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Sunday, March 15, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter THIRTY FOUR


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary - GENESIS 34

GENESIS 34 – by Albert Lopez
Introduction: In GENESIS 33 Jacob just left Uncle Laban’s house, then Jacob and Esau Meet; God had promised Jacob that he would return in peace to his father's house. As doubt did its job Jacob's mind probably started to think of all the bad that was going to happen to him and his family. As he gets closer to home he is experiencing dread because of Esau
We will shortly read in GENESIS 34 and think this is the same fear and awareness that Dinah should have had. Just like Jacob was aware that he could be destroyed by Esau. There should have been some warning to Dinah of the dangers in the land that could destroy or harm her. It all starts very innocently.
A decision was made by someone who was not thinking about the decision she was making!

GENESIS 34:1-2
1
Now Dinah [meaning Judged, Vindicated, Acquitted] the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her.

The decision itself seemed innocent enough and especially to a teenager. Dinah was probably between 12-15 years of age; other commentaries say she was between 15-16 years of age. But the point is she was young and naive. Not young and free. Like any teenager they are just thinking about having the most fun they can have!

Most of the time that fun they want to have is not at home. A teenager for the most part is not thinking about the dangers and consequences. Sometimes the decisions with the harshest consequences are the ones that seem like they wouldn't take much consideration.
Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land.

You and I might see this and say, ‘There isn't anything wrong with girls going to mingle with other girls. They’re just doing what anyone their age would do, right?’
So, picture a young girl going out possibly by herself in a strange land.

A couple of warning flags should have gone off before she made the decision to go out! Thoughts like: I don't know this place very well or maybe at all. Is it safe just to be walking around this place? How am I dressed? What kind of message am I sending?

Let us remember that even if she went to see the girls of the land, it's possible that she also went with the intention of being seeing by both the girls and the boys.
Is it possible that I can find myself in a situation that I don't want to be in? Maybe she asked herself some of these questions or maybe she didn't. Maybe she said to herself, Yeah I might not be 100 percent safe but I'm going to have so much fun.

Remember the Bible says:
PROVERBS 14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death
.
We are instructed in
PROVERBS 3:5-7
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil
.
The Bible tells us that Dinah was defiled or violated; this speaks about a physical attack.
On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.
Those are scary statistics, some scary thoughts!

Recently it was reported that The Boy Scouts of America, who are now filing for bankruptcy, were pushing homosexuality and encouraging girls who feel like boys (gender-Identity) to join. There have been reports of many victims who have been abused sexually. Sad times we are living in.

There is another way to be defiled or violated and that is spiritually. As Christians if we are not careful, we can fall into the deception and lies of this world system and be spiritually raped or violated. The Word says in:

ROMANS 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I believe Dinah was probably struggling with her thoughts as a lot of us often do. She probably said to herself, I think there is more out there. . .
It's like people saying there must be more than one truth, one way and one life.
But the bible is clear:

JOHN 14:6
Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
It is important as Christians to engrave this in our hearts:
Jesus IS our truth, our way, our life!
We need to remember that a godless world is watching us; the enemies we have are very real and like the word says:

1 PETER 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour
.
Shechem was a boy so . . . not a girl! How did Dinah even have an encounter with this guy if she was only going to see the daughters of the land? Well, when you make a decision and you don't think this decision all the way through, you will encounter unexpected surprises!
Dinah may or may not have realized that there would be boys there or around. But not only was Shechem a boy, but he was a Hivite. Why is this important? They were from the families of the Canaanites and these became Israel's enemies!
EXODUS 33:2
And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
EXODUS 34:11
Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.
JOSHUA 11:19
There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. All the others they took in battle
.
So, it's clear that these Hivites became enemies of Israel; you can say that Dinah was in enemy territory when she was raped or defiled. We have to be aware of our surroundings and with that, be aware of the people that are in our surroundings.
Dinah failed to notice that Shechem was noticing her; he probably had already made up his mind as to what intentions with her would be.

An enemy doesn't want your well-being!

It says he took her and then he lay with her and finally he violated or defiled her. We need to see that the enemy wants to take us, have his way with us and make us unclean, possibly ashamed. There are some as the Bible says, that he devours (1 PET 5:8):

Interestingly enough the verse right before in 1 PETER 5:7 says:
Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

It would have been wise for Dinah to remember that her father Jacob has a heavenly Father who has protected him and cares for him. He also cares for her!
We can also say He cares for you; so unlike an enemy He wants your well-being but we need to find our well-being in His will (ROM 12:2; COL 4:12; HEB 13:21).
Dinah went searching for the girls of the land instead of searching for her God. We sometimes go searching for the things of this world instead of seeking our God and this can lead to us being spiritually violated just as Dinah was physically.

GENESIS 34:3-5
3 His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to the young woman. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young woman as a wife. 5 ¶And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.

So even after the horrible thing that Shechem had done to Dinah and her family, it says that Shechem was strongly attracted to this young lady. He first lusted after her but now it turns out he loves her. He loves her so much he sweet talks her. Possibly getting her to forgive him. It also says he spoke to his Dad, probably telling him what happened between them two. In this conversation Shechem says, I want this young woman as my wife. So not only did Dinah get violated by this guy but now this guy is possibly going to be her husband!

But it's also possible that Jacob overhears or somehow finds out that Dinah had been defiled. Imagine that, especially those who are fathers to young woman! You would probably want to kill this guy where he stands.

But Jacob held his peace because he was probably thinking, Wait until her brothers came back from the field. We will deal with this situation as the men of the house and as the protectors of the family. Good thought but we don't read that Jacob sought the Lord which would have been the wise thing to do! Jacob goes as far as even speaking to Shechem’s father instead of consulting the Lord.

It's also possible that out of fear Jacob overlooks this act against his daughter and agrees to marry her off. Let us learn to seek the Lord first before seeking anyone else.

GENESIS 34:7-12
7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, a thing which ought not to be done. 8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. 9 “And make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters to yourselves. 10 “So you shall dwell with us, and the land shall be before you. Dwell and trade in it, and acquire possessions for yourselves in it.” 11 ¶Then Shechem said to her father and her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 “Ask me ever so much dowry and gift, and I will give according to what you say to me; but give me the young woman as a wife.”

So, the brothers finally find out what has happened to their beloved sister.
Just like in any family, the men were grieved and hurt but they were also angry. The reason for the anger was because the daughter of the father had been wronged. But I'm sure in a way they felt that they themselves were wronged.

During these times of conversation between Shechem and Hamor, Hamor and Jacob and Jacob and his sons, the Hivites are planning to smooth things over by marrying Dinah and Shechem. Shechem, as we read, had said ‘Get me this girl as a wife’ and Hamor had asked Jacob for Dinah to marry his boy.

But it didn't stop there; the Hivites wanted to intermarry among all the people of Israel. The word is clear to us on this subject of marrying an unbeliever:

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14a 
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:33
Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.

This is what Dinah encountered while she was not intentionally looking for it. Evil company came to her nonetheless. Later we find that God commands not to intermarry with the people of the land they are to possess.
DEUTERONOMY 7:3
Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son
.
Even Abraham back in GEN 24:3 when it came time to marry Issac said,
. . . and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell;
The reason the Israelites were not to intermarry is the same reason for us to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Remember that Solomon went after his wives’ gods and then his heart departed from the Lord. Only a marriage in the Lord will prevent anyone's heart from departing like Solomon's!

[Note from James: Solomon stumbled from his own steadfastness as many others have in the Scriptures. For a four-part study on Walking Without Stumbling, check out this TTUF series!]

Hamor kept buttering up Jacob telling him that their people will dwell together, work together and prosper together. He goes on telling Jacob and his sons to ask for as much as they want, as long as Shechem marries Dinah. According to the Law and what was traditional we read:
In EXODUS 22:16-17
16 If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins
.
GENESIS 34:13-18
13 But the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, and spoke deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 And they said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a reproach to us. 15 But on this condition we will consent to you: If you will become as we are, if every male of you is circumcised, 16 then we will 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 heed us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and be gone. 18 And their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son.

Here in verse 13 we see that with this agreement there was deceit: and where there is deceit, all sorts of trouble surely will follow! So, Jacob's sons say, in order for this marriage to take place, they want every male to become circumcised.
We also see this in the New Testament, in ACTS 15:1 Paul and Barnabas have to correct this thinking:
And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren,  Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.

But in ROMANS 2 we learn that circumcision does not, a righteous man make!

ROMANS 2:28-29
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
So, Jacob's sons continue telling them, If you do this, then we will be one people and marry among you, but if you don't we are gone. Bye-bye Dinah! This was the beginning of the plan of deceit fueled by vengeance.

GENESIS 34:19-24
19 So the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. He was more honorable than all the household of his father. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying: 21 These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them dwell in the land and trade in it. For indeed the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men consent to dwell with us, to be one people: if every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, their property, and every animal of theirs be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city heeded Hamor and Shechem his son; every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

And so, the conditions were agreed upon by both parties.
A commentary I read says that Shechem and his people dealt more honestly than the Israelites. Hamor came to deal with Jacob but Jacob turns them over to his sons and the two, Simeon and Levi had vengeance on their minds and in their hearts!
Shechem and his Dad were looking to also benefit from this agreement because they saw that by having an allegiance with them it would improve their situation as well as trade and bring money into their country.

GENESIS 34:25-29
25 Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. 26 And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. 28 They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, 29 and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses.

Simeon and Levi were sons of Leah; remember Leah was part of the plan to deceive Jacob into marrying her rather than Rachel. And we see here that Simeon and Levi are involved in deception themselves. This was vengeance, but it was to an extreme: killing all the males, even the ones that had nothing to do with what happened to Dinah!

Although Shechem had brought shame upon Dinah and her family; Jacob's failure to provide any fatherly leadership resulted in a treacherous and bloody outcome. This sexual sin teaches us that the consequences are far reaching. Not only the two people involved in it were affected, but a whole group of people. The sons tried to justify their sin by probably reminding each other that a wrong was done to their sister and how she had been treated like a harlot! They themselves lied, stole and murdered.
Let us not justify any sin but confess it in prayer!

1 JOHN 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
.
GENESIS 34:30-31
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I. 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?”

The aftermath left Jacob fearing just like or even more than when he was going to meet Esau. For sure I'm dead; we will never inherit the land God promised.
We sometimes forget what God has spoken as Jacob did: when God had said, 
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you (GENESIS 28:15).

Jacob was afraid perhaps that he was few in number, which at the time he was (comparatively speaking) but if we look ahead in GENESIS 35 God says something that would have put any doubt I’d have completely away if I were Jacob:

10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. 12 The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.”

Let us always remember our God is faithful!

2 TIMOTHY 2:13
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

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