← Back
4

Why did Jacob tell his sons, that avenged the rape of their sister while Jacob did nothing, "You make me stink?"

Was he more worried about what others thought of him than God?

Genesis 34:30

KJV - 30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 24 2014 Data Lena Wms

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

22
Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
Dinah went out into the city near where her family settled, alone, likely more than once. She took neither her brothers or her father with her as she mixed in with the society, and faced tragic consequences as Shechem falls for her and rapes her. She would not have been able to marry a jewish boy after this, but Shechem wished to marry her. 

Jacob, after hearing that his daughter had been defiled by Shechem, waited for his sons to return from the field in order to respond (Gen 34:1-5).

He likely waited for his sons because of the manpower. If a fight were to break out, then he would need them. If Shechem had been Jewish, he would need to marry her (Deut 22:28-29), an act Shechem seemed more than willing to do. 

However, as Shechem was not Jewish, Jacob would have to resolve the matter diplomatically.

The fathers then meet to resolve the issue (Gen 34:6-12). Hamor, Shechem's Father, makes an opening overture of peace, saying they may settle in the land, trade, and intermarry. Shechem adds to this by offering any bride price, going well beyond the requirement of Jewish law (Deut 22:28-29).

However, before Jacob can accept this offer of peace or reject it, his sons come up with a 'fake treaty' that they pitch. They offer to accept the terms of peace, but only if all the men of the city are circumcised. (Gen 34:13-17)

Jacob must have thought these were good terms as well, as it meant both that war would be prevented, and that his daughter would be well taken care of. In trust, Hamor and Shechem convince their city to agree to the terms. (Gen 34:18-24)

Yet, in an act of merciless betrayal against this treaty, and in an act of severe rebellion against the justice of God and the authority of their own father, two of the sons of Jacob sneak out and massacre the men of the town when they are at their most helpless (Gen 13:25-26). They loot the city, seizing herds and flocks, women and children (Gen 34:27-29).

Their defense to their father is ironic, "Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?” - as they have just stolen many women and children, whose fate will be as workers and servants, or possibly wives without inheritance rights (concubines).

They also took the choice away from their sister, simply assuming that she would not wish to live with Shechem than actually asking her.

While what Shechem did was wrong, what the sons of Jacob did was worse. They took justice into their own hands (rather than leaving the decision to God or Jacob). Worse yet, they perverted justice by crafting a treaty of peace and then breaking it!

They killed innocent husbands and fathers, depriving countless women and children of livelihood and sending them to the fate of servants and outcasts.

They added crime upon crime, but the biggest thing Jacob took them to task for was making their own people vulnerable. The people of Shechem had welcomed them with trust, offering to let them settle and trade. Yet after the massacre, no other nearby city was likely to welcome them in peace. It was far more likely that the other cities would band against them in war, as Jacob's sons had made themselves a military threat, "odius" to the people of the land (Gen 34:30).

However, after this God comes to reassure Jacob (and actually names him Israel), and promises that his people will increase in number, and that Israel will become a mighty nation. (Gen 35:1-15) They will not be wiped out by other cities.

Despite the actions of the sons of Simeon and Levi, they could not put the plan of God in danger. This is a common occurrence with some of the sons of Jacob - their misdeeds God worked out for good. (Gen 38:1-26, Gen 45:14-11)

Here are some applications:

- Don't be arrogant that you never need others to protect you
- God has placed authorities over us (God, rulers, parents)
- Don't pervert justice (deceit, treaty-breaking)
- Two wrongs don't make 'right'
- Revenge is not equivalent to justice

November 24 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report


4
Data Steven Best Former mil intel analyst, chiropractor & Bible Teacher
Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land," so they might have a clear picture of the results of what they had done. They had made Jacob and his family, as the authorized King James version says, "obnoxious in the eyes of these people", which is the same as saying, "To their noses, we smell really bad." It was imperative to him that they understand the full consequences of their brash actions – "they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house." Certainly the Shechemites would've had marital alliances with their neighbors, so it would be natural for the surrounding tribes to feel the need for retribution on behalf of their relatives, but even more so for fear that the Israelites were, at heart, more barbaric savages than themselves, and, therefore, completely devoid of trust.

However, the spiritual principles involved ran even deeper than this. Certainly Jacob was well aware that Abraham and his children were "blessed to be a blessing"(Genesis 12:2). His purpose was not to reign terror upon the people of the earth, but to point others to the one true God. Rather than seeking vengeance or even justice, when his wells were dug and then claimed by others, Abraham continued digging wells until his enemies grew weary of trying to steal them. As a result, his son Isaac not only received a 100 fold blessing in his crops, but his servants were greatly multiplied, thus allowing him to reopen all the wells stolen from his father (Genesis 26:12-17). Such things cannot be accomplished by vengeful murder or lying, traitorous treaties, without a shred of mercy. Look what it did for Hitler.). Prov 11:6 says "the righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the treacherous will be caught by their own greed (or in this case – lust for vengeance), just as the old Somalian proverb warns, "He who deals treacherously harms himself."

Simeon and Levi, together with their brothers, I believe, missed a great opportunity to convert the idolatrous, barbaric Shechemites to the worship of the one true God. (In fact, they had already agreed to it). Moreover, they lost a stellar opportunity to set a great example of forgiveness and peacemaking. Now, those same people had perished, and the neighbors would be closed off to receiving anything from the Israelites. There is an old East Indian proverb which says, "There is no point in cutting off a person's nose and then giving them a rose" [i.e. they can no longer appreciate its aroma], which nicely parallels many Biblical Proverbs (Prov 18:3; 19). Instead of being a sweet, savory, enticing smell to the olfactory senses of the people, Israel would now be a stink in their nostrils and Jacob's, too. In fact, It was an offense he would never forget, not even on his deathbed, where he said, "Simeon and Levi are brothers and instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. (Gen 49:5-7)

Levi received no inheritance in the land (Deut 18:1; Josh13:14), being scattered throughout Israel, just as Jacob said. However, God's abundant mercy still provided a place of honor, in being priests to the people. Simeon would mix his blood with the Canaanites (Gen 46:10; Ex 6:15) and his tribe dwindled, especially following the sin of Zimri at Bal-peor (Num 25:14; Num 1:22; 26:14). The tribe is conspicuously missing in Moses' blessing of the children of Israel (Deut 33) and was eventually absorbed into Judah. 

We must choose mercy over vengeance, if we want God's blessing. (Matt 5:7)

January 09 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
Header
  1. 4000 characters remaining