Genesis 34:1-13: Family troubles.

“Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.” 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. Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 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 Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done. But Hamor said to them, “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.”11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “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.”13 Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor.” NIV UK

There is is no excuse for what Shechem did to Dinah, and I am certainly not trying to say ‘she was asking for it’. Not at all. Not for one moment. But it is right, I think, to question whether she should have gone ‘’out to visit the women of the land’’ (1). The people of Israel were distinctively different, as Dinah’s brothers were later to point out (14-17). In some aspects of conduct we may place ourselves in moral danger, and it would be better for us to keep our distance. If you get too near the fire you may be burned.

So there is warning here. But you may also find encouragement in this thought:

‘Jacob’s children were circumcised, were well taught, and prayed for, and had very good examples set them, yet some of them proved untoward.’ Matthew Henry. If your children give you grief, realise you are not alone – and keep on praying, and loving!