When Leah’s daughter Dinah went out to visit the women in the area, the prince of Shechem noticed her. After grabbing her in the street and brutally raping her, he decided instead that he loved her. So he helped her to her feet and spoke gently to console her.
Later that day, the prince demanded of his father Hamor, “I want her as my wife!”
Word got back to Jacob that his daughter had been sexually assaulted, but since his sons were working with the cattle, he brooded all alone. When Hamor came out to speak with Jacob, the sons were also returning from the field. When they heard from Jacob what had happened, they were outraged by the offense done to a daughter of Israel.
Hamor tried to bargain with them. “My son longs for Dinah,” he said. “Please give her as his wife. For that matter, why not marry our daughters, and let us marry yours. Our land will be yours in which to buy, sell, and trade freely.”
The prince showed up and offered himself to them. “I come in peace,” he said. “Whatever you ask of me, I will grant it to you. Consider it my wedding gift. I must have her as my wife.”
“Wedding gift?” Simeon stammered. “You’re prostituting our—”
“The price will be impossibly high,” Jacob interrupted. “We can’t give our daughters to an uncircumcised people.”
The prince and Hamor stood silently before Jacob and his sons.
“But,” Levi spoke up, “on the condition that both of you, as well as every male in your town, cut off their foreskins, our sister will be yours to marry.”
“And our daughters will be yours,” Simeon added. “Yours will be ours. We’ll become one people.”
“And these wide, open spaces will be ours to share,” Levi said.
“Otherwise, we’ll take our daughters and move on,” Jacob said, doubting they’d take such audacious conditions seriously.
But the prince and his father Hamor agreed. The young prince was so eager for the love of his betrothed that he had Jacob do the honors right then and there.
Hamor and the prince went to the city gate and relayed to the men of Shechem all that had been discussed with the tribe of Israel. “If we do this thing,” the prince reasoned, “will not their property and livestock be ours?”
Every male who was present agreed to the circumcision by leaving the city gate. Jacob and his sons were on the other side, sharpening their knives.
After two days, and while every male of the city was still sore, Simeon and Levi entered the gates in long cloaks. One by one, they raided each house brandishing swords, and they slew their hapless enemies.
“This is for Dinah,” they’d say, as the cold steel cut through each male’s flesh. Finally, they reached the house of the prince, where he and his father were lying in recovery. Simeon and Levi entered, each standing over their victim.
“As our father said,” Levi sneered as both brothers raised their swords, “the price for Dinah is impossibly high.”
After slaughtering Hamor and his rapist son, they collected Dinah and her belongings and left.
The rest of Jacob’s sons came in behind Dinah’s avengers and plundered the city on Dinah’s behalf. They took flocks, herds, donkeys, everything of value, and they captured their women and children for their own devices.
Jacob was distraught by the news of Shechem’s demise. “You’ve made me an enemy to all my neighbors,” he said. “You’ve slaughtered these Hivites. If the Canaanites and Perizzites come together against me, we’ll all be destroyed.”
Simeon said, “You’d rather our sister be treated like a whore?”
Levi muttered under his breath, “Is this not where God first promised this land to our great-grandfather Abraham?”
Inspiration: Genesis 34