What does Genesis 34:13 mean?
ESV: The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
NIV: Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob's sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.
NASB: But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
CSB: But Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
NLT: But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor.
KJV: And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
NKJV: But the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father, and spoke deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.
Verse Commentary:
Shechem has raped Dinah, Jacob's daughter (Genesis 34:1–5). Now Shechem stands before the family, including Jacob's sons, suggesting they name their price to allow Shechem to marry Dinah. His father Hamor, also, has suggested establishing marriages and trade between their groups. Underneath all of this, presumably, is an attempt to keep Shechem from facing the consequences of his crime, and averting revenge from Jacob's powerful family (Genesis 34:6–12).

Jacob's sons remain outraged. They want nothing more than revenge against Shechem. However, Dinah remains in Shechem's city, perhaps being held against her will (Genesis 34:26). Rather than take immediate action, Dinah's brothers will follow their father's pattern of deceit and scheming in the face of crisis. Jacob practiced trickery (Genesis 25:29–34), saw it modeled by his mother (Genesis 27:15–18), and has now passed it on to his children. It is a practice that will plague Israel for many years to come.

In this case, the deceitful scheme is meant to punish their sister's rapist; this is a motivation we would find easy to empathize with. However, what follows is clearly not about justice, or holding Shechem accountable. The plot Dinah's brothers lay out results in a much wider swath of death and destruction.
Verse Context:
Genesis 34:13–31 describes the response of Jacob's sons to the rape of his daughter, Dinah. The rapist, Shechem, has asked for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers suggest that if the men of the town will be circumcised, they will agree to marriages between the two groups. Shechem and his father, Hamor, gladly agree to these terms. But this is a trap. While the men are still sore from circumcision, Simeon and Levi spring an attack, killing all the men and looting the town. Jacob is afraid this will bring retaliation from the Canaanite and Perizzite people. His sons, however, are adamant that their actions were justified.
Chapter Summary:
Jacob's family has settled within sight of the city of Shechem. Dinah, Jacob's daughter by Leah, is raped by the son of the city's ruler Hamor, also named Shechem. Shechem decides he loves Dinah and wants to marry her. Dinah's brothers are outraged. Hamor and Shechem, however, ask for Dinah to be given to Shechem as a wife and for their people to intermarry. Jacob's sons pretend to agree, provided the men of the city are circumcised. Instead, while the town's men are recuperating, Dinah's brothers by Leah, Levi and Simeon, lead a slaughter of all the men of the city.
Chapter Context:
With the blessing of the Lord, Jacob has survived his reunion with his brother Esau and settled his family in the land of Canaan, in a city called Shechem. Some time passes and then Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped by the son of the ruler of the city. To exact revenge and defend their sister's honor, Jacob's sons trick the men of the city into being circumcised and then slaughter all of them when they are recovering, plundering all the wealth of the people. This creates fear in the local Canaanite communities, who avoid future confrontation with Jacob's family.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
Accessed 5/21/2024 12:00:42 PM
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