Jacob’s Family (4)
And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father
deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
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.
Read Genesis 34:7-17
Jacob’s sons responded differently to Dinah’s humiliation than their father
did. His sons, responded quite vehemently. They were not only shocked
but also very angry because their honour as a family had been assaulted.
However, Dinah’s brothers covered their true emotions as they spoke with
Shechem and his father. Shechem, wanted to marry Dinah. Moreover, Dinah
had agreed to it, so the whole tenor of their visit was to regulate everything
in good harmony. This attitude could only end Jacob’s sons’ favor!
In a seemingly harmless way, the sons of Jacob play along with Shechem’s
wishes; they see advantages in this development. Sure, there is a bump in
the road, but this does not have to be problematic. If their families were to
become one, it meant that all the men and boys of Shechem would have to be
circumcised. This proposal touched the center of their identity, for the sign
of circumcision separated the house of Jacob from the world. It was Jacob’s
calling to protect this boundary, but though the proposal of his sons would
break this boundary, Jacob remained silent. Shechem, it seems, could also
share in God’s covenant. How was this possible!?
Perhaps you wonder how Jacob could have gotten to the point where he
remained silent while his sons were sinning. Well, in Genesis 33:19, 20, we
read that Jacob bought a piece of land from Hamor, the father of Shechem.
He no longer wanted to travel but settled on the land. The pilgrim traveler
became assimilated with his neighbors. Jacob should have considered the
promises of God and the obedience they required, but he did not. Should he
not have lived with holiness before God as well as among his fellow man?
Thought: By baptism God has called you to be separate you from the world,
to live completely for Him.
Psalter 104:5,6,9 (based on Psalm 39)
Man’s life is passed in vain desire If troubled years be spent for gain;
He knows not whose his wealth shall be, and all his toil is but in vain.
And now, O Lord, what wait I for? I have no hope except in Thee;
Let not ungodly men reproach. From all transgression set me free.
Lord, hear my prayer, regard my cry, I weep, be Thou my comforter;
I am a stranger here below, A pilgrim as my fathers were.