The Kraig Josiah Rice
Devotional Bible Commentary on Genesis

Genesis Chapter 34

Kraig J. Rice
www.7-star-admiral.com

This web page best viewed with an internet explorer browser

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Clicking on these links will move you down this web page)
Genesis chapter thirty four
 Chapter 34- the massacre at Shalem City
 Gen. 34:1 - 7 Jacob's daughter was victimized
 God is against sex slavery
 Shalem, a city of Shechem
 Jacob's Well
 Destructive anger (the sons of Jacob were angry)
 Gen. 34:8 - 29 Sins of violence at Shalem City
 Let us use the sword of the Spirit
 Envy got a hold of Governor Hamor?
 Getting something for nothing
 Pray for unsaved loved ones
 The saved and the unsaved should never marry
 Gen. 34:30 - 31 Jacob had two sons without honor
 Jacob had warfare in Canaan?
 The seed of the displacement of the Canaanites?
Do you need to find a word, a phrase, a topic, or a scripture on this large page? Let your browser do a word search for you. Click on the edit button in the upper left hand corner of your browser. Then click "find on this page." Then type in the word, phrase, topic, or scripture that you are looking for. Keep clicking it to find all those pertinent word(s). Please allow a little time after clicking for your browser to search and respond.
I mostly quote scriptures from the Old King James Translation of the Bible (the authorized 1611 version)
Many words on this web page are color coded:

The words of God are in red that symbolize His shed blood.
The words of Scripture are in purple that symbolize His royalty.
A devotional commentary is different from an exegetical commentary. In a devotional commentary like this one I can give the application of a verse rather than just the interpretation of a verse.






Genesis Chapter 34
The Massacre at Shalem City

Dinah was kidnapped, raped, and held as a sex slave:
"And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying: get me this damsel to wife. And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done"
(Genesis 34:1-7).

A sin of violence was committed by Shechem:
Shechem kidnapped and raped Dinah. Was he holding her as his own personal sex slave? Then he fell in love with her. The act of rape is not necessarily motivated by sex but by violence. Shechem was a perpetrator who was violent, descended from royalty, and "spoiled rotten". He was used to getting his own way and extremely selfish. His thoughts were unholy and ungodly. His wrong thinking led to his wrong actions. His wrong actions were sinful, violent, criminal, and led to his death. I think there is a lesson here for all of us. Let us train our thoughts toward holiness. Let us study the Word of God so we can understand how God thinks and act appropriately so we do not end up in spiritual death
(Philippians 4:18).

I imagine that sometimes an unstable perpetrator will love the object of his or her violence. I do not know the twisted reason why. I do know that respect has to come before love in normal relationships. Notice that he had no repentance- if he had, he would have turned her loose, apologized to her, made things right, and submitted to the King's justice. Instead, he continued to hold her as a kidnapped victim.

Women in those days were considered to be chattel property with little or no rights. That is why Shechem wanted his father to purchase Dinah for him (pay her father a dowry) so he could keep her legitimately. Did they have laws in Shalem against kidnapping and sex slavery?

Did Dinah hate her perpetrator? We are not told but I assume she did because he had attacked her and harmed her. How can that be relevant? We should always think and act right. We should use Jesus as our example so as not to harm anyone else in any way. If we are victimized, the way to healing is through forgiveness. Forgiveness helps the forgiver more than the one being forgiven
(Luke 17:3-4; 1 John 1:9), and we should leave the vengeance to the Lord
(Romans 12:19).

Note: if you are ever in danger of being raped, the psychologists recommend that you do not scream. Why? Because playground children scream at recess at school and at play and most people ignore those kinds of screams. Rather, the psychologists recommend that you yell repeatedly as loud as you can the word "fire". Yelling that word is supposed to get the attention of more people so they can come to your rescue.


God hates sex slavery ("which thing ought not to be done"):
Note: by studying the writings of Moses I have observed that he liked to share events that had "seed beginnings". These are interesting nuggets of truth to dig out of the Word of God to enrich us. For example, he explained the seed or the beginning of the sex sins of the Canaanites
(Genesis 9:22-27). Moses informed us that these sex sins found full expression in the populations of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (and other cities) which God destroyed
(Genesis 19:24). Was that the end of it? No. In this passage of scripture, Moses informed us of yet another sex sin committed by Canaanites. It was the sin of sex slavery. When God made the statement through Moses: "which thing ought not to be done", all of humanity today should take this warning to heed. What does that statement mean? It means that God hates that sin so much that His judgment will surely fall on the evil doer(s). All human laws today should outlaw this sin in any way, shape, or form. Why? It is a sin against the will of God and all of mankind.


Shalem City, a city of Shechem:
I think that it is sometimes good to look at a territory and a town mentioned in the holy bible. During the days of Jacob, the Hivites had a territory they called Shechem. Apparently, Hamor, the governor (prince) of this territory, also gave his son the same name. But the town they lived in was named Shalem and it was located within the territory of Shechem. What is it's name and location today? The modern, Nablus, is thought to be the ancient Shechem in the nation of Israel. A short distance to the east is Salim, thought to be the ancient Shalem City.

Are there any other scriptures that pertain to the territory called Shechem? Yes.
"And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city"
(Genesis 33:18).
"And his (Joseph's) brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem"
(Genesis 37:12).
"And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph"
(Joshua 24:32).

The name Shalem means "perfect peace". The name Shechem means "back or shoulder, part or portion". If you put these two names together one could say they mean:
"When you find perfect peace, don't turn your back on it". This reminds me of a scripture. "And Jesus said unto him:

"No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"
(Luke 9:62).

So, two sons of Jacob unleashed extreme violence in a city named perfect peace.


Jacob's well:
Jacob dug a large well and it was named after him. The water came from an underground spring that sometimes dried up. It was located in the vicinity of Shechem in those days and there is a well there today, by the same name, located a little southeast of Nablus at the foot of Mount Gerizim. It is a pretty large well being approximately 25 meters (75 feet) deep and about 3 meters (9 feet) in diameter. This well was located in Samaria at the time of Christ, near Sychar, and it was there that Jesus sat and talked with the Samaritan woman
(John 4:5-26).












Destructive anger (the sons of Jacob were angry):
Remember that Leah physically had 4 sons and a daughter: Reuben, Judah, Levi, Simeon, and Dinah. She also had Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, and Asher by proxy. It is possible that these sons of Leah were still angry at Jacob for placing them out in front of his other family members to be slaughtered first by Esau and his men. They were fed up with being disrespected and treated as second class citizens. And, here, this affront to them by Shechem set their "blood boiling". Shechem was not only the target of their misdirected anger toward Jacob but also the direct target of their rage. They were not just angry- they were very angry. To them, Shechem's actions were an affront that demanded vengeance- not forgiveness. It is possible that they were pretty good sword fighters by this time.

Destructive anger is one of the seven deadly sins. So far, in the bible book of Genesis, we have observed much destructive anger unleashed. And what does it usually lead to? It usually leads to ungodly action. For example, Cain was angry with his brother and murdered him. Esau was angry at Jacob and wanted to murder him, Jacob was angry at Laban for mistreating him, and in this passage of scripture, we observe Levi and Simeon's destructive anger that resulted in mass murder. Jesus warned us to avoid this kind of destructive anger
(Matthew 5:22) and Paul the Apostle stated:
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil"
(Ephesians 4:26-27).

Revenge never healed a wound





"You shall not murder" (Genesis 9:5-6) (all the men of Shalem died by the sword)
"And Hamor communed with them, saying: the soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren: let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: and they said unto them: we cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: but in this will we consent unto you: if ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying: these men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, and all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house"
(Genesis 34:8-29).

Sins of violence at Shalem City- (Shechem, Levi, and Simeon were violent)
Shechem sinned against God and mankind. That was part of the shameful and sinful legacy passed down in Canaan's family lineage. Shechem said to Jacob and her brothers: "let me find grace in your eyes". When we think about New Testament grace it usually means "unmerited favor." However, the context meaning of the word here is different. The word for grace here is the Hebrew word chen meaning "favor or acceptance". So, Shechem was saying that he wanted Jacob and his sons to accept him, but they did not want to accept him as a violent individual who was harming Dinah. Rather, they probably wanted to take him to court. Hamor and Shechem ruled the city, so would a fair trial have been possible there? Levi and Simeon did not think so. They chose vigilante justice- they met violence with violence.

The perpetrators probably bragged about the fact that they held Dinah. When confronted with their sin, they refused to do the right thing and release her. Many folks would agree that they deserved to be punished but not put to death for their crime. So, Jacob's sons met violence with violence. Do two wrongs make a right? Levi and Simeon were angry at Shechem for committing an act of violence. Yet, they also committed an act of violence (in mass murder). In that respect, they were just as guilty for doing the same thing they had just condemned and executed Shechem for. That was hypocrisy. Were they any better than Shechem? Do you think they lost self-respect? Do you think they liked what they saw when they looked into a mirror? Do you think that God was angry with them? Do you think that Jacob was angry with them? Yes, Jacob was angry with them- in fact, he was so angry with them that they each forfeited their birthright as punishment.

I was asked one time why God caused wars- was it a form of population reduction? Well, let me answer that question now with my opinion- God does not cause wars, Satan causes wars. Too many times God takes the wrap (is blamed) for what the devil does. And why does Satan cause wars? As in this case, with the men of Shalem City, Satan wanted to kill off many young and foolish individuals so they did't have a full life span to turn to the Lord in repentance to be saved. In general, Satan knows that God has much more time to work with an individual for his or her repentance and salvation if that individual has a long life span. Satan wants to shorten that life span by instigating wars and getting people to kill one another. That is why God's avenue is nearly always the way of peace.

Jesus had a few things to say about how to respond to violence:
(Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29). Also the Apostle Paul stated:
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good"
(Romans 12:19-21).


A sword was a tool (swords were used to commit capital murder):
Like any tool, the sword was used for good or for evil. I imagine that two of Leah's sons tried to get the rest of their brothers to join them in the attack on the city. Finally, Levi and Simeon decided to attack by themselves. They used swords only.

The sons of Jacob used the wrong sword. They used the literal sword of vengeance to kill the men of the town. They should have shared the word of God with them (used God's spiritual sword) to get them converted (to Christ). Getting them converted was God's will. Possibly, that is why God sent Jacob there. You and I have Christ's Great Commission to fulfill. There are many folks that we can share God's word with to get them converted
(Mark 16:15). To do that we might have to use the spiritual weapons of our warfare listed in
Ephesians 6:10-18. Especially the sword:
"...and take the...sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
(Ephesians 6:17).
The sword of the Spirit can help us win every spiritual victory.


The green eyed monster of envy got a hold of Governor Hamor?
It appears that Governor Hamor, Shechem's father, may have also been a selfish financial perpetrator. Why? Because of what he said: "shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours?" Hamor coveted and envied the wealth of Jacob. I imagine that he planned to manipulate the laws of his town for his own selfish purposes. Did Hamor plan to cheat Jacob over and over again until Jacob had nothing left? If so, Hamor sounded a lot like Jacob's Uncle Laban, didn't he? Let's you and I learn from Hamor's bad example and never be like him in any way.


Getting something for nothing (the sons of Jacob plundered Shalem City):
Levi and Simeon were the ones responsible for the massacre. Even though Reuben, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, and Asher did not fight, yet they helped themselves to the spoils of the city. In other words, they were thieves and liked to get their hands on anything that they didn't have to pay for. Reuben was the oldest. Where was he at the time of the attack? Judah was their brother also. Where was he at that time?

In other words, after the massacre, most of Jacob's sons were involved in getting the town's loot. They took it all, even females they made into slaves. I imagine they took idols of gold and silver. They knew Rachel had taken her father's idols so they saw no harm in it. Most of the sons of Jacob didn't care to do any fighting, but they sure were willing to help themselves to the spoils. I guess it is human nature to want to get something for nothing. You might know someone who is selfish and wants to use you to further their own goal(s). They might want to cash in on the hard work of someone else or take the credit due to another. In other words, they want something for nothing. These types of individuals are usually takers instead of givers- they will take as much as you are willing to give. If you know someone like that, pray for them. Pray for them for years if you have to. God knows how to reach them and, eventually, change them.

Maybe the sons of Jacob got spiritually more than they bargained for. When their female slaves started praying to their idols and worshipping Satan, this opened the door for demons to come around to get their worship. Therefore, constant Satanic oppression would join forces with Jacob's children to try to lead them down the pathway of spiritual rebellion against God. That is the same thing that Rebekah objected to in regards to Esau's idol worshipping wives. Godly people have to go to spiritual warfare when Satan comes around to oppress them. I am sure that Jacob and the other true believers in his household had to rebuke Satan and his imps on a continual basis. And they were praying for their unsaved loved ones. And you know who was listening and taking all of this in? Yep, Joseph. He was young, but he was learning about God, depraved human nature, and how to resist Satan and his hordes. And he was learning not to act like his older brothers.


Pray for unsaved loved ones (Jacob prayed for his children):
Jacob had unsaved loved ones. I am sure that he prayed for each one of them. If you have unsaved loved ones, pray for each one. Don't give up- no matter how much you might have been hurt by one or more of them and no matter how long it takes. God is the only One Who can reach down into their soul and do a life changing work there in answer to your prayers.

There was a wife, one time, who prayed daily for her unsaved husband to get saved. She prayed for 50 years with no results. Then one day when he was on his death bed an angel appeared to him at the foot of his bed and asked him: "don't you think it is time to invite Christ into your heart and be forgiven of your sins?" He was scared but said "yes" to the angel and invited the Lord into his life. Then he told his wife about it and died. She praised the Lord for answering her prayers.


The saved and the unsaved should never marry:
Here is a spiritually dangerous statement: "...then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people." Why? Because the saved and the unsaved are never to marry under any circumstance. This is one major reason that faith in God nearly ceased to exist in the world before Noah's time. The godly seed, the sons of God, slowly disappeared from the earth. They married beautiful idol worshipping women who produced children who worshipped Satan. Satan gained a monopoly on worship and the world became violent and immoral because of it
(Genesis 6:1-6). God said through Paul the Apostle:
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
(2 Corinthians 6:14).
If Jacob's children had intermarried with the children of men (the idol worshippers of Shalem), the plan of God for Jacob and his family would have been wrecked. I see the footprints of the devil in these circumstances.


Jacob had two sons without honor (Jacob was troubled):
"And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. And they said: should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?"
(Genesis 34:30-31).

Why did Jacob say: "you have made me to stink"?

1. There was the obvious reason. His sons had ruined Jacob's reputation and tarnished their family honor and good name. They did not act with integrity. They received no glory for what they did. They stated: "should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?" Notice, in their pride and self righteous zeal that it was easier for them to condemn Shechem for his sin rather than condemning themselves for their own sin. The religious rulers during the time of Christ did the same thing to Jesus. It was more convenient to condemn Jesus on trumped up charges than to face their own sins and repent of them. How can that be relevant? Today, a "killer policeman", possibly a member of a coven, can use excessive force to shoot an unarmed or defenseless suspect to get that suspect off of the streets. That officer might think he has done the community a service in murdering that suspect and the pathetic district attorney, afraid of a law suit, might rule the shooting "justified" on some technicality. They may lie, deceive, and manipulate evidence to protect themselves and their governmental system they are a part of. There is no honor in those kinds of actions. Those individuals are lemons and should be booted out of public service. As well, the military of any nation can get a bad reputation when there is a reported incident of a civilian massacre from its men in war. Most folks figure that those guilty military soldiers have no honor and they are no better than the ones they are fighting. That was the situation with Jacob's sons.

2. But there was a spiritual reason also. The English word translated "stink" is the Hebrew word Ba'ash. What does it mean? It literally means to stink, however, it is a strong verb figuratively used in reference to the appearance of wickedness. So, what did Jacob mean by his statement? It could mean: "you have made me to appear to be a wicked and corrupt individual among the inhabitants of the land. You have ruined my reputation. Now, they will not trust me or listen to what I have to tell them about the Lord." Remember that Jacob had just gotten saved. He wanted to have a good reputation for God amongst his unsaved neighbors. He wanted folks to see the God Who lived inside of him. He wanted to win them to the Lord. He wanted to get them converted. He wanted to act like Jesus. Is not that what you and I want? We want to live and act like Jesus did. We want to act like sons of God because of our identification with Him- God is our Father because He has adopted us into His family by faith, but someone had to share the gospel with us to get us converted to Christ. I believe that Jacob may have been trying to win the unsaved folks of Shalem to the Lord
(Romans 10:13-14).

Jacob had unsaved family members who committed an act of violence. The sons of Jacob tarnished Jacob's testimony. Jacob was trying to be a good witness for God, since his conversion experience, but his sons were out doing the devil's dirty-work. The saved are not supposed to act like the unsaved. The sons of Jacob insisted that the men of the town be physically circumcised while the sons of Jacob themselves needed to be spiritually circumcised in their hearts. They broke God's law- one of God's ten commandments: thou shalt not kill (murder)
(Genesis 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13). But Jacob was innocent, nevertheless, it was guilt by association because they lived with Jacob and he was responsible for their actions. They made him look like a phoney. They brought disgrace to Jacob's family by being hypocrits and evil doers. This spiritually hurt Jacob and probably gave cause for Satan to stand before God in Heaven to falsely accuse Jacob (like he did with Job)
(Job 1:9-11). Satan probably accused Jacob of ordering his sons to commit the massacre. It also caused Jacob to be fearful of retribution from other Canaanites in the area.

You and I are sons and daughters of the King. How we act is important to Him. We can uphold His reputation and make Him proud of us, or, we can tarnish His reputation in disgrace. What will we choose to do?


Jacob had warfare in Canaan?
I think it is time for us to look at a couple of interesting scriptures in various sections of the bible book of Genesis:
"Moreover I (Jacob) have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow"
(Genesis 48:22). "And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob"
(Genesis 35:5).

Is it possible that there was a lot more that went on after the massacre at Shalem? Did the Canaanites attack Jacob in retribution for the massacre at Shalem? If so, Jacob and his allies had one military campaign, (such as his grandfather, Abraham, had) and defeated the Canaanites in battle.

If that was the case, then God did the same thing for General Joshua many years later. The Israelites were victorious in battle over the Canaanites: "and she (Rahab) said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you...as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath"
(Joshua 2:9 & 11; also see Joshua 5:1 & 14:8).


The seed of the displacement of the Canaanites?
Why was this story included in the bible? There are probably several reasons but it could be that this event was a foreshadowing of major events to come when, later, the children of Israel, under Joshua, would attack the Canaanites and displace them completely. You can read about this in the bible book of Joshua. In other words, Moses liked to explain the seed or the beginning of things. Was this displacement of these Canaanites at Shalem City the beginning of the displacement of all the wicked Canaanites by Israel some 400 years later? Some folks think so. The nation of Israel had to eventually displace the Canaanites if the Abrahamic covenant was to become a reality. Over 430 years later, Generals Moses and Joshua, the leaders of Israel, were ordered by God to permanently displace the wicked Canaanites who lived there at that time by the sword.


Genesis chapter 35






Commentary Topics Index

Genesis chapter 33






Genesis Commentary Index




Click here to go to the master index page



Home

The Christian Counter
As of June 12, 2013