06 July 2012

The Shechem and Dinah love story/massacre

The story begins when Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, goes out to meet her Hivite neighbors.

Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.  Genesis 34:1
While she was visiting, a young Hivite man named Shechem saw her and immediately fell in love with her. (Well, maybe not immediately, but after he had sex with her, anyway. The Bible doesn't say whether it was consensual or not.)
And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah ... and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 34:2-3
Shechem told his father that he'd like to marry Dinah.
Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife. 34.4
So Hamor went to talk to Jacob about it.
And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him ... saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 34.6-8
Hamor suggested that the Hivites and the Israelites live together in peace, trading and intermarrying with one other. 
And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.  And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 34:9-10
Jacob didn't seem to care much about it, one way or another. But his sons did. It was all about the Hivite's penises.
The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, ... We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised. 34:13-14
The problem was that little flap of skin at the tip of the Hivite's penises. If they'd just cut that off, then they could all happily live together in peace.
But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 34:15-16
Hamor agrees to this. He, along with his son and all the male Hivites, will cut off that little flap of skin at the end of their penises as a sacrifice for peace. (Greater love hath no father than this, that he cut off his own foreskin for his son.)
And Hamor and Shechem his son ... communed with the men of their city, saying,  These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.  Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. ... Let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 34:20-21
So Hamor, Shechem and every male Hivite cut off that little flap of skin that offends God so much.
And every male was circumcised. 34:24
And Dinah and Shechem were married and everyone lived happily ever after.

Just kidding.

Here's what actually happened.
And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob ... took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. ... And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house. 34:25-29
Jacob's sons slaughtered Shechem, Hamor, and all the Hivite males while they were recovering from their circumcisions, and then stole their possessions and enslaved their wives.

But at least Hamor died for something worthwhile -- the happiness of his son and peace in the world. And thereby set a great example for Father's Day.

It's a nasty story, of course, but it isn't entirely clear, from the story in Genesis 34 anyway, what God had to do with it. And for that reason, I originally left it off the list of God's killings. However the deuterocanonical book of Judith clears all that up very nicely.

Here's what it says.
O Lord God of my father Simeon, who gavest him a sword to execute vengeance against strangers, who had defiled by their uncleanness, and uncovered the virgin unto confusion: And who gavest their wives to be made a prey, and their daughters into captivity ... who were zealous with thy zeal. Judith 9:2-3
So God not only approved of the Shechem massacre, he gave Simeon the sword to do it with.

Thank God for the Catholic Bible.

Since the Bible doesn't say how many Hivites were killed in this massacre, I just gave it the usual 1000 for a standard biblical massacre. But two victims were known by name (Shechem and Hamor), so I added 2 to the "biblical number" for God's killings.

God's next killing: Er for being wicked in the sight of the Lord

6 comments:

Stephen said...

Man, there's enough slicing and dicing that I almost think the old testament was written by Ron Popeil. ;-)
Steve Weeks

No said...

Hey if your not happy with the way I set MY priorities in MY holy book and in MY universe how about starting your own imaginary universe on the side with your own holy book Bucko... uh ?

-Yahweh

No said...

Of course Yahweh was speaking to no one in particular here, just going on being his usual moronic Self without the ruby red pourred all over at his own request.

Honestly that be great if someone would come up with an OT2, with the same caracters that we like so much to laugh about, but this time it would clearly specify that this is just a collection of tales and by no mean a sacred book.

Wouldn't that be great to have Genesis rewritten sauce Monty Python let's say, and have a whole new set of stories as appalling and provocative as in OT1 ?

New genocides new devine revenges new contradictions but same bad taste ?

combo3 said...

Regarding the death toll...

According to the book of Jasher, the total body count was at least 963 men: 18 uncircumcised males, plus 645 circumcised males plus, 300 other undisclosed men. Apparently they also slew all the married women, because the text goes on to say they took 85 women 'who had not known men' captive. Assuming a 1:1 ratio of men to women, that raises the total number of dead to ~1,920 people. Of course the narrative then contradicts itself by saying they took 47 males captive as well.

www.ccel.org/a/anonymous/jasher/34.htm

But yeah, the moral of the story is that it's permissible to destroy an entire city for the transgressions of one inhabitant. (But definitely keep the young virgins for yourself.)

No said...

Interestingly enough the Bible shows some consistancy here in regard to the moral of Shechem's story when it comes to community hooliganism by Devine Decree.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.


Matthew 10:14-15

Here the Loving God of the NT empowers ordinary christians to have whole cities deleted from Google Map at some time in the future if they ever get their feathers ruffled a little preachin' the Good Book.

That's quite a claim from your local church Loving Lord Bible lovers. If you're a Christian I hope they make it clear to you on Sunday so you don't use this super power of your foolishly !

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, combo3, for the information about the book of Jasher. I should probably refer to that and use the numbers from that book for this killing, even though it didn't make it into either the Protestant or Catholic versions of the Bible.