Here’s a story you never saw on flannel graph in Sunday school.
Did you know that the twelve sons of Jacob had a sister? And this is the one story by which she gets remembered. What a legacy.
Seriously, this a story that makes us think: What the heck? How did this get in here? Who’s editing this book?
There has to be a better question than, “How does this apply to my life?”.
Here’s a couple ideas of why this story is here at all, and why here at this point in The Story…
1) It’s a cruel reminder of just how dark, dirty, and dangerous this land is that God has promised to Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob. Like the story about Sodom and Gomorrah, it show us this land is not unoccupied and vacant. It’s populated by very broken and very sinful people. The world is deeply messed up. And this is precisely why God has chosen Jacob and his family to do something about it.
2) Skipping ahead to the end of Genesis (spoiler alert), Judah, who is the fourth son of Jacob, receives the firstborn blessing. That’s not normal. There are actions that can disqualify you from the firstborn honor and responsibility. This story explains how sons #2 and #3—Simeon and Levi—becoming disqualified. (Son #1 Reuben’s disquailfication is a later story.)
3) While God has chosen this family to do something about the sin-soaked world, this is precisely NOT the action they are to take. Violence is not an acceptable means for redemption.
This is a story about out-of-control passions (both lust and revenge), about the temptation to compromise with the sinful culture around us (notice Hamor’s sales pitch).
What about you? What do you see?