Genesis 34:1-12

1 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.

Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.

And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, a thing which ought not to be done.

But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.

And make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters to yourselves.

10 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.”

11 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.

12 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.”

Dinah (v.1) — Genesis 30:21

The following paragraph by Morris is pure speculation, but he does attempt to draw some context around the events of the chapter. However, he tries to paint a picture that makes Dinah somewhat complicit in the sin and Shechem just a young man in love (albeit a pagan young man). Wechsler (bottom) takes a different view based on the meaning of the Hebrew word for “took.”

Dinah … had probably met some of the Shechemite girls and gotten to know them. This … raised problems, since their standards were quite different from those Jacob and Leah had tried to teach her. Whether she had become a bit rebellious against these standards is not mentioned, but it is possible, in view of the circumstances. In any case, Dinah, being now and then in the company of the Shechemite girls, could hardly have failed also to come to the attention of some of the Shechemite young men. She must have seemed particularly attractive, being of a different nationality, as well as possessed of a grace and charm which was not shared by girls raised in an atmosphere of idolatry and lasciviousness such as characterized most Canaanite communities. — Morris, page 509.


Marriage was not as easily accomplished as a simple sexual adventure, however. In those days, even among pagans, marriage had to be arranged by the parents. Consequently, Shechem asked his father to take the necessary steps with Dinah’s father to obtain Dinah as his wife. It is an interesting commentary on the Shechemite culture to note that Hamor apparently thought nothing about the moral implications of what his son had done. He neither rebuked Shechem nor apologized in any way to Jacob or Dinah’s brothers [so far as we know]. For a young man to lie with a young woman, even by force, was apparently such a common thing in Canaanite towns that no one gave it a second thought. — Morris, page 510.

Hamor suggested, not only that Shechem marry  Dinah, but that there be widespread intermarriage between the Shechemites and the Israelites. He apparently thought this would result in the eventual assimilation of Jacob’s family, which would add Jacob’s wealth to his own.

Shechem himself, who had evidently come with his father but had remained discreetly silent to this point, then eagerly offered to pay Jacob and his sons whatever they would require in the way of a dowry and other gifts. Though he obviously really did love Dinah, and was more interested in having her than in his father’s concern for full amalgamation with the Israelites, he did not seem to feel any pangs of conscience for what he had done to her, or for the terrible offense to her family.

Quite possibly it was this matter-of-fact, businesslike attitude of Hamor and Shechem that infuriated Dinah’s brothers beyond limit. Here these men were making a monetary offer for their beloved sister, just as though she were nothing but a harlot (v.31) whose body could be purchased for the asking. — Morris, page 512.


When Shechem, the eponymous prince of the city outside of which Jacob and his family are encamped, sees Jacob’s daughter Dinah, he lay with her by force (lit. “humiliated her”—i.e., raped her) and rather atypically for situations of rape (cf. 2 Samuel 13:14-15), subsequently becomes even more drawn to the girl and, through his father Hamor, petitions Jacob to be given Dinah as his wife. — Wechsler, page 241.

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