Genesis 34 gives us details of one of the most shameful acts of the Lord’s people.  We read in chapter 33 of how Jacob travelled far to see his brother, Esau, whom he had not seen in years.  After being with his brother, we read that “Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.” (verse 17).  Earlier, Jacob had vowed to the Lord that he would establish Bethel as God’s house (Genesis 28:20-22).  Now instead of returning to Bethel, Jacob comes short and stops in Succoth.  Perhaps he intended to stay there for a short while to find rest for himself and his family, and to allow his cattle to eat and drink.  However, he stays in Succoth long enough to build a house, set up tents for his cattle to stay in, and he “erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel.” (Genesis 33:20).  He was in the land of infidels and it wasn’t long before the effects of his decision began to be manifested.

Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, began to spend time with the infidel women.  She eventually caught the attention of Shechem and he raped her.  Genesis 34:2 tells us, “When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.” (NASB).  May we learn a valuable lesson here.  When we refuse to separate ourselves from the sinful world that the Lord saved us from, we will eventually be defiled by it.  In the most practical sense, we are told in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  Instead of separating themselves from the infidels, Jacob and his family decided to live among them.  What a catastrophe!

Verse 4 tells us that Shechem did indeed love Dinah.  Even after defiling her, he still wanted her for himself.  Dear friend, that is how the world will treat us.  The world will entice and defile us and then want to keep us for their own purposes.  This is the work of Satan to destroy our testimonies for the Lord.  He cannot take away our salvation, but he can certainly cause us to ruin our testimonies by becoming worldly.

Let’s continue in Genesis 34 by reading verse 5, “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.”  Someone came to Jacob with the news that Shechem had defiled, or raped, his daughter.  He did not react immediately but waited for his sons to come home from the fields.  Perhaps he was too grief stricken to respond.  Perhaps he waited for the advice of his sons to see how they could avenge Dinah’s defilement.

Shechem’s father, Hamor, proposed that Jacob allow his daughter to marry Shechem.  He wanted Israel and the people of the land to intermingle as one people.  Verses 9-10 give us the words of Hamor, “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.”  As I stated earlier, the world wants to entice us and wants to remove that wall of separation between us.  Their intent is that we become just like them.  Jacob and his sons had been living away from the place they should have been.  They were not close to the Lord and thus responded with a deceitful plan.  We read in verse 13, “And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully…”  How can we serve the Lord by sinning against Him?  We can’t.  Jacob and his sons only made matters worse by dealing deceitfully with their enemies.

Jacob’s sons told Hamor and his people that if they would consent to being circumcised, as the Jews were, they would agree to the marriage of Shechem and Dinah.  Of course we read that after all the men were circumcised and were very sore that Simeon and Levi came in and killed all the men, and took all their wives, children, wealth, and cattle.  There is so much that could be gained from a careful study of this chapter.  For now, let us see the danger and harm of being worldly Christians.  The Lord calls for separation from that which defiles and defies Him.  We have a grave warning given to us in James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  May our desire be to live lives that honor our Lord and savior.  May we truly commit to “…love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37)  (357.4)