“The rape of righteousness”
II. Vs. 1-12 A deal for Dinah
III. Vs. 13-31 From a relationship to religion
Last week we left Jacob moving to Shechem from Succoth yet God had called him back to Bethel. Dinah is most likely in her teens and her brothers Ruben, Simeon, Levi and Judah are in there 20’s. This means that by the time the 34th chapter starts they have lived in Shechem and Succoth for ten years. Those ten years of life in a land that is not where God had called them is going to catch up to them in this chapter. It does not matter how small the disobedience in our lives may be we will always suffer loss. The loss may be a lack of spiritual power, a poor testimony, anxious heart or troubled life but there will always be a loss for a life not submitted to the Lord. As we read through this chapter it contains yet another black eye upon God’s chosen people. One wonders about the truth that from this group of people God would chose to bring forth His only begotten Son. Most likely Jacob is the original author of this section and Moses the editor. In light of this fact Jacob holds no punches when sharing with the nation his family’s failures. My point is twofold:
Clearly this is an inspirited book as no biographer chooses to right of there down falls.
God’s choice of this group of people to be the object of His love is not based upon their worthiness. This is born out in His words through Moses is Deut. 7:6-8 “the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.”
II. Vs. 1-12 A deal for Dinah
Vs. 1 Jacob had lied to Esau and brought his family to a place where God had not directed him. In chapter 31:13 as well as 35:1 God clearly indicates to him where he wanted him to be. Yet Jacob chose the place to settle based upon what would be easiest and comfortable. All too often we fall into this same trap of wanting to be close enough to the world to enjoy it’s benefits while trying to balance a life that is separate to God.
We are not certain whether or not Dinah was familiar with the customs of the Canaanites but girls did not go out unattended, as they were considered easy. To go out without an escort was saying that they wanted to get with a guy. Perhaps she went out without the permission of her parents but there is always an inherent danger when parents live to close to the world as our children won’t know the dangers of the customs! To Dinah she just wanted to go and hang out with her friends “the daughters of the land”. But she did not understand that no girl went out on her own. The standards and morals of society was so low that no where do we see Shechem or his father Hamor ever apologize for the rape of Dinah.
Vs. 2 The word “violated” is the same word rendered “desecrated” in regards to a temple. Simply put the desecration of a temple and the dishonor of sex outside of marriage is regarded with the same passion from the Lord. Personal purity and spiritual purity are forever linked, as you cannot have one without the other. Promiscuity was not only common it was encouraged as it was part of the religious system and the fact that Shechem was a prince made it all more his right. Far too many today want to take the “S” out of SIN and make it just IN but that is not the way God spells it. In fact you will notice what the middle letter is in sin, “I”! The reason for this is we are always in the middle of sin!
There is no doubt in my mind that Dinah well understood the reason why she should not go out in the land unattended after her rape. Neither is there any doubt in my mind that Jacob understood that he had failed his daughter by living so close to the world and by not being her covering as her father. Parents face this same choice today with their daughters, “Dad can I go out with my friends to So and So.’s house?” “Will there be any boy’s there?” Listen carefully girl’s your dads know that boys play by a different set of rules then you do!
Vs. 3-4 The words “was strongly attached” is literally saying that Shechem “clung” onto her. There is no doubt that Shechem was attracted to her but that does not mean that he was in love with her. For if he had truly cared for her he would not have violated her. We get a true since of his feelings for her in his words to his father Hamor “Get me this young woman”. What he wanted was the pleasure she gave him as he had sex with her. He wanted her for what she could give him not what he could give her. Shechem’s love was the “get me” kind not the “give me” kind! I want you to notice something here ladies as it relates to men as it says concerning Shechem that he “he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to the young woman.” The words “he loved” suggest something very different then biblical love. Other translations interpret this as:
“But Shechem was attracted to Dinah, so he told her how much he loved her.” (CEV)
“But he found the young woman so attractive that he fell in love with her and tried to win her affection.” (GNB)
- “Since he was strongly attracted to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, indeed was really in love with the girl, he endeavored to win her affection.” (NAB)
What’s my point? His attraction is what fueled his actions; his motivation in his behavior was to “get this young woman”! It is possible for a man to be “very attracted” to a lady and show her kindness and romance to win her affection in order to “get her” for his pleasure. Women forget this all too often. Here is a saying that should not be forgotten “Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love!” Men say, “If you love me you will let me have sex with you!” Women ought to respond with, “If you love me you will respect me enough to wait until we are married!” How kindly was Shechem acting if he was willing to rob her of her honor and then only when he did not get consent to have sex with her again offer to marry her. What kind of husband would Shechem be if before he was married to Dinah he was unable to control his own passions? What kind of husband or boyfriend is a guy going to be if he cannot bridle his passions towards you? What makes you think he can bridle his passions towards another woman later if he can’t bridle his passion towards you now?
A 1960 Stanford research study called the “marshmallow test” sought to do research to see if delaying “self-gratification” had any effect upon other social behaviors. They took four-year-olds and gave them a choice of one marshmallow now or two if they waited 5 minutes. Then over the next 12 years they monitored those same children in the two categories. What they found was startling, those that grabbed the 1 marshmallow opting for immediate self-gratification tended to be more troubled teenagers, they averaged 210 points lower on their SAT scores as well. The study proved that teaching our children to delay self-gratification made for a better group of young adults. The problem is that as young adults we all think that we are alone able to decide what is best for us as far as liberty and freedoms are concerned. In fact we are very upset when we don’t get to do what others get to do, (Dinah wanted to go out and see the daughters of the land, Shechem wanted to have sex with Dinah outside of marriage). However it is later in life that we learn the consequences of our miss guided freedoms. The fruit of freedom without the maturity to handle it is always spoiled and rotten it is also something that we pay for the rest of our lives for picking prematurely.
Vs. 5-7 It seems that according to verse 26 that Dinah remained at Shechem’s house after the date rape and thus Jacob must have learned of this some other way. Yet with that said he remains silent on the whole scene choosing rather to wait for her brothers to take charge. Several things seem to have happened even if we don’t know the reason why.
- Jacob does not appear to be outraged; neither does he take any responsibility being her parent for living so in an area that was opposed to biblical principles.
- His abdicating his position of head ship in his family created a void which his two younger sons, without God’s experience and wisdom, were very eager to fill the void he left.
All too often our response or shall I say lack of response in dealing with conflicts furthers the crisis that has already begun. Far too many people see any conflict as a negative to be avoided at any cost and do just what Jacob does “hold his peace”. As a leader Jacob should not have held his peace instead he should have accepted his responsibility for being in the wrong place, then he should of got his daughter from Shechem and demanded justice be done for her harm! Instead he says nothing and waits until her brothers come home. Some say that it was the brother’s responsibility to protect their sister and that he was waiting until they got back to deal with it
Finally the two families are going to come together to deal with the situation and they have two very different responses to the situation:
- Vs. 7 Jacob’s sons were grieved and angry: They were hurt and it burned exceedingly hot in them and this left unchecked caused them to commit an even greater sin.
- Vs. 8-12 Hamor and Shechem offer four things to resolve the matter:
- Vs. 8 He explains the away the matter by saying what is common today, “If you love someone it’s ok to take advantage of them!” There is no apology only a justification for the rape.
- Vs. 9 Such a union isn’t such a bad thing, as it will create an opportunity for everyone else. You may be familiar with this excuse as it goes like this, “Everyone else is doing it!”
- Vs. 10 Next he says something that again we are all very familiar with, “Hey if you do it you will be part of the popular group!” You will be able to hang out with all the right people and have all of the stuff they have.
- Vs. 11-12 Finally, Shechem opens his mouth and says, “How much do you want for her!” Now that’s love isn’t it gals? Effectively he is making Jacob and her brothers Diana’s pimps! “Hey, now that we have had sex do you want to go out some more?”
III. Vs. 13-31 From a relationship to religion
Vs. 13-17 Here then is the counter offer by Simeon and Levi: All the men of the city need to be circumcised.
They were right to refuse the marriage proposal based upon two reasons:
- They were not to inter marry with non-believers. Christians listen carefully don’t go out with those who do not share your passion for Jesus Christ.
- The way that Shechem had treated their sister was also a great reason for them to refuse the proposal. There was nothing in the way Shechem had treated Dinah before or after the incident that demonstrated that he was a man of character.
Yet with that said they certainly didn’t handle this situation biblically. They used their profession of faith as a basis of deception, worse yet the symbol of the cutting away of the old nature and the covenant made with God was used to deceive them. They appeared to be holy and concerned about their relationship with God while planning to kill them. Talk about your mixed messages. There is an interesting point here though as many a professing Christian goes to Church yet sleeps around! They were angry at Shechem raping their sister so they rape their relationship with God and prostitute its outward sign for the purpose of murder. Notice that this conversation is attributed to Jacob’s sons and not Dinah’s brothers as they certainly looked like their father. Why would they go along with this? Well it was the promise of gain and the fact that circumcision was not unheard of in that culture and seeing the Shechem was a prince if he was willing to go through with it then it must be a cool thing to do. Again you will notice the absence of any word from Jacob as he has left the headship of the family to two 20 something’s!
Vs. 18-24 The deception based upon lust and greed played right into the hands of Jacob’s two son’s revenge. Society held Shechem in such high regards that they went along with it. It is amazing what men will do to get with women a point that many women will exploit. The whole of society works on this as women bare their bodies in hope to attract men thus exploit men’s natural lusts them men in turn use and exploit women as just objects to feed their fantasies.
Vs. 25-29 They then killed all of the men of the city in total disregard to God’s covenant. Yes they rescued their sister but in their behavior they further raped her by treating her as an object and a possession. Notice they waited until the third day, as the healing process would have been the most painful at that time. They justify the murder of the entire city and the morals of the community by saying that Shechem had disgraced their sister but how did the punishment fit the crime? They plunder the city and make the inhabitants their slaves what a great witness for God!
Vs. 30-31 Jacob’s concern is not for his God, even for his raped daughter but how the incident makes him look in the community that God had not called him to. Talk about being self-absorbed! Jacob will not deal with this until his death bed when he prays over Simeon and Levi saying, “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; Let not my honor be united to their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” It is interesting how this prophecy was fulfilled so differently between the two tribes:
- Simeon continued to be unfaithful towards the Lord and was absorbed into the tribe of Judah.
- Levi was scattered but not because he was unfaithful but rather because of faithfulness, at the golden calf incident they alone stood for the Lord. Yes they were scattered amongst all the tribes but to be a blessing to the whole nation.
Here’s the point perhaps you have blown it, you’ve compromised your faith with the Lord what becomes of you is up to you. Remain unfaithful towards Him and your life will be scattered and will amount to nothing. But repent and remain faithful turning away from the idols of this world and your life will be a blessing upon every place you are at!