This rather long chapter (too long to quote) tells us one of the most sordid storied in all the Bible, yet it has many lessons for us to learn. As we take a brief look at it I think we will discover that “Jacob was in the wrong place” and that “he allowed his daughter to associate with the wrong people.” This is what led to the horrific end of this sad but true account in Israel’s history. I would like to borrow an outline from Mr. Arno C. Gaebelein in breaking this chapter down:

  1. The DEFILEMENT (verses 1-3)
  2. Hamor’s PROPOSAL (verses 4:12)
  3. The DECEITFUL ANSWER of Jacob’s sons (verses 13-24)
  4. The males of Shechem SLAIN (verses 25-29)
  5. Jacob’s SHAME and GRIEF (verses 30-31)

How sad to read, in verses 1-2, that “Dinah…went out to see the daughters of the land….Shechem the son of Hamor…saw her…took her and lay with her, and violated her.” As stated earlier, “Jacob was in the wrong place” (living close to the heathen in the land) and he allowed his daughter Dinah to mingle with the ungodly girls, which in turn led to her being raped by Shechem. Let that be a lesson to those of us who are parents, for we need to separate our familiel from the ungodly (see 2nd Corinthians 6:14-21).

Shechem actually falls in love with Dinah (verse 3), tells his father (Hamor) of his affections for her (4), and then Hamor goes to Jacob and proposes a deal. The deal was this: “Make marriages with us; give us your daughters to us, and take our daughters to yourselves. So you shall dwell with us, and the land shall be before you. Dwell and trade in it, and acquire possessions for yourselves in it” (verses 9-10). Here we see Satan, as the “wily serpent,” seeking to unite the Lord’s people with the world of unbelievers, and he entices them with the words “acquire possessions for yourselves.” Satan still tries to coax believers to yoke themselves with unbelievers with the bait, “you will prosper” if you do.

The “sons of Jacob” (verse 13) didn’t “fall for the bait”; instead they “counter-offered” by saying, “On this condition we will consent to you: if you will become as we are, if every male of you is circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us…and we will become one people” (verses 15-16). All along they knew that the “children of the world” and the “children of God” can never become ONE. They also knew that if the men consented to being circumcised, they would be so sore for a few days that they would be unable to protect themselves if they were attacked. Yet Hamor and Shechem “took the bait” and went to the males of the city and convinced them to be circumcised by telling them the Israelites, in the end, would be their servants (verses 18-24).

This ends with “two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi” (verse 25) slaughtering all the men of the city and taking everything, including the “little ones and their wives” captive (verse 29). Jacob’s reaction is deplorable! Instead of being indignant at the treachery of his two sons, he is more concerned with his own reputation and welfare. “You have troubled me by make me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land…and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I” (verse 30). Notice what is absent in Jacob’s response; he never cried out to the Lord in repentance and seek His grace in the matter. So, not only is he not concerned about the injustice that was done to the men who were killed, but he isn’t concerned about the shame and dishonor that has been brought upon the name of the Lord. Let us learn the lesson the Lord has for us in this dear fellow-believer, for if we find ourselves “mingling with the world,” we too may find ourselves absorbed solely with “self-interests” instead of the “Lord’s interests.” (299.1) (DO)