“No! Not my baby sister!” I wanted to scream as I listened to the whole sordid tale. I turned to watch a tear run down Dad’s cheek. “This can’t be happening to our family!” I thought.
Dad had moved our family away from Grandpa and brought us to this region of Canaan land near the Mediterranean Sea. We had purchased land from King Hamor. When we came in from the fields, Hamor and his son were sitting in our tents.
Stiffly, my five full-brothers and I stared at the father and young man sitting across from us. Dinah, Dad’s only daughter, had gone to Hamor’s city to meet some of the girls there. She had gone there every week. She raved over the gowns the women wore and the young, handsome prince who lived there. We did not expect her visits to end like that.
Hamor said when his son, Shechem, saw Dinah, a beautiful Hebrew daughter, he was taken by her. Shechem invited her to his palace to eat then made plans to meet with her every time she came to town. One night after dinner he led her to his bedroom where he forced himself upon her and lay with her.
“We are here to request permission for Shechem to marry Dinah,” Hamor stated diplomatically. I felt sick. Anger boiled inside me. I wanted to spit in his face. And yet I could see that Shechem was in love. Dad had that same look for my step-mom.
“My son’s soul longs for your daughter, please give her to him in marriage,” Hamor pleaded. “With this union, we welcome your family into our land to marry our daughters and that we may marry yours. You may live in our land, acquire property and trade in it.” It was an alliance that offered great wealth and riches for my brothers and me. Our peace-loving father was silent. He appeared to be calculating the benefits of handing over our sister to this immoral man.
We were Hebrews and worshiped the God of Abraham. We knew it was wrong to defile a woman, and worse to wed outside of our faith. “Would Dad really unite Dinah to a Hivite man?” I wondered.
We shifted on our cushions as we contemplated the offer. Leaning forward, Shechem begged, “If I find favor in your sight I will give whatever you ask. Just please give me the girl in marriage.”
I glanced at my brothers and nodded. I had a plan. My full-brothers and I watched out for each other, it was a brotherhood. Something had to be done.
Slyly, I turned to Shechem, “We cannot give our sister over to someone who is not circumcised, that would be a disgrace to us. We will consent to this arrangement on one condition. Every male in your city must become like us and be circumcised. Then we will live with you and be one people.” Shechem cringed. Slowly a smile spread across his face as he realized their offer was accepted. He would marry our sister.
Shechem wasted no time, and had his procedure done the next day. They men of the city respected Shechem. When he spoke to them, he told the men how they would profit from the merger. The men all agreed they had much to gain from a minor operation.
Like hungry tigers watching their prey, Simeon and I watched and waited as the men came out of the city to be circumcised. We pounced on the third day when the men were still in pain, and most vulnerable. We declared vengeance on the whole city and defended the honor of our beloved sister. We took swords, entered the palace and massacred Hamor and Shechem. Then we grabbed Dinah and pulled her from the palace. Next we murdered every male in the city. We looted the city and took the women, animals and all their possessions. Valiant warriors, “The Brotherhood of Leah’s Sons”, we celebrated as we returned to our tents that night. “We live as one people all right. What’s yours is mine!” I cheered.
Dad met us at my tent. His face flushed in anger. “Levi and Simeon, you boys have brought trouble on me. You made me a stench to the Canaanite nation. Shechem was wrong, but your actions are a curse to us.”
I stared at my blood stained hands. “What were we supposed to do? Let him treat our sister like a prostitute?” I shrugged.
Author’s note: This story was adapted from Genesis chapter 34
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