The Dinah Incident
"Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to 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 violated her. His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to the young woman. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, 'Get me this young woman as a wife.' And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came" (Gen. 34:1-5).

After relocating, Dinah desires to make new friends (or perhaps visit some other young women she had already met). Unfortunately for her, one young man, Shechem, raped her. But, instead of losing interest in her afterward, he is still very much attracted to her. He spoke kindly to her (probably seeking to comfort her by the promise of a happy marriage) and asked his father to arrange for Dinah to marry him. Jacob learns the terrible news but takes no action until his sons return from the field.

Hamor, Shechem's dad, speaks to Jacob and his sons about giving Dinah as a wife to his son. Furthermore, he suggests they intermarry further. "'So you shall dwell with us, and the land shall be before you. Dwell and trade in it, and acquire possessions for yourselves in it.' Then Shechem said to her father and her brothers. 'Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. Ask me ever so much dowry and gift, and I will give according to what you say to me; but give me the young woman as a wife'" (Gen. 34:10-12). Shechem is willing to do anything to marry Dinah. The sons of Jacob then "spoke deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. And they said to them, 'We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a reproach to us. But on this condition we will consent to you: If you will become as we are, if every male of you is circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us; and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people" (Gen. 34:13-16). In truth, the sons of Jacob had no intentions of becoming one with this people. But, they will mislead them to their advantage, as the following verses explain.

"So the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob's daughter. He was more honorable than all the household of his father" (Gen. 34:19). It's hard to comprehend how Shechem, as a rapist, could be more honorable than everyone else in his family, but that is what the Scriptures affirm! He did not delay to endure the painful procedure in order to be able to soon marry Dinah. The cost was worth it to him, or so he thought. Additionally, he and his father convinced all the men of their city to be circumcised in order to benefit from being able to become one with Israel and his children. Although their motives are not necessarily the most noble, these men are willing to pay a significant price to try to get what they want. In their case, however, their dreams would not be fulfilled since they had been told a lie!

"Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 'You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and I'" (Gen. 34:25-30).

Pain after surgery is often at its peak on the third day. Such was the case here, and it evidently left the men of the city unable to defend themselves. Jacob rebukes his sons, for what he feared would be a fatal mistake for their family. News of what they had done would spread to other Canaanite peoples and they would destroy Israel--or so Jacob thought. Simeon's and Levi's behavior here is inexcusable. Though Dinah had been wronged, this did not justify them in slaying all the males of the city! Their reply to their father is a pitiful excuse - "Should he treat our sister like a harlot?" (Gen. 34:31). Jacob gets the last word on the matter, however, upon his death bed (cf. 49:5-7; cf. Josh. 19:9).