Dinah and the Shechemites

1 Now Dinah, Leah’s daughter whom she bore to Jacob, went to meet1 the young women2 of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who ruled that area, saw her, he grabbed her, forced himself on her,3 and sexually assaulted her.4 3 Then he became very attached5 to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He fell in love with the young woman and spoke romantically to her.6 4 Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Acquire this young girl as my wife.”7 5 When8 Jacob heard that Shechem9 had violated his daughter Dinah, his sons were with the livestock in the field. So Jacob remained silent10 until they came in.

6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went to speak with Jacob about Dinah.11 7 Now Jacob’s sons had come in from the field when they heard the news.12 They13 were offended14 and very angry because Shechem15 had disgraced Israel16 by sexually assaulting17 Jacob’s daughter, a crime that should not be committed.18

8 But Hamor made this appeal to them: “My son Shechem is in love with your daughter.19 Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us.20 Let us marry your daughters, and take our daughters as wives for yourselves.21 10 You may live22 among us, and the land will be open to you.23 Live in it, travel freely in it,24 and acquire property in it.”

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s25 father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your sight, and whatever you require of me26 I’ll give.27 12 You can make the bride price and the gift I must bring very expensive,28 and I’ll give29 whatever you ask30 of me. Just give me the young woman as my wife!

13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully when they spoke because Shechem31 had violated their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot give32 our sister to a man who is not circumcised, for it would be a disgrace33 to us. 15 We will give you our consent on this one condition: You must become34 like us by circumcising35 all your males. 16 Then we will give36 you our daughters to marry,37 and we will take your daughters as wives for ourselves, and we will live among you and become one people. 17 But if you do not agree to our terms38 by being circumcised, then we will take39 our sister40 and depart.”

18 Their offer pleased Hamor and his son Shechem.41 19 The young man did not delay in doing what they asked42 because he wanted Jacob’s daughter Dinah43 badly. (Now he was more important44 than anyone in his father’s household.)45 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate46 of their city and spoke to the men of their city, 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 enough47 for them. We will take their daughters for wives, and we will give them our daughters to marry.48 22 Only on this one condition will these men consent to live with us and become one people: They demand49 that every male among us be circumcised just as they are circumcised. 23 If we do so,50 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.”

24 All the men who assembled at the city gate51 agreed with52 Hamor and his son Shechem. Every male who assembled at the city gate53 was circumcised. 25 In three days, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword54 and went to the unsuspecting city55 and slaughtered every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left. 27 Jacob’s sons killed them56 and looted the city because their sister had been violated.57 28 They took their flocks, herds, and donkeys, as well as everything in the city and in the surrounding fields.58 29 They captured as plunder59 all their wealth, all their little ones, and their wives, including everything in the houses.

30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought ruin60 on me by making me a foul odor61 among the inhabitants of the land – among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I62 am few in number; they will join forces against me and attack me, and both I and my family will be destroyed! 31 But Simeon and Levi replied,63Should he treat our sister like a common prostitute?

134:1tn Heb “went out to see.” The verb “to see,” followed by the preposition בְּ (bÿ), here has the idea of “look over.” The young girl wanted to meet these women and see what they were like. 234:1tn Heb “daughters.” 334:2tn 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. 434:2tn 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. 534:3tn Heb “his soul stuck to [or “joined with”],” meaning Shechem became very attached to Dinah emotionally. 634:3tn 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”). 734:4tn Heb “Take for me this young woman for a wife.” 834:5tn The two disjunctive clauses in this verse (“Now Jacob heard…and his sons were”) are juxtaposed to indicate synchronic action. 934:5tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 1034:5sn 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. 1134:6tn 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. 1234:7tn Heb “when they heard.” The words “the news” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. 1334:7tn 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. 1434:7tn 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. 1534:7tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 1634:7tn Heb “a disgraceful thing he did against Israel.” 1734:7tn 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. 1834:7tn 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. 1934:8tn 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). 2034:9tn 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). 2134:9tn 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. 2234:10tn The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here. 2334:10tn Heb “before you.” 2434:10tn 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.” 2534:11tn Heb “her”; the referent (Dinah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 2634:11tn Heb “whatever you say.” 2734:11tn Or “pay.” 2834:12tn 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. 2934:12tn The cohortative expresses Shechem’s resolve to have Dinah as his wife. 3034:12tn Heb “say.” 3134:13tn Heb “he”; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 3234:14tn 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. 3334:14tn 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. 3434:15tn Heb “if you are like us.” 3534:15tn The infinitive here explains how they would become like them. 3634:16tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence. 3734:16tn 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. 3834:17tn Heb “listen to us.” 3934:17tn The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence. 4034:17tn 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. 4134:18tn Heb “and their words were good in the eyes of Hamor and in the eyes of Shechem son of Hamor.” 4234:19tn Heb “doing the thing.” 4334:19tn Heb “Jacob’s daughter.” The proper name “Dinah” is supplied in the translation for clarity. 4434:19tn 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). 4534:19tn The parenthetical disjunctive clause explains why the community would respond to him (see vv. 20-24). 4634:20sn The gate. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the location for conducting important public business. 4734:21tn Heb “wide on both hands,” that is, in both directions. 4834:21tn The words “to marry” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity. 4934:22tn Heb “when every one of our males is circumcised.” 5034:23tn The words “If we do so” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons. 5134:24tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.” 5234:24tn Heb “listened to.” 5334:24tn Heb “all those going out the gate of his city.” 5434:25tn Heb “a man his sword.” 5534:25tn 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. 5634:27tn Heb “came upon the slain.” Because of this statement the preceding phrase “Jacob’s sons” is frequently taken to mean the other sons of Jacob besides Simeon and Levi, but the text does not clearly affirm this. 5734:27tn Heb “because they violated their sister.” The plural verb is active in form, but with no expressed subject, it may be translated passive. 5834:28tn Heb “and what was in the city and what was in the field they took.” 5934:29tn Heb “they took captive and they plundered,” that is, “they captured as plunder.” 6034:30tn The traditional translation is “troubled me” (KJV, ASV), but the verb refers to personal or national disaster and suggests complete ruin (see Josh 7:25, Judg 11:35, Prov 11:17). The remainder of the verse describes the “trouble” Simeon and Levi had caused. 6134:30tn In the causative stem the Hebrew verb בָּאַשׁ (baash) means “to cause to stink, to have a foul smell.” In the contexts in which it is used it describes foul smells, stenches, or things that are odious. Jacob senses that the people in the land will find this act terribly repulsive. See P. R. Ackroyd, “The Hebrew Root באשׁ,” JTS 2 (1951): 31-36. 6234:30tn Jacob speaks in the first person as the head and representative of the entire family. 6334:31tn Heb “but they said.” The referent of “they” (Simeon and Levi) have been specified in the translation for clarity.