Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday - Genesis 34 - Ugly Truth

There's nothing pretty in this chapter. So, be reminded that this is God's inspired Word ... which doesn't mean that God approved of all that happened; it means that all of the facts are accurate and God had a reason for including this story.
After the family of Israel had settled back in Canaan, Jacob's daughter Dinah went out to make some friends ... but in the process, she found a man. Well, he found her.
She was probably a novel beauty compared to the local girls. She caught Shechem's eye.
Shechem wasn't just anybody. Shechem was an aristocrat. He was a man of influence and power. And, he was a man of fleshly passion; he and Dinah committed fornication.
Now, though he was immoral, he was more moral than those around him (Genesis 34:19). This indicates that the Hivite culture was horridly debauched... as the story will indicate. Shechem did actually fall in love with Dinah and was nice to her, even desiring to marry her.
Jacob heard what happened, but he held his peace. Of course, some of his sons weren't quite so restrained.  Shechem and his dad came and requested that Dinah and he be allowed to marry. They were so intent on this purpose that they offered an unlimited dowry and suggested that more marriages between their "peoples" be advanced (Genesis 34:9).
The response of Israel's sons was doubtlessly unexpected. They proposed that every man in Shechem's city become circumcised (Genesis 34:15). They could have made such a proposal sincerely. They could have explained that their father was a worshipper of THE Mighty God; that circumcision was representative of His covenant with them; that they were not willing to intermarry with idolatrous and uncircumcised peoples, but they didn't. At least, they didn't do it truthfully. They spoke of circumcision reverently but had ulterior intentions. Either they hoped that such a standard would dissuade Shechem from his objective, or they were setting him up for what did actually come to pass.
Amazingly the whole city...well, all of the males... agreed to the surgical procedure. This reveals to us that Shechem had an incredibly high level of influence in his city. But, despite their commitment to this treaty (albeit financially motivated), two of Israel's sons, Simeon and Levi, took swords and, at the point of their maximum weakness, killed every male in the city... including Shechem. Then, they took Dinah back home.

Afterward, all of the brothers joined in and took all of the wealth and women of the city for themselves. But, Jacob wasn't pleased... mainly because he feared retribution from other Canaanites. Sadly, the rough character (and shadows of the future misdeeds) of Israel's sons are seen in their answer to their father's rebuke. They retorted, "Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?" No apology; only defensive defiance.  Jacob would shortly be hurt deeply by their hardness.

No comments:

Post a Comment