Genesis 34

1 Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her. 3 His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady. 4 Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, “Get me this young lady as a wife.” 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him. 7 The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; a thing ought not to be done. 8 Hamor talked with them, saying, “The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it.” 11 Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give. 12 Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife.” 13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister, 14 and said to them, “We can’t do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone.” 18 Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19 The young man didn’t wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father. 20 Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are peaceful 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 to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male amongst us is circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Won’t their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor, and to Shechem his son; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. 25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword, came upon the unsuspecting city, and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away. 27 Jacob’s sons came on the dead, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks, their herds, their donkeys, that which was in the city, that which was in the field, 29 and all their wealth. They took captive all their little ones and their wives, and took as plunder everything that was in the house. 30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me, to make me odious to the inhabitants of the land, amongst the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I am few in number. They will gather themselves together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my house.” 31 They said, “Should he deal with our sister as with a prostitute?”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–19

Young persons, especially females, are never so safe and well off as under the care of pious parents. Their own ignorance, and the flattery and artifices of designing, wicked people, who are ever laying snares for them, expose them to great danger. They are their own enemies if they desire to go abroad, especially alone, among strangers to true religion. Those parents are very wrong who do not hinder their children from needlessly exposing themselves to danger. Indulged children, like Dinah, often become a grief and shame to their families. Her pretence was, to see the daughters of the land, to see how they dressed, and how they danced, and what was fashionable among them; she went to see, yet that was not all, she went to be seen too. She went to get acquaintance with the Canaanites, and to learn their ways. See what came of Dinah’s gadding. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. How great a matter does a little fire kindle! We should carefully avoid all occasions of sin and approaches to it.

Verses 20–31

The Shechemites submitted to the sacred rite, only to serve a turn, to please their prince, and to enrich themselves, and it was just with God to bring punishment upon them. As nothing secures us better than true religion, so nothing exposes us more than religion only pretended to. But Simeon and Levi were most unrighteous. Those who act wickedly, under the pretext of religion, are the worst enemies of the truth, and harden the hearts of many to destruction. The crimes of others form no excuse for us. Alas! how one sin leads on to another, and, like flames of fire, spread desolation in every direction! Foolish pleasures lead to seduction; seduction produces wrath; wrath thirsts for revenge; the thirst of revenge has recourse to treachery; treachery issues in murder; and murder is followed by other lawless actions. Were we to trace the history of unlawful commerce between the sexes, we should find it, more than any other sin, ending in blood.

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