Genesis 34: Don’t Fight Fire with Fire

Genesis chapter 34 shows what can happen when people take vengeance too far into their own hands.

All of the sons of Jacob were upset that their sister, Dinah, had been “defiled” (I love using my KJV vocabulary) by Shechem. Obviously, Shechem should not have done that, but when he came to the family to ask if he could marry Dinah, he was basically handed an ultimatum.

Gen 34:15  But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;

Gen 34:16  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.

Gen 34:17  But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.

Even though this whole procedure is definitely unpleasant, Shechem really wanted to marry Dinah, so he consented. However, as we find out later, this was really a plot that led to his own demise.

Gen 34:24  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.

Gen 34:25  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.

Gen 34:26  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.

Simeon and Levi were incredibly upset about this entire process, so they decided that they were going to catch all of the men of the land at a weak moment and kill all of them.

The rest of their brothers came along and ruined the rest of the city. They also brought back all of their possessions as almost spoils of war.

Jacob wasn’t especially thrilled with this situation.

Gen 34:30  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 shall be destroyed, I and my house.

Jacob was thinking that the other people around would like to avenge Hamor and Shechem. In fact, he realized that he didn’t have enough soldiers to fight off this type of hypothetical attack.

Simeon and Levi really didn’t have a lot to say in response.

Gen 34:31  And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

They started from an accurate premise. Obviously, Shechem should have done the right thing. He was obviously wrong in the first place, and it is not all right to excuse sin.

However, we are also not supposed to take vengeance into our own hands.

Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

It is not wrong for Simeon and Levi to want to defend their sister’s honor. However, coming up with a devious plot that eventually leads to murder is not how we should deal with this type of situation.

The next two verses in Romans tell us how we are supposed to react when people do things to us that we really don’t like.

Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Rom 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The end of verse 21 virtually sums it up. We are not supposed to use evil to fight evil. Rather, we are supposed to do good to those that harm us and let God take care of the rest. I know, that is easier said than done, but it is not impossible.

Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Posted on August 25, 2012, in Genesis and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is a very helpful comparison, Zak, between the Old and New Testaments; plus a great lesson for us to remember whenever our emotions tell us to trust in ourselves and our own judgment rather than in God and His.

  2. That is exactly right. Thank you for commenting!

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