Justice or Revenge?

Read This Week: Genesis 34

Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.” Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised.” – Genesis 34:11-14 NIV

In our study of the Book of Genesis, we have seen in abundance that it is a rich, profound source of narratives that explore the sovereignty of God, His covenant with man in conjunction with the complexities of human relationships, morality, and the consequences of our choices. In Genesis 34:11-31, we encounter a tragic tale involving Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and Shechem, a Hivite prince. This story unravels a series of events highlighting the importance of justice, morality, and the unavoidable repercussions of our actions.

This section begins with Dinah, Jacob’s only daughter, visiting other daughters in the land. However, in an unfortunate turn of events, Shechem, the son of Hamor, sees Dinah, takes her by force, and lies with her. As the narrative unfolds, the focus shifts to the aftermath of this incident and the reactions of everyone involved, especially the families of the people involved.

Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, react strongly upon learning about their sister’s violation. They are filled with a sense of righteous anger and decide to take matters into their own hands. They scheme to deceive Shechem and Hamor, proposing a covenant of intermarriage between the two families. However, their true intentions are revealed when, while the men of the city are recovering from circumcision, Simeon and Levi attack and kill all the males, plunder the city, and rescue Dinah.

While the brothers may have felt justified in seeking retribution for their sister, the consequences of their actions are severe. Jacob, their father, expresses concern about the potential repercussions from neighboring tribes. The incident tarnishes the family’s reputation and raises questions about justice, vengeance, and the appropriate response to wrongdoing.

The chapter underscores the importance of seeking justice when wrongdoing occurs. However, it also raises questions about the methods employed by Simeon and Levi, prompting reflection on the balance between justice and revenge. Something we can all take a lesson from and apply to various situations when we are treated badly by someone else. While motivated by a desire for justice, Simeon and Levi’s impulsive and violent response results in far-reaching consequences. This story serves as a cautionary tale about the need to seek God first and thoughtfully consider the potential outcomes of our actions before we do something that could alter our lives and those around us. It is a worthwhile consideration in our current culture and times and for our witness in the world.

The account of Dinah and Shechem delves into the ever-important subject of moral decision-making. It challenges us to contemplate the seeming gray areas in ethical dilemmas and consider the consequences of compromising our moral principles for revenge or taking justice into our hands in a way that doesn’t always align with the heart of God. While the brothers acted to protect their sister, the lack of consultation with God and Jacob, as well as the extreme nature of their response, led to division and strained family relations.

Justice is different than revenge. The primary purpose of justice is to maintain fairness and order and uphold what is right. Revenge is often driven by personal emotions, anger, or a desire to retaliate against someone who has caused harm or offense. The most significant difference is in motive, and we can ensure that our motivation is correct when we allow the Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts and guide our decisions. We must seek justice tempered with wisdom, considering the broader implications of our choices, and navigating the intricate nature of relationships with care and understanding.


  1. PK Chat on March 9, 2024 at 11:16 am

    Have you ever pondered why, at times, the punishment seems out of sync with the crime? It’s a recurring issue in today’s society, where justice tends to swing between being overly harsh or insufficient. Yet, there’s a foundational belief that guides me: true justice, characterized by righteousness and fairness, is reflective of God’s divine principles. When our actions align with these principles, the outcome is inherently fair, correct, and just. However, it’s evident that human judgment is often influenced by emotions such as anger and hatred, leading to decisions that prioritize retribution over genuine justice. This approach, fueled by a desire for revenge rather than righteous judgment, is far from what is right and just.

    Whenever I find myself aggrieved, seeking the Lord’s perspective has always been enlightening. It serves as a gentle reminder that vengeance and justice are in God’s hands, to be dispensed in His perfect timing and wisdom. This realization has led me to embrace three essential truths:

    1. Judgment can either lead us closer to righteousness or deeper into vengeance. Distinguishing between the two is crucial.
    2. Turning to God is pivotal in finding the right course of action, aligning our decisions with His will.
    3. God’s judgment is the epitome of righteousness, serving as the ultimate standard for what is just and proper.

    With this perspective, navigating the complexities of justice becomes a journey of faith, patience, and trust in God’s overarching plan.

  2. Trina on March 9, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Genesis Chapter 34 Verse 3
    But his soul longed for and clung to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke comfortingly to her young hearts. Wishes.

    Genesis Chapter 34 Verse 4
    And Shechum said to his father Hamor, Get me this girl to be my wife.

    Genesis Chapter 34 Verse 8
    And Hamor conferred with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem craves your daughter [and sister], I beg of you, give her to him to be his wife.

    Genesis Chapter 34 Verse 11
    And Shechem said to [Dinah’s] Father and to her brothers, Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask of me.

    ~Love Is Rghteous~

    God Is Saying To Me:
    True love comes from me. It is righteous, pure and Holy, fueled by grace and mercy. In order to love me, you must search my heart and love others, remaining Holy and in your actions and words. You can’t serve yourself and serve me at the same time. Don’t allow wealth and status, lack of self-control and the need for greed to interfere with your understanding of real love. Righteous and Holy love cannot be bought.

    What This Means To Me:
    Shechem violated Dinah. He raped her. This is not love! Love can’t reside in a heart calloused by greed, self-satisfaction, force and self envy. Only God can soften and prepare one’s heart to love. If we serve ourselves, we’re not serving Father God. So always strive to serve God first, with honesty, purity and with Holy intent. He will place the right person in our lives at the right time. No amount of selfishness and a self-serving attitude of entitlement will change God’s plans for you. His desire is for us to shed the layers of the flesh and allow Him to soften our hearts. We are his children and we can’t be bought by the world if we are serving Him! ❤️

  3. reachchurch on March 10, 2024 at 12:42 pm

    This Week in the Life: Genesis 34

    For the best experience, we suggest you listen to the first song, the message, and the second song.

    1. Sunday Worship – First Song: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/20240310-Worship1.wav
    2. Sunday Message: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/20240310-Message.wav
    3. Sunday Worship – Second Song: https://reachchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/20240310-Worship2.wav

    Join the Party Line Live – Schedule: https://reachchurch.org/connect

  4. Heidi on March 11, 2024 at 8:47 am

    For me I see everyone walking in ways that only please themselves.
    All scripture is for us to learn something from it.
    It’s for training, reproof, and for correcting
    We are learning what to do and what not to do
    Father God was saying to me
    Jacob was not listening to my instructions,
    He went his own way, then his children were not listening no one was listening
    It’s important to listen so you and others will be lead in the right direction
    There is a right way and a wrong way to respond in every situation.
    When you choose the wrong way
    always remember I Am with you to help you through it.
    It’s important to hear My way first not yours!
    Always remember I love you and I love them too!
    What this means to me everyone was listening to their own way. So it ended up in a big mess for everyone. In Deuteronomy 32 it says Vengeance is the Lords not ours
    getting yourself into range, revenge going overboard with your emotions is not a good thing even in the little things like getting so upset that you do things that you can’t take back and then there’s for no good reason, even if you feel like you have a right to be angry there’s still a right way and wrong way how to handle things it’s better to go to God first as soon as you start to feel yourself getting into an area that could cause harm
    God is a forgiving father he forgives us so we should learn to be quick to forgive an offense, and to be led by the Holy Spirit in every situation!
    Thank you, father God that you are with us always but it does take us to ask you to help us. It’s up to us to come to you and get what we need so we can respond in our situations.
    The right way so we don’t hurt others.
    Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. thank you that you’re always here to help us. I love you. ❤️

  5. Alma on March 11, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    This week in Genesis chapter 34 I got a song

    Let’s come together to worship our Lord let’s come together to worship our Lord. Praising lifting in our hands, singing hallelujah. Hallelujah we are blessed blessed We are blessed, blessed because we have our Lord he forgives and washes away our sins We are never alone we are never alone he helps fight our battles he helps fight our battles We have victory with our Lord we have victory with ourLord, we are believers believers growing in our faith growing in our faith, knowing we are blessed because he loves us because he loves us so let’s come to together to worship our Lord to worship our Lord. Amen.

    Life can be so simple all we have to do is know that our Lord loves us so much that we should always put him first and in the middle specially when making decisions. Thank you, Lord For your love❤️❤️❤️❤️

  6. Javaid Ahmed on March 13, 2024 at 12:09 pm

    Genesis 34 verse 31 was standing out to me this week.

    31 But they replied, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”

    God said to me on this:
    “Imagine murdering somebody that is innocent. This is no different than what was done to Jacob’s daughter. More violence brings more violence. How could you be righteous with Me and also yourself by committing an act like that? You can’t. Seek council with Me and the snowball won’t get out of control.”

    There is a right way to go about things and a wrong way, and without God is always the wrong way. When we let our earthly emotions cloud us we end up causing damage, but we can avoid this by getting into peace with God and discussing.

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