Genesis 34:12
Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as you shall say to me: but give me the damsel to wife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Dowry and gift.—The word rendered dowry (mohar) is the price paid to the parents and relatives of the bride, though taking the form of a present. The gift (matthan) was the present made by the bridegroom to the bride herself. Besides this, her relatives were expected to give her presents, and with some tribes of Arabs it is usual even to make over to her the dowry.

Genesis 34:12-13. Ask me never so much dowry and gift — Dowry to her for her portion, according to the ancient custom of men’s buying their wives, Exodus 22:17; and gift to you, either for reparation of the past injury, or in testimony of my respect to you, and desire of her. The sons of Jacob answered deceitfully — Pretending and promising marriages with them upon that condition, which they never intended.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.A conference takes place between the parties. Hamer and Jacob, the parents on both sides, are the principals in the negotiation. The sons of Jacob, being brothers of the injured damsel, are present, according to custom. "Wrought fully in Israel;" a standing phrase from this time forward for any deed that was contrary to the sanctity which ought to characterize God's holy people. Israel is used here to designate the descendants of Israel, the special people. Hamer makes his proposal. "Shekem, my son." These words are a nominative pendent, for which "his soul" is substituted. He proposes a political alliance or amalgamation of the two tribes, to be sealed and actually effected by intermarriage. He offers to make them joint-possessors of the soil, and of the rights of dwelling, trading, and acquiring property. Shekem now speaks with becoming deference and earnestness.

He offers any amount of dowry, or bridal presents, and of gift to the mother and brothers of the bride. It must be acknowledged that the father and the son were disposed to make whatever amends they could for the grievous offence that had been committed. The sons of Jacob answer with deceit. They are burning with resentment of the wrong that "ought not to have been done," and that cannot now be fully repaired. Yet they are in presence of a superior force, and therefore, resort to deceit. "And spake." This goes along with the previous verb "answered," and is meant to have the same qualification "with deceit." The last clause of the verse then assigns the cause of this deceitful dealing. Their speech, for the matter of it, is reasonable. They cannot intermarry with the uncircumcised. Only on condition that every male be circumcised will they consent. On these terms they promise to "become one people" with them. Otherwise they take their daughter, and depart. Our daughter. They here speak as a family or race, and therefore, call Dinah their daughter, though her brothers are the speakers.

12. Ask me never so much dowry and gift—The gift refers to the presents made at betrothal, both to the bride elect and her relations (compare Ge 24:53), the dowry to a suitable settlement upon her. Dowry to her for her portion, according to the ancient custom of men’s buying their wives; of which see Exodus 22:17; and

gift to you, either for reparation of the past injury, or in testimony of my respect to you, and desire of her, as Genesis 24:53. Ask me never so much dowry and gift,.... Or "multiply them exceedingly" (i), fix them at as high a rate as may be thought fit; the "dowry" was what a man gave to a woman at her marriage; for in those times and countries, instead of a man having a portion with his wife, as with us in our times, he gave one to his wife, or to her parents for her; and especially in after times this was used, and became a law in Israel, in the case of a vitiated virgin, see Exodus 22:16; and "the gift" was either of jewels and clothes to the women, or of such like precious things to her brethren and friends, see Genesis 24:53,

and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; determine among yourselves whatever shall be the dowry and gift, and it shall be punctually observed:

but give me the damsel to wife; only agree to that, and I care not what is required of me.

(i) "multiplicate super me admodum", Drusius, Schmidt.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. dowry and gift] The “dowry,” or mohar, is the present made to the parents or relations, cf. Genesis 24:53; Exodus 22:16; 1 Samuel 18:25. The rendering “dowry” hardly, therefore, gives the correct idea to English readers. The “gift,” on the other hand, was the present made by the bridegroom to the bride, as in Genesis 24:53, Genesis 29:18. In Exodus 22:16, as in the present passage, the “dowry” is a payment to the parents as “compensation” for wrong, as well as “purchase-money” for the wife; cf. Deuteronomy 22:28-29.When Jacob heard of the seduction of his daughter, "he was silent," i.e., he remained quiet, without taking any active proceedings (ex. Gen 14:14; 2 Samuel 19:11) until his sons came from the field. When they heard of it, they were grieved and burned with wrath at the disgrace. טמּא to defile equals to dishonour, disgrace, because it was an uncircumcised man who had seduced her. "Because he had wrought folly in Israel, by lying with Jacob's daughter." "To work folly" was a standing phrase for crimes against the honour and calling of Israel as the people of God, especially for shameful sins of the flesh (Deuteronomy 22:21; Judges 20:10; 2 Samuel 13:2, etc.); but it was also applied to other great sins (Joshua 7:15). As Jacob had become Israel, the seduction of his daughter was a crime against Israel, which is called folly, inasmuch as the relation of Israel to God was thereby ignored (Psalm 14:1). "And this ought not to be done:" יעשׂה potentialis as in Genesis 20:9. - Hamor went to Jacob to ask for his daughter (Genesis 34:6); but Jacob's sons reached home at the same time (Genesis 34:7), so that Hamor spoke to them (Jacob and his sons). To attain his object Hamor proposed a further intermarriage, unrestricted movement on their part in the land, and that they should dwell there, trade (ἐμπορεύεσθαι), and secure possessions (נאחז settle down securely, as in Genesis 47:27). Shechem also offered (Genesis 34:11, Genesis 34:12) to give anything they might ask in the form of dowry (מהר not purchase-money, but the usual gift made to the bride, vid., Genesis 24:53) and presents (for the brothers and mother), if they would only give him the damsel.
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