Genesis 34:13-31

Talks for Growing Christians

The Deceit of Jacob’s Sons, and the Massacre at Shechem

Genesis 34:13-31

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Lesson Number 77

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Misguided religious zeal results from the lack of spiritual leadership.
  2. Misguided religious zeal leads to sin in God’s name.
  3. Misguided religious zeal ruins the believer’s testimony.

Practical Application

  1. What will it take to bring revival to your life?


  1. How often is the name of God mentioned in Genesis 34?
  2. What was Jacob thinking about in this account of wickedness on the part of his sons? What prompted the sons to murder?
  3. How was God’s name defiled in this happening?
  4. How did misguided religious zeal ruin Jacob’s testimony in Shechem?
  5. When did revival take place in Jacob’s life?


  1. Not once.
  2. Jacob seemed to be thinking only of himself (note the I and me of Genesis 34:30). His sons were prompted to retaliate because of religious zeal, for their sister had been defiled, a disgraceful thing in Israel.
  3. Circumcision was a sign of a holy covenant between God and His people. Here, however, the sign of God’s covenant was being used with blasphemy, a cover for murder and pillage.
  4. When Jacob moved to Shechem, he built an altar. He may have thought that he and his family would be a testimony to the Shechemites, but instead they became obnoxious to the inhabitants of the land because of their ungodly actions.
  5. When he finally returned to Bethel, the place where God wanted him.


  1. When Jacob moved to the area of Shechem, he built an altar. But he was in partial obedience, and disastrous things happened to destroy his testimony. Are there times when you have only partially obeyed God? What were the results of partial obedience?
  2. Misguided zeal drove the sons of Jacob to take wrong actions with dire consequences, and their testimony was ruined. Have you known instances when a parent failed to guide his/her children in proper religious zeal? Has this ever happened to you?


  1. It took a wrestling match with God to move Jacob to the place of God’s choice for him. Then it took the rape of his daughter and the ruthless acts of his sons to finally bring him back to the place where the Lord wanted him? What will it take to bring revival to your life?

Key Verses

  • “...the sons of Jacob spoke deceitfully...” Genesis 34:13
  • “Jacob said, ‘You have troubled me...I...I...I.” Genesis 34:30

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