CHOOSE YOUR BIBLE VERSION

Genesis 34

New International Version

1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, 'Get me this girl as my wife.' 5 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. 6 Then Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 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. 8 But Hamor said to them, 'My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.' 11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, 'Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I'll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.' 13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. 14 They said to them, 'We can't do such a thing; we can't give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We'll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we'll take our sister and go.' 18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father's family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city. 21 These men are friendly toward us,' they said. 'Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are. 23 Won't their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.' 24 All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised. 25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 'You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be 31 But they replied, 'Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?'
English Standard Version

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the land. 2 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. 3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this girl for my wife.” 5 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. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 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. 8 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. 9 Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.” 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give. 12 Ask me for as great a bride-price and gift as you will, and I will give whatever you say to me. Only give me the young woman to be my wife.” 13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will be gone.” 18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 And the young man did not delay to do the thing, because he delighted in Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most honored of all his father’s house. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people—when every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their livestock, their property and all their beasts be ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will dwell with us.” 24 And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. 25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and plundered. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me stink to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroye 31 But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”
King James Version

1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 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. 3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. 5 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. 6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 7 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. 8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. 13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone. 18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. 25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I s 31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
New American Standard Bible

1 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. 2 When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force. 3 He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, 'Get me this young girl for a wife.' 5 Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done. 8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, 'The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9 'Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 'Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.' 11 Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, 'If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12 'Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.' 13 But Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 They said to them, 'We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 'Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 'But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.' 18 Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor's son. 19 The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 'These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22 'Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 'Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.' 24 All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. 25 Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went forth. 27 Jacob's sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29 and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 'You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I wi 31 But they said, 'Should he treat our sister as a harlot?'
New Living Translation

1 One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the area. 2 But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. 3 But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words. 4 He said to his father, Hamor, 'Get me this young girl. I want to marry her.' 5 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. 6 Hamor, Shechem's father, came to discuss the matter with Jacob. 7 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. 8 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. 9 In fact, let's arrange other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we will give you our daughters for your sons. 10 And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Settle here and trade with us. And feel free to buy property in the area.' 11 Then Shechem himself spoke to Dinah's father and brothers. 'Please be kind to me, and let me marry her,' he begged. 'I will give you whatever you ask. 12 No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it--just give me the girl as my wife.' 13 But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob's sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor. 14 They said to them, 'We couldn't possibly allow this, because you're not circumcised. It would be a disgrace for our sister to marry a man like you! 15 But here is a solution. If every man among you will be circumcised like we are, 16 then we will give you our daughters, and we'll take your daughters for ourselves. We will live among you and become one people. 17 But if you don't agree to be circumcised, we will take her and be on our way.' 18 Hamor and his son Shechem agreed to their proposal. 19 Shechem wasted no time in acting on this request, for he wanted Jacob's daughter desperately. Shechem was a highly respected member of his family, 20 and he went with his father, Hamor, to present this proposal to the leaders at the town gate. 21 'These men are our friends,' they said. 'Let's invite them to live here among us and trade freely. Look, the land is large enough to hold them. We can take their daughters as wives and let them marry ours. 22 But they will consider staying here and becoming one people with us only if all of our men are circumcised, just as they are. 23 But if we do this, all their livestock and possessions will eventually be ours. Come, let's agree to their terms and let them settle here among us.' 24 So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25 But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah's full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem's house and returned to their camp. 27 Meanwhile, the rest of Jacob's sons arrived. Finding the men slaughtered, they plundered the town because their sister had been defiled there. 28 They seized all the flocks and herds and donkeys--everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. 29 They looted all their wealth and plundered their houses. They also took all their little children and wives and led them away as captives. 30 Afterward Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 'You have ruined me! You've made me stink among all the people of this land--among all the Canaanites and Perizzites. We are so few that they will join forces and crush us. I will be ruined, and my entire household 31 'But why should we let him treat our sister like a prostitute?' they retorted angrily.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Leah's daughter Dinah, whom Leah bore to Jacob, went out to see some of the young women of the area. 2 When Shechem--son of Hamor the Hivite, who was the region's chieftain--saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 He became infatuated with Jacob's daughter Dinah. He loved the young girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4 "Get me this girl as a wife," he told his father. 5 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. 6 Meanwhile, Shechem's father Hamor came to speak with Jacob. 7 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. 8 Hamor said to Jacob's sons, "My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. 9 Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Live with us. The land is before you. Settle here, move about, and acquire property in it." 11 Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, "Grant me this favor, and I'll give you whatever you say. 12 Demand of me a high compensation and gift; I'll give you whatever you ask me. Just give the girl to be my wife!" 13 But Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 "We cannot do this thing," they said to them. "Giving our sister to an uncircumcised man is a disgrace to us. 15 We will agree with you only on this condition: if all your males are circumcised as we are. 16 Then we will give you our daughters, take your daughters for ourselves, live with you, and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go." 18 Their words seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man did not delay doing this, because he was delighted with Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most important in all his father's family. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city. 21 "These men are peaceful toward us," they said. "Let them live in our land and move about in it, for indeed, the region is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as our wives and give our daughters to them. 22 But the men will agree to live with us and be one people only on this condition: if all our men are circumcised as they are. 23 Won't their livestock, their possessions, and all their animals become ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us." 24 All the men who had come to the city gates listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all those men were circumcised. 25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords, went into the unsuspecting city, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem's house, and went away. 27 Jacob's sons came to the slaughter and plundered the city because their sister had been defiled. 28 They took their flocks, herds, donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 They captured all their possessions, dependents, and wives and plundered everything in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me, making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. We are few in number; if they unite against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed." 31 But they answered, "Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?"

What does Genesis 34 mean?

Jacob and his family have settled within sight of the city of Shechem. They've purchased the land they occupy outside of the city from the city's ruler, Hamor (Genesis 33:18–19). These "Israelites" have found a home. Eventually, though, things go terribly wrong between the Shechemites and Jacob's family.

One day when Jacob's daughter Dinah has gone to the city to socialize with the women of Shechem, Hamor's son, also called Shechem, sees Dinah. He grabs her and rapes her. Then language of the text make it clear this was not seduction, or something consensual. Then, perversely, he decides he loves her and wants her for his wife. He demands that his father Hamor make that happen (Genesis 34:1–4).

This ignites a series of devastating events. First, Jacob learns of the rape but takes no immediate action. Instead, he waits for his now-grown sons to return from the fields where they were working. As soon as news reaches them, Jacob's sons are livid. In their fury, they express that such a thing must not be done "in Israel." This is the first time that Jacob's new, God-given name is used in reference to a distinct group of people (Genesis 34:5–7).

Hamor and Shechem arrive and begin to negotiate for Dinah to be Shechem's wife. It's not clear if Hamor and Shechem know that Jacob and Dinah's brothers know about the rape. If they do, they do not express any remorse. Rather, everything from these two men is framed in terms of material wealth. Hamor suggests Jacob's family and the people of the city intermarry. This would make them a single, prosperous people. His son Shechem, though, wants to focus on Dinah. He tells Jacob and his sons to name any bride price to allow him to marry her (Genesis 34:8–12).

We're told nothing of Jacob's response. In fact, Scripture records nothing from him until the aftermath has become bloody. Instead, his sons seem to take over the negotiation, likely led by Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers by Leah. Their response shows they have learned from their father's example. They hatch a deceitful scheme to take their revenge on Shechem (Genesis 34:13).

Jacob's sons claim Dinah may marry Shechem, and that all their family may intermarry with the people of the city. They establish one condition, however: all the men of Shechem would have to be circumcised as the men of Jacob's family were. This is the ritual removal of the foreskin from the penis. Performed on an adult, it's simple but painful. If the men of Shechem won't be circumcised, they threaten to take their sister—possibly by force—and leave the area (Genesis 34:14–17).

Perhaps surprisingly, Hamor and Shechem immediately agree. Shechem wants to have Dinah for his wife very badly and this passage indicates he has little self-control. His father seems focused on the financial opportunity presented by intermarrying with Jacob's family. And, this would mean keeping his impulsive son safe from the consequences of his own actions. Together, they gather all the men of the city and make their pitch: If we all get circumcised, we will all end up much wealthier. They do not directly mention the rape or Shechem's desire to marry Dinah. The men of Shechem agree and undergo the ritual surgery (Genesis 34:18–24).

In this era before modern pain management, adult circumcision was painful and debilitating. While the site was healing, a circumcised man could expect to be very sore and restricted in his movement. Jacob's sons counted on that when forming their revenge plot. While the men of the city are handicapped, Levi and Simeon lead an assault on the city, slaughtering all the adult males. They also retrieve Dinah and kill Hamor and Shechem. Next, the rest of Jacob's sons enter the city and gather up the Shechemites' livestock, money, possessions, wives, and children (Genesis 24:25–29).

Jacob reappears in the narrative, quite angry. But his response makes no mention of Dinah's abuse or the brutal trickery of his sons. Rather, he condemns Levi and Simeon for ruining his reputation with the other Canaanite people. Ever-fearful, Jacob sees himself now exposed to attack from the people of the land. Levi and Simeon answer with a pointed, accusing question: should we have allowed our sister to be treated like a prostitute (Genesis 34:30–31).

As it turns out, the response of the surrounding people will not be anger, but fear. At least from now until the time Jacob's family moves into Egypt, the Canaanites will treat Israel with extreme caution (Genesis 34:5).