Genesis 34:1
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bore to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
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(1) Dinah . . . went out to see the daughters of the land.—Those commentators who imagine that Jacob sojourned only twenty years at Haran are obliged to suppose that he remained two or more years at Succoth, and some eight years at Shechem, before this event happened, leaving only one more year for the interval between Dinah’s dishonour and the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites. But even so, if Dinah was now not more than fourteen, there would be left a period of only nine years, in which Leah has to bear six sons and a daughter, with a long interval of barrenness, during which Zilpah was given to Jacob and bears two sons. But besides this impossibility, Jacob evidently remained at Succoth only until he was shalem, sound and whole from his sprain, and Dinah’s visit was one of curiosity, for she went “to see the daughters of the land,” that is, she wanted, as Abravanel says, to see what the native women were like, and how they dressed themselves. Josephus says that she took the opportunity of a festival at Shechem; but as neither her father nor brothers knew of her going, but were with their cattle as usual, it is probable that with one or two women only she slipped away from her father’s camp and paid the penalty of her girlish curiosity. But she would feel no such curiosity after being a year or two at Shechem, so that it is probable that her dishonour took place within a few weeks after Jacob’s arrival there. So, too, Hamor’s words in Genesis 34:21-22 plainly show that Jacob was a new comer; for he proposes that the people should “let them dwell in the land,” and therefore consent to the condition required by them that the Hivites should be circumcised. It would have been absurd thus to speak if Jacob had already dwelt there eight years with no apparent intention of going away.

Genesis 34:1. Dinah, the daughter of Leah, went out — From her father’s house into the city, out of curiosity, there being then, as Josephus asserts, (Ant., lib. 50. c. 20,) a great concourse of people to a feast. It does not appear that she asked, much less obtained, her father’s consent in this: but, to gratify her foolish fancy, put herself out of his protection, and exposed both herself and others to temptation, and that among persons who had no fear of God to restrain them from the most enormous crimes. “She went to see; yet that was not all,” says Henry, “she went to be seen too. She went to see the daughters of the land, but it may be, with some thoughts of the sons of the land too.” It is supposed that she was now only about fifteen or sixteen years of age.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.Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land. The Jewish doctors of a later period fix the marriageable age of a female at twelve years and a day. It is probable that Dinah was in her thirteenth year when she went out to visit the daughters of the land. Six or seven years, therefore, must have been spent by Jacob between Sukkoth, where he abode some time, and the neighborhood of Shekerm, where he had purchased a piece of ground. If we suppose Dinah to have been born in the same year with Joseph, who was in his seventeenth year at the time of his being sold as a bondslave Genesis 37:2, the events of this chapter must have occurred in the interval between the completion of her twelfth and that of her sixteenth year. "Shekem." This name is hereditary in the family, and had taken hold in the locality before the time of Abraham. The Hivite was a descendant of Kenaan. We find this tribe now occupying the district where the Kenaanite was in possession at a former period Genesis 12:6. "Spake to the heart of the damsel." After having robbed her of her honor, he promises to recognize her as his wife, provided he can gain the consent of her relatives. "Shekem spake unto his father Hamor." He is in earnest about this matter. "Jacob held his peace." He was a stranger in the land, and surrounded by a flourishing tribe, who were evidently unscrupulous in their conduct.CHAPTER 34

Ge 34:1-31. The Dishonor of Dinah.

1-4. Though freed from foreign troubles, Jacob met with a great domestic calamity in the fall of his only daughter. According to Josephus, she had been attending a festival; but it is highly probable that she had been often and freely mixing in the society of the place and that she, being a simple, inexperienced, and vain young woman, had been flattered by the attentions of the ruler's son. There must have been time and opportunities of acquaintance to produce the strong attachment that Shechem had for her.Dinah going forth to see the daughters of the country, is abused and defiled by Shechem, son of Hamor, Genesis 34:1,2; who loves her, Genesis 34:3; desires to marry her, Genesis 34:4. Jacob hears it, Genesis 34:5. Hamor treats with Jacob and his sons, Genesis 34:6-12. They answered him deceitfullly, making a condition that all the males of the Shechemites should be circumcised, Genesis 34:13-17. They and their citizens consent to it, Genesis 34:18-23; are circumcised, and, when sore, surprised and murdered by Simeon and Levi; the city is plundered by Jacob’s sons; the women and children are carried away captive, Genesis 34:24-29. Jacob is exceedingly troubled and afraid, Genesis 34:30. They justify themselves, Genesis 34:31.

cir. 1732 From her father’s house into the city, out of curiosity, there being then, as Josephus reports, a great concourse of people to a feast. Thus she put herself out of her father’s protection, and merely out of a vain humour exposed both herself and others to temptation; which was the worse, because it was amongst them that had no fear of God to restrain them from the most enormous crimes. She was now fourteen or fifteen years old.

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob,....

Who is supposed to be at this time about fourteen or fifteen years of age: for that she was but about nine or ten years old is not to be credited, as some compute it (z): she is observed to be the daughter of Leah, partly that the following miscarriage might bring to mind her forwardness to intrude herself into Jacob's bed, and be a rebuke unto her; and partly to account for Simeon and Levi being so active in revenging her abuse, they being Leah's sons: of Dinah it is said, that she

went out to see the daughters of the land; of the land of Canaan, to visit them, and contract an acquaintance with them; and she having no sisters to converse with at home, it might be a temptation to her to go abroad. According to the Targum of Jonathan, she went to see the manners, customs, and fashions of the women of that country, to learn them, as the Septuagint version renders the word; or to see their habit and dress, and how they ornamented themselves, as Josephus (a) observes; and who also says it was a festival day at Shechem, and therefore very probably many of the young women of the country round about might come thither on that occasion; and who being dressed in their best clothes would give Dinah a good opportunity of seeing and observing their fashions; and which, with the diversions of the season, and shows to be seen, allured Dinah to go out of her mother's tent into the city, to gratify her curiosity. Aben Ezra's note is, that she went of herself, that is, without the leave of either of her parents: according to other Jewish writers (b) there was a snare laid for her by Shechem, who observing that Jacob's daughter dwelt in tents, and did not go abroad, he brought damsels out of the city dancing and playing on timbrels; and Dinah went forth to see them playing, and he took her, and lay with her, as follows.

(z) R. Ganz. Tzemach David, par. l. fol. 6. 2.((a) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 21. sect. 1.((b) Pirke Eliezer, c. 38. fol. 42. 2.

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, {a} went out to see the daughters of the land.

(a) This example teaches us that too much liberty is not to be given to youth.

1. Dinah] See Genesis 30:21, Genesis 31:41, from which passages the age of Dinah at the time of Jacob’s flight from Haran may be computed. She was nearly the last of Jacob’s children born in Haran.Verse 1. - And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, - if Dinah was born before Joseph (Genesis 30:21) she was probably in her seventh year when Jacob reached Succoth (Genesis 33:17); but it does not follow that she was only six or seven years of age when the incident about to be described occurred (Tuch, Bohlen). If Jacob stayed two years at Succoth and eight in Shechem (Petavius), and if, as is probable, his residence in Shechem terminated with his daughter's dishonor (Lange), and if, moreover, Joseph s sale into Egypt happened soon after (Hengstenberg), Dinah may at this time have been in her sixteenth or seventeenth year (Kurtz). Yet there is no reason why she should not have been younger, say between thirteen and fifteen (Keil, Lange, Kalisch, Murphy, et alii), since in the East females attain to puberty at the age of twelve, and sometimes earlier (Delitzsch) - went out - it is not implied that this was the first occasion on which Dinah left her mother's tent to mingle with the city maidens in Shechem: the expression is equivalent to "once upon a time she went out" (Hengstenberg) - to see the daughters of the land - who were gathered at a festive entertainment (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 1:21, 1), a not improbable supposition (Kurtz), though the language rather indicates the paying of a friendly visit (Lange), or the habitual practice of associating with the Shechemite women (Bush), in their social entertainments, if not in their religious festivals. Lastly, Esau proposed to accompany Jacob on his journey. But Jacob politely declined not only his own company, but also the escort, which Esau afterwards offered him, of a portion of his attendants; the latter as being unnecessary, the former as likely to be injurious to his flocks. This did not spring from any feeling of distrust; and the ground assigned was no mere pretext. He needed no military guard, "for he knew that he was defended by the hosts of God;" and the reason given was a very good one: "My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds that are milking (עלות from עוּל, giving milk or suckling) are upon me" (עלי): i.e., because they are giving milk they are an object of especial anxiety to me; "and if one should overdrive them a single day, all the sheep would die." A caravan, with delicate children and cattle that required care, could not possibly keep pace with Esau and his horsemen, without taking harm. And Jacob could not expect his brother to accommodate himself to the rate at which he was travelling. For this reason he wished Esau to go on first; and he would drive gently behind, "according to the foot of the cattle (מלאכה possessions equals cattle), and according to the foot of the children," i.e., "according to the pace at which the cattle and the children could go" (Luther). "Till I come to my lord to Seir:" these words are not to be understood as meaning that he intended to go direct to Seir; consequently they were not a wilful deception for the purpose of getting rid of Esau. Jacob's destination was Canaan, and in Canaan probably Hebron, where his father Isaac still lived. From thence he may have thought of paying a visit to Esau in Seir. Whether he carried out this intention or not, we cannot tell; for we have not a record of all that Jacob did, but only of the principal events of his life. We afterwards find them both meeting together as friends at their father's funeral (Genesis 35:29). Again, the attitude of inferiority which Jacob assumed in his conversation with Esau, addressing him as lord, and speaking of himself as servant, was simply an act of courtesy suited to the circumstances, in which he paid to Esau the respect due to the head of a powerful band; since he could not conscientiously have maintained the attitude of a brother, when inwardly and spiritually, in spite of Esau's friendly meeting, they were so completely separated the one from the other.
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