Genesis 34:24
And to Hamor and to Shechem his son listened 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Genesis 34:24. Unto Hamor and Shechem hearkened all, &c. — They consented to be circumcised, partly in compliance with their young prince, whom they either feared or loved; and partly in prospect of their own advantage; for which men are frequently willing to expose themselves to great pains and hazards.34:20-31 The Shechemites submitted to the sacred rite, only to serve a turn, to please their prince, and to enrich themselves, and it was just with God to bring punishment upon them. As nothing secures us better than true religion, so nothing exposes us more than religion only pretended to. But Simeon and Levi were most unrighteous. Those who act wickedly, under the pretext of religion, are the worst enemies of the truth, and harden the hearts of many to destruction. The crimes of others form no excuse for us. Alas! how one sin leads on to another, and, like flames of fire, spread desolation in every direction! Foolish pleasures lead to seduction; seduction produces wrath; wrath thirsts for revenge; the thirst of revenge has recourse to treachery; treachery issues in murder; and murder is followed by other lawless actions. Were we to trace the history of unlawful commerce between the sexes, we should find it, more than any other sin, ending in blood.Hamor and Shekem accept the terms, and immediately proceed to carry them into effect. It is testified of Shekem, that he delayed not to do the thing, and that he was more honorable than all his house. They bring the matter before their fellow-citizens, and urge them to adopt the rite of circumcision, on the ground that the men are peaceable, well-conducted, and they and their cattle and goods would be a valuable addition to the common wealth of their tribe. Hence, it appears that the population was still thin, that the neighboring territory was sufficient for a much larger number than its present occupants, and that a tribe found a real benefit in an accession to his numbers. The people were persuaded to comply with the terms proposed. There is nothing said here of the religious import of the rite, or of any diversity of worship that may have existed between the two parties. But it is not improbable that the Shekemites were prepared for mutual toleration, or even for the adoption of the religion of Israel in its external forms, though not perhaps to the exclusion of their own hereditary customs. It is also possible that the formal acknowledgment of the one true God was not yet extinct. Circumcision has been in use among the Egyptians, Colchians (Herodotus ii. 104), and other eastern nations; but when and how introduced we are not informed. The present narrative points out one way in which it may have spread from nation to nation.20. Hamor and Shechem … came unto the gate of their city—That was the place where every public communication was made; and in the ready obsequious submission of the people to this measure we see an evidence either of the extraordinary affection for the governing family, or of the abject despotism of the East, where the will of a chief is an absolute command. They yielded to circumcision, partly in compliance with their young prince, whom they either loved or feared; and partly for the prospect of their own advantage, for which men are frequently willing to expose themselves to great pains and hazards.

All that went out of the gate of his city; all the citizens that went out of the gate, & c., or came in at the gate, as they are described Genesis 23:10 Jeremiah 17:20. For when the chief persons had consented, they could easily persuade or overrule others to comply with them. And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city,.... That is, all the inhabitants of the city who came to the gate of it, upon the summons given them, and departed from thence to their habitations, having a great opinion of their prince and his son; and moved either with awe of them or love to them, and influenced both by their arguments and example, they agreed to what was proposed to them:

and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city; all the men citizens; and not only the adult, and who now went out by the gate of the city, but all their male children likewise were circumcised.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. all that went out of the gate] i.e. all the citizens: cf. “all that went in at the gate,” Genesis 23:10; Genesis 23:18.Verse 24. - And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city. The ready acquiescence of the Shechemites to the proposal of Jacob's sons has not unreasonably been regarded as a proof that they were already acquainted with circumcision as a social, if not religious, rite (Kurtz, Keil, &c.). And every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. Knobel notes it as remarkable that the Hivites were not circumcised, since, according to Herodotus, the rite was observed among the Phenicians, and probably also the Canaanites, who were of the same extraction, and thinks that either the rite was not universally observed in any of these ancient nations where it was known, or that the Hivites were originally a different race from the Canaanites, and had not conformed to the customs of the land (vide Lange in loco). Murphy thinks the present instance may point out one way in which the custom spread from tribe to tribe. The condition seemed reasonable to the two suitors, and by way of setting a good example, "the young man did not delay to do this word," i.e., to submit to circumcision, "as he was honoured before all his father's house." This is stated by anticipation in Genesis 34:19; but before submitting to the operation, he went with his father to the gate, the place of public assembly, to lay the matter before the citizens of the town. They knew so well how to make the condition palatable, by a graphic description of the wealth of Jacob and his family, and by expatiating upon the advantages of being united with them, that the Shechemites consented to the proposal. שׁלמים: integri, people whose bearing is unexceptionable. "And the land, behold broad on both sides it is before them," i.e., it offers space enough in every direction for them to wander about with their flocks. And then the gain: "Their cattle, and their possessions, and their beasts of burden...shall they not be ours?" מקנה is used here for flocks and herds, בּהמה for beasts of burden, viz., camels and asses (cf. Numbers 32:26). But notwithstanding the advantages here pointed out, the readiness of all the citizens of Shechem (vid., Genesis 23:10) to consent to be circumcised, could only be satisfactorily explained from the fact that this religious rite was already customary in different nations (according to Herod. 2, 104, among the Egyptians and Colchians), as an act of religious or priestly consecration.
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