But Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have caused me trouble by making me stink in the opinion of the local inhabitants, the Kena‘ani and the P’rizi. Since I don’t have many people, they’ll align themselves together against me and attack me; and I will be destroyed, I and my household.”–Genesis 34:30
So King Hamor and his son Shechem agree to Simeon and Levi’s request to be circumcised, they and their fellow townsmen.
Later on it took some persuading on King Hamor’s part to get the other leaders of his city to agree to such a painful operation.
Sophisticated surgical techniques or painkillers like anesthesia weren’t in existence at the time.
Jagged stone blades were used to perform the operation.
This was going to be painful!
Nevertheless, King Hamor gets the people to agree to his proposal by saying, “Won’t their cattle, their possessions and all their animals be ours?”
Hamor was primarily motivated by the increase in wealth to be had if things went smoothly.
All the leaders finally agree (or acquiesce) and every male in Shechem is circumcised.
Three days later while all the males are writhing in pain from what must have been a very painful operation, we are told that Simeon and Levi descended on the city and systematically began killing all the males who were currently disabled.
First, it was NOT just two men, Simeon and Levi, who killed everybody.
It was the tribes of Simeon and Levi all together who committed this grand massacre.
There is no way only two men would be able to massacre a whole town on their own in such quick fashion and live to tell about it.
I have heard one teacher comment that the murders were probably committed guerrilla style, house-to-house, so that no one knew what was happening until he was the one being killed.
After the slaughter, Dinah is rescued and Jacob’s other sons join in to loot the defenseless city.
Not only did they take the possessions, they took the people as well.
In those days, taking people was how a tribe’s strength and power grew.
The Bible says “you shall reap what you sow“.
As we move further along in the Torah, Jacob will publicly shame Simeon and Levi for the violence they committed by pronouncing the following while on his deathbed:
“Simeon and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.”
This utterance was indeed prophetic!
Notice how it says that both of these tribes would be “scattered” in Israel.
That is indeed what happened!
During the land disbursements that took place in the Promised Land, the tribe of Levi (the Levites) received no allotment of land.
Instead they were assigned to dwell in 48 cities scattered throughout each of the tribal territories.
And Simeon’s tribe would initially be allotted a small piece of territory but was one of the first tribes whose population was swallowed up by another tribe, the Tribe of Judah.
It is also fascinating to note that the primary duties of the Levites would be to “butcher” the sacrificial animals and also serve as armed guards of the temple and its grounds…both jobs were violent and involved the use of sharp swords or knives.
One final point before I close.
The stories in the Bible can be interpreted through different perspectives.
Dinah’s perspective may have been that she was thoroughly taken in by the charms of this local prince and “consented” to Shechem’s overtures until it was too late.
Shechem’s perspective may have been that he had done nothing wrong and acted in accordance with customs of his day and culture.
However, the important question we need to ask ourselves is “What is God’s perspective on this matter?”
The answer is that there is no way God was going to let a marriage bonding between Dinah and Shechem occur.
Joining Jacob’s family with the Hivites would have been the unlawful integration of that which God had already separated and divided.
God has made it clear that He wants His people SEPARATED from the Canaanites.
So spiritually speaking, what occurred was a major violation of the highest order.