Bible Study Notes on Genesis 34 – 20161204

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Bible Study Notes

Genesis 34:1  “…went out to see the daughters of the land”
Jacob has somewhat settled in Shechem.  His daughter goes out to visit the other young ladies in the area.

3  “His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah…”
The text makes it appear that Shechem became attached to Dinah after he raped her.  But commentaries suggest there may have been previous encounters between the two.

5  “…Jacob held his peace until they came”
Not sure if he held his peace because he felt outnumbered or was just waiting for Dinah’s brothers to return so they would have a say in the matter.

8  “…Please give her to him as a wife”
No mention of an apology for such a horrendous act.  And apparently, Dinah is still in the house of Shechem.

9  “…take our daughters to yourselves”
God will soon state that Israel is not to marry foreign wives.  Thus far, only Isaac and Jacob have gone outside the country for mates.  Jacob should know this would not be possible.

12  “…I will give according to what you say…”
His words would probably have had more meaning if he had brought Dinah with him.  Leaving her at his house while he negotiated with her family looks like he was leveraging his position.  If he didn’t get what he wanted, he’d just keep the girl.

15  “But on this condition we will consent to you…”
They apparently had no intention of consenting under any circumstances.  I certainly can’t blame them for being angry, and nothing was done or said to assuage that anger.  The girl was not returned during the discussion, no apology was offered, and the suggestion of intermarriage sounded more like an attempt by Hamor to take further advantage of them.  I don’t condone or agree with the actions they took, but I understand the anger.

19  “…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”
How sad.  Shechem truly cared for Dinah.  He had gone about it completely the wrong way, but he was honest about how he felt about her.  And we don’t know the whole story about what happened.  The text sounds like they had first met, he was attracted to her, and he raped her.  But they could have met before and become attracted to each other over some time before the incident.  That wouldn’t excuse the actions, but it would put another face on them.

23  “Will not their livestock, their property, and every animal of theirs be ours…”
Sounds like Hamor had other intentions regarding this arrangement.  Commentaries tend to look at the situation from a tribal viewpoint.  A chance for this tribe of Hamor/Shechem to increase its size and wealth by assimilating the people of Jacob.  The fact that the men of the city/tribe agreed with it gives weight to this view.

25  “…killed all the males”
Attacking while the males were somewhat incapacitated was certainly an advantage, but the fact that just two men were able to kill all the others makes me wonder how many men of Shechem there were.  I suspect they weren’t a very large tribe, which gives rise to the thought that Jacob and his family were large enough to correct the problem by force if need be.  Other options were definitely available.

27  “…sons of Jacob came upon the slain…”
Commentary suggests the use of the term sons of Jacob means the other brothers took part in the plunder.  They may not have been active in the murder, but they were complicit in the crime.

30  “…I shall be destroyed…”
The whole affair reeks of a lack of faith and trust in God as provider and protector of Jacob and his family.  Obviously he had not done a good job of conveying the importance of following God to his sons.  And it seems that, although God has provided and protected him in the past, each new circumstance brings Jacob back to questioning God’s power and provision.  I can’t point fingers at him without pointing some at myself, but the enormity of God’s provision thus far seems so overwhelming one wonders how Jacob could still have such weak faith.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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