Brothers avenge their sister

Genesis Bible Background

Old Testament: Gen 34.25–29

To read the Bible in a year, read Genesis 33–35 on January 14, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl

A man raped Dinah, the sister of the sons of Jacob. Then the man wanted to marry her, but at least two of the brothers planned on avenging their sister by saying that the man could marry her if everyone in that man’s town would become circumcised. Then the Bible says:

Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their sheep, their oxen, and their donkeys, what was in the city and what was in the field, and all their wealth. All their little ones and their wives they took captive; and they plundered even all that was in the houses.

– Genesis 34.25–29

While we understand Simeon and Levi’s motivation, this was clearly a case of overkill. Because of what they did, the Lord would scatter them (their descendants) among the tribes of Israel in the Land of Canaan.

Questions:

  • What should they have done?
  • How did Jacob respond to his sons?

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