Day 143: A Study In Temptation

Genesis 34:1-12

Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, and humbled her. His soul joined to Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young lady, and spoke kindly to the young lady. Shechem spoke to his father, Hamor, saying, “Get me this young lady as a wife.”

Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah, his daughter; and his sons were with his livestock in the field. Jacob held his peace until they came. Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to talk with him. The sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it. The men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had done folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; a which thing ought not to be done. Hamor talked with them, saying, “The soul of my son, Shechem, longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. You shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Live and trade in it, and get possessions in it.”

Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you will tell me I will give. Ask me a great amount for a dowry, and I will give whatever you ask of me, but give me the young lady as a wife.”

Here we read that Jacob’s family troubles continue, this time by the way of one of his daughters. Dinah decided to check out the local women. The Bible doesn’t say why, but it reminds me of the tempting seduction that the world has on women in the area of fashion and beauty. It would be easy and perhaps even appropriate to blame Jacob for moving his family too close to the Hivites, as Jacob already knew how much trouble they had gotten his own brother into, but Dinah has some responsibility here too, I believe. God made us to be content with what He has given us, but in our sin, we long for what we don’t have. This is the sin of covetousness.

The Hivites were not believers in God and Shechem was all too willing to violate Dinah and sweet talk her. Shechem felt something for Dinah and he desired to take her as a wife. He wanted her so much that he was willing to pay a huge amount for her. There is a serious problem here though that kind of surprised me.

Remember how I mentioned that Genesis is written as a historic record and not really as a moral story book? God made an exception here and this makes me pay very close attention. God wrote through Moses here in Genesis that what Schechem did was “a thing which ought not to be done.” This tells me that there was to be no mirage and no recognition of anything about this situation except the fact that a sin had taken place. It is very clear that sexual sin stands out to God, especially this kind.

In this case, a non believer in God was joined with a believer. Dinah was not to be joined to an enemy of God just as Esau should not have taken foreign wives. God hates it enough that he went out of His way in Genesis to mention it. Notice, however, the deception of this temptation.

Schechem had strong feelings for Dinah and it sounds like Dinah may have even liked his sweet talk. After all, he was willing to pay a lot for her. No matter what they felt like, however, it was something that God said should not have been done. God is the one who decides what is right and wrong, not our strong feelings. We are the ones who are confused by sin and need to rely on God to help us not to get into trouble. I am quite certain that Dinah’s life as Schechem’s wife would not have turned out well at all, no matter how it seemed.

Then there’s Jacob. A man has just come to offer a great amount of money for a daughter from his less-than-favorite wife. It would have been most appropriate for Jacob to deny it immediately, but the Bible is silent about his reaction. Was he considering it? I don’t know, but perhaps Jacob was confused. I know that when my walk with the Lord is not strong, I get easily confused. Perhaps Jacob could not see which way to turn.

The fact is that Israel was never to join with the Hivites. God was against this without any doubt. God does not want Christians to give in to sexual sin or to marry non-Christians today. We are to stay far away from it no matter what it seems or feels like to us.