The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with deceit, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister, and said to them, “We can’t do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised; for that is a reproach to us. Only on this condition will we consent to you. If you will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised; then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if you will not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our sister, and we will be gone.”
Their words pleased Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. The young man didn’t wait to do this thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter, and he was honored above all the house of his father. Hamor and Shechem, his son, came to the gate of their city, and talked with the men of their city, saying, “These men are peaceful with us. Therefore let them live in the land and trade in it. For behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people, if every male among us is circumcised, as they are circumcised. Won’t their livestock and their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let us give our consent to them, and they will dwell with us.”
Somehow, the sons of Jacob responded without Jacob. I have no idea how that happened and the Bible doesn’t tell us here. What we do know is that what they said to Schechem and Hamor was “with deceit.” They had a hidden agenda as we read about next. They weren’t the only ones with a hidden agenda, however.
Schechem and Hamor told the people of their city that if they would do what was asked, they would be able to take over all of Jacob’s property. This brings up an interesting social strategy that has been used many times in history. Women, although they are often mistreated in many cultures, have the power to overthrow a culture. They are capable of moving their husbands and families in a direction that the husband would not have gone on his own. In this way, the Hivites could have actually destroyed God’s plan.
I don’t believe that deception was the right thing to do. God wants us to act like He does. He has no need to deceive and neither did Jacob’s sons. So, what we have here are two bad things happening. I think the Bible is clear that God was not in agreement with Jacob’s sons’ plan.