(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 13)

Therefore Jacob, by establishing a different method of worship for his 
household, thus declares theft he has a God peculiar to himself, and has 
not degenerated from the holy fathers, from whom the perfect and genuine 
religion had proceeded. This course could not but subject him to 
reproach, because the Shechemites and other inhabitants would feel that 
they were despised: but the holy man deemed anything preferable to 
mixing himself with idolaters. 
  21. "And he called it El-elohe-Israel." This name appears little 
suitable to the altar; for it sounds as if a heap of stones or turf 
formed a visible statue of God. But the meaning of the holy man was 
different. For, because the altar was a memorial and pledge of all the 
visions and promises of God, he honours it with this title, to the end 
that, as often as he beheld the altar, he should call God to 
remembrance. That inscription of Moses, "The Lord is my help," has the 
same signification; and also that which Ezekiel inscribes on the New 
Jerusalem, "the Lord is there." And truly in these forms of speaking 
there is a want of strict propriety of metaphor; yet this is not without 
reason. For as superstitious men foolishly and wickedly attach God to 
symbols, and, as it were, draw him down from his heavenly throne to 
render him subject to their gross inventions: so the faithful, piously 
and rightly, ascend from earthly signs to heaven. The conclusion is 
this: Jacob wished to testify that he worshipped no other God than him 
who had been manifested by certain oracles, in order that he might 
distinguish Him from all idols. And we must observe it as a rule of 
modesty, not to speak carelessly concerning the mysteries and the glory 
of the Lord, but from a sense of faith, so far, indeed, as he is made 
known to us in his word. Moreover Jacob had respect to his posterity; 
for since the Lord had appeared to him, on the express condition, that 
he would make with him the covenant of salvation, Jacob leaves this 
monument, from which, after his death, his descendants might ascertain 
that his religion had not flowed from a dark or obscure well, or from a 
turbid pool, but from a clear and pure fountain; as if he had engraved 
the oracles and visions, by which he had been taught, upon the altar. 
Chapter XXXIV. 
1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to 
see the daughters of the land. 
2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, 
saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 
3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the 
damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. 
4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to 
5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons 
were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they 
were come. 
6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with 
7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard [it]: and 
the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought 
folly in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to 
be done. 
8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem 
longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. 
9 And make ye marriages with us, [and] give your daughters unto us, and 
take our daughters unto you. 
10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell 
and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein. 
11 And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find 
grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. 
12 Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye 
shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. 
13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father 
deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister: 
14 And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister 
to one that is uncircumcised; for that [were] a reproach unto us: 
15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we [be], that 
every male of you be circumcised; 
16 Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your 
daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one 
17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we 
take our daughter, and we will be gone. 
18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 
19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had 
delight in Jacob's daughter: and he [was] more honourable than all the 
house of his father. 
20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and 
communed with the men of their city, saying, 
21 These men [are] peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the 
land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, [it is] large enough for 
them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them 
our daughters. 
22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be 
one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they [are] 
23 [Shall] not their cattle and their substance and every beast of 
theirs [be] ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell 
with us. 
24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out 
of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went 
out of the gate of his city. 
25 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two 
of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man 
his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 
26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, 
and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went out. 
27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because 
they had defiled their sister. 
28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that 
which [was] in the city, and that which [was] in the field, 
29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took 
they captive, and spoiled even all that [was] in the house. 
30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to 
stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the 
Perizzites: and I [being] few in number, they shall gather themselves 
together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my 
31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? 
1. "And Dinah ... went out." This chapter records a severe contest, with 
which God again exercised his servant. how precious the chastity of his 
daughter would be to him, we may readily conjecture from the probity of 
his whole life. When therefore he heard that she was violated, this 
disgrace would inflict the deepest wound of grief upon his mind: yet 
soon his grief is trebled, when he hears that his sons, from the desire 
of revenge, have committed a most dreadful crime. But let us examine 
everything in order. Dinah is ravished, because, having left her 
father's house, she wandered about more freely than was proper. She 
ought to have remained quietly at home, as both the Apostle teaches and 
nature itself dictates; for to girls the virtue is suitable, which the 
proverb applies to women, that they should be "oikouroi", or keepers of 
the house. Therefore fathers of families are taught to keep their 
daughters under strict discipline, if they desire to preserve them free 
from all dishonour; for if a vain curiosity was so heavily punished in 
the daughter of holy Jacob, not less danger hangs over weak virgins at 
this day, if they go too boldly and eagerly into public assemblies, and 
excite the passions of youth towards themselves. For it is not to be 
doubted that Moses in part casts the blame of the offense upon Dinah 
herself, when he says, "she went out to see the daughters of the land;" 
whereas she ought to have remained under her mother's eyes in the tent. 
  3. "And his soul clave unto Dinah." Moses intimates that she was not 
so forcibly violated, that Shechem having once abused her, treated her 
with contempt, as is usual with harlots; for he loved her as a wife; and 
did not even object to be circumcised that he might have her; but the 
fervour of lust had so prevailed, that he first subjected her to 
disgrace. And therefore although he embraced Dinah with real and sincere 
attachment, yet, in this want of self-government, he grievously sinned. 
Shechem "spoke to the heart" of the maid, that is, he addressed her 
courteously, to allure her to himself by his bland speeches: whence it 
follows, that when she was unwilling and resisted, he used violence 
towards her 
  4. "And Shechem said to his father Hamor." In this place it is more 
clearly expressed, that Shechem desired to have Dinah for his wife; for 
his lust was not so unbridled, that when he had defiled, he despised 
her. Besides, a laudable modesty is shown, since he pays deference to 
the will of his father; for he does not attempt to form a contract of 
marriage of his own mind, but leaves this to his father's authority. For 
though he had basely fallen through the precipitate ardour of lust; yet 
now returning to himself, he follows the guidance of nature. So much the 
more ought young men to take heed to themselves, lest in the slippery 
period of their age, the lusts of the flesh should impel them to many 
crimes. For, at this day, greater license everywhere prevails, so that 
no moderation restrains youths from shameful conduct. Since, however, 
Shechem, under the rule and direction of nature, desired his father to 
be the procurer of his marriage, we hence infer that the right which 
parents have over their children is inviolable; so that they who attempt 
to overthrow it, confound heaven and earth. Wherefore, since the Pope, 
in honour of marriage, has dared to break this sacred bond of nature; 
this fornicator Shechem alone, will prove a judge sufficient, and more 
than sufficient, to condemn that barbarous conduct. 
  5. "And Jacob heard." Moses inserts a single verse concerning the 
silent sorrow of Jacob. We know that they who have not been accustomed 
to reproaches, are the more grievously affected when any dishonour 
happens to them. Therefore the more this prudent man had endeavoured to 
keep his family pure from every stain, chaste and well-ordered, the more 
deeply is he wounded. But since he is at home alone, he dissembles, and 
keeps his grief to himself, till his sons return from the field. 
Moreover, by this word, Moses does not mean that Jacob deferred 
vengeance till their return; but that, being alone and devoid of counsel 
and of consolation, he lay prostrate as one disheartened. The sense then 
is, that he was so oppressed with insupportable grief, that he held his 
peace. By using the word "defiled," Moses teaches us what is the true 
purity of man; namely, when chastity is religiously cultivated, and 
every one possesses his vessel in honour. But whoever prostitutes his 
body to fornication, filthily defiles himself. If then Dinah is said to 
have been polluted, whom Shechem had forcibly violated, what must be 
said of voluntary adulterers and fornicators? 
  7. "And the sons of Jacob came out of the field." Moses begins to 
relate the tragic issue of this history. Shechem, indeed, had acted 
wickedly and impiously; but it was far more atrocious and wicked that 
the sons of Jacob should murder a whole people, to avenge themselves of 
the private fault of one man. It was by no means fitting to seek a cruel 
compensation for the levity and rashness of one youth, by the slaughter 
of so many men. Again, who had constituted them judges, that they should 
dare, with their own hands, to execute vengeance for an injury inflicted 
upon them? Perfidy was also superadded, because they proceeded, under 
the pretext of a covenant, to perpetrate this enormous crime. In Jacob, 
moreover, we have an admirable example of patient endurance; who, though 
afflicted with so many evils, yet did not faint under them. But chiefly 
we must consider the mercy of God, by which it came to pass, that the 
covenant of grace remained with the posterity of Jacob. For what seemed 
less suitable, than that a few men in whom such furious rage and such 
implacable malice reigned, should be reckoned among the people and the 
sons of God, to the exclusion of all the world besides? We see certainly 
that it was not through any power of their own that they had not 
altogether declined from the kingdom of God. Whence it appears that the 
favour which God had vouchsafed unto them was gratuitous, and not 
founded upon their merits. We also require to be treated by Him with the 
same indulgence, seeing that we should utterly fall away, if God did not 
pardon our sins. The sons of Jacob have, indeed, a just cause of 
offense, because not only are they affected with their own private 
ignominy, but they are tormented with the indignity of the crime, 
because their sister had been dragged forth from the house of Jacob, as 
from a sanctuary, to be violated. For this they chiefly urge, that it 
would have been wickedness to allow such disgrace in the elect and holy 
people: but they themselves, through the hatred of one sin, rush 
furiously forward to greater and more intolerable crimes. Therefore we 
must beware, lest, after we have become severe judges in condemning the 
faults of others, we hasten inconsiderately into evil. But chiefly we 
must abstain from violent remedies which surpass the evil we desire to 
  "Which thing ought not to be done." Interpreters commonly explain the 
passage as meaning, "it is not becoming that such a thing should be 
done;" but, in my judgment, it applies more properly to the sons of 
Jacob, who had determined with themselves that the injury was not to be 
borne. Yet they wrongfully appropriate to themselves the right of taking 
revenge: why do they not rather reflect thus; "God, who has received us 
under his care and protection, will not suffer this injury to pass 
unavenged; in the meantime, it is our part to be silent, and to leave 
the act of punishing, which is not placed in our hands, entirely to his 
sovereign will." Hence we may learn, when we are angry at the sins of 
other men, not to attempt anything which is beyond our own duty. 
  S. "And Hamor communed with them." Though the sons of Jacob were 
justly incensed, yet their indignation ought to have been appeased, or 
at least somewhat mitigated, by the great courteousness of Hamor. And if 
the humanity of Hamor could not reconcile the sons of Jacob to Shechem, 
the old man himself was indeed worthy of a benignant reception. We see 
what equitable conditions he offers; he himself was the prince of the 
city, the sons of Jacob were strangers. Therefore their minds must have 
been savage beyond measure, not to be inclined to levity. Besides, the 
suppliant entreaty of Shechem himself deserved this, that they should 
have granted forgiveness to his fervent love. Therefore, that they 
remained implacable, is a sign of most cruel pride. What would they have 
done to enemies who had purposely injured them, when they are not moved 
by the prayers of him, who, being deceived by blind love, and by the 
error of incontinence, has injured them without any malicious intention? 
  13. "And the sons of Jacob answered." The commencement of their 
perfidious course is here related: for they, being outrageous rather 
than simply angry, wish to overthrow the whole city, and not being 
sufficiently strong to contend against so great a number of people, they 
contrive a new fraud, in order that they may suddenly rise upon the 
inhabitants weakened by wounds. Therefore, since the Shechemites had no 
strength to resist, it became a cruel butchery rather than a conquest, 
which increased the atrocity of wickedness in Jacob's sons, who cared 
for nothing so that they might but gratify their rage. They allege in 
excuse, that, whereas they were separated from other nations, it was not 
lawful for them to give wives of their own family to the uncircumcised. 
Which indeed was true if they said it sincerely; but they falsely use 
the sacred name of God as a pretext; yea, their double profanation of 
that name proves them to be doubly sacrilegious; for they cared nothing 
about circumcision, but were intent on this one thing, how they might 
crush the miserable men in a state of weakness. Besides, they wickedly 

sever the sign from the truth which it represents; as if any one, by 
laying aside his uncircumcision, might suddenly pass over into the 
Church of God. And in this mode they pollute the spiritual symbol of 
life, by admitting foreigners, promiscuously and without discrimination, 
into its society. But since their pretence has some colour of 
probability, we must observe what they say, that it would be disgraceful 
to them to give their sister to a man uncircumcised. This also is true, 
if they who used the words were sincere; for since they bore the mark of 
God in their flesh, it was wicked in them to contract marriages with 
unbelievers. So also, at the present time, our baptism separates us from 
the profane, so that whoever mixes himself with them, fixes a mark of 
infamy upon himself. 
  18. "And their words pleased Hamor." Moses prosecutes the history 
until he comes to the slaughter of the Shechemites. Hamor had, no doubt, 
been induced by the entreaties of his son, to show himself thus 
tractable. Whence appears the excessive indulgence of the kind old man. 
He ought, in the beginning, severely to have corrected the fault of his 
son; but he not only covers it as much as possible, but yields to all 
his wishes. This moderation and equity would have been commendable, if 
what his son had required was just; but that the old man, for the sake 
of his son, should adopt a new religion, and suffer a wound to be 
inflicted on his own flesh, cannot be deemed free from folly. The youth 
is said not to have delayed, because he vehemently loved the maid, and 
excelled in dignity among his own citizens; and on account of the honour 
of his rank he easily obtained what he wished: for the fervour of his 
love would have availed nothing, unless he had possessed the power of 
accomplishing his object. 
  21. "These men are peaceable." Moses describes the mode of acting, 
whereby they persuaded the Shechemites to accept the conditions which 
the sons of Jacob had imposed. It was difficult to induce a whole people 
to submit in an affair of such magnitude to a few foreigners. For we 
know what displeasure a change of religion produces: but Hamor and 
Shechem reason from utility; and this is natural rhetoric. For although 
honour has a more plausible appearance, it is yet for the most part cold 
in persuasion. But among the vulgar, utility carries almost every point; 
because the major part eagerly pursues what it deems expedient for 
itself. With this design, Hamor and Shechem extol the family of Jacob 
for their honesty and tranquil habits, in order that the Shechemites may 
deem it useful to themselves to receive such guests. They add that the 
land is sufficiently large, so that no loss is to be feared on the part 
of the original inhabitants. They then enumerate other advantages; 
meanwhile, they cunningly conceal the private and real cause of their 
request. Whence it follows that all these pretexts were fallacious. But 
it is a very common disease, that men of rank who have great authority, 
while making all things subservient to their own private ends, feign 
themselves to be considerate for the common good, and pretend to a 
desire for the public advantage. And, truly, it may be believed, that 
the persons here spoken of were the best among all the people, and were 
endowed with singular superiority; for the Shechemites had chosen Hamor 
for their prince, as one who was preeminent in excellent gifts. Yet we 
see how he and his son lie and deceive, under the appearance of 
rectitude. Whence also we perceive hypocrisy to be so deeply rooted in 
human minds, that it is a miracle to find any one entirely free from it; 
especially where private advantage is concerned. From this example let 
all who govern, learn to cultivate sincerity in public designs, without 
any sinister regard to their own interests. On the other hand; let the 
people exercise self-government, lest they too earnestly seek their own 
advantage; because it will often happen that they are caught by a 
specious appearance of good, as fishes by the hook. For as self-love is 
blind, we are drawn without judgment to the hope of gain. And the Lord 
also justly chastises this cupidity, to which he sees us to be unduly 
prone, when he suffers us to be deceived by it. Moses says that this 
discourse took place in the gate of the city, where public assemblies 
were then wont to be held and judgment administered. 
  24. "And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened", &c. 
Apparently this consent may be ascribed to modesty and humanity; for, by 
readily obeying their princes, and kindly admitting the strangers to an 
equality of rights in the city, they show themselves, in both respects, 
modest and humane. But if we reflect on the true import of circumcision, 
it will easily appear that they were too much addicted to their own 
selfish interests. They knew that, by a new sacrament, they would be 
committed to a different worship of God. They had not yet been taught 
that the ablutions and sacrifices, to which they had been all their life 
accustomed, were unprofitable trifles. Therefore, to change their 
religion so carelessly betrays, on their part, a gross contempt of God; 
for never do they who seriously worship God, so suddenly cast aside 
their superstitions, unless they are convinced by sound doctrine and 
arguments. But the Shechemites, blinded by an evil conscience, and by 
the hope of gain, pass over, like men half brutalized, to an unknown 
God. "Search the isles, (saith the Prophet,) is there any nation which 
deserts its, gods, who yet are not gods?" Yet this was done at Shechem, 
when no defect had been shown to exist in the received superstitions; 
wherefore none ought to wonder that a sad result followed this levity of 
mind. nevertheless, Simian and Levi were not, on that account, excusable 
for the indulgence of their own cruelty: yea, their impiety appears the 
more detestable, because they not only rush impetuously upon men, but, 
in a sense, trample upon the sacred covenant of God, of which alone they 
make their boast. Certainly, if they had no feeling for the men 
themselves, yet reverence for God ought to have restrained their 
ferocity, when they reflected from what cause the weakness of the 
Shechemites proceeded. 
  25. "Simian and Levi, Dinah's brethren." Because Moses says that the 
slaughter took place on the third day, the Hebrews think that, at that 
time, the pain of the wound was most severe. The proof, however, is not 
valid; nor is it of much moment. Although Moses names only two authors 
of the slaughter, it does not appear to me probable that they came 
alone, but that they were the leaders of the troop: for Jacob had a 
large family, and it might be that they called some of their brothers to 
join them; yet, because the affair was conducted by their counsel and 
direction, it is ascribed to them, as Cartage is said to have been 
destroyed by Scipio. Moses also calls them the brothers of Dinah, 
because they were by the same mother. We have seen that Dinah was the 
daughter of Leah; for which reason Simon and Levi, whose own sister she 
was by both parents, were the more enraged at the violation of her 
chastity: they were therefore impelled, not so much by the common 
reproach brought upon the holy and elect race, (according to their 
recent boast,) as by a sense of the infamy brought upon themselves. 
However, there is no reader who does not readily perceive how dreadful 
and execrable was this crime. One man only had sinned, and he endeavored 
to compensate for the injury, by many acts of kindness; but the cruelty 
of Simon and Levi could only be satiated by the destruction of the whole 
city; and, under the pretext of a covenant, they form a design against 
friends and hospitable persons, in a time of peace, which would have 
been deemed intolerable against enemies in open war. Hence we perceive 
how mercifully God dealt with that people; seeing that, from the 
posterity of a sanguinary man, and even of a wicked robber, he raised up 
a priesthood for himself. Let the Jews now go and be proud of their 
noble origin. But the Lord declared his gratuitous mercy by too many 
proofs for the ingratitude of man to be able to obscure it. Moreover, we 
hence learn that Moses did not speak from carnal sense; but was the 
instrument of the Holy Spirit, and the herald of the celestial Judge; 
for though he was a Levite, he yet is so far from sparing his own race, 
that he does not hesitate to brand the father of his tribe with 
perpetual infamy. And it is not to be doubted that the Lord purposely 
intended to stop the mouths of impure and profane men, such as the 
Lucianists, who confess that Moses was a very great man, and of rare 
excellence; but that he procured for himself, by craft and subtlety, 
authority over a great people, as if, indeed, an acute and intelligent 
man would not have known that, by this single act of wickedness, the 
honor of his race would be greatly tarnished. He had, however, no other 
design than to extol the goodness of God towards his people; and truly 
there was nothing which he less desired than to exercise dominion, as 
appears clearly from the fact, that he transferred the office of 
priesthood to another family, and commanded his sons to be only 
ministers. With respect to the Shechemites, although in the sight of God 
they were not innocent; seeing they preferred their own advantage to a 
religion which they thought lawful, yet it was not the Lord's will that 
they should be so grievously punished for their fault; but he suffered 
this signal punishment to follow the violation of one maid, that he 
might testify to all ages his great abhorrence of lust. Besides, seeing 
that the iniquity had arisen from a prince of the city, the punishment 
is rightly extended to the whole body of the people: for since God never 
commits the government to evil and vicious princes, except in righteous 
judgment, there is no wonder that, when they sin, they involve their 
subjects with them in the same condemnation. Moreover, from this example 
let us learn, that if, at any time, fornication prevail with impunity, 
God will, at length, exact punishments so much the more severe: for if 
the violation of one maid was avenged by the horrible massacre of a 
whole city; he will not sleep nor be quiet, if a whole people indulge in 
a common license of fornication, and, on all sides, connive at each 
other's iniquity. The sons of Jacob acted indeed wickedly; but we must 
observe that fornication was, in this manner, divinely condemned. 
  27. "The sons of Jacob came." Moses shows that, not content with 
simple revenge, they fly together to the spoil. As it respects the 
words, they are said to have "come upon the slain," either because they 
made themselves a way over the slaughtered bodies; or because, in 
addition to the slaughter, they rushed to the plunder. In whichever way 
it is taken, Moses teaches that, not satisfied with their former 
wickedness, they made this addition to it. Be it, that they were blinded 
with anger in shedding blood; yet by what right do they sack the city? 
This certainly cannot be ascribed to anger. But these are the ordinary 
fruits of human intemperance, that he who gives himself the rein in 
perpetrating one wickedness, soon breaks out into another. Thus the sons 
of Jacob, from being murderers, become also robbers, and the guilt of 
avarice is added to that of cruelty. The more anxious then should be our 
endeavors to bridle our desires; lest they should mutually fan each 
other, so that at length, by their combined action, a dreadful 
conflagration should arise; but especially, we must beware of using 
force of arms, which brings with it many perverse and brutal assaults. 
Moses says that the sons of Jacob did this, because the Shechemites had 
defiled their sister; but the whole city was not guilty. Moses, however, 
only states in what way the authors of the slaughter are affected: for 
although they wish to appear just avengers of the injury, yet they pay 
no respect to what it was lawful for them to do, and make no attempt to 
control their depraved affections, and consequently set no bounds to 
their wickedness. Should any one prefer taking the expression in a 
higher sense, it may be referred to the judgment of God, by which the 
whole city was involved in guilt, because no one had opposed the lust of 
the prince: perhaps many had consented to it, as not being very much 
concerned about the unjust dishonor done to their guests; but the former 
sense is what I most approve. 
  30. "And Jacob said." Moses declares that the crime was condemned by 
the holy man, lest any one should think that he had participated in 
their counsel. He also expostulates with his sons, because they had 
caused him to stink among the inhabitants of the land; that is, they had 
rendered him so odious, that no one would be able to bear him. If then 
the neighboring nations should conspire among themselves, he would be 
unable to resist them, seeing he had so small a band, in comparison with 
their great number. He also expressly names the Canaanites and 
Perizzites, who, though they had received no wrong, were yet by nature 
exceedingly prone to inflict injury. But Jacob may seem to act 
preposterously, in overlooking the offense committed against God, and in 
considering only his own danger. Why is he not rather angry at their 
cruelty? why is he not offended at their perfidy? why does he not 
reprove their rapaciousness? It is however probable, that when he saw 
them terror-stricken at their recent crime, he suited miswords to their 
state of mind. For he acts as if he were complaining that he, rather 
than the Shechemites, was slain by them. We know that men are seldom if 
ever drawn to repentance, except by the fear of punishment: especially 
when they have any specious pretext as a covering for their fault. 
Besides, we know not whether Moses may not have selected this as a part 
out of a long expostulation, to cause his readers to understand that the 
fury of Simon and Levi was so outrageous, that they were more insensible 
than brute beasts to their own destruction and that of their whole 
family. This is clear from their own answer, which not only breathes a 
barbarous ferocity, but shows that they had no feeling. It was 
barbarous, first, because they excuse themselves for having destroyed a 
whole people and plundered their city, on account of the injury done by 
one man; secondly, because they answer their father so shortly and 
contumaciously; thirdly, because they obstinately defend the revenge 
which they had rashly taken. Moreover, their insensibility was 
prodigious, because they were not affected by the thought of their own 
death, and that of their parents, wives, and children, which seemed just 
at hand. Thus we are taught, how intemperate anger deprives men of their 
senses. We are also admonished, that it is not enough for us to be able 
to lay blame on our opponents; but we must always see how far it is 
lawful for us to proceed. 
Chapter XXXV. 
1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and 
make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest 
from the face of Esau thy brother. 
2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, 
Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change 
your garments: 
3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar 
unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in 
the way which I went. 
4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which [were] in their 
hand, and [all their] earrings which [were] in their ears; and Jacob hid 
them under the oak which [was] by Shechem. 
5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that 
[were] round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of 
6 So Jacob came to Luz, which [is] in the land of Canaan, that [is], 
Bethel, he and all the people that [were] with him. 
7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because 
there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 
8 But Deborah Rebecca's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel 
under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. 
9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and 
blessed him. 
10 And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be 
called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his 
name Israel. 
11 And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; 
a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come 
out of thy loins; 
12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, 
and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 
13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 
14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, 
[even] a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he 
poured oil thereon. 
15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, 
16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to 
come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 
17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife 
said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 
18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) 
that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. 
19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which [is] 
20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that [is] the pillar of 
Rachel's grave unto this day. 
21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 
22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went 
and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard [it]. Now 
the sons of Jacob were twelve: 
23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, 
and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 
24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 
25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 
26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these [are] 
the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram. 
27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of 
Arbah, which [is] Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 
28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 
29 And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his 
people, [being] old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried 

(continued in part 14...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: cvgn2-13.txt