Devotional Short Note on Genesis 34


It is well for us to get our chronology right about the death of Jacob and the preparation for the Book of the Life of Jacob, concerning Joseph that Moses is going to open soon, a few chapters later. Moses like the history of Joseph because he himself lived in the palace of Hatshepsut since 1518 BCE at the age of 12. He learnt their language fluently and also Accadian and was well-versed in Egyptian and Mesopotamian literature. There was thus a bond spiritually between the detail of Joseph and himself.

Jacob was to live 147 years says Genesis 47:28 and that means if he was born in 2080 BCE, that he died in 1933 BCE while his father Isaac died in 1960 BCE. Seventeen of those last years he lived in Egypt which means Jacob moved to Egypt in 1950 BCE.

The incident with Dinah in this chapter 34, must have happened shortly after the arrival of Jacob in the area. The Jabbok experience was after the birth of Joseph which was in 1988 BCE and thus sometime shortly afterwards for example 1987 or 1986 BCE. The meeting with Esau was also sometimes close to this. Shortly after 1986 BCE the event with Dinah happened.

Jacob was not living in Israel but probably still in Succoth. The reason is that Genesis 34:1 reads that “Dinah went out…” = וַתֵּצֵא דִינָה. She went out of the protective domain of her father who lived in Succoth but let his cattle nomadically graze in Israel by moving around in the fields. His father Isaac was still alive.

Ellen White is on target when she dropped a chronological marker by saying that this chapter happened “nearly fifty years” earlier because “fifty years later” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 205) Jacob referred negatively back to the reaction of his two sons Simeon and Levi for their violence described in detail in this chapter. That means 1933 [death of Jacob] plus 50 = 1983 BCE. The date of this chapter. The archaeologist William Albright was astounded by Ellen White how she calculated the period of the Judges so accurately and he mentioned that in his book on archaeology that he wrote. This is another evidence of that.

Joseph was only 5 years old at this time. He was to leave the area at the age of 17 in 1971 BCE.

A number of wrong people got together to construct the outcome of this chapter.

Dinah should not have gone out of her father’s house to look for the daughters of the Canaanites, Amorites. It is like Eve wandering away from the protective domain of her husband in the Garden of Eden. After all, one tree was a danger to them back then. One area was a danger to Dinah. Where are her brothers? She passed them in the field.

The actions of Hamor’s son Shechem was natural and understandable but even he broke some protocols since he could not humble her before he spoke to her family. But he did (Genesis 34:2) “humbled her” = וַיְעַנֶּהָ.

The suggestion of the sons of Jacob that they be circumcised was following the command and requirement for dealings with them: be baptized and then you can marry. Of course, they knew that baptism or circumcision includes a heart change set to be always remembered and cultivated.

Here is the bad part of Shechem and his friends: they wanted circumcision but with alterior motives as they said in Genesis 34:23 “Shall not their cattle and their substance and all their beasts be ours? only let us consent unto them” = מִקְנֵהֶם וְקִנְיָנָם וְכָל-בְּהֶמְתָּם הֲלוֹא לָנוּ הֵם אַךְ נֵאוֹתָה לָהֶם. There was a gain motif here. A greediness. A “take-over” of control shadow in the relationship. “What is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine”.

Then came the reaction of Simeon and Levi and their brothers who slaughtered, ransacked and looted their houses in the act of rescuing their sister from them after the followed the protocol spelled out by them to get circumcision. The local Jurisprudence would frown on their action of severity and violence and this is what was a great concern for Jacob. It would have been better if they just took her.

Jacob with “grief and abhorrence . . . regarded their bloody deed” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 205).

Circumcision was also practiced by other Nations like the Egyptians (Keil Commentary on Genesis 1885: 314). The murder was by Simeon and Levi but the plundering is by the rest of the sons of Jacob. Keil felt that it includes all of them as opposed to F. Delitzsch who feels Simeon, Levi and Reuben were excluded because the original said “they went out” = וַיֵּצֵאוּ. No, said Keil to Delitzsch, this is not out of the town. It is just out of the house. But, there is a certain point in which both Keil and Delitzsch is not correct. Joseph was only 5 years old and would not have been included in this heinous act. He was too young.

Dwight L. Moody use to say, said pastor Charles Bradford in a sermon to 3ABN in Youtube “Buy that field” that “Sin leaped into the world full bloom: the first son was a murderer”. Jacob’s sin of lies had children with severe consequences. The description is attached to the previous verse without an introductory “and” or copulative and Keil felt that it added to the severity of the crime.


Dear God

Help us to be not navigated by our emotions and passions that takes over any sensibility in our reasons and push us to participate in sin and with Sin. In Jesus Name. Amen.