Theme: Sanctification (Part 8)
(Key Verses: Gen 34:1-31)
The theme of sanctification in scripture deals with the perfecting of the elect of God to be a “vessel unto honour…and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2Ti 2:21). Through this process of sanctification we are being separated for ministry in the service to God and His church first and foremost, but also being prepared to be of service to the rest of humanity in due time (Jer 1:5; Act 13:2; 1Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-24; 1Co 6:2-3; Rev 20). The apostle Paul is also testifying about this sanctified position through which the elect of God is made whole in every aspect (Ecc 12:13; Rom 6:18; Rom 12:1; 2Co 3:18; Php 1:6; Php 3:21):
Rom 1:1 (ESV) Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly [Greek: “holoklēros” – lacking nothing]; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Th 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Jacob is an Old Testament type of this elected servant of God, as his life helps us to see how this enduring process of sanctification is being worked by God from start to finish (Lev 20:26; Joh 10:36-39; Joh 17:19). Jacob is back in Canaan after his twenty-year period in Haran, Mesopotamia, in the service of his uncle Laban for his two daughters, Leah and Rachel, and also to establish a huge group of animals for himself (Gen 31:36-42). Before he re-entered Canaan, he met with his twin brother, Esau, who showed no open hostility towards him and seemingly had forgiven Jacob for taking from him the rights of the firstborn, and his inheritance (Gen 25:29-34; Gen 27:6-29; Gen 33:4-16). Jacob and his family then entered Canaan and went to stay in a place called Shalem which was in the region of the city Shechem. Here Jacob built an altar for the God Almighty who protected him and his family and brought them back safely to Canaan (Gen 33:18-20). Jacob at this point in time had eleven sons and one daughter. Six of these sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun) and one daughter Dinah were all born of his lesser loved wife, Leah, and this daughter Dinah is one of the emphases of this chapter 34 of Genesis:
Gen 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
Gen 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled [Hebrew: “ânâh”] her.
The Hivites were one of the uncircumcised nations in the land of Canaan which were offspring of Canaan, the son of Ham (Noah’s son) and they were also physically very strong (Gen 10:15 Exo 3:8; Deu 7:1). The Hebrew word “ânâh” in Genesis 34 verse 2 is also mentioned in the following passage in scripture which described what happened between David’s son, Amnon, and David’s daughter, Tamar. Here we can see that this word “ânâh” relates to a forceful way to get involved in a sexual act with a woman:
2Sa 13:10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
2Sa 13:11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
2Sa 13:12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
2Sa 13:13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
2Sa 13:14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced [Hebrew: “ânâh”] her, and lay with her.
The two women in these two cases, Dinah and Tamar, were sexually dishonoured as they were overpowered by someone with more strength, also in terms of their position of authority in that particular community. Both these young men were sons of leaders in their respective communities. These two instances reveal to us the negative application of intimacy between two people as we know that the sexual act involves the deepest intimacy between two human beings. In the Hebrew word “yâda” we find meanings that can assist us to see how the physical sexual act also reveals the spiritual things of God in this regard (Rom 1:20). This Hebrew word “yâda” was first used in its physical application in terms of Adam and Eve being sexually intimate to bring forth their first born son Cain, (the corresponding Greek word for the Hebrew word “yâda” is “ginōskō”):
Gen 4:1 And Adam knew [Hebrew: “yâda”; Greek: “ginōskō”] Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
Jesus’ physical mother, Mary, also “knew” no man in this sense of the word, because Joseph did not have a sexual relationship with her at that time before their marriage:
Luk 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know [Greek: “ginōskō”; Hebrew: “yâda”] not a man?
Luk 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The physical sexual act points to what it spiritually means to “know” someone very intimately. Spiritually Adam and all in him are first introduced to be ‘known’ by the spirit of the world as our first intimacy is with the flesh and its natural or carnal mind (1Jn 2:16). This is why the first Adam was created as an enemy of God as he was made of the earth, and more importantly is what was revealed in Eve’s thoughts before they trespassed outwardly (Gen 2:7; Rom 8:5-8; 1Co 15:35-50):
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
We first “walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness” in our hearts, before the true seed of God is planted in our spiritual wombs, by which we are being “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (2Pe 2:10; Rom 12:2; Joh 3:3-7; 1Jn 3:9):
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
The person who has the proper spiritual “yâda” or intimacy with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, do have spirit life by which they are equipped with the understanding of His will (Rom 12:2):
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know [Greek: “ginōskō” Hebrew: “yâda”] thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
This is what the prophet Daniel foresaw when he wrote these words, because this intimacy with the Father and His Son is our sanctified spiritual domain which is the right position from where we can serve God and others, which is the ultimate purpose of a servant of God (Joh 14:1-4):
Dan 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know [Hebrew: “yâda”] their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Dan 11:33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
But when we are under the mind of the world, we are the wicked, and we do despicable deeds, as also in the cases of Shechem and Amnon, all being after the counsel of His will (Pro 16:4; Eph 1:11). Forceful sexual acts are horrendous acts which relate to spiritually enforcing one’s religious ideas or false doctrines on others, and by instilling fear and guilt in order to have dominion over their faith and their minds (2Co 1:24). This is what the world and its spiritual rulers do to its followers, as we all can testify to through our own experiences:
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them [His twelve apostles] unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
This is what these despicable acts of Shechem and Amnon point us to, even as they were not sanctified in their position to act properly and to show respect for themselves and others with whom they interact. They abused their position of privilege and also raped the honour of Dinah and Tamar. The story in Genesis 34 is written for our admonition, and we also learn so much of our own haughtiness and all-consuming and destructive lusts. (Mat 4:4; 1Co 10:11-12; 1Jn 2:16). Even after Shechem abused Dinah, he was still adamant to have her as his wife:
Gen 34:3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
Gen 34:4 And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.
This rape of Dinah was shocking news for Jacob and the family, and it grieved them deeply as it brought shame to all of them. Shechem and his father, Hamor, came to introduce to Jacob and his sons the marriage proposal of Shechem to Dinah. This also aggravated the grieving spirit in Jacob and his sons, as the sons of Jacob especially were “very wroth”:
Gen 34:5 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.
Gen 34:6 And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.
Gen 34:7 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.
Hamor also came with proposals for the two communities to be integrated and the distribution of wealth by sharing their daughters among the two groups. The sharing of daughters is very significant as this was the foundation on which the other proposals rested:
Gen 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.
Gen 34:9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.
Gen 34:10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
In the scriptures the sharing of the daughters of foreigners always opened the door to fleshly pollutions and to bring abominable idols to the people of God to turn their hearts away from God (Gen 6:1-5; Gen 19:14; Gen 26:34; Gen 36:2; Jdg 14:1-4; 2Sa 11:3). This interest in the daughters of other nations is what also happened to King Solomon when he disobeyed God’s commandment not to marry the women of other nations around Israel:
1Ki 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Even the inhabitants of Canaan, especially their daughters, were to be avoided by the offspring of Abraham. Canaan and all his offspring, including their daughters, were cursed by Noah to be a servant to the generational line through Shem, which includes Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
Gen 9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Gen 9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
This was always conveyed to the elected offspring through Abraham:
Gen 24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
Gen 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
Gen 28:1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
This proposal of sharing daughters by Hamor and Shechem was in direct violation to the wishes of the forefathers of Jacob. Now Jacob, back in the land of Canaan, is for the first time placed before this situation as coming through the proposals by Hamor and Shechem. Added to the proposal of more wealth and land, comes more temptations in the form of the special dowry and gifts for the family of Jacob as promised by Shechem if they will allow him to marry Dinah:
Gen 34:11 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.
Gen 34:12 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.
It is important to note that it was Jacob’s sons who then put a deceitful condition of peace and reconciliation to Hamor and Shechem because the hearts of Jacob’s sons were still filled with hatred towards Shechem. When these profanities of evil and hatred are in the hearts of humans, no honourable agreement can come forth. The hearts of these sons of Jacob were not sanctified to act righteously:
Gen 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
Gen 34:14 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:
Gen 34:15 But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
Gen 34:16 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 people.
Gen 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.
The condition put to Hamor and Shechem was that all the men of Shechem were to be circumcised if Shechem were to marry Dinah to which Hamor and Shechem agreed:
Gen 34:18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
Gen 34:19 And the young man deferred not [Shechem did not hesitate] to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable [Hebrew verb is “kâbad” or “kâbêd” which in one sense of the word means “to make oneself numerous”] than all the house of his father.
The Hebrew word for “more honourable” is “kâbad” or “kâbêd” and it also relates to honouring oneself or to make oneself numerous. Shechem’s “more honourable” status has therefore more to do with a negative application of those words as it relates to his evil desire to gain more honour and glory, and to increase the numbers of his people through this deal with the house of Jacob. This is what the spiritual application of rape also links with which was the worldly spirit that ruled Shechem’s heart. According to his delusion, he will not only get Dinah as a wife, but there were incredible benefits for his physical status and domain in all of this. This pride and lustful ambition was also the driving motivation of Shechem and his father to convince the other men of that city to also let them be circumcised as per the request of Jacob’s sons:
Gen 34:20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
Gen 34:21 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.
Gen 34:22 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 circumcised.
Gen 34:23 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.
All the men of Shechem agreed when their hearts also saw the benefits to them if they were to be circumcised:
Gen 34:24 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.
But this period of pain and discomfort of the men of Shechem placed them in a very vulnerable situation and this is what Simeon and Levi, two sons of Jacob whom he had with Leah, were waiting for as they attacked the men of Shechem and killed them all. They also plundered the city of all its animals, the wealth, the women and children:
Gen 34:25 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.
Gen 34:26 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.
Gen 34:27 The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
Gen 34:29 And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that wasin the house.
This act of Simeon and Levi came as a bigger shock to Jacob as he was not even consulted in this matter. Simeon and Levi typify our times when we see not the use of a multitude of counsellors in a matter (Pro 11:14; Pro 12:20):
Gen 34:30 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 house.
For Jacob this act made him “stink among the inhabitants of the land”, and he was also afraid for the safety of his family. Jacob’s heart was shaken with the events that his daughter had to endure and even more was his disapproval of the vile act of Simeon and Levi. Jacob never forgot this and even brought it up on his deathbed when he spoken his last words and wishes for his sons. This is what he said about Simeon and Levi which will help us to see that we should never “recompense to no man evil for evil” (Rom 12:17):
Gen 49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
Gen 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Natural anger is cursed as it always acts in haste and has no mercy:
Ecc 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
The heart of the natural man is that of a fool because it has no patience, and it cannot see God’s hand in all events on earth. Sanctification is linked intimately with our fear of God as we show trust in God’s way of doing things and diligently obey God’s Word and His commandments. The wise will give place for the vengeance of the Lord (2Pe 1:4-10):
Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance ismine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The heart of this fool in us is easily offended and then it usually strikes back in haste with anger and hatred. But this is what Christ in us will advocate and work in us, if He is indeed in our hearts:
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Pro 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Pro 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
We are to be angry with sin in and around us, but the mind of Christ will not bring us to sin in that anger because of our own vanity (Mar 3:5). We are to “exhort and to convince the gainsayers”, but we do that scripturally (1Co 4:6; Tit 1:9):
Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause [Greek: “eikē” = vanity] shall be in danger of the judgment:
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Pe 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
1Pe 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Jacob’s call to “come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly” and not to be united with this type of anger displayed by Simeon and Levi, displays this sanctification process in the hearts of the elect of God as they also “come out of her”, which is the Babylonian whore with all he false doctrines. The open display of the anger of Simeon and Levi was triggered by vanity and self-righteousness as they actually justified their despicable act:
Gen 34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
In the process of sanctification we will see that true righteousness is to count all our own righteous deeds as a stinking old cloth and dung as the true excellency is to know Christ (Isa 64:6):
Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
But what the wicked has its own vain righteousness as it also justifies cruelty, even as they which preached eternal hellfire for all their enemies. This is the same level of cruelty and self-righteous justification also displayed by Simeon and Levi who actually displayed their own hatred and violence hidden in their own hearts in committing this awful act. This is what is in the hearts of all who advocate the false doctrine of eternal punishment for sinners.