Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land.
prince who has been lifted by the grace of God out of the humiliation of his fear and shame to the height of his favor at the throne of the Most High now reveals his princely power. He takes captive Esau's heart; he blesses him in the name of God, he bestows his gifts upon him. Notice the fruits of Divine discipline in the patriarch.
I. THE THEOCRATIC FEELING IS ALIVE IN JACOB'S HEART. He puts the handmaids first, Leah next, Rachel and Joseph hindermost. He placed them in the order of his own affection; but it represented also the Divine order, for it was in Joseph that the kingdom of God was about to be especially manifested. I have seen thy face," he said to Esau, "as though I had seen the face of God." He saw the favor of God going on before him, and like the sunshine it rested on the face of the enemy, and cast out the darkness and turned it into light.
II. Jacob's entire STEADFASTNESS AS A SERVANT OF GOD and believer in the covenant. Seen in his refusal to mingle his family and people with those of Esau.
III. SPECIAL GRACE MEETS THE TRUE SERVANT. " Succoth is better than Seir;" and it is on the way to "Shalom, peace. There it is that the patriarch finds rest, and builds an altar, calling it " El-elohe-Israel." Not merely an altar to God, but to him who had revealed himself as the faithful God, the God of Israel, the God of his people. - R.
I. THAT THERE IS GREAT DANGER IN A VAIN CURIOSITY OF SEEING THE WORLD. Dinah was curious to know the ways and customs of the surrounding people. This led to a careless intimacy, which ended in accomplishing her ruin. She ought not to have wandered beyond parental control and supervision, nor disregarded the duty of separation from an idolatrous people, and their manners and habits. "Evil communications corrupt good manners." The inhabitants of that country were to the family of Jacob what the present world is to the Christian. It is dangerous to the interests of the soul to indulge in the vain curiosity of knowing the evil ways of the world. What is called " seeing life" may prove, in many cases, to be but tasting death. Familiarity blunts the sense of things sinful, and increases the danger of temptation.
Dinah the daughter of Leah... went out to see.I. SHE CAME.
II. SHE SAW.
III. SHE WAS CONQUERED.
(J. Henry Burn, B. D.)
II. THAT SOME SENTIMENT OF VIRTUE MAY REMAIN IN THOSE ADDICTED TO THE WORST SOCIAL VICES. Shechem, we are told, "loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel." He was willing to make honourable amends, as far as could be, by an offer of marriage. In this he was generous and noble, for lust commonly ends in loathing. Amnon abhors Tamar as before he loved her. But this man desires to cover his fault by marriage, and promises low and fidelity. He had many of the vices of the great and powerful, but was not without some remains of virtue. The conduct of this heathen man is a rebuke to many who dwell in Christian lands.
III. THAT INCREASING TROUBLES MAY FALL TO THE LOT OF GOOD MEN. Jacob now suffered one of the most dreadful calamities that can fall upon a household — the disgrace and ruin of his daughter. When he heard of it he "held his peace," as if stunned by the blow (ver. 5).
(T. H. Leale.)
(J. Trapp.)1. Sad occurrences may be ordered to saints while they sit by God's altar. Worship is not without trial.
2. Religious care of God misplaced doth not exempt parents and children from sad temptations. Jacob worshipped by Shalem, not at Bethel.
3. Mothers' sins Providence may hit in daughters' miscarriages.
4. The children of saints, and specially daughters, may be occasion of great affliction to parents.
5. Wilfulness and wantonness urge on young souls to their own mischief, and grief of parents.
6. Unruly appetites to know the fashions and vain courses of others bring many souls into grievous snares.
7. Vain sights and spectacles in revels and wanton garbs may occasion loss of purity (ver. 1).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. Great men's children are not usually the best; but vile and debauched. So Shechem the son of a prince.
2. Sons of great men are apt to think they may sin by authority; being not restrained.
3. It is a dangerous thing for an innocent damsel to come under the eye of lascivious men.
4. Lustful sight of beauty moveth hearts to take hold of opportunities to enjoy
5. Lust holds fast of its prey, will certainly close with it, humble, and afflict it (ver. 2).
6. Lust layeth out the very soul of man upon its prey desired.
7. Unclean love is the usual fruit of violent and injurious lust.
8. Lust will speak to the heart of any whom it may tempt unto unclean enjoyment (ver. 3).
9. Brutish lust cannot deny the parents' right in ordering children unto marriage.
10. Lust itself will desire God's ordinance of marriage for its own vile ends (ver. 4).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)1. Sad tidings of children's miscarriages and miseries may be brought to gracious parents.
2. Reports and hearing of evil, especially in dear children, strikes deep, through ears, to the hearts of parents.
3. Shechem's violence upon Dinah, or of wicked me-, upon the daughters of the Church, is very sad.
4. Such evils may befall relations while they are honestly employed, and think not of it.
5. Silence in grieving, considering, and bearing such providences, becometh saints.
6. Silence of grieved spirits may well be broken off, when such are present whom they may consult for ease (ver. 5).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
(C. H. M.)
1. The most pious and faithful families may have most fearful mischiefs befall them, as Jacob's had here and elsewhere, and David's many afterwards. The worst miscarriages, through Satan's malice, may happen in the best families.
2. The second inference is, such foul miscarriages fall not out in such godly families but usually there is some sin or other therein, which justly vindicates God's righteousness in permitting such severe judgments to befall them. And it is apparent too in Jacob's case, when this first miscarriage in his house came upon him. It was now some seven or eight years since the Lord brought him back from Haran or Padanaram, yet had he not all this time thought of paying that vow which he made to God when he was going thither (Genesis 28:20, &c.)
3. The third inference is, all needless gaddings abroad are of dangerous consequence to young people, who are unfit to be wholly at their own finding; especially the weaker sex, which may prove strong enough to provoke, but over-weak to resist a temptation.
4. The fourth inference is, if this mischievous miscarriage happened to Jacob's house through the indulgence of the mother in too much cockering her dear and only daughter, this sounds a loud alarm to all over-fond mothers, whose over-strong affections will probably bring over-strong afflictions. And where they do love too much, they may possibly grieve too much; as Leah here, who might read her sin writ upon her punishment.
(C. Ness.)Genesis 30:21); she was intended to be the first cause of her father's sorrow. An interval of six or eight years elapsed between the departure from Mesopotamia and the event here narrated; Dinah had become a blooming maiden; she had reached that age when Oriental virgins attain the full charm of their beauty. During that tong sojourn in Shechem, she formed friendships with the daughters of the natives, and had entered with them into social intercourse. Was this conduct culpable? Was it an offence deserving punishment? It almost appears that it was regarded as such; for she became both an object of violence and the cause of massacre; and, in Biblical history, there exists no misfortune without corresponding guilt. Dinah had preserved in her mind the vocation of her family; she did not comprehend that a perfect separation was indispensable from idolatrous tribes, whose moral reformation could not be expected, whose pernicious example could only infect the Hebrews, and whose doom was sealed on account of their iniquity. She paid the full penalty of her carelessness. She suffered the fate which Sarah and Rebekah encountered in the land of Pharaoh and of Abimelech; she was seen and taken by the son of the prince; but no angel guarded her innocence; no Divine vision shielded her from disgrace; and she fell a victim to Shechem's passion. She did not require that immediate protection which her ancestors had enjoyed; she was a maiden, no wife; her father possessed a piece of land within which he was safe; and she belonged to a numerous family well capable of defending their rights. But Shechem was neither licentious nor frivolous; though he had been ensnared by passion, his heart was not debased, and he was ready to make the only reparation which the circumstances permitted; he loved Dinah; his soul clung to her, and he spoke to her heart; he endeavoured to secure her affection, and wished to make her his legitimate wife; he therefore asked his father to treat for him, and to solicit the consent of her family.
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
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