From Rape to Genocide [Genesis 34-37]

Hello, Scroll Eaters! I’d like to apologize for not getting today’s post up on time, but I’ve been a little on the ill side. Better late than never, so here we go.

One of the best movie villains in recent history is Keyser Söze, one of the most ruthless men ever depicted on the screen. (For the record, the film is called The Usual Suspects and is rated R, and very much earns the rating.) I bring up Keyser Söze because the passage today reminds me of him.

Dinah went to town to visit friends, got raped, and the moron rapist then wanted to marry her. Seriously. Even in the era when women had no rights, the Shechem family thought they could still buy her for his wife no matter how much the dowry. It was a simple economic decision for them: “Let’s intermarry; it’s good for everyone!” They messed with the wrong family.

Dinah’s eleven brothers go along with the plan while Dinah’s stuck in the town with Shechem, and probably being “forced to perform the act of marriage” with him. On the third night, Simeon and Levi sneak into the town after everyone’s sleeping and go house to house, killing all the men. They took Dinah home, then the other nine brothers joined up and looted the town. They take the women, children, and all the livestock, and take them back to Jacob.

Jacob understood where they were coming from but realized that they were about to get some retribution as well. Sure enough, God tells them it’s time to leave this area and go to Bethel to live. My favorite part of the account is Genesis 35:5 (NASB): “As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.” I’m literally smiling as I write this, but I love how word had spread about the sons of Jacob taking out a whole town and looting it, and so every town was scared of this family – no one tried to exact revenge on them.

God will address this type of vengeance with a law in Leviticus 24:19-21. Contrary to a lot of people’s understandings about the passage, God said “an eye for an eye” in order to limit vengeance. Too bad no one told Keyser Söze. This clip is about that very thing. Fair warning: it’s PG-13 – no language, but violence. 

For tomorrow, read Genesis 38-40.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

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