Gen. 34:13-17 – “Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. They said to them, 'We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. We will give our consent to you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you. But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go.'” (emphasis added)
- Jacob, the man whose name meant “deceiver,” allows his sons to bargain deceitfully. The author of Genesis leaves no doubt that their motivation was deceit, and I don't think they ever intended for their wild demand to be accepted by the Shechemites. But what happens when your motivation is trickery – and then it backfires…and puts you in the tight spot instead? Where do you land spiritually after that?
- From the order of events in these verses, it sounds as if Shechem rushed home from Jacob's tent, was circumcised, and then took his trophy to the city gate and said, “See fellas! It ain't so bad!” Again, the author of Genesis tells us the motivation – Shechem was DELIGHTED with Dinah. But Hamor and Shechem were motivated by something different altogether – GREED – to convince the men of Shechem to submit to circumcision (“Won't their livestock, etc.…become ours”). Don't just skim over this. Circumcision is common in our culture, but in the land of Canaan, it was a strange mutilation of manhood. Jacob must have had considerable wealth in order to persuade a whole city of men to succumb to such a delicate procedure. Greed is a powerful and insidious motivator.
- Known for murdering the whole town of unsuspecting Shechemite men, Simeon's and Levi's REVENGE for their full sister, Dinah (from the same mother, Leah) is legendary. But what about the other “sons of Jacob,” who went to Shechem after the killing spree to plunder the town and take captive the women and children? Are they less wicked because their deeds were motivated by GREED or LUST? And what about Jacob? He chastised only Leah's murderous sons, his only motivation seemed to be SELF-PRESERVATION – which isn't a bad thing…except when he shows no concern at all for his daughter or the dead Shechemites. Imagine if Simeon and Levi were the only ones with impure motives – imagine if Jacob's motives and those of his other sons' would have been righteous and repentant. How different could this event have been?