|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:1-19 Young persons, especially females, are never so safe and well off as under the care of pious parents. Their own ignorance, and the flattery and artifices of designing, wicked people, who are ever laying snares for them, expose them to great danger. They are their own enemies if they desire to go abroad, especially alone, among strangers to true religion. Those parents are very wrong who do not hinder their children from needlessly exposing themselves to danger. Indulged children, like Dinah, often become a grief and shame to their families. Her pretence was, to see the daughters of the land, to see how they dressed, and how they danced, and what was fashionable among them; she went to see, yet that was not all, she went to be seen too. She went to get acquaintance with the Canaanites, and to learn their ways. See what came of Dinah's gadding. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. How great a matter does a little fire kindle! We should carefully avoid all occasions of sin and approaches to it.
Verse 5. - And Jacob heard - most likely from some of Dinah's companions (Patrick), since she herself was still detained in She-chore's house (ver. 26) - that he (Hamor's son) had defiled - the verb here employed conveys the idea of rendering unclean (cf. vers. 13, 27; Numbers 19:13; 2 Kings 23:10; Psalm 79:1; that in ver. 2 expresses the notion of violence) - Dinah his daughter. It was an aggravation of Shechem's wickedness that it was perpetrated not against any of Jacob's handmaids, but against his daughter. Now (literally, and) his sons were with his cattle in the field - perhaps that which he had lately purchased (Genesis 33:19), or in some pasture ground more remote from the city. And Jacob held his peace - literally, acted as one dumb, i.e. maintained silence upon the painful subject, and took no measures to avenge Shechem s crime (cf. Genesis 24:21; 1 Samuel 10:27; 2 Samuel 13:22); either through sorrow (Ainsworth, Calvin), or through caution (Murphy, Lange), or through perplexity, as not knowing how to act (Kalisch), or as recognizing the right of his sons by the same mother to have a voice in the settlement of so important a question (Kurtz, Gerlach), to which undoubtedly the next clause points - until they were come - literally, until their coming.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter,.... That is, that Shechem had defiled her; the report of this was brought him very probably by one of the maids which attended her to the city; for it was hardly to be thought that she should go thither alone, and which must be very distressing to Jacob to hear of: this was his first affliction in his own family, but it was not the only one, nor the last, others quickly followed:
now his sons were with his cattle in the field; he had bought, or in some other hired by him for his cattle, feeding and keeping them, being arrived to an age fit for such service; here they were when the above report was brought to Jacob:
and Jacob held his peace until they were come; neither murmuring at the providence, but patiently bearing the chastisement; nor reflecting upon Leah for letting Dinah go out, or not keeping a proper watch over her; nor saying anything of it to any in the family; nor expressing his displeasure at Shechem, nor vowing revenge on him for it, nor taking any step towards it until his sons were come home from the field; with whom he chose to advise, and whose assistance he would want, if it was judged necessary to use force to get Dinah out of the hands of Shechem, or to avenge the injury done her.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Jacob held his peace—Jacob, as a father and a good man, must have been deeply distressed. But he could do little. In the case of a family by different wives, it is not the father, but the full brothers, on whom the protection of the daughters devolves—they are the guardians of a sister's welfare and the avengers of her wrongs. It was for this reason that Simeon and Levi, the two brothers of Dinah by Leah [Ge 34:25], appear the chief actors in this episode; and though the two fathers would have probably brought about an amicable arrangement of the affair, the hasty arrival of these enraged brothers introduced a new element into the negotiations.
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