Bible study 34 – Genesis 34

In order to get away from his brother, Jacob goes to Shechem. The town leader’s son, whose name also happens to be Shechem (I guess he personifies the town or something), kidnaps and rapes Jacob’s daughter Dinah. He likes Dinah so much that he asks Jacob and his sons if he can marry her, but they tell him that Dinah can’t marry him unless he and every single man in Shechem gets circumcised. Now, this is actually just a ruse to make him go away; they don’t believe he will actually go and get circumcised, not to mention the entire city. But this guy loves Dinah so much that he convinces every single male in the whole city to get circumcised, arguing that having Jacob and his party around trading and marrying their daughters is more important than their foreskin.

Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi reward this sign of gratitude by… murdering every man in the entire city. And then their brothers and half-brothers “plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled.” This “plundering” includes the kidnapping of the women and children in the city, presumably as slaves.

Jacob is more of a schemer than a mass-murderer; he scolds his sons for drawing attention to his group, afraid of reprisals. But as his sons point out, after all, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?”

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2 Comments on “Bible study 34 – Genesis 34”

  1. […] at random (the Levites’ ancestor Levi, you’ll recall, slaughtered the population of Shechem in chapter 34 of Genesis). There is no mention of specifically targeting people who were directly involved in the […]

  2. […] of Leviticus comes from the fact that the priest Aaron and his sons are Levites (descendants of Levi from Genesis). It consists almost solely of detailed (and at times somewhat disturbing) priestly […]


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