In this text we find the major components of most political alliances. Even though they sound good on the surface, they all fail just like this one did.
Political alliances are often made possible by:
The Promise of National Unity – v.16
Jacob’s sons promised Hamor and Shechem that “we will become one people.” Nimrod built his kingdom in the land of Shinar based upon national unity; they had one speech and one language. They attempted to keep themselves from being “scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth,” (Gen. 11:4). But God scattered them by separating their languages. God divided the nations (Acts 17:26-27; Deut. 32:8). Thus, all attempts to bring them back together end in war, with the biggest one yet to come (Zeph. 3:8; Rev. 16:13-16). So, the concept of a global economy, a one world religion, and a one world government is doomed.
The Promise of Religious Cooperation – v. 13-19, 22
Jacob’s sons promised Hamor and Shechem that if they and their men would be circumcised, they would inter-marry and dwell together. The basis of their agreement, then, was religious cooperation. Kind of reminds you of the United States cooperating with the Muslims to fight a war.
For one thing, circumcision was the token of a covenant between God and Abraham and his seed (Gen. 17). It had nothing to do with Jews marrying Gentiles!!! And for another thing, in the law of Moses, God clearly forbad the Jews from cooperating with people of other religions because he knew that they would soon end up worshipping their idols (Ex. 23:23-24; Ex. 23:32-33; Deut. 31:20; 2 Ki. 16:9-13).
In modern history, we are reminded that the Pope had a concordat with Hitler that allowed Hitler to kill 6 million Jews without interference from the Roman Catholic Church. That’s religious cooperation in a political alliance between the Vatican State and Germany. Today, the Roman Catholic Pope staunchly opposes our war with Iraq to eliminate a ruthless murderer. That’s religious cooperation between the Vatican State (Catholicism) and Iraq (Islam). In both of these cases the Vatican has lined up against the Jews.
You watch, there will be religious cooperation between Catholicism and Islam against the Jews to assemble the nations to fight against Israel. That’s what will precipitate Armageddon.
The Promise of Peace – v. 20-21
Hamor and Shechem believed that Jacob’s sons were really interested in a peaceful coexistence. How foolish!! Right before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, the prophets in Judah were prophesying “peace,” (Jer. 6:14; 23:16-17). During the tribulation, the antichrist will gain world dominion by promising peace (Dan. 11:21-24; Rev. 6:2-4). All those foolish enough to believe that a political alliance can really bring peace will be shocked to find that the promise of peace translates to “sudden destruction,” (1 Thes. 5:3). It always has and it always will.
The Promise of Economic Opportunity – v. 21 & 23
Hamor and Shechem believed that doing business with Jacob’s sons in the land would benefit them in the long run. They believed that they would eventually end up with all the wealth. Instead, they lost everything. Most political alliances are sold as “beneficial to the economy.” However, the suckers always get the shaft.
In Gen. 47:4-6 and Gen. 42:34, Jacob’s sons had to go to Egypt because of the famine. They went down there with all of their possessions and years later they ended up totally broke and in slavery to an Assyrian king (Is. 52:4). When they left the country, they were so broke they had to borrow gold and silver (Ex. 3:22).
The Promise of Affinity – v. 21
Affinity is a relationship by marriage. European history is replete with marriages among the nobles of various countries. In this case, Hamor and Shechem tried to arrange a marriage between Dinah and Shechem which would have been good for “international relations.”
Solomon joined affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, by marrying his daughter in 1 Ki. 3:1. The result was eventually idolatry (Neh. 9:23-26) which destroyed Israel. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, joined affinity with Omri, king of Israel, by marrying Athaliah, Omri’s daughter (2 Chr. 18:1). The attempt was to reunite the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The result was vengeance against the royalty of both kingdoms by Jehu (2 Ki. 9-10). And three generations of kings were left out of Christ’s genealogy in Matt. 1 (Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah).
Today there is affinity between Arafat (an Egyptian) and Souha (a Catholic converted to Islam), who call themselves “Palestinians,” (no such thing). In 1997, Souha asked the Pope to pray for peace in the Middle East and then later stated that she “hates Israel and never really believed in peace with the Jewish state.”
In conclusion, all political alliances end in disaster (v. 25-31) for the suckers who believe that they will work. The reason is that the true motive for the agreement is rarely ever fully disclosed (v.31). In the end, the bad guys come out smelling bad. They “stink” (v. 30). And the “honourable” guys (v. 19) end up dead (v. 25) and spoiled (v. 27-29).