Genesis 34:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 34:8, NIV: "But Hamor said to them, 'My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife."

Genesis 34:8, ESV: "But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife."

Genesis 34:8, KJV: "And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife."

Genesis 34:8, NASB: "But Hamor spoke with them, saying, 'The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage."

Genesis 34:8, NLT: "Hamor tried to speak with Jacob and his sons. 'My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,' he said. 'Please let him marry her."

Genesis 34:8, CSB: "Hamor said to Jacob's sons, "My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife."

What does Genesis 34:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob and his sons are all aware that Dinah has been raped by Shechem (Genesis 34:1–7). That same man stands before them now with his father, Hamor. Jacob's response is unclear, but his sons are outraged and angry. It's also unclear whether Hamor and Shechem know that Jacob and his sons know about the rape. Dinah still has not returned, and is probably being kept at Shechem's house (Genesis 34:26).

The reason for the visit is a request that Dinah be given to Shechem as his wife. Hamor begins to make his pitch for this marriage, as well as for a larger alliance between the two peoples. He starts by revealing that his son Shechem longs, in his soul, for Dinah and requests that she be given as his wife. If Hamor knows Jacob is already aware of the rape, he may be trying to ensure Jacob and his brothers understand that Shechem has real feelings for Dinah and is not merely trying to cover up his crime.

At the same time, Hamor's immediate mention of open trade and marriages sounds very much like a diplomatic plea (Genesis 34:9). It would be a mistake to interpret this as mere friendliness—at least some part of Hamor knows that the situation is volatile.