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Dinah and Shechem

Dinah, from the Hebrew name pronounced dee-nah, meaning justice, was the only daughter of Jacob (who the LORD renamed as Israel) and Leah. Dinah's six full-brothers (i.e. those also born of Jacob and Leah, rather than her six half-brothers born of Jacob and Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah) were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun (Genesis 29:32-35, 30:17-20). Dinah was the youngest of them ("30:21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah" Genesis 30:21 KJV). Like her brothers, Dinah was born outside of the land of Israel, during Jacob's time with Laban (see Jacob's Family). Also like her brothers, Dinah is most-likely buried outside the land of Israel, in Egypt, since she was among the family of Jacob that went there (Genesis 46:7,15), not to return, until their descendants came out in the Exodus four centuries later (see also Where Are The Israelite Patriarchs Buried? and Joseph's Bones).

"Two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly"

The most-detailed event of Dinah's life in Bible History was her involvement with Shechem, the son of Hamor, a Hivite leader - and the deadly revenge exacted upon them by two of Dinah's full-brothers, Simeon and Levi. It began when Dinah was out on a visit to some of her female friends among the other peoples of the land (females of her own people were few at that time, consisting only of her mother and aunts - and perhaps cousins that she would have had little contact with before that time).


"34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife." (Genesis 34:1-4 KJV)

When Jacob heard what had happened to his daughter, he was grieved and angry, but he did nothing - other than consider the offender's offer to marry Dinah.

"34:5 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. 34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you." (Genesis 34:5-9 KJV)

Jacob's sons, particularly Dinah's full brothers, were not as willing to allow the crime to go unanswered (ironically, in Hebrew, Dinah means justice). They came up with a deceptive plan (in that way, Jacob's sons were like their father i.e. Jacob had a lifelong history of deception, from Esau to Laban, even his original name in Hebrew meant deceiver).

"34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 34:14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 34:15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 34:16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone." (Genesis 34:13-17 KJV)

Blinded by their lust for Dinah and their covetousness of Jacob's property, all the men of the city agreed to the offer. When they did, Dinah's heavily-outnumbered brothers attacked.

"34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 34:19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. 34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 34:21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 34:22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 34:23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.

34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

34:25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 34:26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house."

Jacob's response to his sons' action was typical of his "defenseless victim" mentality; just as he had feared Laban and Esau, he now feared the people in the land that the LORD had given to him to possess and to rule.

"34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.

34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?" (Genesis 34:30-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: The sons of Jacob used the Israelite custom of circumcision as a painful deception against the men of Shechem. When and why did the LORD institute circumcison? How is it spiritually fulfilled?
See Circumcision

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