Read 17.) Genesis 34:1 thru 36:43. With chapter 34, it is very likely that some 15 more years have gone by, as Dinah has become a beautiful young woman. In 32:28, God had changed Jacob’s name to Israel, but it didn’t stick, and in this account, we can see why. Dinah is raped by Shechem, the prince of the city by that same name. As it is his desire to marry her, he comes with his father to negotiate the bridal price for Dinah with her father, Jacob. While this was Jacob’s to deal with, the older brothers step into Jacob’s role in verse 13, and it appears that Jacob allows this, and, though he might have agreed that the Shechemites be circumcised, as they were; there was no way he would have agreed to their intermarrying with these people, unless his faith had waned, which we will learn, had. While the men of Shechem were very ‘uncomfortable’, 2 of Dinah’s brothers, both in the vigor of their 20’s by this time, slay all of them. The last passage tells us something of where Jacob and his faith is at by this time. He uses ‘I‘, ‘me‘, and ‘my‘ 6 times in just verse 30 alone! How far had Jacob fallen? With chapter 35, we learn… it had been much worse!
Chapter 35 takes us from rape to revival! God graciously comes back on the scene after all these years. Because Jacob had been failing in his faith, he was failing as a father. His family had slid into idolatry. It was a personal and family revival unto Yahweh; the LORD, Jacob’s God! When they came back to God, He drew near to bless them; first, with personal safety, according to verse 5, assuaging Jacob’s fear of 34:30. With verses 6 and 7, Jacob returns to the very site of 28:10-22, where his walk with the Lord had commenced, some 35 years before! Revival is like that, it brings us back to our first love of the Lord! It is here that God renames Jacob, Israel, again, and this time, some 15 years after the first time; it sticks! And, in verses 11 thru 13, we have God restating His promises of land and descendants for a 12th time; the second time unto Jacob, and at the very same place! This chapter ends with a 12th son being born to Jacob. His 11 brothers range from some 15 to 28 years older than he, and is Joseph’s full-brother. And lastly, Jacob returns home safely to his father, Isaac; and after being home some 15 years, Isaac dies at 180. The twins, Jacob and Esau, are 120, and they bury their father in the cave with Abraham and Sarah. Chapter 36 is for the purpose of saying ‘goodbye’ to Esau, as the story is going to move on without him. What comes next is the very important account of the 12 sons of Jacob, with a focus upon the 11th, Joseph. As with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob before them, it is not too terribly flattering, leaving the matter of their own faith in the Lord a large question. But, it’s all for the purpose of one day bringing forth Messiah. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell