps me to yield myself to God to know that I don’t have to be perfect, yet He wants me to be perfect. I’m not. But He has provided for my imperfections through Jesus Christ. And thus God will use me and that to me is always an exciting thing. So God doesn’t try to gloss over and give you the picture of, you know, just perfect individuals. Man, these guys are horrible. What they did was horrible. And yet God is going to use them to be the father of the nation.”
Constable: “While the story in this chapter operates at a level of family honor and the brothers’ concern for their ravaged sister, the story nevertheless also carries along the theme that runs so clearly through the Jacob narratives, namely, that God works through and often in spite of the limited self-serving plans of human beings. The writer’s purpose is not to approve these human plans and schemes but to show how God, in his sovereign grace, could still achieve his purpose through them.”