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Genesis 34:13-31

Context

34:13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully when they spoke because Shechem 1  had violated their sister Dinah. 34:14 They said to them, “We cannot give 2  our sister to a man who is not circumcised, for it would be a disgrace 3  to us. 34:15 We will give you our consent on this one condition: You must become 4  like us by circumcising 5  all your males. 34:16 Then we will give 6  you our daughters to marry, 7  and we will take your daughters as wives for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people. 34:17 But if you do not agree to our terms 8  by being circumcised, then we will take 9  our sister 10  and depart.”

34:18 Their offer pleased Hamor and his son Shechem. 11  34:19 The young man did not delay in doing what they asked 12  because he wanted Jacob’s daughter Dinah 13  badly. (Now he was more important 14  than anyone in his father’s household.) 15  34:20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate 16  of their city and spoke to the men of their city, 34:21 “These men are at peace with us. So let them live in the land and travel freely in it, for the land is wide enough 17  for them. We will take their daughters for wives, and we will give them our daughters to marry. 18  34:22 Only on this one condition will these men consent to live with us and become one people: They demand 19  that every male among us be circumcised just as they are circumcised. 34:23 If we do so, 20  won’t their livestock, their property, and all their animals become ours? So let’s consent to their demand, so they will live among us.”

34:24 All the men who assembled at the city gate 21  agreed with 22  Hamor and his son Shechem. Every male who assembled at the city gate 23  was circumcised. 34:25 In three days, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword 24  and went to the unsuspecting city 25  and slaughtered every male. 34:26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left. 34:27 Jacob’s sons killed them 26  and looted the city because their sister had been violated. 27  34:28 They took their flocks, herds, and donkeys, as well as everything in the city and in the surrounding fields. 28  34:29 They captured as plunder 29  all their wealth, all their little ones, and their wives, including everything in the houses.

34:30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought ruin 30  on me by making me a foul odor 31  among the inhabitants of the land – among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I 32  am few in number; they will join forces against me and attack me, and both I and my family will be destroyed!” 34:31 But Simeon and Levi replied, 33  “Should he treat our sister like a common prostitute?”

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

2 tn Heb “we are not able to do this thing, to give.” The second infinitive is in apposition to the first, explaining what they are not able to do.

3 tn The Hebrew word translated “disgrace” usually means “ridicule; taunt; reproach.” It can also refer to the reason the condition of shame or disgrace causes ridicule or a reproach.

4 tn Heb “if you are like us.”

5 tn The infinitive here explains how they would become like them.

6 tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence.

7 tn The words “to marry” (and the words “as wives” in the following clause) are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Heb “listen to us.”

9 tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence.

10 tn Heb “daughter.” Jacob’s sons call Dinah their daughter, even though she was their sister (see v. 8). This has been translated as “sister” for clarity.

11 tn Heb “and their words were good in the eyes of Hamor and in the eyes of Shechem son of Hamor.”

12 tn Heb “doing the thing.”

13 tn Heb “Jacob’s daughter.” The proper name “Dinah” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

14 tn The Hebrew verb כָּבֵד (kaved), translated “was…important,” has the primary meaning “to be heavy,” but here carries a secondary sense of “to be important” (that is, “heavy” in honor or respect).

15 tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause explains why the community would respond to him (see vv. 20-24).

16 sn The gate. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the location for conducting important public business.

17 tn Heb “wide on both hands,” that is, in both directions.

18 tn The words “to marry” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “when every one of our males is circumcised.”

20 tn The words “If we do so” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

21 tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.”

22 tn Heb “listened to.”

23 tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.”

24 tn Heb “a man his sword.”

25 tn Heb “and they came upon the city, [which was] secure.” In this case “secure” means the city was caught unprepared and at peace, not expecting an attack.

26 tn Heb “came upon the slain.” Because of this statement the preceding phrase “Jacob’s sons” is frequently taken to mean the other sons of Jacob besides Simeon and Levi, but the text does not clearly affirm this.

27 tn Heb “because they violated their sister.” The plural verb is active in form, but with no expressed subject, it may be translated passive.

28 tn Heb “and what was in the city and what was in the field they took.”

29 tn Heb “they took captive and they plundered,” that is, “they captured as plunder.”

30 tn The traditional translation is “troubled me” (KJV, ASV), but the verb refers to personal or national disaster and suggests complete ruin (see Josh 7:25, Judg 11:35, Prov 11:17). The remainder of the verse describes the “trouble” Simeon and Levi had caused.

31 tn In the causative stem the Hebrew verb בָּאַשׁ (baash) means “to cause to stink, to have a foul smell.” In the contexts in which it is used it describes foul smells, stenches, or things that are odious. Jacob senses that the people in the land will find this act terribly repulsive. See P. R. Ackroyd, “The Hebrew Root באשׁ,” JTS 2 (1951): 31-36.

32 tn Jacob speaks in the first person as the head and representative of the entire family.

33 tn Heb “but they said.” The referent of “they” (Simeon and Levi) have been specified in the translation for clarity.



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