1 “And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see
the daughters of the land.” And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto
Jacob, - if Dinah was born before Joseph (ch. 30:21) she was probably in her seventh
year when Jacob reached Succoth (ch. 33:17); but it does not follow that she was
only six or seven years of age when the incident about to be described occurred
(Tuch, Bohlen). If Jacob stayed two years at Succoth and eight in Shechem
(Petavius), and if, as is probable, his residence in Shechem terminated with his
daughter's dishonor (Lange), and
if, moreover, Joseph s sale into
soon after (Hengstenberg), Dinah may at this time have been in her sixteenth or
seventeenth year (Kurtz). Yet there is no reason why she should not have been
younger, say between thirteen and fifteen (Keil, Lange, Kalisch, Murphy, et alii),
since in the East females attain to puberty at the age of twelve, and sometimes
earlier (Delitzsch) - went out - it is not implied that this was the first occasion
on which Dinah left her mother's tent to mingle with the city maidens in Shechem:
the expression is equivalent to "once upon a time she went out" (Hengstenberg) –
to see the daughters of the land - who were gathered at a festive entertainment
language rather indicates the paying of a friendly visit (Lange), or the habitual
practice of associating with the Shechemite women (Bush), in their social
entertainments, if not in their religious festivals.
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.” And when Shechem
the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the country, saw her (literally, and
Shechem... saw her, and) he took her. "Dinah paid the full penalty of her
carelessness. She suffered the fate which Sarah and Rebekah encountered
of the prince" (Kalisch); forcibly, i.e. against her will in the first instance,
though not, it is apparent, without the blandishments of a lover. And lay with
her, and defiled her - literally, oppressed her, offered violence to her, whence
humbled her - ἐταπείνωσεν - etapeinosen - (Septuagint), vi opprimens (Vulgate).
3 “And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the
damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 4 And Shechem spake unto his
father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.” And his soul clave (see
below on v. 8) unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, - it was in some degree an
extenuation of the wickedness of Shechem that he did not cast off the victim
of his violence and lust, but continued to regard her with affection - and he
loved the damsel, - on the use of na'ar for a youth of either sex see ch. 24:14 –
and spake kindly unto the damsel - literally, spoke to the heart of the damsel,
ἐλάλησε κατὰ τὴν διάνοιαν τῆς παρθίνου αὐτῇ - elalaese kata taen dianoian
taes parthinou autae – spoke kindly to the young lady - (Septuagint), i.e.
addressed to her such words as were agreeable to her inclinations (compare
probably expressing his affection, and offering the reparation of honorable
marriage, as may be legitimately inferred from what is next recorded of his
behavior. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this
damsel to wife - compare the case of Samson (Judges 14:2).
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.”
And Jacob heard - most likely from some of Dinah's companions (Patrick),
since she herself was still detained in Shechem’s house (v. 26) - that he
(Hamor's son) had defiled - the verb here employed conveys the idea of
Psalm 79:1; that in v. 2 expresses the notion of violence) - Dinah his daughter.
It was an aggravation of Shechem's wickedness that it was perpetrated not
against any of Jacob's handmaids, but against his daughter. Now (literally, and)
his sons were with his cattle in the field - perhaps that which he had lately
purchased (ch. 33:19), or in some pasture ground more remote from the city.
And Jacob held his peace - literally, acted as one dumb, i.e. maintained
silence upon the painful subject, and took no measures to avenge Shechem’s
sorrow (Ainsworth, Calvin), or through caution (Murphy, Lange), or through
perplexity, as not knowing how to act (Kalisch), or as recognizing the right
of his sons by the same mother to have a voice in the settlement of so important
a question (Kurtz, Gerlach), to which undoubtedly the next clause points –
until they were come - literally, until their coming.
6 “And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.”
And (meantime) Hamor the father of Shechem went out - accompanied by Shechem
(v. 11) - unto Jacob - who was encamped in the outskirts of the city (ch. 33:18) –
to commune with him concerning Dinah's marriage with his son.
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
in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.”
And the sons of Jacob (i.e. Leah's children, Dinah's full brothers, for certain, though
perhaps also her half brothers) came out of the field when they heard it (Jacob
having probably sent them word): and the men were grieved, - literally, grieved
themselves, or became pained with anger, the verb being the hithpael of צָעַב,
to toil or labor with pain. The Septuagint connect this with the preceding clause,
ὡς δὲ ἤκουσαν, κατενύγησαν οἱ ἅνδρες – hos de aekousan, katenugaesan hoi
handres – when they heard it. The men were grieved - implying that they did not
learn of their sister's seduction till they came home – and they were very wroth, -
literally, it burned to them greatly (compare ch. 31:36; I Samuel 15:11; II Samuel
19:43). Michaelis mentions an opinion still entertained in the East which explains
the excessive indignation kindled in the breasts of Dinah's brothers, vie., that
"in those countries it is thought that a brother is more dishonored by the seduction
of his sister than a man by the infidelity of his wife; for, say the Arabs, a man may
divorce his wife, and then she is no longer his; while a sister and daughter remain
always sister and daughter" (see Kurtz, 'Hist. of Old Covenant,' (82) - because he
(i.e. Shechem) - had wrought folly. - the term folly easily passes into the idea of
from the standpoint of Scripture sin is the height of UNREASON (Psalm 74:22;
Proverbs 1:4) - in (or against)
to Jacob's household, afterwards became the usual national designation of Jacob's
descendants; and the phrase here employed for the first time afterwards passed
into a standing expression for acts done against the sacred character which
other crimes (Joshua 7:15) - in lying with Jacob's daughter. The special wickedness
of Shechem consisted in dishonoring a daughter of one who was the head of the
theocratic line, and therefore under peculiar obligations to lead s holy life.
Which thing ought not to be done - literally, and so is it not done (compare
ch. 29:26). Assigned to the historian ('Speaker's Commentary'), or to the hand
of a late redactor (Davidson, Colenso, Alford), there is no reason why these
words should not have been spoken by Jacob's sons (Keil, Murphy, and others)'
to indicate their sense of the new and higher morality that had come in with
the name of
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. 9 And make ye
marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters
unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell
and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein."
And Hamor communed (literally, spake) with them (i.e. the whole family, or Jacob
and his sons), saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for - the root (חָשַׁק)
signifies to join together, intransitive, to be joined together, hence to cleave to
the word (דָּבַק) employed in v. 3, which means to be devotedly attached to any one,
· to God (Deuteronomy 10:20),
· to a king (II Samuel 20:2),
· to a wife (I Kings 11:2)
your daughter. The words are addressed to Jacob's sons as well as Jacob himself,
the brothers equally with the father being regarded as the natural guardians of a
sister. I pray yon give her him to wife. The absence of any apology for Shechem's
atrocious outrage against Dinah need not be regarded as indicating some measure
of consent on the part of Dinah, but may be explained on the supposition that Hamor's
proposal was considered by himself as a practical admission of his son's guilt. And make
ye marriages with us, - literally, contract affinity with us by marriage, the verb chathan
being spoken of the father-in-law (chothen), who makes the alliance - and give your
daughters unto us, - from this it has been inferred that Jacob had other daughters
besides Dinah, which is not improbable (ch. 46:7), but the words may not imply
more than that Hamor thought he had - and take our daughters unto you. And
(as an inducement to form this alliance) ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall
be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein - i.e.
he offers them the privilege of unrestricted movement throughout his dominions,
with the right of establishing settlements, carrying on trade, and acquiring property.
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. 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." And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren (speaking
with becoming deference and earnestness, and manifestly prompted by fervent and
sincere love), Let me find grace in your eyes, - i.e. let my suit be accepted (see
ch. 33:15) - and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry
and gift, - literally, multiply upon me exceedingly dowry and gift; the dowry (mohar)
and the gift (mathan) the presents given to the bride (Gesenius, Furst, Rosenmüller,
Gerlach, Alford); or the dowry being the bride's present, and the gift the wife's price
(Michaelis, Keil, Murphy); or the dowry being given to the parents, and the gift
to the kindred (Patrick); or the two being the same thing, vie., the compensation
offered to the relatives of the bride (Lange) - and I will give according as ye shall
say unto me: but give (or, and ye will give) me the damsel to wife.
13 "And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully,
and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 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: 15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as
we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 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. 17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised;
then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone." And the sons of Jacob
(manifestly without the knowledge of their father) answered Shechem and Hamor
his father deceitfully, and said, - the object of the verb said is to be found in the next
verse, "we cannot do this thing," the clause commencing "because" being
parenthetical (Rosenmüller, Furst), so that it is unnecessary either to take דְבֶּר in the
unusual sense of doles struere (Schultens, Gasenius, Keil), or to supply after said
"with deceit" from the preceding clause (Onkelos, Ainsworth, Murphy, et alii) -
because he had defiled Dinah their sister (to be taken parenthetically, as already
explained): and they said unto them (these words revert to the preceding verse),
We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised (see ch. 17:11);
for that were a reproach unto us. The ground on which they declined a matrimonial
alliance with Shechem was good; their sin lay in advancing this simply as a pretext
to enable them to wreak their unholy vengeance on Shechem and his innocent people.
The treacherous character of their next proposal is difficult to be reconciled with any
claim to humanity, far less to religion, on the part of Jacob's sons; so much so, that
Jacob on his death-bed can offer no palliation for the atrocious cruelty to which it led
(ch. 49:6-7). But in this (i.e. under this condition) will we consent unto you: If ye
will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised (literally, to have
circumcision administered to you every male); then will we give our daughters
unto you, and we will take your daughters to us (i.e. to be our wives), and we will
dwell with you, and we will become one
people. This proposal was sinful, since:
* they had no right to offer the sign of God's covenant to a heathen people;
* they had less right to employ it in ratification of a merely human agreement; and
* they had least right of all to employ it in duplicity as a mask for their treachery.
But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then (rather, sc. then we
will not consent to your proposal, and) we will take our daughter, - who was still
in Shechem's house (v. 26) - and we will be gone.
18 "And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19 And the
young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's
daughter: and he was more honorable than all the house of his father."
And their words pleased (literally, were good in the eyes of) Hamor, and
(literally, in the eyes of) Shechem, Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not
(i.e. delayed not) to do the thing (literally, the word, i.e. to submit to circumcision.
This is stated here by anticipation), because he had delight in Jacob's daughter:
and he was more honorable - literally, more honored, doubtless because more
worthy of regard (compare I Chronicles 4:9) - than all the house of his father.
20 "And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and
communed with the men of their city, saying, 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. 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. 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."
And Hamor and Shechem his son came (or went) unto the gate of their city (see on
ch. 19:2; 23:10), and communed with (or spake to) the men of their city, saying,
These men (i.e. Jacob and his sons) are peaceable with us (literally, peaceable
are they with us. This is the first argument employed by Hamor and Shechem to
secure the consent of the citizens to the formation of an alliance with Jacob and
his sons); therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; - literally, and
they will dwell in the land, and trade in it (so. if you permit) - for (literally, and)
the land, behold, it is large enough - literally, broad of hands, i.e. on both sides
them to wander about with their flocks and herds. This was the second argument
employed by Hamor and his son); let us take their daughters to us for wives,
and let us give them our daughters. Only herein (or under this condition)
will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every
male among us be circumcised (literally, in the circumcising to or by us of
every male), as they are circumcised. After which statement of the indispensable
condition of the alliance proposed, they advance as a third argument for its
acceptance the material advantages which such an alliance would inevitably
secure for them. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs
(the mikneh refer to flocks and herds; the behemah to asses and camels) be ours?
- literally, Shall not these (be) to us? - only let us consent unto them, and they
will dwell with us.
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. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all
that went out of the gate of his city. The ready acquiescence of the Shechemites
to the proposal of Jacob's sons has not unreasonably been regarded as a proof that
they were already acquainted with circumcision as a social, if not religious, rite
(Kurtz, Keil, &c.). And every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate
of his city. Knobel notes it as remarkable that the Hivites were not circumcised,
since, according to Herodotus, the rite was observed among the Phoenicians, and
probably also the Canaanites, who were of the same extraction, and thinks that
either the rite was not universally observed in any of these ancient nations where
it was known, or that the Hivites were originally a different race from the
Canaanites, and had not conformed to the customs of the land (vide Lange in loco).
Murphy thinks the present instance may point out one way in which the custom
spread from tribe to tribe.
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." And it came to pass on
the third day, when they were sore, - literally, in their being in pain; ὅτε ἦσαν ἐν
τῷ πόνῳ - hote aesan en to pono - when they were sore (Septuagint). Inflammation
and fever commonly set in on the third day, which was for that reason regarded as
the critical day - that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren
(i.e. sons of the same mother, Leah), took each man his sword, and came upon the city -
accompanied by their servants (Keil), or their father's men (Murphy), but this is doubtful
(Lange). That the other sons of Jacob and brethren of Dinah did not pursue their thirst
for vengeance to the same extremity as Simeon and Levi seems apparent from v. 27;
yet it is quite possible that they joined with Simeon and Levi in the assault upon the
city (Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary') which they made - boldly, - i.e. either
they themselves feeling confident of success because of the sickness which lay upon
the inhabitants (Ainsworth, Dathe, Rosenmüller, Murphy, &c.), or, while the city
was lulled into security in consequence of the treaty (Onkelos, Josephus, Keil, Lange),
or perhaps referring only to the fact that they encountered no opposition, and came
in safety (ἀσφαλῶς - asphalos - unsuspecting ) to the city (Septuagint, Kalisch) -
and slew all the males. Probably the town was small.
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." And they slew Hamor
and Shechem his son, with the edge (literally, the mouth) of the sword, - without
excusing the inhuman barbarity of this remorseless massacre, Kurtz offers an
elaborate and interesting analysis of the complex motive of which it was the
outcome, in particular showing how in Jacob's sons that strange admixture of
religious zeal and carnal passion, of lofty faith and low craft, existed which
formed so large a portion of the character of the patriarch himself (see 'History
of the Old Covenant,' vol. 1. § 82) - and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, -
in which up to this time she had been detained against her will (Alford), though
this may be open to question (Kalisch) - and went out.
27 "The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they
had defiled their sister. 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,
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." The sons of Jacob - not all
except Simeon and Levi (Delitzsch), nor Simeon and Levi alone (Kalisch, Inglis),
but Simeon and Levi along with the others (Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange) - came
upon the slain, - the absence of the ו conjunctive at the commencement of
this verse, which partitionists account for by the hypothesis that vs. 27-29 are
an interpolation, is explained by Keil as designed to express the subjective
excitement and indignation of the historian at the revolting character of the
crime he was narrating - and spoiled the city, because they (i.e. the inhabitants
being regarded, on the well-known principle of the solidarity of nations, as
involved in the crime of their ruler) had defiled their sister, and so exposed
themselves to reprisals, in which they (i.e. the sons of Jacob) took their sheep,
and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which
was in the field, and all their wealth, and all their little ones, - taph, a collective
noun for boys and girls, who are so called from their brisk and tripping motion
(Gesenius) - and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was
in the house. The words describe a complete sacking of the city, in which every
house was swept of its inmates and its valuables.
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." And Jacob said to Simeon and
Levi, Ye have troubled me (i.e. brought trouble upon me) to make me to stink - or, to
cause me to become hateful; μισητόν με πεποιήκατε - misaeton mepepoiaekate -
you have troubled me (Septuagint) - among the inhabitants of the land, among the
Canaanites and the Perizzites (see ch.13:7): and I (sc. with my attendants) being
few in number, - literally, men of number, i.e. that can be easily numbered, a small
and they) shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be
destroyed, I and my house. That Jacob should have spoken to his sons only of his
own danger, and not of their guilt, has been ascribed to his belief that this was the
only motive which their carnal minds could understand (Keil, Gerlach); to a
remembrance of his own deceitfulness, which disqualified him in a measure from
being the censor of his sons (Kalisch, Wordsworth); to the lowered moral and
spiritual tone of his own mind (Candlish, 'Speaker's Commentary'); to the
circumstance that, having indulged his children in their youth, be was now
afraid to reprove them (Inglis). That Jacob afterwards attained to a proper
estimate of their bloody deed his last prophetic utterance reveals (ch. 49:5-7).
By some it is supposed that he even now felt the crime in all its heinousness
(Kalisch), though his reproach was somewhat leniently expressed in the word
"trouble" (Lange); while others, believing Jacob's abhorrence of his sons' fanatical
cruelty to have been deep and real, account for its omission by the historian on the
ground that he aimed merely at showing "the protection of God (ch. 35:5), through
which Jacob escaped the evil consequences of their conduct" (Hengstenberg, Kurtz).
31 "And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?"
offered Dinah honorable marriage.
The Tragedy at Shechem (vs. 1-31)
Ø A young girl’s indiscretion. “Dinah went out to see the daughters of the
land.” If Dinah’s object was to witness the manners of the people, she was
guilty of objectionable curiosity; if to:
o exhibit herself, of distressing vanity;
o mingle in their entertainments of their improper levity;
and for all these reasons, considering the character of the family to which
she belonged, and the wickedness of the people with whom she mingled,
of exceedingly heinous sin.
Ø A young prince’s wickedness. Shechem saw her, and took her, and lay
with her, and defiled her. The sin of Shechem had many aggravations. It
was done by a prince, whose very rank should have preserved him from
such’ degradation. Those whom God makes elevated in station should
make themselves eminent in virtue. Goodness should always accompany
greatness. Then it was done without the least excuse, since Shechem was
at liberty by God’s law and man’s to have a wife whenever he desired.
Again, it was done against a young and comparatively helpless girl whom
circumstances had placed within his power. Further, it was done in
violation of the laws of hospitality, which required him to protect, rather
than to injure, a stranger’s good name. And, lastly, It was done to one
belonging to a family whose members were invested with a high degree of
sanctity. Still the crime of Shechem was not without its extenuations.
o First, he loved the maiden whom he had dishonored.
o Second, he offered the reparation of an honorable marriage.
o Third, he treated her with kindness while he detained her in his palace.
Ø The impression made on Jacob by Dinah’s misfortune.
o He held his peace;
§ in stupefaction,
§ in sorrow,
§ in meditation, and
§ in indecision.
o He sent for his sons, who, as recognized guardians of their sister,
were entitled to be consulted in all that concerned her welfare.
Ø The effect produced on Jacob’s sons by their sister’s shame.
o They were grieved for what had happened — for Dinah’s, for their
father’s, for their own sake.
o They were angry at its perpetrator; not so much, however, for the sin
he had committed, as for the fact that he had committed it against
Ø The honorable proposal of Shechem. First through the medium of his
father, and afterwards in his own person, he solicits Jacob and his sons to
give him Dinah in marriage, and to enter in turn into matrimonial alliances
with them, offering as an inducement unrestricted liberty to settle, trade,
and acquire property in the land, and promising to pay whatever dowry or
gift might be demanded for the damsel.
Ø The deceitful reply of Jacob’s sons. First they declared it impossible that
Dinah should become the wife of one who was uncircumcised. Then they
consented to the proposition on condition that Hamor, Shechem, and the
Shechemites would submit to circumcision. And yet all the while it was
only part of a deep-laid plot for exacting revenge.
Ø The condition prescribed by Jacob’s sons explained. This was done by
the ruling sovereign and the crown prince in a public assembly convened at
the city gate.
Ø The condition accepted by the Shechemites. Trusting to the good faith
of the Hebrew strangers, they assented to the proposition that all the male
inhabitants should be circumcised, and in good faith it was carried out by
both prince and people.
Ø The massacre of the inhabitants by Dinah’s brethren. Three days after,
when, in consequence of the painful operation to which they had
submitted, the male part of the population was unable to stir in their
defense, Simeon and Levi, confident of success in their nefarious deed, fell
upon the unsuspecting city, and slew all the males. It was a heartless,
ruthless, treacherous, diabolic massacre, fit to rank with the St.
Bartholomews and Glencoes of modern times.
Ø The spoliation of the city by Jacob’s sons. If Simeon and Levi were
alone responsible for the massacre, the sacking of the city was the work of
all the brethren (Joseph and Benjamin doubtless excepted). Not only did
they make captives of the wives and children, but they carried off every live
thing they could find of any value; and not only did they ransack the
houses, from the palace to the cottage, but they appear to have stripped
even the very dead. The annals of uncivilized warfare scarcely record a
more atrocious crime.
Ø The feeble reproof of Jacob. He only complains that their cruel deed
would cause his name to be abhorred in the land, and perhaps lead to
their extermination as a people. For the different views that have been
entertained of Jacob’s words the Exposition may be consulted.
Ø The insufficient reply of Dinah’s brethren. Shechem certainly had
wronged Dinah, but he never meant to treat her as a harlot.
1. The danger of unrestrained social intercourse between the Church and
the world in general, and in particular between the daughters of the pious
and the sons of the ungodly — exemplified in Dinah, who, going to see the
daughters of the land, lost her fair fame, and brought trouble on her
2. The misery of yielding to unholy passion — illustrated in Shechem,
whose unbridled lust bore bitter fruit to all concerned:
a. to Dinah dishonor,
b. to Jacob shame and sorrow,
c. to Jacob’s sons the thirst for revenge,
d. to Hamor and the Shechemites as well as to himself
3. The wickedness of which good men when left to themselves may be
guilty — exhibited in the conduct of Jacob’s sons, who in this lamentable
affair were chargeable with:
4. The possibility of the innocent suffering with and for the guilty —
shown in the massacre of the Shechelnites for the sin of Shechem.
5. The certainty that a man’s worst foes are often those of his own
household — of which the case of Jacob was a melancholy instance, whose
name was more dishonored by his sons’ atrocities than by his daughter’s
Good Out of Evil (vs. 1-31)
The whole of this miserable story has its place in the development of the
foundation of the Divine covenants. Circumcision without faith is a mere
carnal ordinance, working evil. The sin of Shechem was avenged, but it
was avenged by the commission of a greater sin by Simeon and Levi. It
was not thus that the
me,” Jacob said. And so have all worldly agencies and methods troubled
the true Church. It is better to suffer at the hands of the wicked than to
make compromising alliance with them. The worldly Church has filled the
world WITH MISERY! Abuse of Divine things has been the source of
innumerable evils, not only among the people of God, but even in the
sphere of men’s secular life. But notwithstanding the sin of Simeon and
Levi, their prompt execution of the Divine judgment upon the sin of
Shechem must have produced a wholesome fear in the country, and
connected that fear with moral purity. The sins of unchastity and violation
of family rights were monstrously prevalent among the heathen people of
should bear witness for God as the God of purity and the God of
households, who blesses the life which is free from the defilement of
sensual indulgence, and in which the bonds of relationship and virtuous
marriages and the sanctities of home are deeply reverenced. We read
afterwards (ch. 35:5), “the terror of God was upon the cities that
were round about them.”
Anger Unrestrained (v. 30)
“And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me.” It was not
merely the fear of retaliation by neighboring tribes. He felt the act was
wrong (ch. 49:5-7); God’s blessing could not rest upon it (compae Psalm 34:7);
and he and his family were involved in that wrong (compare Joshua 7:13;
I Corinthians 12:26). But was not the anger of Simeon and Levi just? No doubt
there was cause, and no doubt a measure of righteous indignation. But:
(1) they thought more of the wrong against themselves than of the sin
against God (v. 31).
(2) Their anger was unrestrained by mercy, or even by justice (v. 25).
(3) It led them into acts of sin:
(4) It was soiled by selfish gain (v. 27). Anger may be right; but need of
special, watchfulness (Ephesians 4:26). For under its influence the heart
is not in a state fitted to judge; and much danger of self-deception, of
mistaking a selfish for a godly anger.
Anger may be called for:
Ø as a protest against wrong;
Ø to deter others from wrong.
But vengeance and retribution belongs TO GOD (Romans 12:19). He alone
has the knowledge to apportion it, looking both to the past and to the
future. But anger tempts to retaliation (Matthew 5:38). The wrong fills
the mind. Our own errors and acts of wrong (compare John 8:7), and the
plea, Thine anger brings harm to the innocent, are unheeded. The fact that
there was cause for anger blinds to its real nature; for unrestrained anger is
in truth an offering to self-love. The plea of zeal for right and of godly
indignation may seem sincere; but “ye know not what manner of spirit ye
are of.” (Luke 9:55)
God’s laws cannot be set aside. And he who takes on himself the office of
judge should be especially watchful not to transgress (Psalm 37:3). To do
wrong on the plea of doing God’s work is to DISTRUST His providential
care (Romans 12:19-21). It is to do evil that good may come; a form of
being drawn aside by our own lusts (compare I Samuel 24:7; 26:9). Such
acts of wrong are especially evil in Christians. They are “a city set on an hill.”
(Matthew 5:14) Men are ever ready to point to their errors as excusing their
own. Men see and judge the act, but cannot estimate the provocation, or, it
may be, the sorrow, for a hasty action.
CHURCH. That work is to draw men together in one (John 17:21).
The power by which this is done IS LOVE! The love of Christ reflected in
us (I John 4:7). Love wins men’s hearts, reason only their minds. And THE
PRESENCE OF ANGER hinders LOVE, not merely in him against whom
it is directed; like a stone thrown into still water, it disturbs its surface far
Dwelling on the work and example of Christ. HE BORE ALL FOR
US! Is not wrath rebuked in the presence of His patience? And if as a
“strange work” we are constrained to indignation, must we not watch
and pray that no selfish feeling may mingle with it; and, knowing in
how many things we offend, that we be “slow to wrath,” ready to
forgive, and ever “LOOKING UNTO JESUS!
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