Have you read Genesis 34? This is the story of Dinah, her father Jacob, her brothers Simeon and Levi, and her rapist, Shechem.
This verse gives me chills: "Now Jacob heard that [Shechem] had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. "
Jacob, man of God, patriarch of Israel, and father of Dinah, kept silent.
We already know that Jacob had family issues. He deceived his father for birthright. He feuded with his brother. He had two wives, but loved only one. He played favorites when it came to his sons. So when the author says that Dinah was Jacob's daughter (Not a son? Strike one) by Leah (Not Rachel? Strike two), we should brace for negative impact.
Here's what happened when Jacob kept silent:
First, his silence left Dinah without an advocate or a comforter in Jacob. As a survivor of trauma myself, I can't help cheering for Simeon and Levi for actually DOING SOMETHING. For empathizing and feeling the weight of their sister's violation. For not looking away. We never hear from Dinah in this passage; everything happens to her. At least her brothers did something for her.
Jacobs' silence also revealed his greed, cowardice, unbelief, and callousness. God had promised Jacob land and inheritance, but I would posit that in Genesis 34, he was more concerned with doing business with the people of Shechem than he was with believing the promises of God. He wanted what the folks of Shechem had, and not even Dinah's rape would stop his plans.
Jacob's silence was tantamount to lying to his sons by omission; Simeon and Levi had to hear about their sister from rumors in the field! Jacob neglected to lead and protect his family, and his sons understandably took matters into their own hands as a result of Jacob's calculated inaction.
Where Jacob was deceptively silent, his sons spoke with deceit. They required circumcision from the men of Shechem, not to demonstrate submission to God, but as a pledge for material allyship and marriage. They used the sacred symbol of circumcision as a weapon of war. They pounced on the men of Shechem as they healed from circumcision in order to exact their revenge.
You know God wasn't pleased with circumcision being used as a political and war-mongering tool.
After Dinah was freed from Shechem's household, as the bodies of Shechem and its male citizens lay all around, you know what Jacob's thoughts were?
“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.”
Me. Me. My men. Against me. Attack me. I. I.
All Jacob could think of was himself.
Rest assured that Jacob's sons lost respect for him on this day. His eldest, Reuben, was sleeping with Jacob's concubine in the very next chapter. Jacob's penchant for treating some children better than others cost him dearly, as his own children turned on each other and they sold one brother, Joseph, into slavery. Restitution was bitter, long, and difficult.
The news cycle is swollen with perpetually uncovered sexual assaults and vile behavior of men who wield power--men from every side of the political aisle, and from a diversity of fields.
The president of the United States bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, and got elected anyway...and 81% of his voters were evangelicals.
There is no corner of the country that a woman, a survivor of assault or harassment, or any decent human being can go to avoid the plague of sexual violence and trauma.
But the most upsetting, betraying, anti-Christ part of this whole ugly chapter in U.S. current events has been watching representatives of Jesus Christ rabidly defend the rights of powerful men to victimize women--even twist the Bible to conform to their sins--just so these men can occupy seats of power.
These "shepherds" are so much like Jacob in Genesis 34. They capitulate. They excuse. Or they are silent. They speak up only to applaud the men who afford them an opportunity for political advancement. Instead of protecting victims, these people re-victimize, vilify, or erase them.
Rest assured that there will be a reckoning for the men of God who seek their own financial and political gain above justice for the vulnerable.
Repent, you errant shepherds. Protect the flock instead of your wallet. Rescue the sheep instead of handing them over to ravenous wolves. Cast out those who would devour the flock.
Or brace for your reckoning.