Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday, July 24th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is  Ezra 1-2, Psalm 126, 1 Corinthians 14
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 34

Genesis 34 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Defiling of Dinah

34 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because hehad done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing must not be done.
But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a bride price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.”
13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.”
18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor's son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father's house. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem's house and went away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered.
30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”
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
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezra 3-4, Psalm 127, 1 Corinthians 15

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