After Jacob had mended fences with his brother Esau, and they parted ways amicably, he built himself a house in Succoth, and booths (from where the name of the place, Succoth was derived) for his cattle. He was soon on the move, till he "... came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan...and pitched his tent before the city" (Genesis 33:18). He then bought a piece of land "... from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of 💰", (v. 19) where he erected an altar and called it Elelohe-Israel (acknowledging the role YAHWEH had played in his life, unlike what is obtainable with some of us, who will name things or places newly acquired to suit our egos, erroneously thinking we enabled them all because of our power, skill or the likes), after spreading his tent on the field. Expectedly, as there'll be relationships between Jacob, his people and the people of Shechem, "Dinah, went to see the daughters of the land." (Genesis 34:1). She caught the attention of Shechem, the son of Hamor and prince of that country, who then took her and raped her. Shechem however, fell in love with Dinah after defiling her and asked his father to help him get her to wife. When Jacob heard about his daughter's ordeal, he elected to wait for his son's who had gone out to the field with their cattle. They returned from the field, enraged at the news of what had happened to their sister, about the time Hamor was with Jacob to solicit the hand of Dinah in marriage to his son. In essence, Hamor wanted to limit the graveness of rape committed by his son against Dinah by offering to pay her dowry (just as it is allowed even today in some societies, based on tradition and many times on religious basis, without regards to what the female wants or even her state of mind), so she could be married to his son, Shechem, thereby heralding the first of the inter-marriages between the two groups, with the lure of land, trade and possessions also on offer should Jacob and his sons decide to deal. Jacob's sons, still writhing in anger, reluctantly agreed to the proposal only on the condition that "...every male of you be circumcised; 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" (v. 15 - 16), and on refusal to agree to their terms, would amount to leaving the city altogether with Dinah. Marriage to daughters of the surrounding area where Isaac sojourned, was one of the reasons that soured relationships between Esau and his parents, because of the difference in beliefs, seeing as the family and lineage (right from Abraham) was being groomed as a model, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9) unto YAHWEH. The sons of Jacob were well aware that they were not to mingle with Canaanites, Hittites, Perrizites, Hivites (of which Hamor and his son Shechem belonged) etc, if they were to uphold the legacy passed unto them by their fathers, and would've hoped that Hamor and his people would be disgusted at the issue of male circumcision and opt not to pursue marrital ties with them through Dinah any longer. They must have been aware also, that the tables could be turned, and their hosts could decide to violently enforce their will. But they didn't, rather "...Hamor and Shechem his son, came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city,..." (v. 20), highlighting the pros of their marriage proposal to Jacob and his sons, including what they stood to gain ("Shall not their cattle, and every beast of theirs be ours?" - v. 23) if only they'd just allow themselves to be circumcised, "as they (Israelites) are circumcised" (v. 22). The allure for the goods that must follow the marriage was enough to convince Hamor's people that every male in the city went and got themselves circumcised. The consequence of this, was that by the third day, the men were totally immobilised, nursing their wounds that it took only Simeon and Levi, to besiege the city, "...slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house (note this), and went out" (v. 26). So, Dinah was in some kind of way held hostage, while Hamor came to negotiate with Jacob. This invariably tells you that had her brothers not devised a means to free her, it is most likely that Hamor and his people will renege on their agreement with Jacob and his sons, upholding only the aspect of the deal that favored them, that is if in the end they don't decide to do away with the Israelites, after they might have gotten their way with them. Those days are nothing like much of the civility of our days, and even now we here of stories of young non-muslim girls kidnapped in the Muslim dominated parts of Northern Nigeria, kept even in the palaces of Emirs, either for the Emir or a subject of his, to help resist attempts by the girls' family, Christian groups or state authorities to retrieve her, on the grounds that she had converted to Islam (of her own accord) and the only thing the family can do is receive dowry from the man (whom they know very little or nothing about), intending to marry their daughter. Back to the story. Besides just killing the males of the city, Jacob's sons, "...took their 🐑, and their 🐂, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, and all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house." (v. 29) Of course Jacob was displeased with what his sons had done, especially as by their activity, they'd made themselves target of attack "among the Canaanites and the Perizzites" (v. 30), but his sons would hear nothing of that, wondering if they should've allowed their sister to be treated like a prostitute? That was how Jacob's sons reacted to the rape of their sister. Issues bordering on rape remain contentious even today, even the law in some places remain very controversial and I won't bother going into that for now. A takeaway from here is the fact that none of Jacob's sons consulted their father or YAHWEH about their plans to decimate Hamor's people, and thus it cannot be said that they had HIS blessings, in fact Simeon and Levi were made to pay for their dastardly act much later (see Genesis 49 v. 5 - 7). They reacted in anger, and also for the sake of self preservation owing to the attitude displayed by their host, in not releasing their sister back to them after defiling her. 'kovich REFERENCE: – Genesis Chapter 33 Verse 18 – Chapter 34 Verses 1 - 31, THE SACRED SCRIPTURES (Bethel Edition), An Assemblies of Yahweh ®, Publication, © 1981 (Fourth Printing, 1993). PICTURE CREDIT: - BIBLE STORIES (46): DINAH RAPED

Published by m'khail madukovich