Personal notes -Genesis 34

Friday, August 04, 2006
Here is the link for my testimony. Many are amazed at how good God is and how He healed me from the hurt of my past. It truly is a miracle. No matter how hurt you have been, God is there and He will heal. I used to think it impossible, but in the four years I have had God in my life, God has done more healing than in all the years of therapy I had. It helps to have a good mentor too, someone you can talk with and share with, so that you do not have to face the problems alone. I am blessed to have Pastor Don as a counselor and mentor.

I feel for Dinah, as we saw yesterday, she had no one to comfort her, at least none that were written about in the Bible. With the violation of the rape, she suffered alone – her father did not comfort her or deal adequately with what went on. Her brothers will only make matters tougher. I keep praying that she found someone to be on her side. Although I suspect that her fate may have been one of disgrace and isolation like what is described in the book I mentioned yesterday. Yet, I also know that God is a great comforter and I am hoping that He reached down and consoled her.

Genesis 34: 13 to end of chapter.

After the king asked for permission for Dinah to marry his son, Dinah’s brothers will use God’s rules and guidelines in a way that God never intended. In fact their actions will definitely not glorify God, nor will they really help Dinah.

Genesis 34:13-14 But the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, and spoke deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.

I once mentioned to Pastor Don that so much of the Old Testament consists of times when people did not act correctly, did not represent God, and turned to idols. I wondered out loud why people never learned, even when they had seen miracles or been blessed. Pastor Don told me that the Bible covers about 4,000 years of history, and in a few pages, my Bible has about 1900 pages, and God had to be careful to include the important parts that we need to learn from. There were also long periods of time when people did right that God doesn’t include.

Let’s look at this, first it is the sons of JACOB – not the sons of ISRAEL, that is already a clue for us that what is going to ensue is not in God’s best interest. Also notice that they spoke deceitfully. Not to be petty, but there is that old saying, “Like father, like son.” Remember Jacob was a heel snatcher, a conniver, one who could make a bargain in his favor. I suspect his sons also observed this behavior in him, and copied it. There are times when I have done things that I wish my kids did not observe. For so often our actions speak louder than our words and rules. Since I have been saved, my behavior has been changed, but my kids at times remember times when I swore using God’s name, etc. And recall that to my attention when I correct their languages. I point out to them that I have repented of my past actions, asked God for forgiveness, and have with His help begun to change many of the things I don’t like. But just like I will have to stand before God and answer for my actions, so will they, and I will correct them to help prevent them from having to report sad things to God.

Here is Jacob’s sons answer to the king, verse 14-17 “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.”

Oh, how this does not honor God!!!! First of all, there is no mention of Dinah’s wishes regarding Shechem, no mention of comforting her or provision for her. But here are the things that are wrong with the above. Although God gave Abram the covenant, with the sign of circumcision, the circumcision was not what made someone part of the covenant, it was a relationship with God that made the covenant, the circumcision was an outward sign of an inward relationship. The reproach would not have been to the brothers, but to God. Even if these heathen circumcised themselves, they would not be like Jacob’s sons – because it would have been a fleshly circumcision without the relationship with God. God had already indicated that intermarriage with heathen was not acceptable to him. He is their God and there is NO other, and intermarrying with idol worshippers would not have blessed God. And to make matters worse, the plans that would soon follow would have made a poor testimony of God’s love to the heathen, and we will see that those who did the horrific act that followed would not be blessed.

You know, when I was being raped for those many years, I used to pray that God would kill my father. I am so glad, in retrospect, that He did not answer that prayer. I would have felt guilt forever if my father had died and I had linked it to my prayer. I also prayed that God would kill me, and again I am glad that He didn’t. I remember being very disappointed in the Juvenile Court proceedings when the judge told me that he was not going to punish my father (in those days not much was done to the abuser), that having me taken away from them would have been punishment enough. To my eyes that was not so, because my parents did not even come to the court proceedings to try and get me back. I also found out that later they lied about why I was no longer living at home to cover up the real reason. I wanted them to suffer, but that kind of hatred and anger to them ended up making me suffer more. The unforgiveness that I carried around with me was worse than a ball and chain. I was still carrying around hatred long after both my parents were dead, and the hatred was hurting me – they were long past caring. Revenge doesn’t solve anything. I now know that my parents will have to answer to God for what they did – they did not get away with anything. Ultimate justice belongs to God. It was very humbling when I realized that I, too, had hurt others, and if God had punished instantly when my father abused me, He could have punished me instantly when I did things that I wish now I hadn’t done. God was more concerned about my soul, and my parent’s souls. Just because God does not act instantly in a bad situation does not mean that God is not angry at the action – just that He has a whole picture that we don’t have with our limited understanding. I can honestly say, now, that I hope my parents asked God for forgiveness, eternity is a long time to suffer in hell for unbelief.

Well, Hamor and Shechem were thrilled with the answer of Jacob’s sons. Shechem was more honorable than all of the household of his father, so he did not delay in doing the circumcision. And Hamor and Shechem went to the gate of the city and convinced the men to do the same. Verse 21 “These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them dwell in the land and trade in it. For indeed the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us as wives, and let us give them our daughters.”

They saw it as a good business to do this, hoping that they too would be blessed by the blessing God gave Jacob. Again, I am so troubled that it would be this mercenary.

The men are told it would be a bit painful but look what we will get. verse 23 “Will not their livestock, their property, and every animal of theirs be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will dwell with us.”

So the men of Shechem did get circumcised, and during that time, when they were in great pain, verse 25-27 “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.”

Sir Walter Scott said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Simeon and Levi deceived these townsmen with a lie that they would intermarry. Really what they did is set them up for massacre, and then justified the taking of property that is not theirs because of their sister’s defilement. Two wrongs do not make a right. And it was their greed that caused them to act in this manner. This is a far cry from Abram’s tithing to Melchizedek and refusing to take goods from the King of Sodom. God blesses his children, they do not need to steal from the heathen to gain possessions. I am certain that their actions only added to Dinah’s pain and suffering. And I am also certain that she did not gain from what they did.

The brothers took all the wealth, their sheep, oxen, donkeys, little ones and wives captive, and plundered the houses. The word “overkill” comes to mind. And all of the possessions and wealth, even if it was given to Dinah (and I am certain it wasn’t) still would not help her to overcome the grief of her violation.

Now, here is another distressing comment, coming from Jacob.

Verse 30-31 “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. But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a harlot?”

There is so much in this passage. Let’s first deal with, as the Beatle’s song goes, “I, me, me, mine.” Just look at these two verses, Jacob says, you have troubled ME, making ME, I am, gather against ME, kill ME, I shall be destroyed, MY household and I.  

Jacob, where is God in this? Jacob’s daughter has been defiled, and Jacob is concerned about what these people will think and do to HIM? Granted, he is right, retaliation is likely after a massacre. Even though Jacob is few in number, if God was behind Him, he would prevail – remember that Abram went against four armies with just 300 or so servants. But when we act out of God’s will, it does not mean that God has to back up our mistakes. It is quite possible that God would not have blessed this mass murder.

Don’t forget, the brothers did not pray to God and ask God’s direction about how to handle the situation. There would have been a more peaceful alternative – the marriage of Dinah. Shechem was honorable, God tells us, and if God could raise Abram and his generations to a relationship with Him, could he not also raise Shechem to a relationship? From what I can gather, an honest request to marry is a far cry from treating a sister as a harlot.

But, God will use even this terrible situation for good. We will see in the next chapter that this will be the final straw that brings Jacob to Bethel, where he should have been in the first place. Had Jacob gone straight there, Dinah’s fate might have been far different.

As usual, Beth Moore in her study the Patriarchs on page 158, offers more understanding of this passage. First a quote from The Beginning of Wisdom, “A man who offers a woman reassuring words, his lust now being sated after he has raped her, is no less a rapist. Her abasement means nothing; new love will conquer all.” The same commentary also targets the foolishness of Shechem’s father, Hamor. He is counted among “fathers serving rather than ruling the passions of their sons; a ruler leading his city into ruin for the sake of satisfying his son’s erotic wishes.”

Beth continues, “Lastly, consider Dinah’s brothers and the outcome of the story. We are told “they were filled with grief and fury”— hopefully on Dinah’s behalf and not the perceived disgrace upon the family. Grief and anger are understandable reactions to the crime against their sister; however, they did not demand justice. Simon and Levi concocted a scheme, “attacked the unsuspecting city,” and killed every male. Talk about overkill. No wonder God insists that we leave vengeance to Him. Both the victim of a crime and the loved one of a victim will be bound to the same principle outcome; until God is allowed to treat grief and anger, innocent people will pay. “

She continues, “Dear One, God can rebuild shattered lives. Satan will do everything he can to tempt you not to trust God because he knows your willingness to place yourself in God’s holy hands will lead to full redemption. What is full redemption? Redemption is when the pain is treated and turned around so thoroughly that it not only loses its power to do you harm but also gains the power to do some good.”

Oh, how I pray that that continues in my life, I am so glad that God can turn the hurt to something that helps others.

Have a blessed day.



About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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