This morning we’re going to pick up where we left off on November 22nd, the Sunday before Advent, in our study of Genesis. If you’ll recall, on that Sunday we saw in Genesis 33 how Jacob was able to see God’s face, to experience God’s forgiveness, all because his brother, Esau—whose birthright, inheritance, and blessing Jacob had deceitfully stolen—forgave, embraced, and welcomed him home with tears of joy. We also saw how upon his return home, Jacob’s conversion, his turning from his own ways to the ways of God who called him, was complete as evidenced at the end of Genesis 33 when Jacob built an altar to El Elohe Israel, to God the God of Israel.[1] At long last, Jacob had embraced God as his God for Israel was the new name God had given him.[2] He was no longer Jacob the disbelieving deceiver but now he was Israel the believer who strived and struggled with God. This God whom he strove and struggled with was the one true God, the God of his grandfather Abraham, of his father Isaac, and now of Jacob or Israel.

Well, if Jacob’s return home and reconciliation with his brother presents us with a high point in his life, surely Genesis 34 presents us with one of the lowest for in this chapter we’re presented with the horrific account of the rape of Dinah, his and Leah’s youngest child. To go from such heights to such great depths is a vivid reminder of why it is that not only Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob needed the LORD—but all people do as well. For apart from God, we are all capable of inflicting the hatred and violence upon others that Dinah experienced at the hands of Shechem the Hivite and that the Hivites experienced at the hands of Simeon and Levi. As God’s Scriptures teach, there is none righteous, no not one.[3]

As the chapter opens we read in verse 1, “Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land.” The land referred to has the same name as Dinah’s rapist, Shechem—Shechem the man was probably named after the Canaanite city of Shechem in which he, and now Jacob after his return from Paddan Aram, resided.[4] This was how Dinah had ended up visiting the women in this city. Verse 2 of chapter 34 recounts the tragedy that occurred while Dinah was doing so: “When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her.” The Hivites were part of the Canaanite people living in this promised land of Canaan.[5] As Dinah visited the Hivite women, she was raped by Shechem, the ruler of the Hivites. Tragically, Dinah was alone. She had no protection. There were no brothers around to whom she could cry out for help. And, apparently, sufficient kinship hadn’t been established between her and the women of the land for none of them tried to help her out. Or, if they had, what could they to do for, again, Shechem was the ruler. He was the prince over that area. As prince, he could do as he pleased. He could have what he wanted. He could impose his will on whomever he chose. Dinah was his helpless victim.

Having stated how Shechem raped Dinah, we next read concerning him, verse 3, “His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.” Now what was described in verse 2 is rightly identified as rape, not love. If verse 2 didn’t exist then perhaps we might believe what is stated in verse 3, how Shechem’s “heart was drawn to Dinah” and how “he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.” But what has been described is more akin to a violent lust, a sensual appetite, than to love, a commitment to care for another person. Rape is the opposite of love. It’s an act of violence. It’s an act of domination. It’s an act of hatred and control. Whatever Shechem was feeling, it certainly wasn’t love. Yet Shechem sought to possess and own the object of whatever lust he had ignited in his soul. As we read in verse 4, he told his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.” Raping Dinah wasn’t enough for Shechem. He wanted to possess her. And as was customary in the ancient Near East,[6] he went to his father to get her as his wife.

Verse 5 switches from the Hivites to Jacob as we’re told, “When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.” Jacob rightly understood that what Shechem had done was an act of defilement, not love. Applying some dictionary definitions of “defile,” Shechem had desecrated Dinah. He had profaned something sacred. He had violated her chastity. But rather than act immediately or impulsively, Jacob waited until his sons returned home from the fields where they were working.

For his part, Hamor, Shechem’s father “went out to talk with Jacob” as he followed through with Shechem’s request, verse 6. As he did, the drama builds for we’re told in verse 7, “Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in [or “against”] Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.” Therefore, early in this passage we see established two ways of understanding what had taken place that are polar opposites from one another:

At one extreme, Shechem and his father didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that Shechem had raped Dinah, confined her in his home, and now desired to have her as his wife. It appears that from their perspective so long as Shechem planned to marry Dinah, that somehow undid the heinous, violent act he had committed against her. Yet though he may have said he loved her and spoken tenderly to her, keeping her for the sake of satisfying his lust was as far from marriage as God ever intended;

At the other extreme, Dinah’s brothers were rightly beside themselves because of what Shechem had done. They were rightly “shocked” and “furious” and enraged “because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done” (emphasis added). In this assessment there were completely on point.

The start of verse 8 swings back to the Hivites as Hamor, Shechem’s father, said to Jacob and his sons, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.” Realizing that Shechem couldn’t simply keep Dinah against the wishes of her family, Hamor proposed that they all become one people. In exchange for giving up Dinah as Shechem’s wife, Jacob and his sons, in turn, would be welcome to intermarry with the Hivites—and the Hivites with them. What is more, they would be welcome to live among them as they traded and acquired property in their territory. Shechem further added starting in verse 11, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.” This kind of financial remuneration was in keeping with ancient Near Eastern custom.[7] Hamor, a well-to-do prince, was willing to pay whatever amount Jacob and his sons wanted in exchange for Dinah.

But as the focus returns to Jacob’s sons, we’re told in verse 13, “Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.” In other words, Jacob’s sons weren’t having any of this. They were acting in deceit even as their father had once been known as the deceiver and had acted deceitfully against their uncle, Esau, Jacob’s twin brother.[8] Yet as we’ll see, the evil that resulted from the sons’ deceit far exceeded anything their father ever did. Well, the specifics of the lie Jacob’s sons told Shechem and his father Hamor are recorded starting in verse 14:

We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. 15 We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16 Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. 17 But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.

The main pretext of the lie they told Shechem was, in essence, that they would be happy to do as he requested except for the fact that circumcision was so important to them that they wouldn’t ever be able to agree to Shechem’s terms unless he and all the Hivites were similarly circumcised. If they agreed to be circumcised, then Dinah’s brothers would gladly give up their women to the Hivites and take the women of the Hivites for themselves; if they agreed to be circumcised, they would gladly settle among them; if they agreed to be circumcised, they would gladly become one people with them. But if they didn’t agree to be circumcised, Hamor would have to return Dinah to them and they would go. But, again, this was all a lie. A pretense. A ruse to avenge Shechem’s rape of their sister.

Now if you’ll recall, from the beginning, circumcision was intended to be a sign of the covenant God established between him and Abraham, the father of all future Israelites.[9] It was sign of their commitment to God, God’s commitment to them, and their subsequent commitment to each another as one people of God. The circumcision ritual was as consequential as the New Testament ritual of baptism in which followers of Christ are baptized, similarly indicating their commitment to Jesus and their oneness with him along with all others who love and follow him.[10] Yet by asking Shechem to have his men be circumcised without their repenting and acknowledging the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their own, Jacob’s sons were demanding from them a sign that was empty, void of any meaning. For circumcision without faith in and commitment to God no more makes one his follower than does baptism without faith and commitment to him in the name of Jesus Christ his Son. This circumcision was but a ruse, an empty gesture intended to harm the Hivites. It was intended as a means for their destruction, not their salvation. As one commentator rightly observes, Jacob’s sons were using “a sacred ceremony for a sinful purpose.”[11] What they did was akin to asking someone to be baptized—and then drowning them in those sacred baptismal waters.

Well Hamor and Shechem bought this ruse, hook, line, and sinker. As stated beginning in verse 18, “18 Their proposal seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city to speak to the men of their city.” Per ancient custom, such a momentous decision needed to brought before a council which historically met at the city gate. And notice the emphasis stating how Shechem “was the most honored of all his father’s family.” Again, as stated earlier in verse two, he was “the ruler” or prince “of that area.” Therefore he had great clout. He had power to sway the members of his tribe.

Shechem and Hamor’s pitch to their men is recorded starting in verse 21: “21 These men are friendly toward us…. Let them live in our land and trade in it; the land has plenty of room for them. We can marry their daughters and they can marry ours. 22 But the men will agree to live with us as one people only on the condition that our males be circumcised, as they themselves are.” So far this is a faithful summary of what they had proposed to Jacob’s sons and what Jacob’s sons had counter-proposed. However, verse 23 goes on to add, “Won’t their livestock, their property and all their other animals become ours? So let us agree to their terms, and they will settle among us.” So it appears that it wasn’t only Jacob’s sons who were practicing deceit but Shechem and Hamor as well for in addition to acquiring Dinah for Shechem, they had set their sights on plundering the livestock, property, and animals of Jacob and his sons. Therefore, their offer of living peacefully as one big happy family was as much of a ruse as was the request of Jacob’s sons that they be circumcised. In the end, their countrymen were won over as, verse 24, “All the men who went out of the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, and every male in the city was circumcised.”

As the focus swings back to Jacob and his sons, we learn the destructive purpose of the circumcision ruse. Starting with verse 25:

25 Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. 27 The sons of Jacob came upon the dead bodies and looted the city where their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and donkeys and everything else of theirs in the city and out in the fields. 29 They carried off all their wealth and all their women and children, taking as plunder everything in the houses.

Jacob’s sons beat Shechem in the plunder game. And it’s notable that only two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, are named initially and that they’re identified as Dinah’s brothers. For though at this point Jacob had had eleven sons, he had had them by two wives, Leah and Rachel, and their two servants whom he took as his concubines, Zilpah[12] and Bilhah.[13] Simeon, Levi, and Dinah were all children of Jacob and Leah.[14] So it was two of Dinah’s full brothers who came to her defense, taking matters into their own hands in order to avenge her defilement. As the men of the city were recovering from having been circumcised, it was Simeon and Levi who attacked and killed every last one of them—most notably, Hamor and his son Shechem are singled out in verse 26. Then they along with the rest of Jacob’s sons, looted the dead bodies and the city, took the flocks, herds, donkeys and everything else in both the city and out in the fields along with their women and children as they plundered their houses.

Though Simeon and Levi may have had a right instinct in their outrage over their sister’s rape, they took the wrong action. They didn’t act in accordance with what is referred to as the lex talionis or the law of retaliation. Yet the Scriptural version of this law was intended not so much as retaliation as proportional justice. So, for instance, years later when God was giving Moses instructions, he told him, “17 Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. 18 Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. 19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.”[15] In other words, the punishment had to be proportionate to the crime.[16] Though Simeon and Levi may have had the right instinct upon hearing of Dinah’s rape, bloodlust that followed wasn’t the right reaction.[17] This reaction was as wrong as blowing up an abortion clinic because of outrage over the aborting of thousands of fetuses. This, too, is a right instinct but a wrong reaction. The brokenness of our reactions, the inability for us to react rightly, is why God gave his law—because he knew that since the time of the Fall our reactions aren’t always right. Therefore God had to teach us what is a right reaction. He had to teach us what loving him with all of our hearts, souls, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves looks like in practice.[18]

Jacob acknowledged this disproportionality when he told Simeon and Levi, verse 30, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” If Simeon and Levi had wrought such great destruction for the crime committed by Shechem, how much more revenge might they expect for what they had done? They had left their entire family open and vulnerable to destruction. Even so, the brothers were undeterred as they replied, verse 31, “Should [Shechem] have treated our sister like a prostitute?” No, of course not. But the destruction they wrought was certainly not the right response. Jacob returned to this years later when he gathered his twelve sons to tell them what was to come[19] and singled out Simeon and Levi’s anger and cruelty, noting that subsequently they would be scattered and dispersed.[20]

Well, dear sisters and brothers, I confess that this passage from Genesis 34 has been one of the most difficult I’ve had to prepare in the five and half years I’ve had the great privilege of shepherding and proclaiming Christ’s Word to you. It’s been difficult, of course, because of the horrendous crime committed by Shechem. Though I’m grateful that I’ve never been the victim of rape, I have experienced other forms of sexual assault. I’ve always felt great empathy for Dinah. I can’t imagine being in her helpless, vulnerable situation. Yet what are we to do with this biblical, historical account of the heinous rape of Dinah? Much as I would want to remove such an unholy act from God’s Holy Scripture, I can’t. It’s part of the story of humanity’s desperate plight for Dinah’s rape—along with every other evil that has ever been perpetrated—is a vivid reminder of why God chose to come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Because, as noted earlier, “There is none righteous, no not one.”[21] All of us are in need of God’s redemption. This is why God in Christ came—to save us from acting wrongly even when our instincts are right.

As we look at our companion passage from Matthew 4 read earlier, notice what Matthew states beginning with verse 23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Jesus’ answer to the bad news of the Fall and all the evil it wrought is “the good news of the kingdom” to be found in all that he is and does. For God’s kingdom is so completely filled with him that Satan, sin, and evil cannot exist alongside it. What is more, those who inhabit God’s kingdom will be healed from the myriad ways that the Fall has harmed us. This healing will occur in and through Jesus, who is the Messiah. This healing will occur in and through Jesus, who is God. And notice that while he was on earth he not only proclaimed “the good news of the kingdom,” but also brought a piece of his eternal kingdom with him here on earth as he went about “healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

Quite naturally, verse 24, “News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed.” Those who were suffering—and those who love those who are suffering—quite naturally and understandably brought their suffering loved ones to Jesus. And what did he do? As simply stated at the end of verse 24, “he healed them.” Remember that Jesus’ name means Savior. He is Savior because he who is God came to earth in human form to save us from our sin. As he said to those who criticized him for eating with “many tax collectors and sinners,” “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”[22] Indeed, the salvation Jesus offers is all-encompassing. He is Savior because he saves us from our pain. He is Savior because he saves us from all evil. He is Savior because he saves us from Satan, the Devil, that ancient serpent.[23] He is Savior because he saves us from ourselves. Therefore, we’re not surprised to see that as by his words and deeds he brought his heavenly kingdom to earth, the number of people he drew to himself grew as, verse 25, “Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.”

The story of Dinah’s rape is a vivid reminder of why God in Christ came to earth to take upon himself the sins of all who believe in and receive him in order that we might live eternally with him. This very Jesus, this very Messiah, this very Christ, the Savior we see so accurately and historically portrayed in the Gospels is still Savior today. He came to redeem—to save from sin; to save from error; to save from evil—all who believe and receive him as Jesus, as the Savior he is. He came to redeem—that is, to gain possession of all who believe in him by purchasing our freedom, breaking our bondage to the chains of sin that weigh us down, by placing the penalty of those sins upon himself, dying for us on the cross, and rising for us from the grave. Christ came to redeem—that is, to clear the debt we owe—through his death and resurrection giving us his righteousness in exchange for our sin[24] in order that we might begin now eternal life with him and our Father in heaven by being joined to him and one another by the Holy Spirit he so graciously gives.[25]

As we think about recent events in our own lives at both the micro and macro level, we can derive comfort in knowing that all who believe Jesus is the Christ, God’s promised Messiah, and receive him as their Savior and Lord will be saved from all effects of sin.

And so we know that Abigail,[26] having lost her battle with a stroke at age 42, nonetheless is with him today for she placed her trust in him;

And we know that David,[27] battling with advanced liver cancer, having placed his trust in him, this morning went to see his Savior and Lord face to face;

And all in our own country who have placed our trust in Christ have been reminded in this week’s events that though earthly citizenship even in a democratic society can be disrupted by an angry, riotous, violent mob lawlessly breaking into our nation’s Capitol, our heavenly citizenship is secure as we beseech him for his mercy and pray that his kingdom come and his will be done on earth even as it is ever done in heaven.

Now though we don’t know what happened to Dinah after her rape or how God might have met her in the midst of such horror, I want to close with an actual testimony from a song written by Amy Grant in which she recounts the difference that Christ’s redemption made for a friend who had been repeatedly raped as a child. Its title Ask Me refers to one particular question posed in the midst of such horror:

Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens
I see no mercy and no one down here’s naming names
Nobody’s naming names.

And yet in placing the same question to the friend who underwent such a horror, the question is answered:

Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heavens
She said His mercy is bringing her life again.

Dear ones, this is why Christ came: to bring his mercy and life to all who realize our need for him. I want to take a final moment to play the entirety of this song for us—you can follow along in the words I’ve printed out—and then close in prayer.

Ask Me[28]

(Written by Amy Grant and Tom Hemby)

 

I see her as a little girl hiding in her room
She takes another bath and she sprays her momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind.

You see she’s his little rag, nothing more than just a waif
And he’s mopping up his need, she is tired and afraid
Maybe she’ll find a way through these awful years to disappear.

Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens
I see no mercy and no one down here’s naming names
Nobody’s naming names.

 

Now she’s looking in the mirror at a lovely woman face
No more frightened little girl, like she’s gone without a trace
Still she leaves the light burning in the hall
It’s hard to sleep at all.

Still she crawls up in her bed acting quiet as a mouse
Deep inside she’s listening for a creaking in the house
But no one’s left to harm her, she’s finally safe and sound
There’s a peace she’s found.

 

Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heavens
She said His mercy is bringing her life again.

 

Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heaven
Where did He go in the middle of her shame
Ask me how I know there’s a God up in the heavens
She said his mercy is bringing her life again
She’s coming to life again.

He’s in the middle of her pain
In the middle of her shame
Mercy brings life

 

Let us pray.

 

Benediction:

Hebrews 13:20–21 20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[1] Or perhaps Mighty is the God of Israel. Genesis 33:20.

[2] Genesis 32:28: “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

[3] Romans 3:10–12: 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Paul is referencing Psalms 14:1–3 and Psalm 53:1–3 which are identical: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” He is also referencing Ecclesiastes 7:20: Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

[4] If you’ll recall from our previous study, once Esau had departed from Jacob we’re told that “After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city” What is more, once he had settled in Shechem, “For a hundred pieces of silver, he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent” (Genesis 33:18).

[5] The Hivites were descendants of Heth who was a descendant of Ham, one of Noah’s sons. See Genesis 10:1, 6, 15–17: 1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood…. The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan…. 15 Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

[6] For a positive example of this practice, see how Abraham sought a wife for Isaac in Genesis 24:1–4: 1 Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”; Hagar, Ishmael’s mother did the same. Genesis 21:20–21: 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.

[7] See the account of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24:52–53: 52 When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.

[8] As we’ve previously noted, Jacob means “he grasps the heel” and is a Hebrew idiom for “he deceives.” See sermon preached on September 20, 2020, Children of Divine Promise, not Human Works on Genesis 25:19–34.

[9] See sermon preached on August 2, 2020, Almighty Humor—and Blessing, on Genesis 17:1–11, 15–19, 23.

[10] The baptismal waters represent death to our old selves and rising from death in and through the power Christ’s death and resurrection alone. Paul even connects the acts of circumcision and baptism in his letter to the Colossians. See Colossian 2:11–12: 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

[11] Zondervan International Study Bible note on Genesis 34:15.

[12] Genesis 29:23–24: 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.

[13] Genesis 29:28–29: 28 And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29 Laban gave his servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her attendant.

[14] Leah’s other children were Reuben, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. See Genesis 29:31–35: 31 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” 33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. 35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. Genesis 30:17–21: 17 God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar. 19 Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. 20 Then Leah said, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.” So she named him Zebulun. 21 Some time later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.

[15] See also Exodus 21:23–25:23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” Deuteronomy 19:21: Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

[16] An early expression of this is found after the flood when God told Noah in Genesis 9:5-6: And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

[17] Among Israelites (not foreigners), a man who raped a virgin must marry her. Upsetting though this is for 21st readers, there were cultural reasons for this: 1) The virgin was now unmarriageable due to this rape; 2) Women were reliant upon men for their economic survival; 3) Therefore, her rapist would be forced to provide for her financially. These are some of the reasons for this mandate in Deuteronomy 22:28–29:28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” However, notice that someone who rapes a virgin engaged to be married will receive the death penalty for such a despicable violation. See Deuteronomy 22:25–27: 25 But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. 26 Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, 27 for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her.

[18] This mandate to love God and others was Jesus’ answer when asked to summarize God’s law. Matthew 22:34–40:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” and Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

[19] Genesis 49:1: Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.

[20] Genesis 49:5–7: “Simeon and Levi are brothers—their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.

 

[21] Romans 3:10–12: 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Paul is referencing Psalms 14:1–3 and Psalm 53:1–3 which are identical: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” He is also referencing Ecclesiastes 7:20: Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

[22] Mark 2:17: 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”; See also Matthew 9:12: 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Referencing Hosea 6:6

[23] Revelation 12:9: The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.; Revelation 20:2: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

[24] 2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.; Romans 3:22–24: 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

[25] Ephesians 1:13–14: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

[26] To protect the privacy of the family, I’ve changed the individual’s name.

[27] To protect the privacy of the family, I’ve changed the individual’s name.

[28] Those interested in listening to this song, they may do so at < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfsawi_d5LY>