Notes for Gen 34:1LEB

"went out to see." The verb "to see," followed by the preposition בְּ (), here has the idea of "look over." The young girl wanted to meet these women and see what they were like.




Notes for Gen 34:2LEB

"and he took her and lay with her." The suffixed form following the verb appears to be the sign of the accusative instead of the preposition, but see BDB 1012 s.v. שָׁכַב.


The verb עָנָה (’anah) in the Piel stem can have various shades of meaning, depending on the context: "to defile; to mistreat; to violate; to rape; to shame; to afflict." Here it means that Shechem violated or humiliated Dinah by raping her.


Notes for Gen 34:3LEB

"his soul stuck to [or "joined with"]," meaning Shechem became very attached to Dinah emotionally.


"and he spoke to the heart of the young woman," which apparently refers in this context to tender, romantic speech (Hos 2:14LEB). Another option is to translate the expression "he reassured the young woman" (see Judg 19:3LEB, 2 Sam 19:7LEB; cf. LEB "comforted her").


Notes for Gen 34:4LEB

"Take for me this young woman for a wife."


Notes for Gen 34:5LEB

The two disjunctive clauses in this verse ("Now Jacob heard…and his sons were") are juxtaposed to indicate synchronic action.


"he"; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


The expected response would be anger or rage; but Jacob remained silent. He appears too indifferent or confused to act decisively. When the leader does not act decisively, the younger zealots will, and often with disastrous results.


Notes for Gen 34:6LEB

"went out to Jacob to speak with him." The words "about Dinah" are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:7LEB

"when they heard." The words "the news" are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.


"the men." This sounds as if a new group has been introduced into the narrative, so it has been translated as "they" to indicate that it refers to Jacob’s sons, mentioned in the first part of the verse.


The Hebrew verb עָצַב (’atsav) can carry one of three semantic nuances depending on the context: (1) "to be injured" (Ps 56:5LEB; Eccl 10:9LEB; 1 Chr 4:10LEB); (2) "to experience emotional pain; to be depressed emotionally; to be worried" (2 Sam 19:2LEB; Isa 54:6LEB; Neh 8:10–11LEB); (3) "to be embarrassed; to be insulted; to be offended" (to the point of anger at another or oneself; Gen 6:6LEB; Gen 45:5LEB; 1 Sam 20:3LEB, 34; 1 Kgs 1:6LEB; Isa 63:10LEB; Ps 78:40LEB). This third category develops from the second by metonymy. In certain contexts emotional pain leads to embarrassment and/or anger. In this last use the subject sometimes directs his anger against the source of grief (see especially Gen 6:6LEB). The third category fits best in Gen 34:7LEB because Jacob’s sons were not merely wounded emotionally. On the contrary, Shechem’s action prompted them to strike out in judgment against the source of their distress.


"he"; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"a disgraceful thing he did against Israel."


"by lying with the daughter of Jacob." The infinitive here explains the preceding verb, indicating exactly how he had disgraced Jacob. The expression "to lie with" is a euphemism for sexual relations, or in this case, sexual assault.


"and so it should not be done." The negated imperfect has an obligatory nuance here, but there is also a generalizing tone. The narrator emphasizes that this particular type of crime (sexual assault) is especially reprehensible.


Notes for Gen 34:8LEB

"Shechem my son, his soul is attached to your daughter." The verb means "to love" in the sense of being emotionally attached to or drawn to someone. This is a slightly different way of saying what was reported earlier (v. 3). However, there is no mention here of the offense. Even though Hamor is speaking to Dinah’s brothers, he refers to her as their daughter (see v. 17).


Notes for Gen 34:9LEB

"form marriage alliances with us."


Intermarry with us. This includes the idea of becoming allied by marriage. The incident foreshadows the temptations Israel would eventually face when they entered the promised land (see Deut 7:3LEB; Josh 23:12LEB).


"Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves." In the translation the words "let…marry" and "as wives" are supplied for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:10LEB

The imperfect verbal form has a permissive nuance here.


"before you."


The verb seems to carry the basic meaning "travel about freely," although the substantival participial form refers to a trader (see E. A. Speiser, "The Verb sḥr in Genesis and Early Hebrew Movements," BASOR 164 [1961]: 23-28); cf. NIV, NRSV "trade in it."


Notes for Gen 34:11LEB

"her"; the referent (Dinah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


"whatever you say."


Or "pay."


Notes for Gen 34:12LEB

"Make very great upon me the bride price and gift." The imperatives are used in a rhetorical manner. Shechem’s point is that he will pay the price, no matter how expensive it might be.


The cohortative expresses Shechem’s resolve to have Dinah as his wife.




Notes for Gen 34:13LEB

"he"; the referent (Shechem) has been specified in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:14LEB

"we are not able to do this thing, to give." The second infinitive is in apposition to the first, explaining what they are not able to do.


The Hebrew word translated "disgrace" usually means "ridicule; taunt; reproach." It can also refer to the reason the condition of shame or disgrace causes ridicule or a reproach.


Notes for Gen 34:15LEB

"if you are like us."


The infinitive here explains how they would become like them.


Notes for Gen 34:16LEB

The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence.


The words "to marry" (and the words "as wives" in the following clause) are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:17LEB

"listen to us."


The perfect verbal form with the vav (ו) consecutive introduces the apodosis of the conditional sentence.


"daughter." Jacob’s sons call Dinah their daughter, even though she was their sister (see v. 8). This has been translated as "sister" for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:18LEB

"and their words were good in the eyes of Hamor and in the eyes of Shechem son of Hamor."


Notes for Gen 34:19LEB

"doing the thing."


"Jacob’s daughter." The proper name "Dinah" is supplied in the translation for clarity.


The Hebrew verb כָּבֵד (kaved), translated "was…important," has the primary meaning "to be heavy," but here carries a secondary sense of "to be important" (that is, "heavy" in honor or respect).


The parenthetical disjunctive clause explains why the community would respond to him (see vv. 20–24).


Notes for Gen 34:20LEB

The gate. In an ancient Near Eastern city the gate complex was the location for conducting important public business.


Notes for Gen 34:21LEB

"wide on both hands," that is, in both directions.


The words "to marry" are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.


Notes for Gen 34:22LEB

"when every one of our males is circumcised."


Notes for Gen 34:23LEB

The words "If we do so" are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.


Notes for Gen 34:24LEB

"all those going out the gate of his city."


"listened to."


"all those going out the gate of his city."


Notes for Gen 34:25LEB

"a man his sword."


"and they came upon the city, [which was] secure." In this case "secure" means the city was caught unprepared and at peace, not expecting an attack.


Notes for Gen 34:27LEB

"came upon the slain." Because of this statement the preceding phrase "Jacob’s sons" is frequently taken to mean the other sons of Jacob besides Simeon and Levi, but the text does not clearly affirm this.


"because they violated their sister." The plural verb is active in form, but with no expressed subject, it may be translated passive.


Notes for Gen 34:28LEB

"and what was in the city and what was in the field they took."


Notes for Gen 34:29LEB

"they took captive and they plundered," that is, "they captured as plunder."


Notes for Gen 34:30LEB

The traditional translation is "troubled me" (KJV, ASV), but the verb refers to personal or national disaster and suggests complete ruin (see Josh 7:25LEB, Judg 11:35LEB, Prov 11:17LEB). The remainder of the verse describes the "trouble" Simeon and Levi had caused.


In the causative stem the Hebrew verb בָּאַשׁ (baash) means "to cause to stink, to have a foul smell." In the contexts in which it is used it describes foul smells, stenches, or things that are odious. Jacob senses that the people in the land will find this act terribly repulsive. See P. R. Ackroyd, "The Hebrew Root באשׁ," JTS 2 (1951): 31-36.


Jacob speaks in the first person as the head and representative of the entire family.


Notes for Gen 34:31LEB

"but they said." The referent of "they" (Simeon and Levi) have been specified in the translation for clarity.