Genesis 34:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 34:3, NIV: "His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her."

Genesis 34:3, ESV: "And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her."

Genesis 34:3, KJV: "And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel."

Genesis 34:3, NASB: "But he was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her."

Genesis 34:3, NLT: "But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words."

Genesis 34:3, CSB: "He became infatuated with Jacob's daughter Dinah. He loved the young girl and spoke tenderly to her."

What does Genesis 34:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior verses indicated in relatively graphic terms that Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, was forcibly raped by Shechem, son of a local prince (Genesis 34:1–2). The terms used were crystal clear: there was no seduction or convincing involved. What happened was every bit an act of violation and brutality.

Now an already-tragic story takes an unexpected turn. One would expect such savagery to be inspired by hate, or indifferent lust. Instead, Shechem is said to have fallen in love with Dinah! Whether he loved her before, and simply would not take "no" for an answer, or became fond of her after his assault, Scripture is not entirely clear. What we are told is that "his soul was drawn to her." Bizarrely, what Shechem feels now is sincere love for Dinah; his "soul is drawn to" her.

Immediately after treating her with depraved violence, Shechem speaks tenderly to Dinah. Neither this statement, nor the events which happen later, are posed in order to justify Shechem's action in any way. Rape is abhorrent in every time and place. The as-yet-future law of Moses will sentence rapists to either death or a life sentence of financial support (Deuteronomy 22:25–29). The fact that Shechem suddenly loves Dinah does nothing to make the situation more honorable. He is still a man driven beyond self-control by his own desires, even if that desire is now to marry the woman he humiliated.

The following verses will further show that Shechem is a man who feels entitled to get what he wants, no matter what. He expects his powerful father to deliver it to him.