GENESIS 34 – 36
Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
Trouble and Loss
Jacob’s return to the land of Canaan that God had promised to Abraham and his descendants, does not mean life is easy or rosy. Dangers continue to surround Jacob and his family. Trouble and loss continue to mark Jacob’s life and journey despite the material blessings.
Dinah Defiled (34:1-17)
o What were Shechem’s thoughts and feelings? What do you think Dinah was feeling?
o How does Dinah’s family feel about what happened? How does Jacob respond?
o How do the men decide to deal with the scandal of Shechem and Dinah?
o Who is being deceitful now? Why?
o There has been a recent rise in women sharing their experiences of being sexually harassed and exploited. Are there ways in which Dinah’s story is similar to stories of women today?
Dinah Defended (34:18-31)
o Why does the proposal of Jacob’s sons seem good to Shechem and Hamor?
o Do Dinah’s brothers defend/rescue her or take revenge? What are the consequences of their actions?
The descendants of Jacob-Israel are supposed to be a means of bringing blessing to the nations. They are supposed to be an open community; anyone who wishes to join them can do so. Jacob’s sons talk about their group and the Hivites becoming one people. It is a lovely vision. The Hivites just have to be circumcised… This is the sign of the covenant. But Jacob’s sons turn the sign of life into a sign of death. John Goldingay
o What is Jacob’s response to his son’s actions? Who gets the last word?
o God’s name occurs in the last verse of ch.33 and the first verse of ch.35, but is not mentioned at all in ch.34. Does it mean God is absent in that experience?
The Return to Bethel (35:1-15)
o Why does God direct Jacob to move to Bethel? What is the significance of this?
o What does Jacob ask his family to do before the move? What do they do upon arrival in Bethel?
o What does God say to Jacob upon his return to Bethel? How is it similar or different from what God said to him previously at Bethel in 28:13-15?
o God Almighty = El Shaddai. God uses this name when speaking to Abraham in 17:1 and Isaac uses it in his blessing of Jacob in 28:3. Why might God have used this name again when speaking to Jacob at this time?
Echoing Consequences of Sin (35:16-29)
o What had God told Jacob to do in 35:1? What does Jacob now do?
o What is the cost of the fulfillment of Rachel’s desire for more children?
o Rachel’s second boy is named twice. Why do you think Jacob changed his youngest son’s name?
o How does Reuben challenge the authority of his father? What is Jacob’s response?
o How is the story of Isaac concluded?
The Nation of Edom (36:1-43)
o Are there any comments about the descendants of Esau that caught your attention?
o Six lists:
• 36:2-8, the Wives and move to a new land;
• 36:9-14, the Sons;
• 36:15-19, the Chieftains;
• 36:20-30, the Sons of Seir;
• 36:31-39, the Kings of Edom;
• 36:40-43, the Chiefs, a few more.
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997