Friday, February 12, 2010

Shechem Adds His Offerings for Dinah -- Genesis 34:11-12

Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”

There is no record of any time between when Hamor spoke his words of request and when his son, Shechem, added his. The potential groom recognized the satisfaction of his desire to have Dinah as a wife lay in the hands of her father Jacob and her brothers. The plea is for them to allow him favor in their sight – a pretty tall order given what he had done to Dinah and how unacceptable that was for the Israelites.

But once again, they are faced with a potential offer hard to resist. In addition to all the freedom to live, marry, and do business in the area that his father had offered, Shechem is prepared to add tangible assets – whatever it will take. All they had to do was to ask him. He was willing to pay the highest thinkable price as a dowry for Dinah.

While the phrase, “if I find favor” leads one to believe that the Dinah’s father and brothers had a choice in this matter, Shechem’s closing words seems to imply that in fact they did not. “But give me the girl” is void of options. Shechem was determined to have her, one way or another. Undoubtedly, wisdom was called for on the part of Jacob and his brothers. At least Jacob knew that to say ‘yes’ would take them down a path of inter-marriage and social activity that they did not want to go. Certainly down a path that would not please God. To say ‘no’ may well mean they had a physical battle on their hands, one that they might not have won. If ever there was a need in Jacob’s family for God’s direction since they left Laban, this was the time. Would they ask for it? Would they accept it? Would they try to resolve the matter by their own thinking and with their own means?

The verses that we’ll study next give us the answer. What is important here is for us to stop and consider two things: First, can we look back on a time in our own life when we needed God’s direction but we failed to either ask for it or to follow it when He gave it? If so, can we learn from that experience? Second, is there something right now that requires that direction and we have failed to ask for it from Him, or failed to follow it when He gave it, or worse still, been fearful in pursuing it? If so, let us remember Who God is, Who He has been to mankind since the beginning of time, and Who He has been to us through all our years. This God can see you through any circumstance, His way, without you needing to fear or to tamper with the advice. Let it be so for you and me.

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