5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

7 And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.

8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife.

9 And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.

10 And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.

Shechem’s father Hamor showed just as much disconnect from his conscience as his son did. Never in his proposal did he offer any apology for what his son had done, and never did he acknowledge the abuse that Dinah had been made to suffer. Instead he sought to flatter them with arms wide open, welcoming them into the community like this was a joyous occasion.

And maybe that was typical of the cultures in that time, I’m not sure, but verse 7 makes abundantly clear how Jacob’s sons were seething at the offense. The Israelites were not here to be part of these godless, pagan cultures. They were called to be a “peculiar people,” distinct from all their neighbors, holding themselves to a higher standard.

Today it is the same. There are many philosophies that seek to minimize guilt for harmful actions, that try to laugh off serious offense, that tell us depravity is just how life is supposed to be. And as followers of the gospel we are meant to reject that emphatically, to hold ourselves apart as a “peculiar people,” to be bold enough to live better.

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