Dinah according to the Bible was Jacob’s only daughter when he returned to Canaan (Genesis 34:1). She was from his first wife leah (Genesis 30:21). Dinah, could not have been more than five or six years old when the family left Haran, since she was not born until after Leah’s sixth son (Genesis 30:21).
The Bible tells us that one day Dina, “went out to see the daughters of the land. And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her” (Genesis 34: 2, 3). The Jewish historian Josephus mentions an old tradition to the effect that the Shechemites were engaged in festivities (Antiquities i. 21. 1), and that Dinah wanted to join the girls of Shechem in their round of pleasure.
There is ever great danger in purposeless association with the people of the world. Dinah was curious to know the ways and customs of the surrounding people. This led to unguarded intimacy with them and ended in her disgrace. Her danger came from seeking to be free from parental control and supervision, and from disregarding the admonition to remain separate from idolaters and their evil habits. “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The inhabitants of Canaan were to the family of Jacob what the present world is to the Christian.
When Dinah’s brothers heard of what has happened to her, they were very angry. But Hamor, ruler of the city of Shechem, went to speak with Jacob about having Dinah for his son. Saying, “I will give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me” (Genesis 34:11–12). But Jacob’s sons told the ruler of Shechem that they could not give their sister to a man who was not circumcised—but if Shechem and all the men of the city would be circumcised as the Israelites were, they will be free to intermarry with them (verses 13–17).
Shechem and his city agreed to this condition hoping for future mutual benefits. Genesis 34:25–26 say, “Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left” (Genesis 34:25-26). And the other brothers plundered the city (verses 27–29).
Jacob was shocked from his children ruthless actions and feared that these horrible actions would lead to reprisals on the part of other Canaanite tribes in the vicinity (Genesis 34:30). But his sons defended their actions saying that this was the just punishment to those that treated their sister as a harlot (verse 31). As, Jacob was very perplexed, God, appeared once more and instructed him to go to new lands (Genesis 35:1).
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