Accomplices Are Also Guilty

“And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.” (Genesis 34:1-2)

Genesis chapter 34 describes a most provocative and interesting story; one that raises questions and stirs interpretations, and perhaps offers us a lesson. It is a story involving rape, love, deceit and murder, reviewed several years ago in The Jerusalem Post’s “Weekly Portion” under the heading, “Accomplices Are Also Guilty,” therein applied to Israel’s war on terror (Jerusalem Post, December 12, 2003, page 32).

We know the story; at first reading it is difficult to understand exactly what happened, and even more difficult to justify. One might make the case that it was Simeon and Levi who were in the greater wrong, killing not only Shechem but also all the males in the city! Then, after the killing, the other sons of Jacob came along and “spoiled the city,” taking everything including “all their little ones and their wives” (vss. 25-29). Though Jacob protested that these actions troubled him in that he feared the other inhabitants of the land would band together against his house (vs. 30), we read that “the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob” (35:5). Nevertheless, this incident represents a fearful and troubling episode in Israel’s history. How do we understand or explain it?

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Keywords: Dinah, rape, Shechem, Son of Hamor, Hamor, Hivites, retribution, revenge, avenge, avenging, accomplice

Bible reference(s): Genesis 34

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