Bible Class Study. The mystery of Dinah.
Shecham longeth for your daughter.
Jacobs was now living in close proximity to the city of Shecham, & this was a danger to their status of “strangers & pilgrims”, they were called out to a life of separation , now they were the owners of land right outside the gates of Shechem.
Abraham & Isaac had taken special measures to ensure that the Holy seed should not be mixed with strangers.
Abraham had sent his servant to Haran for a wife for Issac, & Jacob also had been sent to Haran for his wives, lest he follow the example of Esau his brother, & take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.
It is only after the defilement of Dinah that Jacob reacts to the danger, he cleanses the family group by destroying the Strange Gods among them, & the separate status of the Holy people is restored. so this unsavoury incident has a positive outcome.
Jacob’s family had been called to be “strangers & pilgrims, ? but now they had settled outside a Cannanitish city, they had become, — or were in danger of becoming settlers & not Pilgrims.
The Call to Abraham had been a call to separation.
Gen 12:1 “Get thee out”, & the call to us is the same
2Co 6:17 ? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you,
On a previous occasion disaster had befallen the family of Lot when he mingled with the gentiles, & Lot dwelt in Sodom,
Jacob would no doubt have been aware of the danger that Lot had placed himself in.
So Jacob left all his possessions, the land he purchased at Shechem,
God says to him,
“Arise go to Bethel” — to the “house of God” : ? he cleanses the camp , the “strange Gods are put away” so the incident of Dinah provides the catalyst for the re-establishment of their separation & the cleansing of the Holy Seed.
They destroyed the idols of this world & continued their pilgrimage to Bethel, the House of God,
We know the lessons, there is no place for our association with the world, for friendship with the world, ? We are called to separation, we are the house of God, which says Timothy is
1Ti 3:15 ? “which is the ecclesia of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”.
Dinah his only daughter.
Dinah s name means Judgement, – it is the female equivalent of the name Dan, she was the last & the youngest daughter of Leah & therefore Simeon & Levi who figure so prominently in this Chapter were her Full Brothers.
She is the only recorded daughter of Jacob, & therefore as far as the record is concerned she is his only daughter.
Dinah is mentioned on only 8x in scripture & 6x in Gen 34.
Six speaks of Man & the weakness of the flesh, that is the story of Gen 34
But eight speaks of cutting off the flesh & that is the story will end with the death of Shechem & the return of Dinah to her house.
When this incident occurred Dinah was a young teenager, at the very age when children seek independence from their parents.
There are scriptural warnings & instructions to help us to avoid the problem of young people seeking things outside the truth.[a] Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it
Instruction of our children from an early age.[b] Eph 6:4 ?And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So in The Law of Moses the instruction of children was a priority[c] Deu 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
The problem with Dinah was that God’s word wasn’t in her heart, it was the things of the world that were filling her mind.
Jacob & his family were dwelling in close proximity to the “Hivites” & Dinah’s curiosity was aroused by the interesting people on her doorstep. their music, their dancing, their dress, so many attractions so much excitement & it was right outside her tent door, so that we read
Gen 34:1 ? ” went out to see the daughters of the land”.
She “went out” that’s exactly the same expression used of Cain in
Gen 4:16 Cain went out from the presence of the LORD,
So Dinah “went out” , from the Holy people.
To see the daughters of the land, see is the same word used in
Gen 3:6 ?”the woman saw, that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,
Thus it was the lust of the eye, – she went to see their dress & their fashions & how they spent their leisure time?
But also To know” their ways, the word “see” can also indicate a mental perception, – she ?considered : perceived, regarded, she discerned, the “daughters of the land”
The Daughters of the land only occurs on two occasions, The very reason that Jacob had left Isaac his father was to find a bride of his own Kinsfolk. that he shouldn’t follow after the example of his brother Esau & take a wife “daughters of the land”
Yet here his daughter Dinah is in danger of following the example of Uncle Esau, — who married out of the truth.
Gen 27:46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me? only other occasion this expression is used.
“The daughters of the land” proved a source of danger to both Esau & Dinah, so we have in the NT the principle of separation spoken of by James:-
Jam 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Later on in the Old Testament history the Law was to forbid marriage with the inhabitants of the land.
Deu 7:1-4 ?thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son,
This was the very issue that Jacob was now facing; his daughter Dinah’s hand was asked for in marriage by one outside the truth:
The same NT Principle
2Co 6:14 ?Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
So Dinah’s association with the world brought her into conflict with the truth:
Shechem Prince of the Hivites.
Gen 34:2 ?”Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country,”
Shechem means “the neck” place of carrying burdens hence it has the idea of ? “to bear upon the shoulder”
He was a “Hivite” the Hivites were descended from Canaan & they were one of the Canaanite nations inhabiting the Land, their name means “a villager” so straight away we have a dramatic contrast.
Jacob was called to be “a stranger & a pilgrim” had no continuing city
Shecham was a villager, [Rt=”living place”] had a permanent living place.
Jacobs brother Esau had already caused grief in the family by marrying a Hivite & now history was about to repeat itself,
A Hivite Prince wanted to marry Dinah.
Gen 34:2 ?Shechem: ?saw her, – he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her:
Notice the progression in these words, – this is exactly the same pattern, the downward spiral of events that we find in the transgression of Adam & Eve.
Gen 3:6 “the woman saw ?that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took ? of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat”.
Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;
Thus their conscience, once pure, had become defiled.
Here was a process ?it commenced with a look & it ended in death, As we read in of the process of Sin,
Jas 1:13-15 a man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
That’s exactly what happened to Shecham
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Dinah was defiled & Shecham was slain.
Gen 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.
Shecham was a “Prince of the country
Jacob name had been changed to Israel = ? He was a “Prince with God“.
Thus we have the
Prince of the Country seeking an alliance with the daughter of a “Prince with God”,
“The villager” seeking a “Stranger & a Pilgrim” to dwell with him.
The NT states the principal,
2Co 6:15 ? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
Interesting connection with later events in Israel history, when failure to destroy the Hivites & other nations led to Israel s downfall.
In the story of Dinah, the Hivites are tricked into circumcision & then slain so preventing an alliance from forming between the two peoples.
But later in their history they had, so to speak, their retribution, the roles were reversed & the Hivites tricked Joshua into an alliance with them. They did work wilily they said to Joshua “We be come from a far country”
Jos 9:5 ” took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.
In Gen 34, Simeon & Levi acted deceitfully & slew them.
Joshua however acted honourably & said “Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water”
Joshua honoured the agreement with the Hivites even though he had been deceived by them. – as a result the Hivites were left among the Nations to prove Israel.
Jdg. 3:5; And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusite:
Sadly these nations became a snare to Israel so that the psalmist says
Psa 106:34 ?They did not destroy the nations, — But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
Psa 106:36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
Surely a lesson for us,– if we learn the “works” of the Nations they will be a snare unto us.
Part played by Jacob
Interesting that throughout the narrative Jacob is almost silent
Gen 34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
Notice it is not Jacob, but his sons that answer Hamor, this seems to suggest that they were prominent in family life & involved in decision making, had Jacob allowed them to be involved in & to direct family affairs to the detriment of the truth?
Gen 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
The only words spoken by Jacob are after the event,
Gen 34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
We only learn of Jacobs mind in these events when we read
Gen 35:3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. these words we could apply to other incidents in Jacobs life, yet we find them uttered in the context of his removal from Shecham to Bethel after the incident of Dinah.
He was I believe referring to Dinah’s sin with Shecham as the day of his distress, Jacob wasn’t silent he was talking in prayer to God, Dinah’s plight had been a matter of prayer, God had answered Jacobs prayer, — in the day of his distress.
Lesson for us that when we can’t see the answer to our problems to put our problems before God in our prayers.
History of Simeon & Levi ?
We have further insight into Jacobs mind during these events in his prophecy of the last days before his death, he says concerning Simeon & Levi,
Gen 49:5-7 ?Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
RV = “weapons of violence are their swords”
Gen 49:6 ?O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall.
Gen 49:7 ?Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
After Reuben, Simeon and Levi are conjoined in the prophecy. They had slain Hamor and Shechem, and all the males of their city. This circumstance is taken as a characteristic of their tribes in the last days. Instruments of cruelty , said Jacob, are in their habitations. Foreseeing the part they would play in relation to the Seed, he exclaimed, O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour be not thou united . But why not, Jacob? For in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall, that is, overthrew a city. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce: and their wrath, for it was cruel.
The verification of these things will easily be recognized in the history of the tribe of Levi at the era of the crucifixion. It was the priests who sought and at last accomplished the death of Jesus, to whom Jacob refers; and to mark his sense of their conduct, he said, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. This was fulfilled in giving Levi no cantonal inheritance in the land, and in including Simeon s portion within the limits of the canton of Judah. From this arrangement Levi, Simeon, and Judah became the tribes principally concerned in the transactions of the last days.
And so it came to pass, Levi had no inheritance among the tribes of Israel, but was scattered in Israel ; in his later history he, “slew a man”, even the Lord Jesus Christ, – slew and hanged on a tree
Simeon & Levi deception is used by Jacob as a prophecy pointing forward to the death of Christ, our “burden bearer” the one who has Bourne our sins, The priesthood of Levi by deceit sought his death after the type of the deception of Simeon & Levi to bring about the death of Shecham, the burden bearer.
Let’s now consider Dinah’s mind in these matters, you know that nothing is said concerning her thoughts, or her disposition, the record is silent, — was she in fear of Shechem or
Was Dinah a willing captive
Was she raped & taken prisoner? Or did she go out to have an Affair? was she happy in the city ? was she in love with Shecham ? you see nothing is said concerning her feelings in this matter.
Why is it that Jacob appears to stand back in this narrative & let his sons resolve the situation, [ we have seen he was in prayer]
But is there another factor that is only hinted at in the divine record?
Well let us suppose that Dinah didn’t want to come back & that she was happy to be a princess & the husband of Shecham, – was the life of the Hivite nation in fact agreeable to Dinah.? – Dinah says nothing. what was in her heart?
Gen 34:3 ? And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. “spake unto her heart”,
Does this suggest that Dinah was responding to Shechams advances, that this was a passionate Love affair between these two young people?
So as a result, encouraged by her response, Shechem seeks her for his wife, & Hamor his father approaches Jacob for her hand in marriage.
A number of points for us to consider.
a] Why was it that she remained in Shechems house? was she really a captive or was she living in sin with Shecham?
b] If Dinah was in fact being held against her will why didn’t Jacob demand her release?
c] Hamor was asking for permission for Shechem to marry her, – ? they were acting honourably according to their customs , so there was no compulsion to marry, — they were asking for permission.
d] If she were a prisoner why did Jacob leave matters to his sons, what would you expect any father do if his daughter was being held against her will in another man s house ?
Surely as the head of the family he would be expected to take the lead to bring about her release: – would that not be what we would expect of a Father in the circumstances?
e] Why would Shechem seek her hand in marriage if she was unwilling to live with him, – if she was uncooperative & fighting for her release:
– if she was seeking to escape?
Or was this a love affair Shechem “spake to her heart”
f] Is the record hinting that as Shecham spoke to her heart, she responded & willingly remaining in Shecham’s house as she waited for her father s permission to marry?
If this were the true situation would this not explain Jacobs indecision & silence as he sought Gods help in prayer? how can you compel your daughter to return if she doesn’t want to?
Was the true situation that Jacob didn’t know what to do, all he could do was to pray to God,
Notice the words of Jacobs sons,
In Gen 34:17 Jacobs sons say ” then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone”.
Notice ?they say “our daughter” she was their Sister, but here they are speaking as if they were Jacob, in Jacobs indecision they took over his role “Our daughter” again it suggests they enjoyed power & privilege in the family group. ? Jacob’s Sons would remove Dinah by force unless the Hivites submit to circumcision,
Gen 34:26 ? took Dinah out of Shechem s house, and went out. ? she had to be “taken out” of Shecham s house, –
So as a suggestion only ? Was Dinah happy to remain with Shecham the Hivite Prince was this a love affair? & although she was Physically removed taken out, ? was it that in reality her heart remained with Shecham, mentally, in her affections she remained in Shechems house.
We are never told that Dinah repented for her actions, Dinah is never again mentioned in the divine record [ except in Leah’s genealogy [Gen 46:15 ], did she truly repent & return to her Father s house?
Well if that was the case then here is a Final suggestion.
There is an interesting incident in the NT that has some common ground with the story of Dinah’s departure from the truth, a spiritual lesson for seeking the lost, those of the Dinah class who have gone astray & left the house of their Father : – but who others would seek to return to the Fathers house,
Dinah went out, how can Jacob bring her back against her will, answer of course is that you can’t bring the lost back if they don’t want to return. they can only be part of the Household of God when they are convinced in their own mind & return of their own freewill, when they repent of their waywardness ? & seek forgiveness .
So let s consider the principles upon which those like Dinah who have gone astray can return to the Fathers House.
Can we see in this story of the conversion of the Samaritan woman the sequel to the story of Dinah, Lord Jesus Christ is seeking one who is lost,
So in John 4 we find the bringing of a Nameless Samaritan woman into the ecclesia of God, & many came with her:
Joh 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
This story revolves around the family of Jacob & a daughter of Jacob, next to the very place he purchased from Hamor.
Jesus had a specific reason to take the journey to Samaria
Joh 4:4 ?And he must needs go through Samaria: ? bear in mind what we are told in
Joh 4:9 the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. yet he must needs go through Samaria”
Jesus came next to the place, the parcel of ground that Jacob bought from Hamar.
The very place where Dinah had “gone out”
Joh 4:5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. – Joseph was Dinah’s younger half Brother, they would have been brought up together in this very place, Dinah not mentioned in this record but another daughter of Jacob is here before us, so she says
Joh 4:12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, Dinah had drunk from the water at this well, ? 3x in this Chapter Jacob is mentioned ? Joh 4:5; Joh 4:6; Joh 4:12;
Notice also that The Lord Jesus Christ is called by the same name as Joseph,
Joh 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. that s the meaning of the very name that Pharaoh gave to Joseph, Dinah’s half-brother.
Gen 41:45 ? Pharaoh called Joseph’s name ? ‘Zaphnath-pa-aneah’ and ‘Zaphnath-pa-aneah’ means ‘the saviour of the world’ [ although some dispute this meaning, check it out]
Gen 49:22. When Jacob gives his final blessing to his sons, he comes to Joseph in verse 22 and he says this,
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches [daughters] run over the wall”:
Branches- = daughters & here in Joh 4 we are told, Jacobs well was there, in the portion given by Jacob to Joseph a daughter of Jacob was by the well. & The greater than Joseph “Saviour of the world” Lord Jesus Christ was seeking to bring these “lost” Samaritans into the House.
1]We have seen that the unnamed woman was a “daughter of Jacob”
2] But in addition, like Dinah in the house of Shecham , she was living with a man out of wedlock.
Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
Joh 4:18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly’
3] Interestingly there was a Samaritan tribe called the “Dinaites”, Ezr 4:9
Only other place we find an allusion to Dinah, There was of course no blood relationship, but like Dinah the Samaritans were involved in immoral living, & so they reflected in some respects the character of Dinah.
Dinah was “taken out” of the house of Hamor, – Bodily she returned to Jacobs house, but was her heart still in the house of Shecham?
So what is the lesson B&S of John Ch. 4 as it relates to Dinah,
Woman of Samaria was persuaded in her mind to join the divine family, so she says
Joh 4:29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
She accepted Christ the messiah with her whole heart, – did Dinah return with her whole heart to Jacobs house ?
Whatever was in Dinah’s heart the lessons for us are clear: separation from the world, friendship with the world is enmity against God, be not unequally yoked, in times of distress commit ourselves to God in prayer, to bring up our children in nurture & admonition of the truth, called to be strangers & pilgrims, here we have here no continuing city, Let us follow the example of Jacob, put aside the idols of this world & walk as strangers & pilgrims through the wilderness of life onward to Bethel, the House of God.