Genesis 33 – 34

Genesis 33

Jacob divided his family according to their mothers as Esau approaches

Genesis 33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 33:2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

Jacob came before Esau and bowed seven times in a mark of the greatest respect and submission.  So too, we are to totally submit to and respect our heavenly Father and his Son.

33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Esau forgave and accepted Jacob and welcomed him with joy!

When we have acquired the humility and the sincerely repentant attitude of Jacob; when we have turned from our own ways to faithfully obey God our Father and do HIS will: Then we will be accepted by our merciful Father and welcomed into his spiritual family with great joy!

33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

Jacob presented his family to Esau.

33:5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. 33:6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 33:7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

Then Esau gave back to Jacob his gifts, but Jacob insisted and so Esau took them.  Even so, if we give to our Father in heaven the spiritual gift of faithful service, HE will bless us beyond our present comprehension.

33:8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord. 33:9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

33:10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. 33:11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

Esau then wanted Jacob to rush home to see the family, and Jacob needed to go slowly for the sake of the young in the flocks.  This lambing seems to put the time as early spring.

33:12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. 33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 33:14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

Esau offers help but it is not needed and Esau returns home.

33:15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord. 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

33:17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

Shalem [safety] probably the village of Salim some 2 miles east of Jacob’s well at Succoth.  A place with abundant water.

33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.

33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money. 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael [“God, the God of Israel”].


Genesis 34

The tragedy of Dinah who is the only one of the daughters of Jacob mentioned by name 

Genesis 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Shechem saw Dinah and loved her and took her without the proper approvals of her father and mother.

Our children are to keep the age old and honorable custom of seeking parental approval for marriage, for this is one of the Ten Commandments: Honor thy father and thy mother and marriage is one of the most important decisions that we can make.

34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.

Shechem wanted to marry Dinah and his father sent emissaries to Jacob for that purpose. Jacob waited for his sons to come so as to have a family discussion of the matter for Shechem was a Canaanite.  At the same time it should be noted that Jacob’s sons married Canaanite women (Gen 38:2).

34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him. 34:7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter: which thing ought not to be done.

Hamor did his best to arrange a marriage between Dinah and Shechem and he sought to unite his clan with Jacob’s clan through marriages.

34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. 34:10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 34:11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 34:12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.

Then the sons of Jacob agreed to blend their family with the family of Hamor and then demanded that Shechem be circumcised.  They offered to agree to marry into the family of Hamor to become one family with them, if all his family were circumcised.  This was a great demand but the union of families was a major enticement to Hamor for Jacob was very rich.

At this point we must ask ourselves: What is the value of being circumcised or baptized for the wrong reasons; for some personal reason and not as a real commitment to live by every Word of God?

I must also point out that circumcision means nothing if the person does not keep the whole Word of God. Baptism also means absolutely NOTHING; if we are not zealous to fulfill our baptismal commitment and passionately live by every Word of God.

Do not rely on lies saying I am circumcised or I am baptized therefore I am godly; which is a lie!  We will never have it made it made and we must continually WORK HARD to be counted worthy to receive the birthright of our calling.

Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Genesis 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 34:14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us: 34:15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; 34:16 Then will we give our daughters [plural] unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.

Shechem had himself circumcised with alacrity to gain the hand of his beloved.  This act had nothing to do with conversion and was to gain a bride.

34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son. 34:19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.

Then king Hamor and his son the prince Shechem, encouraged all the men of that city to be circumcised with reports of how rich they would become.  This was a false conversion and was only agreeing to circumcision for monetary gain.

34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 34:21 These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 34:22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 34:23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of their’s be our’s? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.

Then were all the men of the city circumcised because of the word of Jacob and his sons.

34:24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.

Then when the men were still not recovered, Simeon and Levi crept into the city and killed all the males.

34:25 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. 34:26 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.

Then all of Jacob’s sons seeing the deed done, came and spoiled the city.

34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. 34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, 34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.

Then Jacob rebuked them for he feared that all the Canaanites would turn on him for vengeance.

34:30 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.

They justified themselves before their father. 

34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? 

This is a false claim since Shechem was not treating her as a harlot but was deeply desiring to marry her and the deal had been made.  There is much left unsaid here like the desires of the maid. 

This was a horrible situation and it appears that the incident was recorded to illustrate the cruelty of Simeon and Levi.


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  1. Tim, you wrote: “…In other words,their circumcision didn’t count any more for being godly than those of Hamor, Shechem, or the rest of the men in the city…”

    Circumcision did not mean that those circumcised were godly, nevertheless, the sons must have been some pretty good salesmen to convince Hamor and his son, Shechem, to be circumcised. Hamor and Shechem must have been good salesmen too, b/c they convinced many others to be circumcised.

    Circumcision had to do with a covenant that God made with Abraham (Gen 17), and his seed after him, and all those males associated with him. That covenant would be in their flesh for an everlasting covenant as a token of the covenant. It showed who was “of God” and who wasn’t.

    Fortunately or not, Hamor, Shechem, and all associated with them will one day, in the future, say “been there and done that!” How so?

    “Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.” Ezekiel 44:9

    That verse will be fulfilled after they are all resurrected…perhaps even on the eighth day after they “wake up” to live again! God’s Spirit will be poured out at that time: hence a dual circumcision.

    And that baptism? Baptism pictures death, and all of these individuals will have experienced a literal death, and after they’re resurrected will look forward to that circumcision.

    It all makes for an interesting example, among other examples, preserved by God, for our admonition somehow; I guess!

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