Genesis 34: Dinah Defiled
In this chapter, you will not read or hear the name of God. His Name ended chapter 33- it starts chapter 35. But in this chapter there is no mention of His Name. We do not see Jacob or anyone calling upon the name of the Lord.
How can any of us expect to respond to a crisis correctly if we do not first turn to the Lord?
In verse 1, we see young Dinah, Jacobs only daughter visiting the Shechemite women. Obviously Dinah wanted and needed some female companionship her own age- she needed some girl friends. But she was soon to find herself running around with the wrong crowd.
There is a time in a young persons life where their peers quickly become the most important opinion makers in their lives. That is what peer pressure is all about.
Dinah began to compromise her beliefs and what her parents had taught her in order to be accepted by her new friends. Sound familiar?
In verse 2- we read about Shechem. Shechem, the son of Hamor, heir apparent to the wealth and power of all that belonged to his father. He appears to be the typical spoiled rich son. More than likely, handsome & a charmer- he was used to having his way with young women in the godless, pagan society he lived in. In a few words, we are told the story- he saw- he wanted he took. The NIV states he violated her. KJV says he defiled her. Was it a crime of rape- or seduction of an innocent young girl? Probably a combination- but a violation and defiling of an innocent young woman that resulted in the taking of her virginity.
Verse 3 tells us Shechem falls in love with her. In fact, from this point in the story until verse 26, Dinah is actually living in his home. Shechem speaks tenderly to her and tells his father he wants to marry her. In fact, ever, the spoiled brat that he tells his father- get this girl as my wife. (Verse 4)
Vs. 5; Jacob hears about Dinahs defilement. He seems to be paralyzed by the news. He does not consult the Lord. He does not tell his sons. He keeps quiet until his sons return from the fields. Jacob seems to always want to put off confrontation, doesnt he? This is a family crisis- but Jacob does not call on the Lord, he does not bring in his sons to tell them what has happened.
Vs. 6: Hamor went out to talk with Jacob.
Vs. 7: Good news travels slow- bad news travels fast. Jacobs sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what happened. They were filled with grief and fury because of this disgraceful thing.
Vs. 8-10: Notice Hamor offers no apology for his sons behavior. He looks at the whole affair as a perfect business opportunity. Intermarry with us and we will both prosper from this union. You do understand this proposal to intermarry is the work of the enemy, the devil, who wants to wipe out the budding Jewish nation via intermarriage with heathens- thus polluting the patriarchal line in a single generation.
This offer is made to Jacob.
However, before Jacob responds, young Shechem jumps in and says to Jacob and his brothers: Let me find favor in your eyes and I will give you whatever you ask. Make a price for the bride and I will give you whatever you ask. ( Vs. 12-13)
We are about to see the sons of Jacob have learned well from their father, Jacob and their grandfather Laban, the art of deceit.
Jacobs son take over the negotiations at this point.
From this point on we will see:
- What the results of running with the wrong crowd can do.
- What happens when you are out of touch with God
- How vengeance and judgment belong to the Lord.
- How destructive an emotion hatred is
These brothers, perhaps with Simeon and Levi taking over the negotiations, then reply deceitfully to Shechem.
In verses 13-17: they lay out the payment they expect from Shechem and the men of the town. Using their faith, their religion to deceive , they tell Shechem, that he and all the men must be circumcised for religious purposes. All through history, we have seen mankind use religion as a basis for all types of cruelty, wars, and deceitfulness. Christians are not immune to this behavior and many actions and words spoken and done in the name of Our Lord have nothing at all to do with what Jesus has taught us.
Shechem and his father, Hamor, go back and convince the men of Shechem- this a good thing for them. So they all submit to circumcision.
Verse25-29 describe the horrendous events that follow: On the third day after being circumcised, the men of Shechem were in great pain and helpless to defend themselves. At this point, Simeon and Levi took their swords and killed every man in the village. They rescued their sister Dinah from Shechems house. Then they proceeded to loot the dead bodies and village, taking women and children captive and seizing their flocks.
Verse30: Jacob looking at the actions of his sons, whom he seems to have no authority over- Jacob is scared to death over what he now fears will be sure retribution by the people living in the land. His sons, showing no sorrow- remark- should he have treated our sister like a prostitute.
What a dysfunctional, un-disciplined family. What a heart ache they are to Jacob and his wives.
Some questions and comments I have in regard to this awful account:
Did Jacob leave the room when his sons began to negotiate with Hamor and Shechem?
Where were the older brothers- Reuben and Judah?
Dinah was living in Shechems house- did she want to or not?
Had these sons resorted to violence before to solve a problem?
One thing we can observe: Jacob did not take control of the situation.
Jacob is the one who decided without consulting God to live close to Shechem, ( the world) and do business with Hamor and his sons.
Jacob had allowed Dinah to make unsupervised visits to Shechem.
Jacob seemed to be lax in discipline.
His sons seemed to be beyond his control.
Where is the man who had such perseverance he wrestled with God all night and refused to give up?
Can you imagine how disappointed Jacob was with his sons?
But can you also imagine as Jacob thought it through and replayed in his mind how all of this came about- how disappointed with himself he was?
Ever been disappointed with your actions or in some cases- you lack of action?
Ever replay a certain scene from your past- where you wish you could go back and make the right decisions instead of some of the ones you did?
Do I wish I had never taken the first drink of alcohol? Yes and no. See some learn from examples of others- some are the examples. I just happened to be both.
Alcohol controlled my life for almost 14 years. However- I would not be what I am today and who I am if I had not chosen that path.
I would not know God as the God of Hope and the God of Comfort had I not become so hopeless and in need of comfort.
Here is what I have learned from my mistakes and from the Word of God and its stories of others who have made mistakes and suffered:
*We all have troubles. Life is hard and it is harder for some than others.
*God comforts us in times of trouble. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of All Comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. ( 2 Cor. 1:3-4) Those words were written by the Apostle Paul. Can you imagine how the Apostle Paul must have looked back at some the decisions he made, and actions he took to persecute Christians? He was responsible for their imprisonment, their punishment and in some cases their death.
*God does not shield us from trouble and suffering because it has a purpose- to conform us to the image of His Son and teach us some lessons we will never forget.
*This also prepares us to comfort others with the comfort we have received. You see the verse in I Cor. 10:13 states there is no temptation or test that has come to me that is not common to man. This tells me others have suffered the same as I have suffered and you have suffered. Even the Lord Jesus suffered and was tempted and tested as we are- but without sin. God does not intend for us to have suffered for nothing- there are lessons to be learned and comfort and hope to be shared.
*Troubles, disappointments, heartaches, broken hearts and hope deferred have made us weary bone tired and life is a struggle some days just to get out of bed. Can you imagine how Jacob must have felt? Listen to what the Lord said to those of us who are weary and heavy laden: Come unto me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ( Matt 11:28-30)
When you are traveling on a long trip by car- you often stop at a place called a Rest Stop. That is what the church should be- a Rest Stop. A place of restoration and refreshing. A comfort station.
Worship is an activity and a choice. The wrong view is that we, the worshippers, are the audience, the ministers are the entertainment and the performers and God is their prompter. True worship is as follows: God is the audience, we are the performers and the ministers are the prompters.
Guess where Jacob will head next? To a place of worship and restoration- Bethel.
We will also discover that Jacob had knowingly tolerated idols in his household.
Give the enemy a foothold and he will build a stronghold.
Had Jacob become over confident after having seen how God prepared the heart of Esau to favorably receive him?
Had Jacob become prideful in his spiritual maturity? Remember pride goeth before a fall.
Gods Grace, His Wonderful Amazing Grace is likened unto a perpetual source, a spring of water. Think of the Mississippi River- it just keeps on flowing.
For this grace to flow through us, we must first desire Gods grace, and we must present ourselves in order to receive. Paul writes: Therefore I urge you brothers in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, as holy and pleasing to God, for this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed by the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ( Romans 12:1-2)
We must decide to spend time with God in His Word and prayer. Only then we will be alert to the deception of sin. Set our minds on things above not on the things of the world and the things of the world will grow strangely dim in the light of His wonder and grace.
Have you ever noticed any inconsistency in your behavior based on the people you are around?
That is being conformed to the pattern of the world.
This is exactly what happened to Dinah, to Jacob and his sons.
It happened so gradually- they did not realize the small decisions and compromises they made daily plus the absence of real worship and time with God brought them to this Godless chapter in their lives.
May we learn from this example.