Genesis 34


וַתֵּצֵא דִינָה בַּת לֵאָה אֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה לְיַעֲקֹב לִרְאוֹת בִּבְנוֹת הָאָרֶץ  34:1

Gene. 34:1  And Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to meet with the daughters of the land.

וַיַּרְא אֹתָהּ שְׁכֶם בֶּן חֲמוֹר הַחִוִּי נְשִׂיא הָאָרֶץ וַיִּקַּח אֹתָהּ וַיִּשְׁכַּב אֹתָהּ וַיְעַנֶּהָ  34:2

Gene. 34:2  And Shechem, the son of Hamor, the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her and he took her and he lay with her and he humbled her.                                      [Return to Josh. 24:1]

וַתִּדְבַּק נַפְשׁוֹ בְּדִינָה בַּת יַעֲקֹב וַיֶּאֱהַב אֶת הַנַּעֲרָ וַיְדַבֵּר עַל לֵב הַנַּעֲרָ  34:3

Gene. 34:3  And his soul cleaved to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel and he spoke lovingly of the damsel.

וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁכֶם אֶל חֲמוֹר אָבִיו לֵאמֹר קַחלִי אֶת הַיַּלְדָּה הַזֹּאת לְאִשָּׁה  34:4

Gene. 34:4  And Shechem spoke to Hamor, his father, saying, “Get me this child for a wife.”

וְיַעֲקֹב שָׁמַע כִּי טִמֵּא אֶת דִּינָה בִתּוֹ וּבָנָיו הָיוּ אֶת מִקְנֵהוּ בַּשָּׂדֶה וְהֶחֱרִשׁ יַעֲקֹב עַד בֹּאָם  34:5

Gene. 34:5  Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter, but his sons were with his cattle in the field, so Jacob would kept silent until their coming.

וַיֵּצֵא חֲמוֹר אֲבִי שְׁכֶם אֶל יַעֲקֹב לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ  34:6

Gene. 34:6  And Hamor, father of Shechem, went out to Jacob to speak with him.

וּבְנֵי יַעֲקֹב בָּאוּ מִן הַשָּׂדֶה כְּשָׁמְעָם וַיִּתְעַצְּבוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיִּחַר לָהֶם מְאֹד כִּינְבָלָה עָשָׂה  34:7

בְיִשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁכַּב אֶת בַּת יַעֲקֹב וְכֵן לֹא יֵעָשֶׂה

Gene. 34:7  And the sons of Jacob came in from the field after their hearing and the men were grieved and great anger was theirs because of the villainy he had done to Israel in laying with the daughter of Jacob, that he could not make right.

וַיְדַבֵּר חֲמוֹר אִתָּם לֵאמֹר שְׁכֶם בְּנִי חָשְׁקָה נַפְשׁוֹ בְּבִתְּכֶם תְּנוּ נָא אֹתָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה  34:8

Gene. 34:8  And Hamor spoke with them saying, “Shechem, my son, greatly desires your daughter.  Please give her to him for a wife.”

The pronoun suffix your in the word ~kê,T.biB., “your daughter,” is plural.  I don’t believe this to be an error in the Hebrew. I believe that the scribe was prefacing the next verse.  In other words, as far as the scribe was concerned, Hamor was already speaking to all those in the household of Jacob, not just to Jacob.

וְהִתְחַתְּנוּ אֹתָנוּ בְּנֹתֵיכֶם תִּתְּנוּ לָנוּ וְאֶת בְּנֹתֵינוּ תִּקְחוּ לָכֶם  34:9

Gene. 34:9  “And make marriages with us; You can give your daughters to us and take our daughters to you.”

We have not been told to this point that Jacob’s sons have any daughters, so we have to continue to assume that Hamor, and now Shechem, were referring to others in the household.

וְאִתָּנוּ תֵּשֵׁבוּ וְהָאָרֶץ תִּהְיֶה לִפְנֵיכֶם שְׁבוּ וּסְחָרוּהָ וְהֵאָחֲזוּ בָּהּ  34:10

Gene. 34:10   “And you will dwell with us and the land will be before you.  Dwell and trade and take possession in it.”

וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁכֶם אֶל אָבִיהָ וְאֶל אַחֶיהָ אֶמְצָא חֵן בְּעֵינֵיכֶם וַאֲשֶׁר תֹּאמְרוּ אֵלַי אֶתֵּן  34:11

Gene. 34:11   And Shechem said to her father and her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will say to me I will give.”

Almost in passing, we abruptly learn that Shechem accompanied his father to speak to Jacob.

הַרְבּוּ עָלַי מְאֹד מֹהַר וּמַתָּן וְאֶתְּנָה כַּאֲשֶׁר תֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָי וּתְנוּלִי אֶתהַנַּעֲרָ לְאִשָּׁה  34:12

Gene. 34:12   “Impose upon me greatly, dowry and gift, and I will give whatever you will say to me, but give me the damsel for a wife.”

The word for and I will give contains a non-inverting vav, because the verb is first-person imperfect.

וַיַּעֲנוּ בְנֵי יַעֲקֹב אֶת שְׁכֶם וְאֶת חֲמוֹר אָבִיו בְּמִרְמָה וַיְדַבֵּרוּ אֲשֶׁר טִמֵּא אֵת דִּינָה אֲחֹתָם  34:13

Gene. 34:13   And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor, his father, with guile as they spoke, because he had defiled Dinah, their sister,

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵיהֶם לֹא נוּכַל לַעֲשׂוֹת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לָתֵת אֶת אֲחֹתֵנוּ לְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לוֹ עָרְלָה כִּי חֶרְפָּה  34:14

הִוא לָנוּ

Gene. 34:14   and they said to them, “We are not able to do this thing, to give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised, for it is a disgrace for us.”

אַךְ בְּזֹאת נֵאוֹת לָכֶם אִם תִּהְיוּ כָמֹנוּ לְהִמֹּל לָכֶם כָּל זָכָר  34:15

Gene. 34:15   “Only by this will we consent to you:  If you would be like us, to circumcise every man of you,

וְנָתַנּוּ אֶת בְּנֹתֵינוּ לָכֶם וְאֶת בְּנֹתֵיכֶם נִקַּח לָנוּ וְיָשַׁבְנוּ אִתְּכֶם וְהָיִינוּ לְעַם אֶחָד  34:16

Gene. 34:16   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 be as one people.”

וְאִם לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֵלֵינוּ לְהִמּוֹל וְלָקַחְנוּ אֶת בִּתֵּנוּ וְהָלָכְנוּ  34:17

Gene. 34:17   “But if you will not hearken to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and leave.”

וַיִּיטְבוּ דִבְרֵיהֶם בְּעֵינֵי חֲמוֹר וּבְעֵינֵי שְׁכֶם בֶּן חֲמוֹר  34:18

Gene. 34:18   And their words were good in the eyes of Hamor and in the eyes of Shechem, the son of Hamor.

וְלֹא אֵחַר הַנַּעַר לַעֲשׂוֹת הַדָּבָר כִּי חָפֵץ בְּבַת יַעֲקֹב וְהוּא נִכְבָּד מִכֹּל בֵּית אָבִיו  34:19

Gene. 34:19   And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing because he had desire for the daughter of Jacob, and he was honored above all the house of his father.

It seems unclear why the last clause of the verse appears here.  Why did the scribe see fit to include the statement that Shechem was honored above all the house of his father at this point in the narrative?  Was he again preparing us for the next few verses?  Was he predicting by implication that Shechem would be immediately heeded?

וַיָּבֹא חֲמוֹר וּשְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ אֶל שַׁעַר עִירָם וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל אַנְשֵׁי עִירָם לֵאמֹר  34:20

Gene. 34:20   And Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city and they spoke to the men of their city saying,

הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה שְׁלֵמִים הֵם אִתָּנוּ וְיֵשְׁבוּ בָאָרֶץ וְיִסְחֲרוּ אֹתָהּ וְהָאָרֶץ הִנֵּה רַחֲבַת יָדַיִם  34:21

לִפְנֵיהֶם אֶת בְּנֹתָם נִקַּח לָנוּ לְנָשִׁים וְאֶת בְּנֹתֵינוּ נִתֵּן לָהֶם

Gene. 34:21  “Those peaceable men, they are with us, and they dwell in the land and travel about it, and behold, the land is spacious enough before them; let us take their daughters to us for wives and let us give our daughters to them.”

Most if not all bibles treat the vavs in the verbs Wbv.yEw> and Wrx]s.yIw> ( the sixth and eighth words in the top line) as non-inverting and translate the words as “… and let them dwell in the land and travel about it [or trade in it].”  Understand that both the verbs are imperfect in tense and thus the vavs in the standard translation are non-inverting.  I believe that interpretation is incorrect.  I believe that Hamor and Shechem are telling the men of the city that Jacob’s household is already here and already traveling about (or trading in it), so obviously there is room for them.  Thus they do not represent an imposition or burden.  Then according to me, the vavs are inverting, and my translation is more reasonable.

אַךְ בְּזֹאת יֵאֹתוּ לָנוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים לָשֶׁבֶת אִתָּנוּ לִהְיוֹת לְעַם אֶחָד בְּהִמּוֹל לָנוּ כָּל זָכָר כַּאֲשֶׁר הֵם  34:22


Gene. 34:22   “Only on this will the men consent to us to dwell with us to be as one people:  On letting ourselves be circumcised, every male, as they are circumcised.”

מִקְנֵהֶם וְקִנְיָנָם וְכָל בְּהֶמְתָּם הֲלוֹא לָנוּ הֵם אַךְ נֵאוֹתָה לָהֶם וְיֵשְׁבוּ אִתָּנוּ  34:23

Gene. 34:23   “Their cattle and their goods and all their beasts, could not they be ours?  Only let us consent to them and they will dwell with us.”

In v. 34:21, I understood the root word of Wbv.yEw>, translated as and they will dwell, to be imperfect.  In this verse I consider the same word to be perfect and, therefore, the vav is inverting.

וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל חֲמוֹר וְאֶל שְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ כָּל יֹצְאֵי שַׁעַר עִירוֹ וַיִּמֹּלוּ כָּל זָכָר כָּל יֹצְאֵי שַׁעַר עִירוֹ  34:24

Gene. 34:24   And all those coming out of the gate of his city hearkened to Hamor and to Shechem, his son, and every male was circumcised, all those coming out of the gate of his city.

וַיְהִי בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בִּהְיוֹתָם כֹּאֲבִים וַיִּקְחוּ שְׁנֵי בְנֵי יַעֲקֹב שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי אֲחֵי דִינָה אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ  34:25

וַיָּבֹאוּ עַל הָעִיר בֶּטַח וַיַּהַרְגוּ כָּל זָכָר

Gene. 34:25   And it was on the third day when they were in pain that two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah, took each man his sword and came upon the city boldly and slew every male.

Remember that the names of Simeon and Levi mean heard and joined to.  It is Simeon who heard and responded to the hearing, and he was joined by Levi.  Reuben and Judah, also brothers of Dinah, were not involved in this attack.

וְאֶת חֲמוֹר וְאֶת שְׁכֶם בְּנוֹ הָרְגוּ לְפִי חָרֶב וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת דִּינָה מִבֵּית שְׁכֶם וַיֵּצֵאוּ  34:26

Gene. 34:26   And they slew Hamor and Shechem, his son, with the edge of the sword, and they took Dinah from the house of Shechem and they left.

בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב בָּאוּ עַל הַחֲלָלִים וַיָּבֹזּוּ הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר טִמְּאוּ אֲחוֹתָם  34:27

Gene. 34:27   The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and spoiled the city because they had defiled their sister.

אֶת צֹאנָם וְאֶת בְּקָרָם וְאֶת חֲמֹרֵיהֶם וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר בָּעִיר וְאֶת אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה לָקָחוּ  34:28

Gene. 34:28   They took their sheep and their cattle and their asses and what was in the city and what was in the field.

וְאֶת כָּל חֵילָם וְאֶת כָּל טַפָּם וְאֶת נְשֵׁיהֶם שָׁבוּ וַיָּבֹזּוּ וְאֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בַּבָּיִת  34:29

Gene. 34:29   And they captured and spoiled all their riches and all their babies and their wives, and all who were in the house.

וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל שִׁמְעוֹן וְאֶל לֵוִי עֲכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי לְהַבְאִישֵׁנִי בְּיֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ בַּכְּנַעֲנִי וּבַפְּרִזִּי וַאֲנִי  34:30

מְתֵי מִסְפָּר וְנֶאֶסְפוּ עָלַי וְהִכּוּנִי וְנִשְׁמַדְתִּי אֲנִי וּבֵיתִי

Gene. 34:30   And Jacob said to Simeon and to Levi, “You have troubled me by making me odious to the the dweller of the land, to the Canaanite and to the Perizzite, and I am few in number.  So they will assemble against me and smite me and destroy me, I and my household. “

וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַכְזוֹנָה יַעֲשֶׂה אֶת אֲחוֹתֵנוּ  34:31

Gene. 34:31   And they said, “Should one make our sister as a harlot?”

Simeon and Levi appear to be quite rash, to say the least.  To avenge their sister, did they have to destroy the entire city and all the men?  Why not just Shechem?  Apparently, the limitation of an eye for an eye had not been known in Jacob’s time.  Because Dinah was being held in Hamor’s house, Simeon and Levi had to at least attack Hamor and his household, but did they have to go beyond that?  Has it been left unsaid (as other things that have to be guessed) that the rest of the city came to the defense of Hamor and Shechem?  And as a result of this, the city was destroyed?  Not knowable!


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