Thursday, February 9, 2017

Genesis 34:25-31 comments: a massacre

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. 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. 27  The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28  They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 29  And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 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. 31  And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Simeon and Levi were the two who did the slaughter. You might assume that they had the help of their many servants, as Abraham did in his rescue of Lot. The third day is a recurrent thread throughout the Bible as a significant time elapsing between two things.

On the third day God created dry land and plant life, food for man and beast, in Genesis 1. Abraham saw where he thought he was supposed to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22. It on that day that Laban realized Jacob had escaped in chapter 31. So, while it is hard to connect these four events as having a relationship with each other we do know that God separated land from ocean in chapter 1, that God separated Abraham for Himself in chapter 22 by his willingness to obey, and Jacob’s separation from Laban, a type of the world and a type of antichrist, was revealed on the third day. Here, in this chapter, there is no going back. Jacob’s sons will not become merged with the Canaanites. This act forever seals their separation and the understanding of them as a dangerous people.

In this regard the third day shows an action which separates one from the other, as Christ rises on the third day forever separating His own people from the fate of unbelieving mankind.

But here we also see that Simeon and Levi steal the wealth and the families of the men they’ve killed as plunder. This has not been commanded by God and is condemned, but not very strongly, by Jacob. Certainly, this city would have been of no more size than a small town by our standards today but, nevertheless, circumstances and the young men’s lust for revenge have placed Jacob’s family in grave peril. Jacob fears a union of Canaanite city-states that could wipe out his family and servants. His sons demanded revenge for a wrong done to them as a proud family.

Please note that these Canaanite children and women are now added to the servants that Jacob and his family have with them.

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