Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hamor & Shechem “Sell” the Deal -- Genesis 34:20-23

So Hamor and his son Shechem, came to the gate of their city, and spoke to the men of their city, saying, “These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.”

Several days must have past before Shechem was in any condition capable of getting himself and his father, to the gate of his city after he had been circumcised. But once there, together they spoke to the men of the city, trying to convince them to follow suit.

We can see three errors in their thinking. First, their whole argument seems to lie on the basis that the Israelites were “friendly with (them)”. It appears to be for that reason that the Shechemites were to “therefore” let them live in the land and do business there as well as to allow their children to intermarry with them. What a weak premise on which to base such decisions.

Secondly, they completely missed the need to evaluate and assess the consequences or potential risk of the conditions they had to agree to. They focused instead on potential gains of having the Israelites live, trade, and intermarry with them. Imagine the blind folly of an entire population who would consider circumcising all their adult males to increase their wealth.

Thirdly, their motive was wrong. Why did they perceive the Israelites as friendly? Why did they not consider the unreasonableness of the condition the Israelites placed on them? I believe they were blinded by their greed and their intention to eventually make all the livestock and property theirs. With that inappropriate motive as their driving force, Shechem and Hamor worked hard on persuading their fellow citizens to partner with them in this arrangement with Jacob and his sons.

As we consider various business and other arrangements or partnerships today, or as we pursue the completion of what may sound like a fantastic deal that we cannot afford to pass by, we would be wise to take the matter first and foremost before God, seeking His direction and buy-in. With His help we need to assess the circumstances, count the cost, and check our motives. Only after He gives us peace as well as some signs of open doors, should we proceed to move ahead.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous23/2/10 09:48

    "all that glitters is not gold" "if it is too good to be true" it likely is...not trying to be "smart face" or glib here...but truly...were these sayings born of someone who was "burned" by unsavory experiences to come with these "flash lights" of truth for the rest of us to heed in time?