“Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him just as Jacob’s sons were coming in from the field. When they heard what had happened, the men were saddened and were very angry at the outrage this man had committed against Isra’el by raping Jacob’s daughter, something that is simply not done.“-Genesis 34:6-7
Verse 7 refers to what Shechem did to Dinah as “something that is simply not done“.
To put it simply, what had happened between Shechem and Dinah was illegal in the Middle East.
Normally, the perpetrator would have to pay a steep penalty to the family of the girl for damages done.
The damages were that it was practically impossible for a girl to find a suitable husband because she had lost her virginity.
This is serious business that had occurred.
Now I am aware that some scholars state that Dinah wasn’t actually “raped”.
While there may have been an element of consent on Dinah’s part, the text does say that Shechem “took her, raped her and humiliated her”.
These are pretty strong words.
Robert Alter, the American professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, had this to say:
“saw…took…lay with….abused. As elsewhere in Genesis, the chain of uninterrupted verbs conveys the precipitousness of the action. “Took” will become another thematically loaded reiterated term. “Lay with” is more brutal in the Hebrew because instead of being followed by the preposition “with” (as, for example, in Rachel’s words to Leah in 30:15), it is followed by a direct object-if the Masoretic vocalization is authentic-and in this form may denote rape.” -The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary
So soon after Shechem tells his father “take this girl for me, I want her to be my wife“.
It should be noted that the word “take” in this sentence is the same word used in the sentence where it says Shechem “took her, raped her and humiliated her” and is the same word that is used in verse 17 when Jacob’s sons threaten to “take” Dinah away if the townsmen refuse to be circumcised.
So King Hamor with his son Shechem go to out to meet Jacob to quickly repair matters.
What we notice in these verses is that the King offers a much higher than normal bride-price for Dinah.
This was not done out of a sense of guilt or moral responsibility.
He was legally obligated to pay because since Dinah was no longer a virgin she was now ruined.
I don’t sense any sorrow or repentance in the King’s attitude here.
I sense an arrogant man throwing his wealth at Jacob to fulfill his son’s fleshly desires.
On top of that, what really enraged Jacob’s sons was that King Hamor never once mentioned the indiscretion his son had committed against Dinah.
It was like it had never occurred.
Keep in mind, that during this whole exchange Dinah was being held like a hostage inside the city.
This may be one reason why the King was confronting Jacob in such an arrogant manner.
The brothers, holding their seething rage inside, tell King Hamor and his son Shechem that there is no way they can hand over Dinah to them unless all the men in the city become circumcised.
This would make sense because it was forbidden for any person to become a member of Israel without being circumcised.
The King and Shechem accept this condition and return to the city totally unaware that they have just signed their death warrant.