What does Genesis 34:20 mean?
ESV: So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying,
NIV: So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city.
NASB: So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the people of their city, saying,
CSB: So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city.
NLT: and he went with his father, Hamor, to present this proposal to the leaders at the town gate.
KJV: And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
NKJV: And Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying:
Verse Commentary:
Hamor and Shechem have what most people would consider a very difficult proposal to "sell." After Shechem raped Dinah, daughter of Jacob, he sought to marry her. He offered to do anything, and pay any price, for her. Dinah's brothers agreed, but with one extreme condition (Genesis 34:14–16). That stipulation is that all men of the city are to be circumcised. That, or so the brothers claim, would allow Shechem to marry Dinah and other people from the town could intermarry with Jacob's people. They gather the men at the city gate to make their pitch.

Hamor proposed something of an alliance with Jacob during his earlier meeting (Genesis 34:8–10). His hope seems to be that mingling the people of his town with Jacob's family will prevent revenge and add wealth. Most likely, this is part of the proposal he'll explain to the men of the town.

Of course, none of them realize that Dinah's brothers are laying a trap (Genesis 34:13). What they think of as an opportunity for prosperity will quickly become a disaster.
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 5/29/2024 9:17:08 PM
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