Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 31, 2022

“But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis chapter 34.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land.  2 When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.  3 He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.  4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.”  5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter;  but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in.  6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.  7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it;  and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.

8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter;  please give her to him in marriage.  9 Intermarry with us;  give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves.  10 Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you;  live and trade in it and acquire property in it.”  11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me.  12 Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me;  but give me the girl in marriage.”

13 But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.  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 consent to you:  if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people.  17 But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”

18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son.  …  24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.

25 Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male.  26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth.  27 Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister.  …  30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites;  and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”  31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”  Genesis 34:1-18 and 24-27 and 30-31.


Certainly, “they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter”.  Certainly, “such a thing ought not to be done.”  

But, did Shechem’s action give the right to Jacob’s sons to kill every male and loot the city?

Punishment proportionate to the severity of the crime is one of the foundations of justice.  “‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.  The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life.  If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him:  fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth;  just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.  Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death.  There shall be one standard for you;  it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.’”  Leviticus 24:17-22.

But, this common saying “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” has been misused to claim that one has the right to take things into his own hands and punish by his own hands.  As you can discern even from this Scripture alone, that is not the intent of Scripture.  Moreover, we later read:  “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  …  for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil, be afraid;  for it does not bear the sword for nothing;  for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”  Romans 13:1 and 4.  Thus, punishment by those established by law to enforce the laws (a/k/a law enforcement) is another of the foundations of justice.  

How far we have drifted away from respect to even the basic foundations of justice!

Consider how important God views justice and how we should eagerly seek to learn what Scripture teaches about justice!

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.” Psalm 89:14.

“He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.” Psalm 33:5.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

“Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the gate!
Perhaps the LORD God of hosts
May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” Amos 5:15.

But, there is hope!

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 “He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
3 “A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 “He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Isaiah 42:1-4.

“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:7.


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