The Book of Genesis

Chapter Thirty Four

Trouble in Canaan-land

Lesson Verse: Hos 8:7a


I.         Lesson Introduction


A.      God told Jacob to leave the land of Laban, Gen 31:13, and return to the land of his kindred. The implication from the Lord was for Jacob to return to the place where he made a covenant with the Lord, Gen. 28:20. It was at Bethel, Bethel meaning house of God, where Jacob and Abraham made an altar and called on the name of the Lord, Gen. 12:8, 28:21. It was at the house of God that Jacob made a vow about 30 years prior.

B.       As of Genesis 34, a period of about 20 years has elapsed and he has not honoured his vows. Some bible scholars believe Jacob lived about 10 years at Shalem.

C.       Jacob has not wholly obeyed the Lord.


1.        He did indeed go back to the land of Canaan.

2.        However, he did not go to Bethel.

3.        Instead he went to a place called Shalem, a city that belonged to Shechem.

4.        He is about 15 miles from where he ought to be physically. But, SPIRITUALLY he is further.

5.        His family is doing things it should not be doing, Gen. 35:2, 4.

6.        In this chapter his daughter starts a chain of events that propels him back to the house of God. Furthermore, her inquisitive and wild nature is the catalyst that caused much blood shed.


II.       Lesson


A.      Dinah, The Young Daughter Of Jacob (Gen 34:1-


1.        Her name means justice and is the feminine form of Dan.

2.        She is the only daughter mentioned by name that belonged to Jacob.

3.        Her mother’s name was Leah. “Josephus tells us that Dinah went to the Canaanite annual festival of nature worship, Num. 25:2—a forbidden association for an Israelite.” ‘All The Women (and Children) of The Bible’ by Locklear.

4.        The bible does not give her exact age. However, the estimate would be that she is somewhere among 13 and 15 years of age when this event happened.

5.        Dinah Went Out To See The Daughters Of The Land.


a.       Dinah lived with 11 brothers in tents. The folks in the cities lived in houses. She just wanted to see how the other young girls of this country lived and dressed. She had to get out of that tent! There was no harm is going to visit. All she had planned was to see and be seen.

b.       If there was a pagan festival going on, as allured to by the historian, we can speculate that she told herself that she would not take part; just watch. It is no harm in being there. 1 Cor 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Harm can be fall us for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, especially when we have no business there. This is somewhat the situation Dinah finds herself.

c.       There is another thought about her actions also. It is a fact that there were idol gods in the home, Gen. 35. How far is it from worshipping idols to taking part in a pagan ritual?

d.       The dangers of just having a little “look?” Pornography, Fornication, etc!

e.       She escaped her daddy’s and brother’s protection, and was ruined for it (i.e., STD’s AIDS, sterility, etc)!


6.        Prince Shechem Saw Her, (Job 31:1)


a.       Shechem is a Hivite (Gen 10:17) a black man from Canaan

b.       He liked what he saw. She evidently liked him looking (1 Jn 2:16)

c.       The prince looked at Dinah. He was probably somewhat surprised to see someone strange in town and wanted to get to know her better. Word travels fast even without the internet. He heard of this man Jacob, his four wives, 11 boys, several servants, herds of cattle and sheep, and several daughters; some of which were reported to be very pretty.


7.        He forced her to lie with him, v. 2. Defiled her – RUINED her!


a.       Pre-marital sex – The best birth-control is SELF-CONTROL!


1)       Even Jacob was against this!

2)       God is very serious about this sin (Heb 13:4)

3)       This sin was called “defilement” (Ex 31:14; 1Cor 3:17; Dt 22:28,29)


b.       The prince was not satisfied with looking.


1)       He had to touch.

2)       This was the same ploy Satan used on Eve. She saw the forbidden fruit. After viewing it and carrying on a conversation with the master deceiver, her standards are somewhat lower. She is now no longer satisfied with looking, she must touch. Just a little temptation whets the appetite for more. Eve’s desire was not satisfied with looking and touching, her next step is consuming.


c.       Prince Shechem is in the same situation as Eve.


1)       He spied something that he wanted.

2)       It would not be to far out of reason to say that he was somewhat accustomed to having his way; a prince usually had all his wishes filled.

3)       However, he found Dinah not that willing to receive his advances, so he forced her to lie with him.


d.       This is probably the first recorded case of date rape.


1)       Dinah just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time and paid attention to the advances of the wrong man.

2)       Please remember she just went out to see what was happening; visit the daughters of the land.

3)       Now here she is raped and somewhat humiliated.


8.        Shechem fell in love with her and wanted to marry Dinah, v. 3-4.


a.       After the act was over, Dinah did not return home. She moved in with him before they were married, v. 26. The bible does not say just how long she was there. We know it was about 3-4 days. Furthermore, the bible does not say whether she would have been accepted at home. We can only assume that she would be, for after the massacre her brothers took her home. If she was such a disgraced sister, they would not have taken her back home.

b.       During this unknown time frame Prince Shechem’s father is working out the marriage details with Jacob and the family. The prince is not totally without honor. The bible reveals that his soul clave to her. From this we can say that he loved her.


B.      Family Reaction


1.        One prophetic note of interest here is the sons of Jacob are already considered a nation. Shechem wrought folly in the whole family of Israel, v. 7.

2.        The Brothers Were Grieved, v. 7.


a.       The brothers did not take the actions of Prince Shechem as lightly as did their father.

b.       To them this was a grievous dishonour to their sister as well as to the family.

c.       This was a matter of honour and marriage would not amend the injustice and dishonour. However, the way they go about correcting the misdeed was just as sinful and evil as the act committed by Prince Shechem.


3.        Jacob’s Reaction.


a.       Jacob appears to not be exceedingly concerned with the reputation of his daughter or the taint on the family name. He is learning to wait for God to show him what to do about the problem – reacts slowly, not by his gut feelings anymore!

b.       Did Dinah deserve this type of treatment from her father? Was she a loose woman? I would say no, just inquisitive. Simeon and Levi said she should not be treated as a harlot. They knew she wasn’t – probably very innocent, just simple-minded about the things of the world – all the more to bring judgment on Shecham!


4.        How would we react in similar situations?


a.       Jacob’s reaction is typical of the world, as with church members, especially when we are where we are not supposed to be, doing things we ought not be doing with people with whom we have no business forming an association. We compromise.

b.       We live in a country where even our leaders are trying to master the art of self-justification and compromise. Millions of Americans have looked the other way concerning the moral decay of our leaders and rationalized that as long as the economy is doing good…Let us not make waves. The thing (it is no longer considered a sin, just call the act a thing) is not that big. Do not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Can’t we all just get along? He’s a man. She’s a woman. These things are bound to happen.

c.       This type of thinking and rationalizing sin is contrary to nature of God, Prov 14:9. Sin is still sin to the Lord and it carries eternal consequences. As bible believing blood bought born again children of God, we must be careful how we react to sin.


5.        Sin is a reproach.


a.       It is a reproach to a nation, family, and it is one thing where in God holds us accountable.

b.       Jacob’s sins are coming home to roost


6.        Hamor, Father Of Shechem Proposed A Compromise.


a.       Hamor and his country are types of the world. Jacob and his family are supposed to be types of God’s people. However, judging by the actions of Dinah, Jacob’s lack of concern for her actions, and the atrocities of Simeon and Levi, their status as chosen people of God leave much to be desired.

b.       The world, Hamor and his family, offer a compromise to make evil appear good, v. 9, Eph 5:9-11.


1)       If we do not have strong biblical and moral convictions, we will compromise with the world. The way we do it is by saying something to the effect, “I do not see anything wrong with it.” When we say things of this nature, we make self the final authority on what is good or bad, wrong or right.

2)       Who and what is the Final Authority for a Christian? Our Final Authority can never be our opinions. It must be the words of God. Before we take sin lightly, we need to consider what the Lord has to say about it. Any time we leave Him out of the equations, our answers usually are in our favor.


7.        The men of the city said, we shall be one, v. 10, 2 Cor 6:14-15.


a.       Here was a unique opportunity for the two nations to dwell as one. Here was the world’s way of righting a wrong. Satan would love this. Here is his opportunity to contaminated the entire nation from which the Messiah is to spring forth.

b.       All the trials and troubles endured by Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebekah are about to be cast aside in this unholy alliance. The nation of Israel was not to marry any tribes from the land of the Canaanites. Where did Isaac’s wife come from? Where did Jacob’s wives come from? They did not come from Canaan.

c.       God called Abraham out of the world (Ur of the Chaldees). He called us out of the world and saved us that answered the call. No where are we commanded to make a covenant with the world, 1 Cor 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Once we make a compromise with sin, we automatically become the servants of Satan.

d.       What is Satan’s plans for the church?


1)       God has a plan for the descendants of Abraham. From one generation to the next He made His plans known. He promised to make of them a great nation in so much that through them the entire world would be blessed.

2)       Satan also has a plan for Israel and that is for them to not carry out the plans of God. He will do everything in his power to stop them.

3)       He also has a plan for the church: make it ineffective and useless. Satan has one plan for church members, regardless of whether we are active, inactive, or on injured reserved: Make us ineffective and useless.


e.       How does Satan carry out his plans?


1)       He offers the church compromises concerning things that God said were absolutes. There are some standards where in the church has no authority to change or act. One case in point is the penalty for sin. We can not change it. The wages of sin have always been death. As long as man lives, the penalty exist. Furthermore, we do not have the authority to rename sin and call it something that it is not.

2)       If Satan can just get one member of the local church body to compromise on a sinful issue, he now has his foot in the door. If he can get one member to compromise on how they dress, get them to accept wrong as right, compromise on whom they associate with, how they talk, or where they go, he can tear a church apart. If he can get one teen to defy their parents on any subject, he has the edge. If he can get one child to slip out into the world to see what the other folks are doing, he has his disciple. All he must do is work on them.


C.       Deception From Simeon and Levi, v. 13.


1.        Simeon and Levi tell the men of the city that it is a sin for one of their people to marry one that is uncircumcised. If the men will submit to this ritual, then it will be OK for them to marry one another.

2.        What they told them was only a half truth, which in reality was 100% lie. God told Abraham that any man child born from him or any man child purchased by him had to be circumcised. What Levi and Simeon did was deliberately deceive these men into thinking that just by this act they would be acceptable. It was already in the heart of these two brothers what they would do.

3.        They planned to use religious unity to destroy and conquer – that is the goal of the devil (Rev 17:15-18)


D.      Murder and Spoiling The City, v. 25-29.


1.        Upon the third day when the men were at their height of being incapacitated Simeon and Levi made a slaughter and spoiled the city.


a.       For this deed their father placed a curse on them, Gen. 49:5-7.

b.       These two brothers did not have nor keep a possession in the land of Canaan.

c.       Levi became the priest tribe and shared a portion with the other eleven. Simeon was to share his land with Judah.

d.       These who hated the abuse of their sister, go and take wives from the men of Shechem – what you hate, you will end up doing without the new nature (Rom 7:15)

2.        Here we find something that is applicable to us. We should not take vengeance into our hands. We may have every right to be angry. We may have all the laws of the land on our side but that does not give us the right to act in the same manner as those that offended us.


III.     Life’s Application


A.      Christians are God’s chosen people in this age. It is up to us to maintain the standards established by God as found in His word. God told us to not conform to the world but to be different: Rom 12:1-2.

B.       Jacob allowed the standard to fall. It is reflected in the actions of his children and his attitude towards his family. Each of us must compare our standards to God’s and make changes as dictated by His word.

C.       Points To Ponder:


1.        Is there harm in our children getting out of the house (hanging out down at the mall) to see what the other kids of the land are doing? Compare Gen. 34:1 to Titus 2:5.

2.        If Josephus is right about what he wrote about Dinah and the festival she attended, just to see what was happening, what should parents teach their children about the festivals of the world? For example: Mardi Gras; Spring Break, etc.

3.        Did Simeon and Levi act honorably in their dealing with the men of the city, v. 19?

4.        As a father how did Jacob respond to what happened to his daughter and the actions of his sons, compare Gen. 34:30 to Gen. 49:5-7.


D.      Our Standards vs. God’s.


1.        By looking at the opening verses in Gen. 35 we realize that idol worship was rampant in Jacob’s home. He erected his altar, Gen. 34, in Shechem. The concept here is he erected it in the world. Instead of worshipping God and directing his family, as God told Abraham to do in worshipping Him, Jacob allowed his children to do what they wanted. Gen 18:19 For I know him, (Abraham) that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

2.        When there is sin in one area of our lives, it carries over into all areas, a little leaven (yeast) will leaven the whole lump, Gal 5:9. This is why it is important for Christians to acts as Christians and keep sin out of our lives..

3.        Reputations are made by the company we keep.


a.       We parents are very good at being mislead by our children. We know exactly what we did as kids and how we tried to fool our parents. Our children do not try to fool us though, because we did a marvelous job raising them. We believe we corrected the mistakes our parents made on us in how we raised our children.

b.       Think back to the day our parents told us to not keep company with some others teens in our high school days. How many times were we told they were a bad influence? Did we listen? Just because some of our friends wore their hair in duck-tails and had a pack of cigarettes rolled up in their tee-shirt sleeve did not mean they smoked. It was status symbol. Right? We knew better than mom and dad. Mom and dad were too old to know anything about living. Right?

c.       How is it now with us and raising children? What are some of the signs manifested in our children that we manifested? What are some of the signs of belonging to a gang? Where do we see these signs? In our children? Heavens no, our kids are not gang members. It is just a status symbol to wear baggy pants. It just a status symbol to shave your head and tattoo a swastika on your forehead. That does not mean white supremacy. My child is not sexual activity regardless of what you think of the clothes (s)he wears or how late they stay out at night.


4.        Jacob failed as a parent. He allowed idol worship and sin to live within his home. He allowed his daughter to associate with people she had no business getting to know. As Christians parents we need to discipline our children in the necessity of keeping company with other Christians children. We need to teach them it is easier to fall down physically as well as spiritually, than it is to rise up. As parents we should open our eyes and realize the truth of that that old adage “Birds of a feather flock together.”

5.        Reputations are maintained by self.


a.       We maintain our reputations by the places we go, how we dress, and act. Our morals' convictions are reflected in the clothes we wear. What we think of self is also a reflection in how we dress, Mat 12:34-35.

b.       The wise man of the bible said about 3,000 years ago that he saw a young woman outside his window in the attire of a harlot, Prov 7:10. He knew what she was by the clothes she wore and how she talked and where all she went. Not only did Solomon the wise man know what she was by her clothes, the simple minded young man knew as well.


IV.    Conclusion:

A.      It is up to us to maintain God’s standards and not allow compromise to sneak into our homes and churches.

B.       Just as God had a plan for the nation of Israel, He also has a plan for us and our church. If we are living in and like the world, we can not do His will. Jacob was about ready to marry his daughter to one of the sons of the land of Canaan. It took mass murder to stop him. What will it take to stop us?