Deception: The Greater Sin (Gen 34:13-24)
Shechem’s sin in Genesis 34 was a terrible sin. However, the deception of Jacob’s sons was a greater sin. Deception causes a person to accept something as true when it is not true.
The nature of deception
Deception is made up of half-truths. It is truth mixed with lies. By omission of certain details (usually crucial ones), it can create a false impression. Simeon and Levi claimed that they could not give their sister to marriage to someone who was uncircumcised. “Uncircumcised" is used to describe the heathens (Gen 17:1-14). The significance of circumcision is that it was the sign and seal of the covenant that God had established with Abraham and his seed. Circumcision is an expression of faith, it is not what makes them God’s people. Circumcision would not make Shechem and Hamor God’s people, if they did not acknowledge Jehovah as their God and did not forsake their idolatrous way. Simeon and Levi meant to deceive the people in Shechem, so that they could kill them while they were suffering from the effects of circumcision.
Deception preys on the sinful hearts of man
Deception, in order to deceive, will be made very appealing in order to tempt others. The sons of Jacob tempted Shechem and Hamor by offering a conditional inter-marriage proposal. They also threatened that they would take away their daughters if they did not comply. It was a tempting offer to Shechem not only because of Dinah but also the wealth of Jacob. This was a deception because the sons of Jacob never intended to keep their words to forge such alliances with Shechem.
Deception preys on man’s blindness, ignorance and lack of discernment
Shechem sincerely believed Jacob’s sons and convinced his people to agree to being circumcised. 2 Timothy 3:13: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” Because the deception was so tempting, Shechem was blinded, and in his ignorance and lack of discernment, he fell into the trap of Jacob’s sons.
How to guard against deception
Always speak the truth. Resolve never to use deception. It is an abomination to God. Be discerning. Guard against temptation, and do not yield to it. Know and use the Word of God to help you.