Genesis 34 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“All the able-bodied men listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all the able-bodied men were circumcised. On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords, went to the unsuspecting city, and killed every male.” Gen 34:24-25
They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and a moment to ruin it. Among the otherwise peaceful history of the Patriarchs, this story of Dinah’s rape (and the subsequent slaughter) stands out as particularly damaging to Israel’s reputation. It, no doubt, birthed the perpetuated hatred and suspicion of the Jews, among the Arab people, that exists to this day. What was its resounding myth? “You can’t trust a Jew.”
In our litigious culture, whenever something this repulsive happens, people seek to assign blame. You gotta’ know who to sue! It seems there are several people at fault in this situation.
First, there’s Jacob, who allowed his daughter to roam the countryside un-chaperoned.
Next, Shechem commits the ultimate wrong by raping the young woman. That being said, it is unclear as to whether this was a sin in his culture.
Back to Jacob: Jacob’s response to the initial news was way too passive, which is a recurring theme in his character.
Then, we see Dinah’s brothers enter the picture. Simeon and Levi’s devious zeal for the family reputation supplanted their respect for their father and the honor of the L_rd’s name.
Again, Shechem seizes the opportunity to save his neck by undergoing the knife of circumcision. In addition, he convinces all his people to be circumcised, not based on acknowledgment of Jacob’s G_d, but on the prospects of obtaining the Jews’ possessions by default.
Back to Simeon and Levi…seriously, it was a cunning slaughter.
Yes, it’s a case that celebrity attornoey Johnny Cochran would have loved. But what’s the MORAL? The moral is: We are all human and nobody is without sin. “All have sinned and come short of G_d’s glory.” Romans 3:23 That’s exactly why the whole World needs salvation.
Finally, the actions of Jacob’s sons draw an interesting parallel to the “Judaizers” in the early Messianic community. I am speaking of those who replaced G_d’s grace & mercy with the keeping of the Torah’s requirements. By forcing the “knife” of the traditions of the elders, those “Judaizers” slaughtered the chances of many Gentile converts to flourish, unfettered, in their newly found personal relationships with Messiah Yeshua.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Thursday, February 13, 2014