Genesis 34:14
And they said to them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach to us:
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Genesis 34:14. We cannot give our sister to one who is uncircumcised — They were not prohibited from doing this by any law yet in force, as the examples of Isaac and Jacob show, who both married the daughters of uncircumcised persons; and therefore they do not here reject the proposal as simply unlawful, but only as dishonourable and reproachful. Religion is too often pleaded for the vilest practices.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.

13. The sons of Jacob answered—The honor of their family consisted in having the sign of the covenant. Circumcision was the external rite by which persons were admitted members of the ancient Church. But that outward rite could not make the Shechemites true Israelites; and yet it does not appear that Jacob's sons required anything more. Nothing is said of their teaching the people to worship the true God, but only of their insisting on their being circumcised; and it is evident that they did not seek to convert Shechem, but only made a show of religion—a cloak to cover their diabolical design. Hypocrisy and deceit, in all cases vicious, are infinitely more so when accompanied with a show of religion; and here the sons of Jacob, under the pretense of conscientious scruples, conceal a scheme of treachery as cruel and diabolical as was, perhaps, ever perpetrated. There was no such law yet in force, as the examples of Isaac and Jacob show, who married the daughters of uncircumcised persons; and therefore they do not here reject it as simply unlawful, but only as dishonourable and reproachful. And they said unto them,.... Levi and Simeon, to Hamor and Shechem:

we cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; not that there was any law against it at that time; and there were, on the other hand, precedents for it both in Isaac and Jacob, who had married the daughters of uncircumcised persons; nor indeed do they plead any law, only that it was not becoming their character, nor agreeably to their religion, nor honourable in their esteem:

for that were a reproach unto us; and they should be reflected upon for slighting the institution of circumcision, which was of God: so they pretend it might be interpreted, should they enter into affinity with uncircumcised persons.

And they said unto them, {c} We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a {d} reproach unto us:

(c) They used the holy ordinance of God a means to accomplish their wicked purpose.

(d) As it is abomination for those who are baptized to be joined to infidels.

14. uncircumcised] The passage contains the interesting and early tradition, that circumcision was not practised by the Canaanite dwellers in Shechem. On the widespread prevalence of this rite, see note on ch. 15. In J and E, Israelite circumcision is specially connected with the names of Moses and Joshua (Exodus 4:25; Joshua 5:2). The peculiar treachery of Jacob’s sons is made to turn upon their insistence on the sacred national rite of circumcision. The condition which Shechem, in Genesis 34:19 (J), undertakes to satisfy, is not explained, in view of E’s account (Genesis 34:13-18).

a reproach] Compare the similar expression in Joshua 5:9, where it appears that the Egyptians reproached the Israelites for their neglect of circumcision.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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