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Song of Solomon
Genesis 34 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob
, - if Dinah was born before Joseph (
) she was probably in her seventh year when Jacob reached Succoth (
); but it does not follow that she was only six or seven years of age when the incident about to be described occurred (Tuch, Bohlen). If Jacob stayed two years at Succoth and eight in Shechem (Petavius), and if, as is probable, his residence in Shechem terminated with his daughter's dishonor (Lange), and if, moreover, Joseph s sale into Egypt happened soon after (Hengstenberg), Dinah may at this time have been in her sixteenth or seventeenth year (Kurtz). Yet there is no reason why she should not have been younger, say between thirteen and fifteen (Keil, Lange, Kalisch, Murphy, et
), since in the East females attain to puberty at the age of twelve, and sometimes earlier (Delitzsch) -
- it is not implied that this was the first occasion on which Dinah left her mother's tent to mingle with the city maidens in Shechem: the expression is equivalent to "once upon a time she went
to see the daughters of the land
- who were gathered at a festive entertainment (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 1:21, 1), a not improbable supposition (Kurtz), though the language rather indicates the paying of a friendly visit (Lange), or the habitual practice of associating with the Shechemite women (Bush), in their social entertainments, if not in their religious festivals.
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 when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the country, saw her
saw her, and
) he took her
. "Dinah paid the full penalty of her carelessness. She suffered the fate which Sarah and Rebekah encountered in the land of Pharaoh and Abimelech; she was seen and taken by the son of the prince" (Kalisch); forcibly,
against her will in the first instance, though not, it is apparent, without the blandishments of a lover.
And lay with her, and defiled her
, offered violence to her, whence humbled
And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
Verses 3, 4.
And his soul clave
on ver. 8)
unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob
, - it was in some degree an extenuation of the wickedness of Shechem that he did not cast off the victim of his violence and lust, but continued to regard her with affection -
and he loved the damsel
, - on the use of
for a youth of either sex
and spake kindly unto the damsel
- literally, spoke
to the heart of the damsel
ἐλάλησε κατὰ τὴν διάνοιαν τῆς παρθίνου
addressed to her such words as were agreeable to her inclinations (cf. on the import of the phrase
), probably expressing his affection, and offering the reparation of honorable marriage, as may be legitimately inferred from what is next recorded of his behavior.
And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife
- cf. the case of Samson (
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 Jacob heard
- most likely from some of Dinah's companions (Patrick), since she herself was still detained in She-chore's house (ver. 26) -
- the verb here employed conveys the idea of rendering unclean (cf. vers. 13, 27;
2 Kings 23:10
; that in ver. 2 expresses the notion of violence) -
Dinah his daughter
. It was an aggravation of Shechem's wickedness that it was perpetrated not against any of Jacob's handmaids, but against his daughter.
his sons were with his cattle in the field
- perhaps that which he had lately purchased (
), or in some pasture ground more remote from the city.
And Jacob held his peace
acted as one dumb, i.e.
maintained silence upon the painful subject, and took no measures to avenge Shechem s crime (cf.
1 Samuel 10:27
2 Samuel 13:22
); either through sorrow (Ainsworth, Calvin), or through caution (Murphy, Lange), or through perplexity, as not knowing how to act (Kalisch), or as recognizing the right of his sons by the same mother to have a voice in the settlement of so important a question (Kurtz, Gerlach), to which undoubtedly the next clause points -
until they were come
until their coming
And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
Hamor the father of Shechem went out
- accompanied by Shechem (ver. 11) -
- who was encamped in the outskirts of the city (
to commune with him
concerning Dinah's marriage with his son.
And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard
: 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.
And the sons of Jacob
Leah's children, Dinah's full brothers, for certain, though perhaps also her half brothers)
came out of the field when they heard it
(Jacob having probably sent them word):
and the men were grieved
, - literally,
, or became pained with anger, the verb being the hithpael of
, to toil or labor with pain. The LXX. connect this with the preceding clause,
ὡς δὲ ἤκουσαν
κατενύγησαν οἱ ἅνδρες
, implying that they did not learn of their sister's seduction till they came home -
and they were very wroth,
- literally, it
burned to them greatly
1 Samuel 15:11
2 Samuel 19:4
:3). Michaelis mentions an opinion still entertained in the East which explains the excessive indignation kindled in the breasts of Dinah's brothers, vie., that "in those countries it is thought that a brother is more dishonored by the seduction of his sister than a man by the infidelity of his wife; for, say the Arabs, a man may divorce his wife, and then she is no longer his; while a sister and daughter remain always sister and daughter" (vide Kurtz, 'Hist. of Old Covenant,' (82) -
had wrought folly
. - the term
easily passes into the idea of wickedness of a shameful character (
1 Samuel 25:25
2 Samuel 13:12
), since from the standpoint of Scripture sin is the height of unreason (
), and holiness the sublimest act of wisdom (
) - in (or against)
- the word, here applied for the first time to Jacob's household, afterwards became the usual national designation of Jacob's descendants; and the phrase here employed for the first time afterwards passed into a standing expression for acts done against the sacred character which belonged to Israel as a separated and covenanted community, especially for sins of the flesh (
), but also for other crimes (
in lying with Jacob's daughter
. The special wickedness of Shechem consisted in dishonoring a daughter of one who was the head of the theocratic line, and therefore under peculiar obligations to lead s holy life.
Which thing ought not to be done
and so is it not done
). Assigned to the historian ('Speaker's Commentary'), or to the hand of a late redactor (Davidson, Colenso, Alford), there is no reason why these words should not have been spoken by Jacob's sons (Keil, Murphy, and others)' to indicate their sense of the new and higher morality that had come in with the name of Israel (Lange).
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 Hamor communed
the whole family, or Jacob and his sons), saying,
The soul of my son Shechem longeth for
- the root (
) signifies to join together, intrans., to be joined together, hence to cleave to another in love (cf.
Deuteronomy 7:7, 10, 15
); of similar import to the word (
) employed in ver. 3, which means to be devotedly attached to any one, as,
e.g., to God
), to a king (
2 Samuel 20:2
), to a wife (
1 Kings 11:2
. The words are addressed to Jacob's sons as well as Jacob himself, the brothers equally with the father being regarded as the natural guardians of a sister.
I pray yon give her
him to wife
. The absence of any apology for Shechem's atrocious outrage against Dinah need not be regarded as indicating some measure of consent on the part of Dinah, but may be explained on the supposition that Hamor's proposal was considered by himself as a practical admission of his son's guilt.
And make ye marriages with us
, - literally,
contract affinity with us by marriage
, the verb
being spoken of the father-in-law (
), who makes the alliance (
and give your daughters unto us
, - from this it has been inferred that Jacob had other daughters besides Dinah, which is not improbable (
), but the words may not imply more than that Humor thought he had -
and take our daughters unto you.
(as an inducement to form this alliance)
ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein
he offers them the privilege of unrestricted movement throughout his dominions, with the right of establishing settlements, carrying on trade, and acquiring property.
And make ye marriages with us,
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.
Verses 11, 12.
And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren
(speaking with becoming deference and earnestness, and manifestly prompted by fervent and sincere love),
Let me find grace in your eyes
let my suit be accepted (
and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry and gift
, - literally,
multiply upon me exceedingly dowry and gift
; the dowry (mohar) being the price paid for a wife to her parents (cf.
1 Samuel 18:25
), and the gift (
) the presents given to the bride (Gesenius, Furst, Rosenmüller, Gerlach, Alford); or the dowry being the bride's present, and the gift the wife s price (Michaelis, Keil, Murphy); or the dowry being given to the parents, and the gift to the kindred (Patrick); or the two being the same thing, vie., the compensation offered to the relatives of the bride (Lange) -
and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give
(or, and ye will give)
me the damsel to wife.
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 the sons of Jacob
(manifestly without the knowledge of their father)
answered Shechem and Humor his father deceitfully, and said,
- the object of the verb
to be found in the next verse, "we cannot do this thing," the clause commencing "
being parenthetical (Rosenmüller, Furst), so that it is unnecessary either to take
in the unusual sense
of doles struere
(Schultens, Gasenius, Keil), or to supply after
deceit" from the preceding clause (Onkelos, Ainsworth, Murphy,
because he had defiled Dinah their sister
(to be taken parenthetically, as already explained):
and they said unto them
(these words revert to the preceding verse),
We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised
for that were a reproach unto us
. The ground on which they declined a matrimonial alliance with Shechem was good; their sin lay in advancing this simply as a pretext to enable them to wreak their unholy vengeance on Shechem and his innocent people. The treacherous character of their next proposal is difficult to be reconciled with any claim to humanity, far less to religion, on the part of Jacob's sons; so much so, that 'Jacob on his death-bed can offer no palliation for the atrocious cruelty to which it led (
Genesis 49:6, 7
But in this
under this condition)
will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised
to have circumcision administered to you every male
then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us
to be our wives),
and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
This proposal was sinful, since
they had no right to offer the sign of God's covenant to a heathen people;
they had less right to employ it in ratification of a merely human agreement; and
they had least right of all to employ it in duplicity as a mask for their treachery.
But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised
; then (rather,
. then we will not consent to your proposal, and)
we will take our daughter
, - who was still in Shechem s house (ver. 26) -
and we will be gone.
And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that
a reproach unto us:
But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we
, 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.
Verses 18, 19.
And their words pleased
were flood in the eyes of
in the eyes of
Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not
to do the thing
the word, i.e.
to submit to circumcision. This is stated here by anticipation),
because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honorable
- literally, more
, doubtless because more worthy of regard (cf.
1 Chronicles 4:9
than all the house of his father
And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he
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,
And Hamor and Shechem his son came
unto the gate of their city
(vide on Genesis 19:2; 23:10),
and communed with
(or spake to)
the men of their city, saying, These men
Jacob and his sons)
are peaceable with us
peaceable are they with us
. This is the first argument employed by Hamor and Shechem to secure the consent of the citizens to the formation of an alliance with Jacob and his sons);
therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein
; - literally, and
they will dwell in the land, and trade in it
(so. if you permit) -
the land, behold, it is large enough
- literally, broad of hands,
on both sides (cf.
(literally, before them,
for them to wander about with their flocks and herds. This was the second argument employed by Hamor and his son);
let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only herein
(or under this condition)
will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised
(literally, in the
circumcising to or by us of every male
. After which statement of the indispensable condition of the alliance proposed, they advance as a third argument for its acceptance the material advantages which such an alliance would inevitably secure for them. Shall
not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs
refer to flocks and herds; the
to asses and camels)
? - literally,
Shall not these
to us? -
only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold,
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
not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs
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 unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city
. The ready acquiescence of the Shechemites to the proposal of Jacob's sons has not unreasonably been regarded as a proof that they were already acquainted with circumcision as a social, if not religious, rite (Kurtz, Keil, &c.).
And every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
Knobel notes it as remarkable that the Hivites were not circumcised, since, according to Herodotus, the rite was observed among the Phenicians, and probably also the Canaanites, who were of the same extraction, and thinks that either the rite was not universally observed in any of these ancient nations where it was known, or that the Hivites were originally a different race from the Canaanites, and had not conformed to the customs of the land (vide Lange
). Murphy thinks the present instance may point out one way in which the custom spread from tribe to tribe.
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 it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore
, - literally,
in their being in pain
δτε η΅σαν ἐν τῷ πόνῳ
(LXX.). Inflammation and fever commonly set in on the third day, which was for that reason regarded as the critical day -
that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren
sons of the same mother, Leah),
took each man his sword,
and came upon the city
- accompanied by their servants (Keil), or their father's men (Murphy), but this is doubtful (Lange). That the other sons of Jacob and brethren of Dinah did not pursue their thirst for vengeance to the same extremity as Simeon and Levi seems apparent from ver. 27; yet it is quite possible that they joined with Simeon and Levi in the assault upon the city (Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary') which they made - boldly, -
either they themselves feeling confident of success because of the sickness which lay upon the inhabitants (Ainsworth, Dathe, Rosenmüller, Murphy, &c.), or, while the city was lulled into security in consequence of the treaty (Onkelos, Josephus, Keil, Lange), or perhaps referring only to the fact that they encountered no opposition, and came in safety (
) to the city (LXX., Kalisch) -
and slew all the males
. Probably the town was small.
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.
And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son, with the edge
of the sword
, - without excusing the inhuman barbarity of this remorseless massacre, Kurtz offers an elaborate and interesting analysis of the complex motive of which it was the outcome, in particular showing how in Jacob's sons that strange admixture of religious zeal and carnal passion, of lofty faith and low craft, existed which formed so large a portion of the character of the patriarch himself (
'Hist. of the Old Covenant,' vol. 1. § 82) -
and took Dinah out of Shechem's house
, - in which up to this time she had been detained against her will (Alford), though this may be open to question (Kalisch) -
and went out.
The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
The sons of Jacob
- not all except Simeon and Levi (Delitzsch), nor Simeon and Levi alone (Kalisch, Inglis), but Simeon and Levi along with the others (Rosenmüller, Keil, Lange) -
came upon the slain
, - the absence of the
conjunctive at the commencement of this verse, which partitionists account for by the hypothesis that vers. 27-29 are an interpolation, is explained by Keil as designed to express the subjective excitement and indignation of the historian at the revolting character of the crime he was narrating -
and spoiled the city, because they
the inhabitants being regarded, on the well-known principle of the solidarity of nations, as involved in the crime of their ruler)
had defiled their sister
, and so exposed themselves to reprisals, in which
the sons of Jacob)
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
, a collective noun for boys and girls, who are so called from their brisk and tripping motion (Gesenius) -
and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.
The words describe a complete sacking of the city, in which every house was swept of its inmates and its valuables.
They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which
in the city, and that which
in the field,
And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that
in the house.
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
few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me
brought trouble upon me)
to make me to stink
- or, to cause me to become hateful;
among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the
. with my attendants) being
few in number
, - literally,
men of number, i.e.
that can be easily numbered, a small band (cf.
) - they (literally,
shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
That Jacob should have spoken to his sons only of his own danger, and not of their guilt, has been ascribed to his belief that this was the only motive which their carnal minds could understand (Keil, Gerlach); to a remembrance of his own deceitfulness, which disqualified him in a measure from being the censor of his sons (Kalisch, Wordsworth); to the lowered moral and spiritual tone of his own mind (Candlish, 'Speaker's Commentary'); to the circumstance that, having indulged his children in their youth, be was now afraid to reprove them (Inglis). That Jacob afterwards attained to a proper estimate of their bloody deed his last prophetic utterance reveals (
). By some it is supposed that he even now felt the crime in all its heinousness (Kalisch), though his reproach was somewhat leniently expressed in the word "trouble" (Lange); while others, believing Jacob's abhorrence of his sons' fanatical cruelty to have been deep and real, account for its omission by the historian on the ground that he aimed merely at showing "
protection of God (
), through which Jacob escaped the evil consequences of their conduct" (Hengstenberg, Kurtz).
And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
But Shechem offered Dinah honorable marriage.
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