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Genesis 34:5-7

Context
34:5 When 1  Jacob heard that Shechem 2  had violated his daughter Dinah, his sons were with the livestock in the field. So Jacob remained silent 3  until they came in.

34:6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went to speak with Jacob about Dinah. 4  34:7 Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the field when they heard the news. 5  They 6  were offended 7  and very angry because Shechem 8  had disgraced Israel 9  by sexually assaulting 10  Jacob’s daughter, a crime that should not be committed. 11 

1 tn The two disjunctive clauses in this verse (“Now Jacob heard…and his sons were”) are juxtaposed to indicate synchronic action.

2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 sn The expected response would be anger or rage; but Jacob remained silent. He appears too indifferent or confused to act decisively. When the leader does not act decisively, the younger zealots will, and often with disastrous results.

4 tn Heb “went out to Jacob to speak with him.” The words “about Dinah” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “when they heard.” The words “the news” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

6 tn Heb “the men.” This sounds as if a new group has been introduced into the narrative, so it has been translated as “they” to indicate that it refers to Jacob’s sons, mentioned in the first part of the verse.

7 tn The Hebrew verb עָצַב (’atsav) can carry one of three semantic nuances depending on the context: (1) “to be injured” (Ps 56:5; Eccl 10:9; 1 Chr 4:10); (2) “to experience emotional pain; to be depressed emotionally; to be worried” (2 Sam 19:2; Isa 54:6; Neh 8:10-11); (3) “to be embarrassed; to be insulted; to be offended” (to the point of anger at another or oneself; Gen 6:6; 45:5; 1 Sam 20:3, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6; Isa 63:10; Ps 78:40). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 6:6). The third category fits best in Gen 34:7 because Jacob’s sons were not merely wounded emotionally. On the contrary, Shechem’s action prompted them to strike out in judgment against the source of their distress.

8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Heb “a disgraceful thing he did against Israel.”

10 tn Heb “by lying with the daughter of Jacob.” The infinitive here explains the preceding verb, indicating exactly how he had disgraced Jacob. The expression “to lie with” is a euphemism for sexual relations, or in this case, sexual assault.

11 tn Heb “and so it should not be done.” The negated imperfect has an obligatory nuance here, but there is also a generalizing tone. The narrator emphasizes that this particular type of crime (sexual assault) is especially reprehensible.



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