Please turn to Genesis 34:1-31. In Genesis 33, we read that Jacob bought land from the sons of Hamor. His summons from God was to go to Bethel, but Shechem, about a day's journey short of Bethel stood attractively at the crossroads of trade.

Chapter 34 shows us the cost of Jacob’s decision. This passage can easily be divided into three sections. In verses 1-5, Moses describes the circumstances surrounding the violation of Jacob and Leah’s daughter, Dinah. Then, in verses 6-19, we read that Hamor, the father of Shechem, comes to Jacob and makes a proposal not only for a marriage between Dinah and Shechem, but a marital treaty between Jacob's family and the Canaanites living in the region. Finally, in verses 20-31, we see Hamor and his sons argue to their community the reasonableness of the request that they be circumcised, and we read about the brutal and immoral vengeance which Simeon and Levi committed against this whole town.  



I. Consequences of disobedience. 

In Genesis 34:1-5, we read about the violation of Dinah. After reviewing Jacob’s decision to remain in Shechem as recorded by Moses in Genesis 33:18-20, we see the consequences of his disobedience. Dinah went out, apparently without parental permission and without accompaniment, to view how other women lived in the region. While Dinah was exploring the area, Shechem, who was the son of the local tribal ruler, saw her and “he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her” as recorded in Genesis 34:2. Because he had very strong feelings for her, Shechem approached his father and requested his assistance in obtaining her hand in marriage from Jacob.

When word comes to Jacob of this event, he gives virtually no reaction. He is silent. His sons are in the field and so he simply waits. Needless to say, this situation inaugurated a crisis in Jacob's relationship with the local people. But the important thing to see here is his failure to carry through on his duty which places him in a situation in which he is tempted to sin and susceptible to its consequences. Derek Kidner says it this way: "By halting his own pilgrimage, Jacob endangered others who were more vulnerable than himself." Thus, we see that the consequences of Jacob's disobedience greatly affects his family. 



II. Hamor's marriage proposal. 

In Genesis 34:6-19, Hamor makes a proposal of marriage to Jacob between Shechem and Dinah. He also asks for a marital treaty between Jacob's clan and his tribe. Specifically, Hamor suggests that Shechem loves Dinah and that general intermarriage will be beneficial to Jacob and his family. But Jacob's sons were enraged and indignant at the way their sister had been treated. And even though they sit there and participate in the negotiations, Moses lets us know in verse 13 that from the very beginning they were planning to extract revenge against Hamor and Shechem and the whole tribe. It is also important to note that in the proposal for intermarriage, we come face to face with the danger of compromise in Canaan. When we intermarry with unbelievers, we sow unbelief with belief. That kind of compromise always brings spiritual disaster and potential danger as seen here in verses 6-19.



III. The Schechemite response. 

In Genesis 34:20-31, we read about the Shechemites response to the proposal from the sons of Jacob. Hamor and Shechem appeal to their kinsmen and they stress the benefits of this arrangement in verses 20-23. Moses has already told us of the deceitfulness of the sons of Jacob in verse 13, and he describes their vile crime in verses 25-29.  On the third day after the circumcision procedure, Simeon and Levi killed Hamor and his son, Shechem, and all of the other males in the city. Then, they recaptured Dinah. Finally, they looted everything valuable and took the women and children as captives. When Jacob finally heard of the deed, he seemed more concerned about his own welfare than the moral wrong done by his sons and their dishonoring of God and His covenant. But his sons still persisted in defending their immoral behavior, even after Jacob argued with them about it.  

There are several important observations to make from this passage. First, it is important to note their abuse of the holy. Simeon and Levi used the sign of the covenant and their word of promise that they were going to enter into a covenant relationship with the Shechemites to cover for their particular crime. It is a reminder to us about the exceeding wickedness of using things which God has given us for our own purposes. Even though they were to be distinct from the nations and not to intermingle with the nations, the purpose of their distinctness was so that they would be a blessing to the nations and lead the nations into a relationship with the one true God. In these verses, we see the people of God simply exploiting those who were around them. 

Secondly, this passage very clearly reveals for us the sinfulness of believers. The Bible never attempts to hide the failings and the wickedness of those who profess to believe in the one true God. Scripture does not do that because it is very important for us to be realistic about the potential for the sins of even those who profess faith in Christ. This passage reveals to us the depth of sin to which professing believers are capable of stooping. 

Thirdly, this passage shows us the truthfulness of the Scriptures. Jim Boice says, "Whenever the Bible contains material that reflects so badly, not merely upon the general sins of humanity, but upon the particular wickedness in the hearts and lives of God's people, this is evidence of the divine and not merely the human origin of the Scriptures." The Bible is brutally faithful in recording the sins of even the greatest of God's people. 

Jacob's reaction to this sinful situation in chapter 34 is disappointing. He has gone from a moment in which God fulfilled every promise to him in bringing him together and reconciling him to Esau peacefully, to disobeying God and falling short of the obedience and of the call that God had given to him. However, Jacob's perspective on this incident apparently changed when he was on the edge of eternity. In Genesis 49:5-7, we read that Jacob had a very different perspective because he was looking at this deed the way that God looked at the deed. Perhaps the whole deed itself is representative of the way that Jacob had allowed his family and himself to be conformed to the ways of those around him. As hard as it is to read, this passage is a warning to all of us not to abuse the blessings of God for our own ends and a reminder that we all need the forgiveness and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.