Uncontrolled anger leads to murder (Genesis 34)

The Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount said: “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21–22)(NASB). Our Savior tells us to look deeper at the problem of murder, and especially at anger, that can lead to murder. He wants us to stop murder from embryo, that is anger. A lot of people who are obsessed by anger in their hearts and don’t realize to what it can lead. I propose you to analise a case from the Bible to see the realationship between anger and murder. This case happened when patriarch Jacob went back with his family from Padan-Aram to Shechem, in Canaan. There he bought a piece of land from Hamor, the king of Shechem, who had a son with the same name, and named that city Shechem. Here is what the Bible relates us:

1.Disgraceful things and iniquity provokes anger that can lead to murder.

Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force. He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.” Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done. (Genesis 34:1–7)(NASB)

2.People controlled by anger don’t accept and don’t look for the solving of the conflict. It is evident that Hamor and his son Shechem looked for the solving of the conflict by asking Dinah’s hand in marriage for Shechem. Dinah’s brothers, who were totally controlled by their grief and anger, didn’t accept this solving of the conflict and didn’t look for another peaceful solution.

But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. ”Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.” Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.” But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. (Genesis 34:8–13)(NASB)

3.People controlled by anger don’t have limits for their revenge and wickedness.

But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. ”Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. ”But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.” Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father. So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, ”These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.” All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth. Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” (Genesis 34:13–30)(NASB)

This crime of Dinah’s violation was done only by Shechem. Dinah’s brothers killed every male from the city with the edge of the sword. The logic was simple – if they had killed only Shechem then they would have been paid off by the rest of the men from the city. To anticipate this revenge, they killed this guiltless men and looked at their attack as at a war, at least they acted like in a war – “looted all their wealth”. This was a disgraceful war, undeclared one, that was to bring some consequences.

4.Crimes and uncontrolled anger bring forward consequences. As the Shechem’s crime brought disastrous consequences upon the people of the city, in the same way Dinah’s brothers’ crime had to bring forward its consequences upon the murderers and their families. Their father, Jacob, was aware of this.

 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?” (Genesis 34:30–31)(NASB)

Their father, Jacob, was hit until death by his sons’ deed and when he was close to death, when his sons came close to receive his blessing, he reminded to Simeon and to Levi of their iniquity and infamy, when he told them:

Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because in their anger they slew men, and in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. (Genesis 49:5–7)(NASB)

In this passage Jacob condemns his sons’ anger, that was too enraged and in their wild fury came to the point they lamed oxen, a detail not mentioned in Genesis 34, but reminded in this passage.

5.Learn to control your anger. In the New Testament God teaches us this way: “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”(Ephesians 2:26)(NASB) So, be qiuck to conciliate with people and do not give opportunity to anger and fury grow and become enraged and wild, as it was at the sons of Jacob. And if people who have done something wrong to you or have behaved disgracefully with you, look for the solving of the conflict, be opened to solve this conflict because God teaches us to look for peace.He said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”(Matthew 5:9).

Beware of anger and of the people who are controlled by anger, so that you will not learn their evil ways.

Translated by Djugostran Felicia