Genesis 34:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 34:2, NIV: "When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her."

Genesis 34:2, ESV: "And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her."

Genesis 34:2, KJV: "And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her."

Genesis 34:2, NASB: "When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her and raped her."

Genesis 34:2, NLT: "But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her."

Genesis 34:2, CSB: "When Shechem--son of Hamor the Hivite, who was the region's chieftain--saw her, he took her and raped her."

What does Genesis 34:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Shechem shares his name with the city or region in which Jacob and his family now live (Genesis 33:18–19). Perhaps he is named after its founder. His father, Hamor the Hivite, is the "prince" or ruler of the city. Shechem, then, is the son of a powerful man.

This influential man comes across Dinah, a daughter of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 30:21) and assaults her. Though English translations use a variety of language to describe the act, the Hebrew text makes clear this was not consensual. The terms are most woodenly presented by the NASB, which says "he took her and lay with her by force." He did not seduce her, or trick her. Shechem saw Dinah, attacked her, and raped her.

The ESV translation adds that this act humiliated Dinah. That translation choice is meant to emphasize the consequences of this act for the victim. In that culture, a woman who was known not to be a virgin had limited prospects for marriage. The stigma and shame associated with rape would have made this even worse. In this moment, Shechem not only violated Dinah physically and emotionally—he all but destroyed her future.

Hard as it is to imagine, the following verse indicates Shechem's despicable act wasn't random. Rather, it seems to have been due to lack of self-control; he will immediately campaign to marry Dinah, professing his deep love for the young woman he has defiled.