The Dangers of Fatherhood

August 24, 2010 at 11:33 am | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Genesis | 5 Comments
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In Genesis Chapter 33 Esau and 400 men are coming to meet Jacob. Jacob was afraid. He feared men more than God.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:28

Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Isaiah 2:22

Jacob managed to get past Esau without the violent incident he feared, but he treated Esau as an obstacle, not an opportunity.

And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for an hundred pieces of money.

Genesis 33:17-20

Delayed obedience is not really obedience at all. In this case, delayed obedience proved very costly for Jacob. Here are three good principles to remember about obeying the Lord: Obey immediately. Obey sweetly. Obey completely.

Jacob should have been going to Bethel instead of hanging around Shechem.

And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.

Genesis 33:20

Elelohe-Israel means “God, the God of Israel.” This sounds like a name that honors God, but God wanted Jacob and his sons at Bethel. Bethel means “House of God.” We need to remember that our homes should be God’s homes, but our homes are no substitute for the “house of God,” a local church fellowship.

Genesis Chapter 33 ends with the name of the Lord, But His name is not mentioned once in Chapter 34. Jacob’s new name, Israel, is not even used. It is the chapter which contains the account of Dinah, and it is difficult to tell if she was raped or seduced. Perhaps it was the first “date rape.” It is a strong reminder to fathers not to let our daughters be put in that situation. One of our society’s greatest disservices is convincing women they don’t need men for protection, and compounding it by failing to train them to protect themselves – especially by staying out of dangerous situations where they will be alone and vulnerable.

These Shechemites were wicked. Sex of any type held no shame to them. Jacob’s sons were out with the flocks.

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Genesis 34:1

Dinah went to hang out with the women of the land. Here is the result:

And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.

Genesis 34:2, emphasis added

And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:

Genesis 34:13, emphasis added

The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.

Genesis 34:27, emphasis added

The pagan practice of the Canaanites/Hivites was to treat immoral intimacy as a very common thing. Dinah was “defiled” – violated – and made to feel dirty.

Jacob’s sons plotted vengeance. Dinah’s name meant judgment, and, boy, did these men of Shechem meet judgment! Jacob’s sons were justified in being angry, but Simeon and Levi were not justified in using deception. They used the sign of the Covenant as a means of deception.

Why did the men of Shechem agree to do what they did? One reason is that they were perverts who were probably into mutilation, anyway.

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.

Genesis 34:30

What I practice in moderation, my children may very well debase themselves in to the point of excess. The actions of his sons brought shame to Jacob, even though they are viewed as heroic in Jewish tradition. The bride price that David paid for Michal was 200 Philistine foreskins which he took from the dead and gave to Saul. (I Samuel 18:27)

The last verse of Genesis 34 is a question:

And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

Genesis 34:31

This question goes unanswered – maybe because Jacob would have been two-faced to condemn them for practicing deceitfulness, considering his own history.

Jacob was probably between 97 and 100 years old when he finally obeyed God by heading on to Bethel. (He had left home at 77.) The death of Isaac is recorded in Genesis Chapter 35, and he was probably 157 when he died. Chapters 37-40 record events that occurred while Isaac was still alive. Isaac was 180 when he died.

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

Genesis 35:2-4

As spiritual leaders, fathers must instruct their households.

And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Genesis 35:7

We are to make our house the house of God, and worship God as the God of our house. We should do what Jacob did: look for God to meet with you.

And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.

Genesis 35:14

Pour your life out before Him.

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  1. […] fallen out of favor with Jacob (Reuben because of his affair with Bilhah, and Levi because of the incident at Shechem), and Jacob may have seen Joseph as the firstborn of his favorite wife. And Joseph dreamed a dream, […]

  2. […] the king.” Abimelech started a political campaign to become king of both the Israelites and the Shechemites. By covetous scheming, by accepting money from Baal-worshipers (thereby promoting idolatry), and […]

  3. […] and Levi lost a large part of their blessings because of the incident with the circumcision and slaughter of the […]

  4. […] and Ladder Shove at First Sight The Name Game Choosing the Right Watering Hole The God-Mastered Man The Dangers of Fatherhood The Son of Suffering and Glory The Best Representative of a Generation The Down Side of being the […]

  5. […] Adolescence 15. Pavlov’s Kids 16. Boys Will Be Boys, but Boys Should Want to Be Men 17. The Dangers of Fatherhood 18. The Early Bird Gets to Wait 19. Show and Tell 20. Fathers and Daughters […]


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