By the time Jacob got around to following God in a personal, serious way, many of his children were grown. If they were aware of the promise of becoming a great nation, it seems to have had little impact on them. Their mothers had worshiped God alongside other gods (Remember Rachel and the stolen household gods?). At any rate, the narrative seems to indicate God was mainly consulted in times of trouble.
So, what’s new about that? It’s often the same for us today.
As Jacob and the clan hangs out around Shechem, Dinah decides to go calling on the local women.
After all, she’s the only daughter mentioned, and perhaps a life with a bunch of brothers was lacking. Besides, they weren’t even there. They were all out in the fields watching sheep.
Long story short: Dinah is raped by the ruler’s son, also named Shechem. He wants to marry her, and the text even says he loves her. Yet, the Bible is clear here: rape is “a thing that should not be done.” However, an agreement is come to. Dinah is given to Shechem as his wife, and all the men of Shechem are circumcised. It all seemed good to the people of Shechem.
Shechem got what he wanted –Dinah—and the plan was to intermarry and become one people.
Biracial marriage isn’t the topic here, and it wasn’t forbidden for those who wanted to worship the God of the Israelites. Rabab and Ruth, both Gentiles, are ancestors to Jesus. But, these people didn’t desire to worship God. They only looked longingly toward Jacob’s wealth.
And, of course, Jacob’s son’s—not surprisingly—agree deceitfully.
And at the time when the men could least defend themselves, Dinah’s brothers (Simeon and Levi) go into their city and kill all the men and take the wealth, women and children—committing the same crime on a broader scale, than Shechem had toward them.
Jacob is shocked and angry at them. Yet, when he rebukes them, they reveal their defiance and unrepentance by simply answering, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”
A wrong for a wrong—again and again and again. No wonder we need a Savior. We need a Savior to save us from ourselves.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything