Restitution is not Restoration

And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince
of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force.
Genesis 34:2

Jacob has safely moved his family to a new land. In the city, Shechem, located in Cannan, Jacob purchased spent 100 pieces of money to purchase a land on which his family would build and their God would be honored.

Not long after moving their, the prince of the land, Shechem, saw Jacob’s daughter Dinah visiting with the other daughters of the area. She was fellowshipping, and was without her father and brothers. She is uncovered and isolated. She is innocent, and vulnerable.

The local prince Shechem sees her among the local daughters, and overcome with lust and desire, attacks young Dinah and disgraces her by taking her innocence. First, I was bothered by the accurate and appropriate term “daughter” in the passage.

Dinah is a Daughter…

Being a daughter, is significant in that she is connected to a house and lineage. She has a father and a mother, or at least one or the other. She is and extension of a heritage and is connected to a covenant. She is both valued and loved by someone, cared for by someone, dependent on someone. Someone carried her. Gave birth to her. Nursed her. And those are just earthly relationships.

Dinah has a Heavenly Father….

She also has a heavenly lineage. Someone gave her breath. She if fearfully and wonderfully made. Someone counts the tears from her eyes and has numbered the hairs on her head. She is God’s creation. She is God’s child!

Dinah is in Covenant with Yahweh not Shechem!

Shechem, she is not your wife! You are not in covenant with her, nor have you found favor with her. Shechem sees her and is so overcome with her beauty that he decides to take advantage of this young lady while she is out on the town.

Powerless People Abusing Prestigious Positions!

This sounded too much like today not to speak on. Remember, Shechem is a prince in a city that bares his name. Shechem is wealthy and powerful. His father, a powerful and connected man, runs the city. Shechem grows up godless and greedy, motivated by selfishness is abusive in his dealings with others. He treats all things within reach his, and feels empowered to take what he wants and depend upon his fathers connections and wealth to cover his behavior.

Right now, we are baring witness to a number of Shechems. From Politics to Hollywood, we have spent the last 2 years hearing story after story of wealthy people abusing their power and position. They prey upon people who are desperate, ambitious and greedy, waiving before them opportunity and prosperity. Other times the force their will and lifestyle on others, and use their money and connections to cover their tracks. They hide behind the false light of perception that exist from the reputation they have built for themselves through fancy marketing, and rummage through peoples. They have gained power, and now yield it over those who have not achieved and or are suffering.

What’s Power if You cant Get
What you Want?

The thought or question some have when they get
into powerful positions.
Shechem rapes Dinah!

A woman of God. A daughter of Jacob and Leah. A neighbor. A citizen. Shechem violates a young lady who is working as a stranger in the land to make friendships among the locals. The scripture says, “he sees, he took her, and lay with her by force”. Dinah had no choice in the matter, nor is her voice ever heard in the text. I imagine that her voice is not mentioned, because to Shechem it was not valued.

Abused Power Mutes the
Voice of the Powerless

I wondered, as I read further, if her voice was also muted to those around her. It’s possible, because of her position, that her loudest voice would have been quieter than Shechems whisper. In this, we know the feelings and thoughts of Jacob, Hamor, Shechem, Simeon and Levi, but we never hear from Dinah.

Violence often Results in Silence

Sadly, Dinah and many others suffer in silence! Violated by a bruit, she was forced not only to lay with Shechem, but now forced to live with the lingering memory of being violated. She is now weighted with the pain of the encounter with results in a disturbed peace from the stripping away of her innocence. His treatment of her has built walls padded with distrust that will prevent and restrict future relationships. Her life will never be the same.

All this while Shechem follows the pattern of most people in his position. The powerful and prominent people of society sending his father to correct his mistakes. His father now negotiates the terms to restore what his son has taken from Dinah. This is typical in that most believe the crime can be justified and rectified by a settlement agreement.

12 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. 13 But Jacobs sons
answered Shechem and his father Hamor, with
deceit, and spoke to them, because he had defiled
Dinah their sister.
Genesis 34:12–13

Hamor represents Shechem and negotiates with Jacob who represents Dinah. Yes, only the men are speaking, and the one disrespected is still quiet. They are deciding her fate, while she suffers from the disgrace.

Living with Abuse is enough!
Living with your Abuser is too much!

Shechem ask for the hand of Dinah in marriage, as though marrying her will erase or restore the joy to her life. Shechem is foolish in that he believes marriage is the answer to his abusive behavior. Why he believes Dinah will want to be united in marriage to a man who does not respect her or value her virtue or respect her as a human being. It is also ignorant to believe that healing of Dinah’s wounds and the families wounds can be accomplished by allowing the men of Dinah’s clan to marry women from their family and allowed to perform commerce in their land.

Money doesn’t fix everything!

26 and they killed Hamor and his son Shechem with
the edge of the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s
house, and went forth. Genesis 34:26

We find this true in verse 26 as the brothers of Dinah have their minds set on bring a blade to the neck of the one who has disgraced their sister. Though her hand was given in marriage, they couldn’t wait to storm the city and make a public statement about their feelings about their value and defense of their sister!

Simeon and Levi waited 3 days until the men
of the community were vulnerable, and responded
to the violent attack of their sister with the sword!

They entered the town and took the life of every man, taking possession of every woman, child, livestock and the like as servants and wealth for themselves! Shechem violated their sister and faced the wrath of her brothers who sat insulted and in disbelief that Shechem would behave in such an unjust way towards their sister! They spilled the blood of his father who’s negotiations reduced Dinah pain and shame to a number on paper.

Yet in still, the volume of blood shed,
number of cattle taken,
number of sheep collected,
and amount of servants obtained,
does not equal the damage done to Dinah,
whos pain still remains.

Restitution is not Restoration

There are some that believe that restitution is restoration, but I assure you restitution is more for the offender than for the offended. A sacrifice must be placed on the offender to make them aware of the damage they have done to a fellow citizen. They need to know the harm and chaos they have introduced into society. They must suffer and sacrifice long term because the pain they inflict on a person has long lasting effect. They carry a burden because of you, so you know carry a burden because of you (I started to right them).

As I right I think about the loss of Sister Brianna Taylor, who lost her life to negligent officers. Their actions took a life, and inflicted pain on her family and friends. While many will talk about the settlement payout, most will miss the point. Much like Jacob, her mother and father would rather restore the money and have their baby girl back. Her friends would rather her name not be a hashtag and not do interviews that reduce their friend who saved lives to a victim. None of the family members will spend one dime of this money without shedding a tear. The joy and the memories the money creates will always be shadowed by the knowledge that their daughter was innocent, vulnerable, and helpless.

#PastorJDO3 #BriannaTaylor

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Johnny Ogletree, III M. Div.

Johnny Ogletree, III M. Div.

Husband of 1, Father of 5, Servant of 1 God!