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Genesis 34:2-26

Context
34:2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who ruled that area, saw her, he grabbed her, forced himself on her, 1  and sexually assaulted her. 2  34:3 Then he became very attached 3  to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He fell in love with the young woman and spoke romantically to her. 4  34:4 Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Acquire this young girl as my wife.” 5  34:5 When 6  Jacob heard that Shechem 7  had violated his daughter Dinah, his sons were with the livestock in the field. So Jacob remained silent 8  until they came in.

34:6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went to speak with Jacob about Dinah. 9  34:7 Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the field when they heard the news. 10  They 11  were offended 12  and very angry because Shechem 13  had disgraced Israel 14  by sexually assaulting 15  Jacob’s daughter, a crime that should not be committed. 16 

34:8 But Hamor made this appeal to them: “My son Shechem is in love with your daughter. 17  Please give her to him as his wife. 34:9 Intermarry with us. 18  Let us marry your daughters, and take our daughters as wives for yourselves. 19  34:10 You may live 20  among us, and the land will be open to you. 21  Live in it, travel freely in it, 22  and acquire property in it.”

34:11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s 23  father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your sight, and whatever you require of me 24  I’ll give. 25  34:12 You can make the bride price and the gift I must bring very expensive, 26  and I’ll give 27  whatever you ask 28  of me. Just give me the young woman as my wife!”

34:13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully when they spoke because Shechem 29  had violated their sister Dinah. 34:14 They said to them, “We cannot give 30  our sister to a man who is not circumcised, for it would be a disgrace 31  to us. 34:15 We will give you our consent on this one condition: You must become 32  like us by circumcising 33  all your males. 34:16 Then we will give 34  you our daughters to marry, 35  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 36  by being circumcised, then we will take 37  our sister 38  and depart.”

34:18 Their offer pleased Hamor and his son Shechem. 39  34:19 The young man did not delay in doing what they asked 40  because he wanted Jacob’s daughter Dinah 41  badly. (Now he was more important 42  than anyone in his father’s household.) 43  34:20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate 44  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 45  for them. We will take their daughters for wives, and we will give them our daughters to marry. 46  34:22 Only on this one condition will these men consent to live with us and become one people: They demand 47  that every male among us be circumcised just as they are circumcised. 34:23 If we do so, 48  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 49  agreed with 50  Hamor and his son Shechem. Every male who assembled at the city gate 51  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 52  and went to the unsuspecting city 53  and slaughtered every male. 34:26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left.

1 tn Heb “and he took her and lay with her.” The suffixed form following the verb appears to be the sign of the accusative instead of the preposition, but see BDB 1012 s.v. שָׁכַב.

2 tn The verb עָנָה (’anah) in the Piel stem can have various shades of meaning, depending on the context: “to defile; to mistreat; to violate; to rape; to shame; to afflict.” Here it means that Shechem violated or humiliated Dinah by raping her.

3 tn Heb “his soul stuck to [or “joined with”],” meaning Shechem became very attached to Dinah emotionally.

4 tn Heb “and he spoke to the heart of the young woman,” which apparently refers in this context to tender, romantic speech (Hos 2:14). Another option is to translate the expression “he reassured the young woman” (see Judg 19:3, 2 Sam 19:7; cf. NEB “comforted her”).

5 tn Heb “Take for me this young woman for a wife.”

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

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

8 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.

9 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.

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

11 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.

12 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.

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

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

15 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.

16 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.

17 tn Heb “Shechem my son, his soul is attached to your daughter.” The verb means “to love” in the sense of being emotionally attached to or drawn to someone. This is a slightly different way of saying what was reported earlier (v. 3). However, there is no mention here of the offense. Even though Hamor is speaking to Dinah’s brothers, he refers to her as their daughter (see v. 17).

18 tn Heb “form marriage alliances with us.”

sn Intermarry with us. This includes the idea of becoming allied by marriage. The incident foreshadows the temptations Israel would eventually face when they entered the promised land (see Deut 7:3; Josh 23:12).

19 tn Heb “Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.” In the translation the words “let…marry” and “as wives” are supplied for clarity.

20 tn The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here.

21 tn Heb “before you.”

22 tn The verb seems to carry the basic meaning “travel about freely,” although the substantival participial form refers to a trader (see E. A. Speiser, “The Verb sh£r in Genesis and Early Hebrew Movements,” BASOR 164 [1961]: 23-28); cf. NIV, NRSV “trade in it.”

23 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Dinah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Heb “whatever you say.”

25 tn Or “pay.”

26 tn Heb “Make very great upon me the bride price and gift.” The imperatives are used in a rhetorical manner. Shechem’s point is that he will pay the price, no matter how expensive it might be.

27 tn The cohortative expresses Shechem’s resolve to have Dinah as his wife.

28 tn Heb “say.”

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

30 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.

31 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.

32 tn Heb “if you are like us.”

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

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

35 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.

36 tn Heb “listen to us.”

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

38 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.

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

40 tn Heb “doing the thing.”

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

42 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).

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

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

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

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

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

48 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.

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

50 tn Heb “listened to.”

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

52 tn Heb “a man his sword.”

53 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.



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