Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review lesson 25 (link above), as well as Genesis 30:20-21 and 33:18-20 to refresh your memory on the events leading up to today’s passage. Connect the names mentioned in 33:19 to the names mentioned in chapter 34. How had Jacob and his family become acquainted with Shechem and his family? (33:19) What nationality (33:18) was Shechem’s family?
2. From whose perspective is chapter 34 written, Dinah’s or the men of Jacob’s and Shechem’s families? Do we hear anything from Dinah or Leah? (1) Considering the story arc of the Bible, the customs and culture of the era, and the Bible’s emphasis on men leading and protecting their families, what might be some reasons God chose for this story to be told from the perspective of the men rather than Dinah’s and/or Leah’s perspective?
3. Examine verses 1-3 and 26b. If Dinah were telling her side of the story, what details from these verses would she include in her account?
4. Did the events of chapter 34 take place before or after the Law (i.e. the 10 Commandments, Levitical law, etc.) had been given? How did Dinah’s brothers react to the news of her rape? (7) If the law had not yet been given, how did they know Shechem had done something wrong, and why were they angry? What does this tell us about the universality of sin and its consequences?
5. Examine the words and actions of Jacob, Jacob’s sons, and Shechem, and describe each of their attitudes about Dinah. If someone were to instruct all of these men in how to regard and treat women in a godly way, what would be some good (Old or New Testament) Scriptures to use?
6. Examine verses 8-17 in light of both Abraham and Isaac eschewing the idea of their sons marrying Canaanites, and review question 2 from lesson 18 (link above). Aside from their anger over Dinah being raped, why else would Dinah’s brothers not have wanted her to marry Shechem? What might the future ramifications of possessing the Promised Land (Canaan) have been if Jacob’s child(ren) had intermarried with Canaanites and had descendants who were partially Canaanite? Examine verses 20-23. Why did Shechem’s tribe want to intermarry with Jacob’s tribe?
7. Do you remember what the name “Jacob” means? List the ways in this story that Jacob’s (now Israel’s) sons personified his old name. How did they respond to the situation with “deceit” and “cheating”? What was Jacob’s reaction to his sons’ actions? (30) Why did he react this way?
8. Study verse 31. What did Simeon and Levi mean when they said Shechem had treated Dinah “like a prostitute”? What are some other synonymous words that could be substituted for that phrase? “Should he treat our sister ______?” Clearly, Dinah’s brothers valued her. What are some biblical ways fathers, husbands, brothers, and brothers in Christ can demonstrate care for and value of their sisters in the home and in the church?
9. Currently, it is being suggested in some Christian circles that the way to fix the problem of (real or imagined) misogyny in the church is to elevate more women to unbiblical positions of leadership. Is this the way Jacob and his sons handled what happened to Dinah? Did they unbiblically elevate Dinah, or did they deal with the specific sin a certain man had committed?
10. Where is God in chapter 34? Do we see God speaking to anyone? Anyone crying out to God for help or direction? Jacob speaking God’s words to Dinah or his sons, or his sons speaking God’s words to Shechem? How does the concept of “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” fit into chapter 34? What happens when you experience a terrible situation and God is not part of the equation? For God’s people – both in chapter 34 and today – how should tragedies and trials point us to God?
Imagine Dinah is a friend of yours at church and she tells you this story of being raped. List three specific ways you could show kindness and compassion to her, and three passages of Scripture she might find comforting. In what ways – through your words or actions – could you encourage her to trust and pursue Christ as He heals her from her pain? Is there a Dinah you could reach out to at your church?
Suggested Memory Verse
But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”