Containing The Interval Of Three Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty-Three Years.
From The Creation To The Death Of Isaac
Concerning The Violation Of Dina's Chastity.
1. Hereupon Jacob came to the place, till this day called Tents (Succoth); from whence he went to Shechem, which is a city of the Canaanites. Now as the Shechemites were keeping a festival Dina, who was the only daughter of Jacob, went into the city to seethe finery of the women of that country. But when Shechem, the son of Hamor the king, saw her, he defiled her by violence; and being greatly in love with her, desired of his father that he would procure the damsel to him for a wife.
To which desire he condescended, and came to Jacob, desiring him to give leave that his son Shechem might, according to law, marry Dina. But Jacob, not knowing how to deny the desire of one of such great dignity, and yet not thinking it lawful to marry his daughter to a stranger, entreated him to give him leave to have a consultation about what he desired him to do. So the king went away, in hopes that Jacob would grant him this marriage. But Jacob informed his sons of the defilement of their sister, and of the address of Hamor; and desired them to give their advice what they should do.
Upon fills, the greatest part said nothing, not knowing what advice to give. But Simeon and Levi, the brethren of the damsel by the same mother, agreed between themselves upon the action following: It being now the time of a festival, when the Shechemites were employed in ease and feasting, they fell upon the watch when they were asleep, and, coming into the city, slew all the males (38) as also the king, and his son, with them; but spared the women. And when they had done this without their father's consent, they brought away their sister.
2. Now while Jacob was astonished at the greatness of this act, and was severely blaming his sons for it, God stood by him, and bid him be of good courage; but to purify his tents, and to offer those sacrifices which he had vowed to offer when he went first into Mesopotamia, and saw his vision. As he was therefore purifying his followers, he lighted upon the gods of Laban; (for he did not before know they were stolen by Rachel;) and he hid them in the earth, under an oak, in Shechem. And departing thence, he offered sacrifice at Bethel, the place where he saw his dream, when he went first into Mesopotamia.
3. And when he was gone thence, and was come over against Ephrata, he there buried Rachel, who died in child-bed: she was the only one of Jacob's kindred that had not the honor of burial at Hebron. And when he had mourned for her a great while, he called the son that was born of her Benjamin, (39) because of the sorrow the mother had with him. These are all the children of Jacob, twelve males and one female. - Of them eight were legitimate, - viz. six of Lea, and two of Rachel; and four were of the handmaids, two of each; all whose names have been set down already.
(38) Of this slaughter of the Shechemites by Simeon and Levi, see Authent. Rec. Part I. p. 309, 418, 432-439. But why Josephus has omitted the circumcision of these Shechemites, as the occasion of their death; and of Jacob's great grief, as in the Testament of Levi Sect. 5, I cannot tell.
(39) Since Benoni signifies the son of my sorrow, and Benjamin the son of days, or one born in the father's old age, Genesis 44:20, I suspect Josephus's present copies to be here imperfect, and suppose that, in correspondence to other copies, he wrote that Rachel called her son's name Benoni, but his father called him Benjamin, Genesis 35:18. As for Benjamin, as commonly explained, the son of the right hand, it makes no sense at all, and seems to be a gross modern error only. The Samaritan always writes this name truly Benjamin, which probably is here of the same signification, only with the Chaldee termination in, instead of im in the Hebrew; as we pronounce cherubin or cherubim indifferently. Accordingly, both the Testament of Benjamin, Sect. 2, p. 401, and Philo Nominum Mutatione, p. 1059, write the name Benjamin, but explain it not the son of the right hand, but the son of days.