Genesis 34:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 34:5, NIV: "When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home."

Genesis 34:5, ESV: "Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah. But his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came."

Genesis 34:5, KJV: "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."

Genesis 34:5, NASB: "Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob said nothing until they came in."

Genesis 34:5, NLT: "Soon Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter, Dinah. But since his sons were out in the fields herding his livestock, he said nothing until they returned."

Genesis 34:5, CSB: "Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah, but since his sons were with his livestock in the field, he remained silent until they returned."

What does Genesis 34:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob hears news of his daughter's rape at the hands of the son of the ruler of the city (Genesis 34:1–4). What will this father do? We might like to see him fly into action to avenge her and make this right. Jacob has repeatedly demonstrated, however, that quick and forceful action is not his way. His pattern is to consider all angles and make a careful, often crafty plan to respond to any difficult situation.

So Jacob's first response is to do nothing for the moment. He will wait for his sons to return from tending the livestock in the fields. That deference carries over, however, and it will be Jacob's sons who choose the aftermath.

Does Jacob's passiveness reveal he does not care very deeply for Dinah? Is it because she is the daughter of Leah, not Jacob's favored wife, Rachel? That's not entirely impossible, since Jacob has shown preferences before (Genesis 33:1–3). Or, is Jacob merely waiting to have the full strength of his family before acting? Is he already planning on doing nothing, out of fear of the other people in this area? Scripture is short on details here, so we can't know for certain what thoughts are in Jacob's mind.

Whatever his plan is—or was—Jacob's sons will not be impressed with his inaction.