Our lesson in Sunday School this past Sunday was on Joseph (son of Jacob) and the focus was on integrity and sexual morality. Though the seduction of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife was the main reference, the killing of Shechem was also included. The latter incident is often referred to as the "Rape of Dinah" daughter of Jacob (Genesis 34:1-2)
1. And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
2 And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.
Shechem was a Canaanite prince who abducted and defiled Dinah. Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah, then avenged their sister’s defilement by killing Shechem, his father Hamor and others.
During the discussion, Dearie mentioned the similarity - in principle - of this action by Levi and Simeon to the feagaiga (covenant between the brother(s) and sister) in the Samoan culture. Note the following excerpt from "The Feagaiga" post in this blog:
[The] feagaiga gives rise to the expression: "O le tuafafine o le mea uliuli i le mata o le tuagane." ("The sister is the pupil in her brother’s eye.")Consider the sensitive and the vulnerable nature of the pupil which is protected and covered immediately when in danger of any external intrusion. Likewise, the sister is immediately protected by her brother[s] when she is in harm’s way. The brother attends to her and ensures she is cared for and protected. Sometimes, the brother takes this protector role to extremes especially when he suspects any advances of a sexual nature towards his sister by a suitor. The boyfriend [or admirer] usually gets beaten up for the slightest attempt to romance and woo the sister.For my part in the discussion, I shared this:
... that the outrage and vengeance by Simeon and Levi became one of the reasons for Jacob’s indignation, and as a result deprived the two sons (hence tribes) of the blessing and inheritance of any specific land tracts, as were given to other tribes. Instead they (Simeon and Levi) were scattered in Israel with Judah absorbing most of them. Hence during the division of Israel (circa 924 BC) between the Northern and Southern kingdoms, Judah and Benjamin in the south also included Simeonites and Levites - the latter especially since the temple was in the Southern Kingdom. While the Levites were blessed with the priesthood (possibly through divine appointment and/or the roles of Moses and Aaron), Simeonites, on the other hand, diminished and dwindled towards the time of the Babylonian captivity. One of the important lessons to be learned here is that choices/decisions can have far-reaching and lasting effects, and therefore can still come back to haunt - or bless - us with unforeseen consequences and/or rewards.