Accompanying sermon: One Step Forward and Three Backward
We come to a very disturbing passage today. Shechem may have been overcome with "love at first sight" but his actions were evil and impulsive, sinning against Dinah as well as her entire family. Uncontrolled sexual passions are dangerous indeed and have far reaching consequences. All sin has serious consequences, but sexual sins seem to be the farthest reaching.
Dinah's family was outraged, and rightly so. However, they reacted to their righteous anger with unrighteousness.
Jacob reacted in apathy, and apparent willingness to allow intermarriage between his family and the Canaanites, despite knowing that they were to be set apart.
Deffinbaugh: Jacob’s willingness to inter-marry with the Canaanites is not only contrary to the purposes and promises of God in the Abrahamic covenant, but it is also a direct violation of the instructions which his father had given him (Genesis 28:1-4)....
Jacob’s silence is even more evil than his sons’ schemes. His sons proposed inter-marriage with the Canaanites only as a means to induce them to be circumcised so that they could be overcome more easily. Jacob silently and passively accepted the agreement with the people of Shechem, fully expecting to carry it out. Jacob planned to allow his descendants to inter-marry with the Canaanites, but his sons had no such intention. Jacob, in comparison with his sons, is even more guilty than they!
Simeon and Levi reacted with lies, theft, and murder.
A few quotes from my Life Application Bible....
Jacob's family saw themselves as set apart from others. God wanted them to remain separate from their pagan neighbors. But the brothers wrongly thought that being set apart also meant being better. This arrogant attitude led to the terrible slaughter of innocent people....
In seeking revenge against Shechem...their desire for justice was right, but their ways of achieving it were wrong. Because of their sin, their father cursed them with his dying breath (49:5-7). Generations later, their descendants lost the part of the promised land allotted to them. When tempted to return evil for evil, leave revenge to God and spare yourself the dreadful consequences of sin.
What I also find sad about this whole thing is that the fact that, had Jacob obeyed God, they wouldn't have even been near the city of Shechem. None of this should have happened. Jacob's failure to return to the land immediately, something that seemed like minor disobedience, or even delayed obedience, resulted in dire consequences. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems to take dire consequences to get us back onto the path of obedience.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 35