Verse 7: Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
The events of Genesis 34 are shocking and filled with injustice and violence. Here we see a story of a beloved sister who is raped, a passive father, and a set of brothers who wanted to protect their sister. On the surface, this seems like a good thing, because a brother who does not desire to protect his sister would not be a very good brother. However, the response of Dinah’s brothers shows the brokenness in our desire for vengeance and a longing for justice that can only be filled in Christ.
The lesson in this for us is real. In our desire to restrain evil (one of the points of IJM’s work), we are asked to volunteer—but we are not the ones who are called to insert ourselves in a situation. We work with local police and the sovereignty of God to restrain criminals. We cannot be passive like Dinah’s father, or reckless like her brothers.
Dinah was a victim of a horrific miscarriage of justice. The word used for raped means “humiliated” and entails a violent interaction. The “love” came after and does not excuse violent actions. While we see the beauty of family in the brothers’ love for their sister, they created a murderous plot to avenge her. The feeling for vengeance is understandable, but murder destroys another person made in the image of God, and it is inherently wrong. Injustice highlights the brokenness of our world, but we must trust that the world’s most perfect justice system is coming at the return of Christ. Rather than choosing vengeance and anger, we must give our time to the work of God and other professionals who are working to right the wrongs of slavery and systemic injustice.
- Would you say that most people you know are aware of the problem of modern slavery? How could you make them aware?
- Are there other ways you could leverage your time and energy to give a voice to the voiceless?
- Pray that God would raise volunteers to help restrain the evil of slavery.