During their journey, Jacob and his family came to the city of Shechem. Jacob bought some land from a man named Hamor, whose son’s name was Shechem, like the town.
On one particular day, while Jacob’s sons were out pasturing the flock, Hamor’s son Shechem brought some of the young maidens of the land to sing and dance near the Israelite camp. Jacob’s daughter Dinah, now a girl of about thirteen, went out to see them. Shechem took her and raped her.
When her brothers heard the news, they were outraged. But Hamor, the boy’s father, tried to pacify them by saying that the boy loved Dinah, and wished to make things right by marrying her. Hamor then made a speech suggesting that the family should remain in his land, they could trade together, and all should intermarry. After all, this would be advantageous to everyone.
They couldn’t do this, the brothers responded, because the men of Shechem were not circumcised. But if every male of the city would become circumcised, they said, “Then we will give our daughters to you and take your daughters to ourselves; and we will dwell among you and become one kindred.”
The men of Shechem agreed to this condition and they all were immediately circumcised.
But three days later, when the pain of recovery was at its worst and these men were quite helpless, two of Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, entered the city, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, killed the boy and his father, and then killed all the males of the city. The other sons then came and plundered the city, taking all their wealth, their wives, and their children, because their sister Dinah had been defiled.
On the surface, the brothers’ deceptive actions may seem despicable. But this should not be taken literally. Dinah, the feminine aspect of the Soul, had been trapped and defiled by lower forces of materiality, and these forces had to be destroyed. The story represents the destruction of evil within us, evil arising from a lower plane represented by Hamor and his people who are trying to infect us with greedy and malicious passions, trying symbolically to ‘intermarry’: that is, trying to mix lower emotions with higher emotions – which is a sin that the Bible calls ‘Adultery’.
Before the soul can move on to the next level, the sons of Jacob (who symbolize high spiritual attributes) wreak terrible vengeance on all those who dared dishonor the Sacred Feminine, who dared defile the human Soul, who dared suggest a sinful union. To do this, they employed all the treacherousness of Laban and all the fierceness of Esau, qualities which they had now absorbed through Jacob.
They had also absorbed a spiritual generosity. So first they prepared the men of Shechem by circumcision, a ritual removal of their sinfulness. Then they completely annihilated this internal threat, as we all must, so the soul’s evolution can continue.
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