View Genesis 34 in the note window.
In this chapter we have,
- Dinah debauched, ver. 1, 2 - 5.
- A treaty of marriage between her and Shechem who had defiled her,
ver. 6 - 19.
- The circumcision of the Shechemites, pursuant to that treaty,
ver. 20 - 24.
- The perfidious and bloody revenge which Simeon and Levi took
upon them, ver. 25 - 31.
1: Dinah was then about fifteen or sixteen years of age when she
went out to see the daughters of the land - Probably on some public day.
She went to see; yet that was not all, she went to be seen too: she
went to see the daughters of the land, but it may be with some thoughts
of the sons of the land too.
7: It is called folly in Israel - According to the language of
after - times, for Israel was not yet a people, but a family only.
8: Hamor communed - That is, talked. He came to treat with Jacob
himself, but he turns them over to his sons. And here we have a particular
account of the treaty, in which it is a shame to say the Canaanites were
more honest than the Israelites.
18: Hamor and Shechem gave consent themselves to be
circumcised. To this perhaps they were moved not only by the strong desire
they had to bring about, this match, but by what they might have heard of
the sacred and honourable intentions of this sign, in the family of
Abraham, which it is probable they had some confused notions of, and
of the promises confirmed by it; which made them the more desirous to
incorporate with the family of Jacob.
23: Shall not their cattle and their substance be ours? - They
observed that Jacob's sons were industrious, thriving people, and
promised themselves and their neighbours advantage by an alliance with them:
it would improve ground and trade, and bring money into their country.
25: They slew all the males - Nothing can excuse this execrable
villainy. It was true Shechem had wrought folly in Israel, in
defiling Dinah: but it ought to have been considered how far Dinah
herself had been accessary to it. Had Shechem abused her in her
mother's tent, it had been another matter; but she went upon his ground, and
struck the spark which began the fire. When we are severe upon the sinner,
we ought to consider who was the tempter. It was true that Shechem had
done ill; but he was endeavouring to atone for it, and was as honest and
honourable afterwards as the case would admit. It was true that Shechem
had done ill, but what was that to all the Shechemites? Doth one man
sin, and must the innocent fall with the guilty? This was barbarous indeed.
But that which above all aggravated the cruelty, was the most perfidious
treachery that was in it. The Shechemites had submitted to their
conditions, and had done that upon which they had promised to become one
people with them. Yet they act as sworn enemies to those to whom they
were lately become sworn friends, making as light of their covenant as they
did of the laws of humanity. And these are the sons of Israel?
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce.
27: Tho' Simeon and Levi only were the murderers, yet others of
the sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city - And so
became accessary to the murder.
30: Ye have troubled me, to make me to stink among the inhabitants
of the land - That is, You have rendered my family odious among them. And
what could be expected but that the Canaanites, who were numerous and
formidable, would confederate against him, and he and his little family
would become an easy prey to them? I shall be destroyed, I and my house
- Jacob knew indeed that God had promised to preserve his house; but he
might justly fear that these vile practices of his children would amount to
a forfeiture, and cut off the entail. When sin is in the house, there is
reason to fear ruin at the door.
31: Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? - No, he should
not; but, if he do, Must they be their own avengers? And nothing less than
so many lives, and the ruin of a whole city, serve to atone for the abuse.