Thursday, January 27, 2011

Genesis 34 - Dinah and the Slewing of the Shechemites

LINK: Genesis 34 

BACKGROUND

Shechem was the prince of this city in the middle of Canaan, and he could take any girl that he wanted, but remember that Abraham and Rebekah sent their sons away to find a wife, and Isaac and Rebekah were grieved by Esau's choices for wives.  In general, the descendants of Abraham avoided the Canaanites because they worshiped many gods. Later there will be specific commands about this in the Mosaic Law. Even though Jacob had a commercial connection with the Shechemites (33:19), intermarriage was not part of the bargain. The rape of Jacob's only daughter was not acceptable!


The sons of Jacob that replied by killing the men after the circumcision are Dinah's full brothers through Leah: Simon and Levi. Here are the sons of Jacob according to birth order and mother:


Children of Leah
1) Reuben
2) Simeon
3) Levi
4) Judah
9) Issachar
10) Zebulun
Daughter Dinah


Sons of Zilpah (Leah's maid)
7) Gad
8) Asher

Sons of Rachel
11) Joseph
12) Benjamin (not yet born)


Sons of Bilhah (Rachel's maid)
5) Dan
6) Naphtali

Notice that Jacob's sons replied deceitfully. Should this be surprising? Like father, like sons. Even though Jacob had transformed through trial, his sons still learned deceit from their father.


Jacob responded in devastation to the actions of his sons in 34:30. We will see in the future that Jacob never forgave the actions of Simeon and Levi when he handed out his blessings in Genesis 49:5-7.


REFLECTION


Even though Jacob began to call God "his" God in Genesis 33, he still had a lifetime of deceitfulness "baggage" that he had obviously passed on to his children. Also, he really did not seem to be the spiritual leader of his family. He may have been heartbroken over what Simeon and Levi had done, but he was not proactive in attempting to stop their deception and eventual rampage of murder and pillage of the people and city of Shechem. 


I have to evaluate negative aspects of my character and pray about what I may be passing on to my children. You know the old saying, "More is 'caught' than 'taught.'" What have they caught from me?


Recently, I met with a young woman who grew up in a church-going home, but her parents did not display Godly character, and she has to work through many things on her journey to wholeness. Since her character examples were very poor, she also responds quite poorly in situations. Please pray for her as she works through the baggage and breaks the cycle. 


APPLICATION


You might want to evaluate aspects of your character that are not reflecting the LORD and pray for God to reveal them to you and root them out. For those of you with children, you may have passed on these negative character aspects to your children unknowingly. Observe them and pray for their character growth as well.


PRAYER


"Instruct those who are wise, and they will be wiser still; teach those who are righteous, and they will increase in learning" (Proverbs 9:9).

"If I heed instruction I am on the path of life, but those who refuse correction go astray" (Proverbs 10:17). 

Lord, instruct us in areas of our character that are not pleasing to You and root them out. Please forgive us for passing those on to our children and help them to grow in character that is pleasing to You. Also, help us to help others who grew up in ungodly homes. Amen.
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