Monday, February 01, 2010

Hamor Visits Jacob On Behalf Of Shechem -- Genesis 34:6


Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.

Recently I asked my friends what they would do if they had been in Jacob’s situation, hearing of his daughter’s rape. The responses were varied but most admitted they would be very angry and act to ‘defend’ their child, perhaps even to take justice for the perpetrator into their own hands. I must admit I was indeed taken back at the nature of many of the responses, especially from believers. I guess it all goes to point out that we are indeed human beings and that it takes a lifetime to put on the full armor of God or to be Christ-like in our reactions to events, especially those that hit at our emotion’s core.

As I study this verse, I realize that I could well ask the same question of friends, only replacing Hamor for Jacob. “What would you do if, like Hamor, your son had raped a neighbor’s daughter?” And that is a question that we can ask ourselves. The truth of the matter is that much depends on whether we were like Hamor, or whether we were indeed Christ-followers.

Given Hamor’s culture, position, and perhaps attitude towards aliens in his part of the land, he probably considered the situation as not being of great significance. He would think that boys will be boys and it is unfortunate that this happened. He would figure, “just be thankful my son wants her for a wife.”

I cannot say with certainty as to what I as a Christian would do in such circumstances. My guess is that I would acknowledge the hurt that this has brought to the girl’s family. I would talk to my son and determine his wishes, the girl’s wishes, and those of the two families. I would hope that they would align with God’s wishes and if not, I would work hard to move all parties towards that end. I would be as supporting as I could to all and I would pray for strength daily for me, my wife, and all those involved in the matter, to be able to deal wisely and lovingly in every aspect of the situation.

But let us not forget that in this case, Hamor is going to see Jacob, not because his son raped Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, but because his son is demanding his father’s help in getting her for a wife. Perhaps the reaction one would receive in that case may be quite different. While that remains to be seen, we would do well to consider such possibilities in our own lives and think about our potential actions and reactions. We need to think also of how we might be supportive or encouraging to others who are in such circumstances, reflecting on the godly counsel we may be required to give them.

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