Jacob is rolling’ in to town a successful, fruitful man. The favor of God is clearly upon him. Unfortunately, having it doesn’t mean he knows what to do with it.
In 33, he is cautiously reunited with Esau. Esau has every right to be upset, but instead is gracious and hospitable. Jacob doesn’t trust or accept his brothers agreeableness and their relationship remains unrestored.
In 34, Dinah gets swept away by some locals. This story gets gnarly and ends horribly. Her brothers slaughter a city of unsuspecting people! Jacob laments, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Caananites!”
I’m not pretending to know exactly what should have been done in that situation, but I do know God’s command, in cases of rape, in Mosaic Law, is for the man to protect and provide for that girl the rest of her life. Shechem would have, seemingly, been all about that.
It is true Israel’s downfall does eventually come through idolatry introduced by Canaanite marriage. It’s also true, that Gentile women (in the line of Jesus), are sometimes exceptions.
God’s ways are higher than ours. He knows perfectly, defines black and white rules and owns all the gray areas.
To this day, God’s people struggle to walk the line between “befriending the world in order to bless them” and “staying separate from the world to avoid contamination”. Good thing we can ask Him!
Bring Him your choices and conflicts. I definitely need to stop impulsively assuming I know best. Let’s stay humble and submit to His Spirit’s leading to know how to love our neighbors!