Genesis 34 10/6/19
I thank God for this Book- the Bible.
For it not only contains the Word of God. It IS the very Word of God. All of it!
I thank God that His living Word saves and sanctifies the souls of His elect.
And I thank God for not only the N.T. but O.T. Scriptures. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have” what? Hope. Rom. 15:4
So if you want to grow in your hope,
If you want to grow in perseverance, and
if you want to find great encouragement for each day, then you have to go to God’s Word.
And you dare not skip or overlook any of it. In our Bibles, we have 260 chapters in the N.T. and 929 chapters in the Old Testament. Everyone of them is part of God’s divine menu for our spiritual fitness. I encourage you now to turn with me to a much-overlooked and avoided chapter of God’s inspired Word. Genesis 34. It’s a chapter none of us heard growing up in Sunday school. No children’s story book would ever have pictures of it. And some Christian parents skip over this in reading the Bible to their children. Let me prepare you. This text is shocking. It’s one of the darkest chapters of the Bible. And if you have a tender heart to God, it will make you wince and recoil within. It reports evil events that in our day make news stories and flash briefings. Church, Genesis 34 is a chapter you and I desperately need. For it shakes us up out of our lethargy to see the awfulness of sin and our need for an awesome Savior!
I want you to see the big picture before we dive in. So let me give you in one sentence the big idea of Genesis 34. Here it is:
As soon as you stop walking by faith in God you start making choices that dishonor Him and hurt yourself and others.
Well, as we like to do, let’s get right to the text the Lord has brought us to.
Look with me at verse 1 which sets up the entire narrative: “Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land.”
At this point, Jacob has 11 sons and 1 daughter- that’s Dinah.
Remember where Jacob and his family are now. They have just met Esau who instead of murdering them (as Esau had vowed), he shows them mercy.
Verse 18 of chapter 33 tells us: Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city.
And there, verse 19 tells us, he bought a piece of land from a man named Hamor who was the father of Shechem.
So Shechem was both the name of the city and the name of Hamor’s son. That shouldn’t surprise us since Hamor we see in verse 2 of our text was the prince of the land. So it would have been an honor to name the city after his son Shechem.
Now you need to remember, all of Canaan is inhabited by unbelievers who are idolaters.
And that’s the environment in which Lot and Leah’s only daughter Dinah goes out to see the ladies who lived in Shechem.
She would have been around 15-16 years old at this point.
Hebrew scholar Nahum Sarna notes: “Girls of marriageable age would not typically leave their family and friends and go on their own into a foreign city.”
According to Josephus the first century Jewish historian, Dinah had been attending a Canaanite festival.
It would be like a H.S. girl getting all dressed up, going by herself and walking around the Renaissance center. It’s asking for trouble.
“To visit” can have the idea of to be seen. To get some attention.
Prompted by curiosity, she goes to check out things in that city. Yet, she has no idea of the great pain and regret that visit would cause.
Since Dinah had been brought up in Padan-aram (Haran) where Abraham’s relatives lived, she’s probably lead a sheltered life.
She wouldn’t be savvy to sinful city life.
Well, where’s Jacob? Why doesn’t he go with Dinah to be her chaperone? For he is her father, and she’s his daughter!
In fact, our text emphasizes that father-daughter relationship.
Here in verse 1: “Dinah, the daughter of Leach, whom she had borne to Jacob.” And further:
v. 3- “Dinah daughter of Jacob”
v. 5 “Dinah his daughter”
v. 7 “Jacob’s daughter” and again in
v. 19 “Jacob’s daughter”
So there’s a strange absence in Jacob not going with his teenage daughter on her visit to the city.
Dads, your God-given calling is to lead and protect your family. That includes your wife and children.
You are to be the vanguard that watches out for them spiritually and physically. You need to be on the alert for anything that that would endanger their body or soul.
And men, there are times when you need to make the hard call and tell your children what they don’t want to hear in warning them against putting themselves in compromising situations.
And you need to shepherd your children’s heart and show them from Scripture how hanging out with the guys and girls of the land will set themselves up for a disaster.
Help them see the value of godly friends and the danger of ungodly friends.
The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:33 warns: “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Well, look at what happens to Jacob’s daughter Dinah: Verse 2: When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.
And then we read of Shechem: “He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.”
O how dreadful. Shechem, whose dad Hamor was prince of the land, takes advantage of Dinah.
By the way, what’s called love here is selfish lust. And his speaking tenderly to her no doubt included manipulation.
For he violates her and robs her of her virginity.
Shechem has commited an awful sin against Dinah. And that sin loosened a stone that lead to a landslide.
Friends, by God’s grace, rape is still considered a serious crime in our nation- a felony for which the offender goes to prison with a lengthy sentence.
And in God’s Word, it’s a most serious assault against the sanctity of marriage and honor of an individual for which there are dire consequences.
Under the Mosaic law in Deuteronomy 22:23-29, God’s people are told: “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 “But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
If the woman was engaged, the rapist was to be put to death. If she wasn’t engaged, then the man had to pay an enormous fine (equivalent to 2 years wages), marry the girl and keep her as his wife as long as he lived.
That penalty would come later through Moses. But look at wicked Shechem’s response. Verse 4:
So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.”
Remember, his dad is a power player in that city- he’s the prince. He can call the shots and make things happen.
So his son tells him to get this girl for him as a wife.
Sounds just like Samson’s demand of his parents in Judges 14:2-“So he came back and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.”
Now as Shechem demands his dad to get Dinah for him as his wife, where is Dinah? She’s at Shechem’s house. Because that’s where the brother will later go to rescue her.
So Dinah is held captive there as Shechem hopes his dad will negotiate the situation. As some of you know, Sonya and I church planted in the Philippines before moving to the Czech Republic. Manila was our ministry base our first year, and our apartment shared a common wall with another foreigner, a young Australian man. He seemed friendly, but it wasn’t long before we began to suspect something was wrong. We overheard muffled sobs and construction during the day. He asked to borrow a large meat cleaver which he never returned. The situation climaxed one afternoon when we saw an angry mob in the street in front our place. We watched as our neighbor was led away in handcuffs by Filipino police. Later we learned that he had been abusing young Filipino women. The crime was on the local news, including his address, which was the same as ours, differing only by the letters A and B which were omitted. One Filipino man was confused and asked me how I could do such a thing.
Well, the local people were rightfully outraged and feared this man would bribe his way out of the situation. Within a matter of a few days it became known that he had done just that and “escaped” while in police custody. Days later a group of men armed to killed pulled up to our place asking a local shopkeeper where they could find this man referring to him as an American. I should mention that neighbor and I bore an uncanny resemblance- especially as the only Caucasian men in the area. By God’s grace when the vigilantes came to kill it was Sunday. And Sonya and I were on the other side of town worshipping with our church. But as soon as we returned, our Christian neighbor rushed over, pounded on our door, and told us we must leave our place at once which we did.
Well, we came to appreciate God’s protection and the response of anger against such sin that attacks His beautiful plan.
We now come to the responses of both parties: Jacob’s and Shechem’s.
2. Responses 5-12
First, -> Jacob and his sons
Verse 5: Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in.
“Defiled” here means polluted and unclean. It describes a person in the category of an outcast.
Now, it’s puzzling that Jacob doesn’t go and speak to his sons in the field about what has just happened to their sister.
He waits. He lets time pass. As we watch Jacob’s responses in this chapter, it will become more and more evident that he’s operating out of fear. He’s not responding with strong, spiritual authority and leadership.
No, he doesn’t take initiative and make a bee line to Shechem as you would expect of a father who protects his daughter at all cost.
For we are told “Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.”
Friends, Jacob’s failure to lead and intervene contributed to the awful outcome.
Listen men, God has called you to lead. That means to lovingly and sacrificially lead your wife and your children.
When someone is threatening the well-being of your wife or children, don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Don’t go passive. Be strong and act!
Let the call of I Corinthians 16:13 give you the right preparedness: “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
Let me say with sensitivity and love. If heaven forbid, a masked men rushed into this room on a Sunday morning and started pumping bullets into our congregation.
Men, it’s not time to wait, watch and wonder.
No, every one of us men should go into action. And every one of us should seek to be a human shield to literally take the hit and protect our dear wives and children.
Now look at the response of Jacob’s sons:
Verse 7: Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
The brothers of Jacob were infuriated by what Shechem had done to their sister. And they should have been.
The word “grieved” that describes their broken hearts- that’s the same word used by Moses in Genesis 6:6 to describe God reaction to the world’s sin.
And they say that what has been done is disgraceful (nebala)- speaks of an outrageous act.
It describes an action that breaks relationships in a marriage, family, with tribes and even with God.
Clearly, those brothers see Shechem’s sin as scandalous to all Israel. It brought shame on their entire community.
And by the way, this is the first time in the Bible the word “Israel” is used to describe God’s people, the sons of Abraham.
The brothers are saying, the collective conscious of the people of Israel screams out against the heinous act that had been committed.
Now we come to see the awful response of -> Hamor and Shechem 8-12
But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9 “Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 “Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.”
Well, Hamor would have made a shrewd politician. He acts like his proposal will be a sure fire win-win solution.
“You give us your cute daughters for our sons, and we will give you our cute daughters for your sons. In fact, we will even allow you to settle with us and have some of our land.”
Now, the law would later forbid such intermarriage with the Canaanites. Deuteronomy 7:3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.”
Why did God prohibit his people from marrying unbelievers? Because that would take His people’s hearts far from him and into suck them into idolatry.
Shechem the son then jumps into the conversation (v. 11) Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12 “Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”
Let’s evaluate what Shechem says. What’s missing?
Repentance. He makes no statement about the sin he has committed against Dinah. None whatsoever.
And therefore, he makes no apology to the father and brothers for how he has hurt all of them in this.
That’s characteristic of sin. It’s all about what’s in it for me and is oblivious to the fallout on others.
Shechem tries to buy his way out of trouble which is never a good idea.
Beloved, whenever we stumble and sin, God call us to repentance.
To come before him with a broken and contrite heart, acknowledge our sin, and turn from it.
Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” That’s repentance. And that’s God’s calls to us whenever we sin.
In the drama of that day, then follows the
3. Retaliation 13-29 Continuing in v. 13
“But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.”
Two things stand out right here. The first is, “Why isn’t Jacob speaking up? Why doesn’t he have something to say?
In this crisis, again we detect a lack of leadership in Jacob’s family. And his sons are left to fill the vacuum.
Friends, when there’s a leadership vacuum, people that shouldn’t lead often take charge. That true in marriage. And that’s true in the church.
Thus God says husbands and elders are called to lead spiritually. Set the direction. Make the tough call. Lead!
The second key item here is that in dealing with the crisis, those 11 brothers (Benjamin hasn’t been born yet) resort to deceit.
That’s what their father Jacob had been notorious for.
Well, they hatch a plan, and Jacob seems to have no idea of what’s coming.
They tell Hamor and Shechem, (v. 14): “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 “Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 “But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”
Those brothers act as if they want to negotiate with Shechem.
And they stipulate that all the men of Shechem first have to be circumcised.
Remember, God inaugurated circumcision as a sign of His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17). It symbolized how God’s people were to be separated unto Him.
By the way, there’s nothing in the N.T. that suggests the sign of circumcision was replaced by baptism and that infants should be baptized. No evidence at all.
So the sons of Jacob abuse what God had given them in the sacred sign of circumcision.
They had the perfect opportunity to show grace and forgiveness as Esau had just shown to Jacob.
They could have witnessed to Hamor and his son Shechem about their sin problem and only solution in the Messiah.
The cousin I was closest to growing up was murdered at the age of 22. His name was Tim.
A man on drugs entered the market he was working at, demanded money from the cashier, and then pumped a bullet through Tim’s heart. Tim dropped dead into a pool of blood.
The grief and pain my uncle and aunt felt was enormous.
Yet my uncle requested that he might be able to meet with his son’s murderer.
Amazingly, the authorities granted him his wish, and he shared with that man who killed his son of a perfect man who was murdered 2,000 years ago- Jesus Christ who gave Himself on the cross that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
Well, rather than showing such love and forgiveness, Jacob’s sons are out to take revenge.
Well Hamor and his son take the bait.
18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father.
Who was respected? Shechem the rapist.
Why? Not because of his crime but because he offered them economic benefit from this strange deal. Notice that in what follows (v. 20):
So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22 “Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised.
And now look at the deceitful goal of this dad and son as they share at the city gate:
v. 23: “Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.”
Their hope is that through this marriage alliance, they will be able to take everything that belongs to Jacob including all their animals. Yet they themselves are duped!
O there’s so much vile treachery going on here!
And the Shechemite men step right into the trap.
24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
It’s at this point the sons of Jacob literally move in for the kill.
25 Now it came about on the third day, when they (the men of Shechem) were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth.
It was a brutal and bloody massacre. Every man in Shechem was killed by the sword. And who leads the charge? Dinah’s two full brothers also born to Leah- Simeon and Levi.
The phrase “To the victor go the spoils” proved true that day. For we read (cont. in v. 27) that:
“Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister.” 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses.”
That was an over the top uncontrolled retaliation. They hate what Shechem had done in defiling their sister so bad, yet their actions cannot be justified. They took the law into their own hands. In Feb. 2018, Larry Nassar stood trial in Charlette, MI. You may recall he was the doctor for the US women’s Olympic gymnastics program. There in court he was found guilty of at least 10 criminal sexual conduct charges. One angry father who had just heard his daughter testify of how Nassar had abused her made this request of the judge: “I would ask you, as part of the sentencing, to grant me five minutes in a locked room with this demon.” When the judge refused, the father launched into a sprint toward Nassar. Yet before he could get his hands on the criminal, the court security tackled him. Friends, God gives us a better way to respond to evil. We are not called to retaliation.
Romans 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.
Yes, retribution for sin belongs to God not us.
So, Christian, when you have been unfairly treated and taken advantage of remember God’s word through Moses: “For the LORD will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants.” Deut. 32:36
Yes, we must refuse to pay back evil for evil to anyone (Rom. 13:17).
But not just that. Here’s the secret for how you overpower your enemy: you treat him as a friend. Rom. 12:20-21 goes on to say:
“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The supreme example of overcoming evil with good is seen on the cross.
For there “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners (enemies!), Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The awful rape, the responses, the retaliation and now the:
4. Run-in 30-31 After the massacre, there’s a tense conversation between Jacob and his sons:
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”
We read Jacob’s words with a sense of alarm.
He seems far too concerned about saving his own skin.
As we ask, “Jacob, what about helping your daughter pick up the broken pieces of her life?
What about leading your sons so they can get right with God?
And how about ministering to Leah your wife after all she has gone through in this.
You see, Jacob has fallen into operating not by faith in God but by fear of man.
What if the other people in the land will hear about the slaughter will come to take revenge?
He’s concerned about repercussions that might follow.
And he’s taken his eyes off the Lord. The Lord who rescued him from Laban as well as Esau and his militia.
O we suffer from the same spiritual amnesia. We forget to trust in the Lord.
So when you lie there anxious about something you can’t do anything about, take to heart what David says after the Philistines had captured him: Psalm 56:3–4
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 4 In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”
Remember, “as soon as you stop walking by faith in God you start making choices that dishonor Him and hurt yourself and others.”
31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”
What a stinging rebuke! For Jacob seems to be more concerned about his own safety than his daughter’s integrity.
Simeon and Levi went wrong as avengers. Jacob went wrong as an appeaser.
And friends, this sober chapter in Israel’s history echoes on into the days of the judges.
Because in Judges 9:28 a man named Gaal leads the charge against evil king Abimelech.
And he uses sarcasm telling the people, “Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve [Abimelech].
God’s people remembered what had happened that day in Dinah’s defilement and the Shechemites death. And we must to.
Here’s what we need to remember and take with us today:
1. The heart of man is exceedingly wicked. And yes, that includes our hearts too.
Therefore God tells us we are to be “putting to death the deeds of the body.” Rom. 8:13
But how do you do that? Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
2. Remember, sin always comes with consequences. You play you pay.
Before his death, Jacob in Genesis 49 confers his blessing on his sons.
But when he comes to Simeon and Levi who massacred the men of Shechem he says this:
Genesis 49:5–7 “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence. 6 “Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew
men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen. 7 “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
That’s what God did. The tribe of Levi received no territory of their own and Simeon’s area was part of what belonged to Judah.
3. Our sins may seem to delay but never derail the fulfillment of God’s promises.
For God uses our lack of faith, failing to act when we should and overreacting when we shouldn’t to magnify His grace.
So it is, even deep disgrace can magnify God’s grace!
Gracious God, heavenly Father…
Hope In Christ Bible Church 10/6/19
Intro. Rom. 15:4
1. Rape 1-4
I Cor. 15:33
2. Responses 5-12
➔ Jacob and his sons 5-7
I Cor. 16:13
➔ Hamor and Shechem 8-12
3. Retaliation 13-29
4. Run-in 30-31
How would God have me respond as a doer of His Word?