Genesis 34

Genesis 34 – Shechem Defiles Dinah

Shechem has sex with Dinah. It doesn’t actually say rape but it says he took her and defiled her so we can interpret that easily.

Shechem talks to his dad Hamor who runs the country and tells him to get Dinah for his wife because he has feelings for her now.

v.5 Jacob held his peace until his sons got home from the fields.

Hamor comes to Jacob to commune and ask for Dinah to be the wife of Shechem. He tells them to stay in the land and intermarry their daughters and thrive there.

Shechem then speaks to Jacob and the brothers asking them to name the price basically.

Dinah’s brothers explain (deceitfully) that could not give their sister to one who is uncircumcised. They tell him to circumcise every male and then they will interbreed and ‘become one people.’

Hamor and Shechem were okay with this requirement and go to commune with the men of the city. They told them all that the only way they would have the women of Jacob’s family is to circumcise every male. And they did it, they circumcised every male in the city in 3 days.

v.25, Simeon and Levi came to the city and killed every male including Hamor and Shechem and stole Dinah back.

v.27 the sons of Jacob defiled the city because they had defiled Dinah. Um, one thing, Shechem defiled Dinah not the entire city. This slaughter (and circumcision deceit) was wrong, how could god have let this happen or go unpunished? This is kind of a silly question I know seeing how the same god annihilated Sodom and confounded the language of the entire world to keep them from working together.

So, not only did they kill all the males but they took the herds, the crops, the children, and the women, and then they destroyed all the houses.

Jacob reprimands his sons for doing so and says now if he is ever in a small enough group the people of the land will come up against him and kill him. They basically say ‘what else could we do, should we just let him treat her as a harlot?’

Yes, the only response to a single rape is destruction of a city, the death of every male, and the enslavement of every woman and child. Please understand the sarcasm here.

I must question one more thing. The males (after being deceived into circumcising themselves but before being murdered); were they considered ‘children of Israel’ because they were circumcised? Does going through the rites without the knowledge of the reason or implication of the rites fulfill the obligation? Is someone who is circumcised or baptised without knowing why still able to be considered one of the throng? Most people would disagree with someone who said ‘Aww, look at that little Republican baby’ but agree with someone saying ‘Aww, look at that little Christian baby.’

Throughout this story one point of view is missing, that of Dinah herself. Did she have feelings for Shechem? Was she part of the defiling? I am pretty sure that defiling her could mean rape but it also could just mean sex outside of marriage. Perhaps, as the Skeptics Annotated Bible puts it, it was a Romeo-Juliet type story with two young lovers willing to over look their cultural and religious differences but their families get in the way and it turns out disastrous.


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Posted on October 5, 2013, in Genesis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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