In Genesis 34, we read about the events surrounding the rape of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah. While there’s been a lot of conjecture about Dinah’s age, I want to look into something else that stood out to me today. Namely, was Jacob present when his sons proposed that the men of Shechem be circumcised? 

After Shechem raped Dinah, we’re told he wanted to marry her, so he asked his father to “Get me this girl as my wife” (Genesis 34:4 NIV). After this, we’re given Jacob’s initial response to Dinah’s rape.

When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

Genesis 34:5 (NIV)

Next, we’re told that Hamor, Shechem’s father, when to meet with Jacob. 

Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob.

Genesis 34:6 (NIV)

Between Genesis 34:6 and Genesis 34:7, we don’t know what happened. Did Jacob and Hamor meet? Was anything said? Genesis 34:7 gives us this insight.

Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.

Genesis 34:7 (NIV)

Genesis 34:11 indicates that Jacob, his sons, Hamor, and Shechem met together.

Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask.”

Genesis 34:11 (NIV)

It’s here within Genesis 34:13-17 that makes me wonder if Jacob was still present.

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 enter into an agreement with 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.”

Genesis 34:13-17 (NIV)

It’s disconcerting if Jacob was present during this dialog because what was proposed was sinful for these reasons.

1. Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with Israel. Therefore, Jacob’s sons had no right to offer this to heathens.

2. What Jacob’s sons proposed was a human agreement abusing the sign of circumcision. They presented something “religious.” 

3. Jacob’s sons used religion to facilitate their nefarious scheme of murdering all of the men of Shechem.

Jacob didn’t know what his sons were planning, which is evident by his reaction in Genesis 34:30.

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed” (emphasis added).

Genesis 34:30 (NIV)

I can see Jacob agreeing to his son’s proposal out of fear. We see the same fear in Genesis 34:30. Indeed, we know that there must have been some agreement made because Dinah was living in Shechem’s house. 

They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.

Genesis 34:26 (NIV)

I cannot see Jacob unaware of the deal between his sons, Hamor and Shechem. In fact, making an agreement and then reneging on it is right up Jacob’s alley and fits with his character. However, it appears Jacob intended to honor this agreement, but his sons had another thing in mind. This leads me to what we can learn about this incident. 

Whether or not Jacob knew about the deal, his sons knew their father’s character. They learned about how Jacob got his blessing and the circumstances surrounding their births. That sort of drama doesn’t go in a family without the details being known. Thus, the expression, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” is apt to describe Jacob’s sons, so making an agreement and reneging on it was par for the course. You see, how we behave around other people matters. Especially our children and other family members. 

I don’t know how Jacob’s family saw his devotion to God. Did they see it as devotion, or did they see it as a means to get what they wanted? As religion? I’ve heard it said, “Do as I say and not as I do,” but as Christians, we must live lives devoted to Jesus and following the principles we profess to follow. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.