18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son.
20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,
22 Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised.
23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.
24 And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
Shechem and Hamor returned to their city and explained with delight how simple a task the sons of Jacob had delivered them. All they had to do was circumcise themselves, and then they would be able to marry the Israelites’ daughters and siphon their wealth to themselves.
Which is another example of the unworthy motivations in these men. They aren’t talking about this as if it would be a mutual partnership, they aren’t discussing ways that they will be able to support and grow the Israelite community as well, they are solely focused on how they can profit themselves at the others’ expense.
Thus, it is their blind greed that ultimately leads them to their demise. It seems the defining characteristic of these men is that they are so anxious to take advantage of others that they don’t realize when they’re the ones being taken advantage of instead.
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
The idea of feuding brothers seems to be a recurring theme in the Old Testament. First Cain and Abel, then Ishmael and Isaac, now Jacob and Esau. And in each of these cases either one of the brothers had to leave to preserve the peace, or else a death occurred.
Soon we will also have Joseph’s brothers contemplating murdering him and selling him into Egypt. It seems that Jesus was also rejected by his own brothers. In the Book of Mormon Nephi is conspired against by his brothers Laman and Lemuel. And multiple times we will hear of princes that slay their brethren to take the throne for themselves.
The feuding of brothers is representative of the struggle between all mankind. There is a natural competition within us. Perhaps every child is born equal, but quickly we become aware of all the things that we do not have, and we strive for the advantage over each other.
Even Jesus’s disciples had a competitive spirit, wondering which of them would be greatest in their master’s kingdom, and Jesus had to curtail that rivalry. He reproved them and also assured them with the words “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Which to me is a message of how Heaven is not like earth. Its resources and inheritances are infinite, so competition has no purpose. In Heaven there is room enough for us all.