Rape, Revenge, and Repentance (Genesis 34)
Dinah was a free spirited, beautiful young woman. She was the only girl of ten brothers. She ventured out alone with no permission, unattended out into the big city to visit with the daughters of the land. (v34:1). This was a new and exciting place for her, the land of Shechem, where her parents, Jacob and Leah, and the rest of the family bought land to live on (Gen. 33:19). Perhaps being naive and innocent, she was unaware of what would await her in Shechem. Rape, sexual defilement, embarrassment, and shame was thrust upon her, taking away all innocence of her being, as Shechem, the prince of the country intruded and invaded her soul. (v.2)
But this was more than just sex. A soul tie had been formed, which happens when one has sex, at least he recognized this, as his desire for her grew so much to the point of begging his father to arrange a marriage between the two, in spite of how this dishonorable union came about. (v.3-8). So Hamor, Shechems father, went to Jacob and did as his son request. (v.8-12) But Dinah’s brothers were furious and plot to kill Shechem, his father and all the men in their city. They did this by a false agreement saying, “We cannot do this thing and give our sister to one who is not circumcised, for that would be a reproach and disgrace to us. But we do consent to do this: if you will become as we are and every male among you be circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you and become one people.” (v.14-16)
Shechem, his father, and all their men agreed and were circumcised. On the third day Jacobs sons went into their country and killed all the men, including Shechem and Hamor, and plundered the land. (v.25-29) Then they retrieved their sister from the house of Shechem as they intended in their hearts to do.
Now this brought fear and shame upon Jacob, when hearing of this, knowing that his people would now be sought after. The sons tried to justify their actions, by saying, “Should he (Shechem) be permitted to deal with our sister as a harlot?”
But as we know, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Jacob, being the God fearing man that he was, announced to the people that early in the morning they must journey to Bethel and worship and seek council of the Lord. (Gen. 35:3-4) When they did, God showed up! (Gen. 35:5) Since Jacob sought wise council as he worshiped and prayed to God the Father, he was covered and protected. The enemy could not pursue him and prevail. (Gen. 35:5)
We see here that although Dinah, in her innocence, was still disobedient by not letting her parents know of her actions. Had she mentioned to her parents what she was going to do, they may have sent someone with her to keep her protected. Being at a time when women were not respected or looked upon with high esteem, she should have known of the dangers. Never the less, a choice was made that caused a spiral effect of destruction.
I’m reminded of a friend who told me of a choice she made to elope as a teenager with a young man who she only knew a short time. Soon after she was caught in a web of deceit, fear, anxiety and disaster. She found herself being stabbed, beaten (on many occasions) and cheated on. He impregnated a co-worker who she worked closely with. This broke her heart, not only hers but the co-workers husband, who when finding out about the pregnancy, after wanting to have a child with his wife for such a long time, killed himself in his car in the garage.
I mention these accounts, not to place blame, but to open our eyes to the fact that there is a covering needed from our earthly fathers and most of all, our Father in heaven. We must hear Gods voice in order to make right choices and honor him. We also must hear the voice of the leaders of our homes, the fathers and husbands who are to rise up and take responsibility for their families, just as Jacob did, even though his children were at fault. Sometimes we make choices to do things on our own, be it out of curiosity, rebellion, or to remedy a painful shame that’s so deep we feel the only way to cure it is to do what we may thing is right, but the Word of God says that, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverb 16:25)
Dinah, Shechem, Jacob sons, and many of us make choices on our own, without seeking the Lord first. Sometimes those choices can bring about destructive consequences to many lives. Spending time in God’s presence in prayer and worship helps us to discover His wisdom that protects us in our daily decisions for our lives. ~Rosemarie Hilton