In Genesis 34, we read the account of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. As far as we know, in a family of twelve sons, Dinah was Jacob’s only daughter. One day, she went out to spend some time with the other women of the land and a man named Shechem, “the prince of the land” took her and seemingly forced himself upon her, sexually. (vs. 2)
Our first impression of Shechem is that he is a man who takes what he wants. He has the power and control to do what he pleases. He doesn’t have to take “no” for an answer. The rules don’t apply to him.
After this happens, the Bible tells us, “his soul was drawn to Dinah” and that “He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.” Shechem even told his father to get Dinah for his wife. (vs. 3-4) Do you see the arrogance here? Do you see the entitlement and the lack of personal responsibility? Can you tell that this is a man who is not accustomed to consequences? Shechem has basically raped this young woman, and now he is trying to “romance” her. I’m no expert at courtship, but this doesn’t make much sense.
Meanwhile, Jacob and his sons hear about the defiling of Dinah. They are not happy. The Bible says, “the men were indignant and very angry because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel…for such a thing must not be done.” (vs. 7)
So Shechem’s father, at the request/demand of his son, proposes a marriage between the two families (this should serve as a lesson to all parents for how NOT to handle your children when they sin!). This family is going to pretend that nothing ever happened, and instead of forcing himself on Dinah – again - Shechem is going to try to buy her. (vs. 8-12)
This whole situation baffles me. How does Shechem even bring himself to show up at Dinah’s home – a home with a father and 12 brothers – and insult them like this? How does he think that he can treat this young lady like this and avoid any consequences whatsoever? He may have gotten away with a lot of bad behavior in his lifetime, but I seriously doubt that he had ever faced the wrath of 12 angry (and quite diabolical) brothers who have just heard that their only sister has been raped.
What happens next can only be described as “payback” for anything and everything that Shechem has ever done. And then some.
Jacob’s brothers deceitfully convince Shechem and his father that they will give Dinah in marriage under one condition: that “every male among you be circumcised.” (vs. 15) This applied to every male that lived in “their city.” (vs. 20) So Shechem uses his great power and influence to convince all of the men in his city to be circumcised. This procedure, as you can imagine, leaves them very “sore” (vs. 25), and on the third day after their circumcision, Simeon and Levi “took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.” (vs. 25-29)
Two very angry brothers (imagine if all 12 of them had gotten involved!) have taken it upon themselves to inflict some consequences, haven’t they? However you and I might feel about their actions (I certainly sympathize with Dinah’s family, but I also sympathize with all of the OTHER families who were affected in this massacre), one lesson seems crystal clear: sometimes, consequences are inevitable. No matter how powerful we might be, we will eventually find ourselves between the rock and the hard place of consequence. Odds are, we already have.
If you doubt this, just ask Simeon and Levi about the consequences they faced years later, when their father basically pronounced a curse on them because of their actions in this story (Gen. 49:5-7). Consequences are inevitable in life. Let’s close by listening to God’s Word on the subject:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” – Gal. 6:7