18 And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father. 20 And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, 21These men are peaceable with us therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein for the land, behold, it is large enough for them let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us. 24And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.
Here, 1. Hamor and Shechem gave consent themselves to be circumcised, Genesis 34:18,19. To this perhaps they were moved, not only by the strong desire they had to bring about this match, but by what they might have heard of the sacred and honourable intentions of this sign, in the family of Abraham, which, it is probable, they had some confused notions of, and of the promises confirmed by it, which made them the more desirous to incorporate with the family of Jacob, Zechariah 8:23. Note, Many who know little of religion, yet know so much of it as makes them willing to join themselves with those that are religious. Again, If a man would take upon him a form of religion to gain a good wife, much more should we embrace the power of it to gain the favour of a good God, even circumcise our hearts to love him, and, as Shechem here, not defer to do the thing. 2. They gained the consent of the men of their city, Jacob's sons requiring that they also should be circumcised. (1.) They themselves had great influences upon them by their command and example. Note, Religion would greatly prevail if those in authority, who, like Shechem, are more honourable than their neighbours, would appear forward and zealous for it. (2.) They urged an argument which was very cogent (Genesis 34:23), Shall not their cattle and their substance be ours? They observed that Jacob's sons were industrious thriving people, and promised themselves and their neighbours advantage by an alliance with them it would improve ground and trade, and bring money into their country. Now, [1.] It was bad enough to marry upon this principle: yet we see covetousness the greatest matchmaker in the world, and nothing designed so much, with many, as the laying of house to house, and field to field, without regard had to any other consideration. [2.] It was worse to be circumcised upon this principle. The Shechemites will embrace the religion of Jacob's family only in hopes of interesting themselves thereby in the riches of that family. Thus there are many with whom gain is godliness, and who are more governed and influenced by their secular interest than by any principle of their religion.