Genesis 34:7
And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had worked folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) He had wrought folly in Israel.—The great anger of Jacob’s sons agrees as completely with the general harshness of their characters as the silence of the father with his habitual thoughtfulness; but it was aroused by a great wrong. The use, however, of the term Israel to signify the family of Jacob as distinguished from his person belongs to the age of Moses, and is one of the proofs of the arrangement of these records having been his work. In selecting them, and weaving them together into one history, he would add whatever was necessary, and in the latter half of this verse we apparently have one such addition.

Genesis 34:7. He had wrought folly — All sin is folly: but some sinful actions are attended with such circumstances of ignorance and thoughtlessness, and are so inimical to our temporal as well as eternal interests, that they peculiarly merit the name of folly. Shechem’s sin is termed folly in Israel, according to the language of after-times; for Israel was not yet a people, but a family only.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.

7. the men were grieved, and … very wroth—Good men in such a case could not but grieve; but it would have been well if their anger had been less, or that they had known the precept "let not the sun go down upon your wrath" [Eph 4:26]. No injury can justify revenge (De 32:35; Ro 12:9); but Jacob's sons planned a scheme of revenge in the most deceitful manner. Because he had wrought folly; that is, wickedness; which howsoever vain men many times esteem their wisdom, by the sentence of the all-wise God is accounted and commonly in Scripture called folly, as Deu 22:21 Joshua 7:15 Judges 19:23 20:6, &c.

In Israel, or, against Israel; either,

1. Against the person, and in or against the family of Israel, a person near and dear to God, and highly honoured by him, and in covenant with God; who therefore esteems the injuries done to Israel as if they were done to himself. See Genesis 12:3 Exodus 23:22 Zechariah 2:8. Or,

2. In or against the church of God, which then was in a manner confined to that family, and which is oft called by the name of Israel. See Deu 22:21 Joshua 7:15. And Moses may here vary the phrase from what was used in Jacob’s time to what was usual in his time, the sense being in both the same, and therefore not altered by such a change.

Which thing ought not to be done; Heb. shall not be done, i.e. should not, &c. But in the Hebrew language words of the future time oft signify duty and decency, as Malachi 1:6 2:7. And the sons of Jacob came out of the field, when they heard it,..... Either by a messenger Jacob sent to them, to acquaint them with it, or by some other hand: however, be it as it will, as soon as they heard of the abuse of their sister, they immediately left their flocks to the care of their servants, and came to their father's tent:

and the men were grieved and were very wroth; they were grieved for the sin committed against God, very probably, as well as for the injury done to their sister, and they were wroth against Shechem the author of it:

because he had wrought folly in Israel, in lying with Jacob's daughter; all sin is folly, being a transgression of the law of God founded in the highest wisdom, and particularly uncleanness, and that branch of it, deflowering a virgin; and this action being committed on Jacob's daughter, whose name was Israel, is said to be "in", or rather "against" Israel (h), to his grief, and to the reproach of him and his family: though these words may be rather the words of Moses, than of the sons of Jacob; or however are expressed not in the language used by them, but in what was in use in the times of Moses, when Israel was the name of a nation and church, whereas it was now but a personal name, and at most but the name of a family; and though this was done to one of the family, yet not in it, but in the house of Hamor or Shechem:

which thing ought not to be done; being against the law and light of nature to do such an action by force and violence, and against the law of nations to suffer it to go with impunity.

(h) "contra Israelem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Calovius; so Ainsworth.

And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter: which thing ought not to be done.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. wrought folly] The word nebâlah denotes “senseless wickedness,” an offence against honour and morality: cf. the use of the word in Deuteronomy 22:21; Joshua 7:15; Jdg 19:23-24; 2 Samuel 13:12.

in Israel] The addition of these words (as in Deuteronomy 22:21; Jdg 20:6; Jdg 20:10; Jeremiah 29:23) is of course an anachronism, when put into the mouth of Jacob; and indicates a time of authorship when this phrase had become proverbial.

ought not to be done] See notes on Genesis 20:9, Genesis 29:26.Verse 7. - And the sons of Jacob (i.e. Leah's children, Dinah's full brothers, for certain, though perhaps also her half brothers) came out of the field when they heard it (Jacob having probably sent them word): and the men were grieved, - literally, grieved themselves, or became pained with anger, the verb being the hithpael of צָעַב, to toil or labor with pain. The LXX. connect this with the preceding clause, ὡς δὲ ἤκουσαν, κατενύγησαν οἱ ἅνδρες, implying that they did not learn of their sister's seduction till they came home - and they were very wroth, - literally, it burned to them greatly (cf. Genesis 31:36; 1 Samuel 15:11; 2 Samuel 19:4:3). Michaelis mentions an opinion still entertained in the East which explains the excessive indignation kindled in the breasts of Dinah's brothers, vie., that "in those countries it is thought that a brother is more dishonored by the seduction of his sister than a man by the infidelity of his wife; for, say the Arabs, a man may divorce his wife, and then she is no longer his; while a sister and daughter remain always sister and daughter" (vide Kurtz, 'Hist. of Old Covenant,' (82) - because he (i.e. Shechem) - had wrought folly. - the term folly easily passes into the idea of wickedness of a shameful character (1 Samuel 25:25; 2 Samuel 13:12), since from the standpoint of Scripture sin is the height of unreason (Psalm 74:22; Jeremiah 17:11), and holiness the sublimest act of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:4) - in (or against) Israel - the word, here applied for the first time to Jacob's household, afterwards became the usual national designation of Jacob's descendants; and the phrase here employed for the first time afterwards passed into a standing expression for acts done against the sacred character which belonged to Israel as a separated and covenanted community, especially for sins of the flesh (Deuteronomy 22:21; Judges 20:10; Jeremiah 29:23), but also for other crimes (Joshua 7:15) - in lying with Jacob's daughter. The special wickedness of Shechem consisted in dishonoring a daughter of one who was the head of the theocratic line, and therefore under peculiar obligations to lead s holy life. Which thing ought not to be done - literally, and so is it not done (cf. Genesis 29:26). Assigned to the historian ('Speaker's Commentary'), or to the hand of a late redactor (Davidson, Colenso, Alford), there is no reason why these words should not have been spoken by Jacob's sons (Keil, Murphy, and others)' to indicate their sense of the new and higher morality that had come in with the name of Israel (Lange). During their stay at Shechem, Dinah, Jacob's daughter by Leah, went out one day to see, i.e., to make the acquaintance of the daughters of the land; when Shechem the Hivite, the son of the prince, took her with him and seduced her. Dinah was probably between 13 and 15 at the time, and had attained perfect maturity; for this is often the case in the East at the age of 12, and sometimes earlier. There is no ground for supposing her to have been younger. Even if she was born after Joseph, and not till the end of Jacob's 14 years' service with Laban, and therefore was only five years old when they left Mesopotamia, eight or ten years may have passed since then, as Jacob may easily have spent from eight to eleven years in Succoth, where he had built a house, and Shechem, where he had bought "a parcel of a field." But she cannot have been older; for, according to Genesis 37:2, Joseph was sold by his brethren when he was 17 years old, i.e., in the 11th year after Jacob's return from Mesopotamia, as he was born in the 14th year of Jacob's service with Laban

(Note: This view is generally supported by the earlier writers, such as Demetrius, Petavius (Hengst. Diss.), etc.; only they reckon Dinah's age at 16, placing her birth in the 14th year of Jacob's service.)

(cf. Genesis 30:24). In the interim between Dinah's seduction and the sale of Joseph there occurred nothing but Jacob's journey from Shechem to Bethel and thence to Ephratah, in the neighbourhood of which Benjamin was born and Rachel died, and his arrival in Hebron (Genesis 35). This may all have taken place within a single year. Jacob was till at Hebron, when Joseph was sent to Shechem and sold by his brethren (Genesis 37:14); and Isaac's death did not happen for 12 years afterwards, although it is mentioned in connection with the account of Jacob's arrival at Hebron (Genesis 35:27.).

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