Genesis 34:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 34:7, NIV: "Meanwhile, Jacob's sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob's daughter--a thing that should not be done."

Genesis 34:7, ESV: "The sons of Jacob had come in from the field as soon as they heard of it, and the men were indignant and very angry, because he had done an outrageous thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing must not be done."

Genesis 34:7, KJV: "And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done."

Genesis 34:7, NASB: "Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard about it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done."

Genesis 34:7, NLT: "Meanwhile, Jacob's sons had come in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob's family, something that should never be done."

Genesis 34:7, CSB: "Jacob's sons returned from the field when they heard about the incident and were deeply grieved and very angry. For Shechem had committed an outrage against Israel by raping Jacob's daughter, and such a thing should not be done."

What does Genesis 34:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Several things are happening in close connection at this point of the story. Jacob hears Dinah has been raped by Shechem (Genesis 34:1–5). He does nothing for the moment, waiting for his sons to return from the field. Hamor and Shechem arrive to talk to Jacob about allowing Shechem to marry Dinah (Genesis 24:6). Now Jacob's sons rush onto the scene.

While working with the livestock, they have heard what happened to Dinah. This might have been via messengers from Jacob or through some other news. Their response is very different from what we were told of Jacob's first reaction. They are enraged about what has been done to their sister. Their view is that Shechem has done an outrageous, disgraceful thing, a thing that "must not be done." There is no sense in the brothers' response that Shechem's actions can be excused under any circumstances.

For the first time, Genesis describes something as being done "in Israel," identifying Dinah's rape as offense not just against her, but against the family and the nation it will become. In one sense, this is a positive development: God's promise to make a distinct people of Abraham's descendants is coming true. In another sense, this is a dangerous moment, as outrage on behalf of Dinah is being mixed with a form of tribal pride. What happens next will create consequences that echo through the rest of history.