Who were the Hivites, mentioned at Genesis 34:2?

In the book of Genesis, the Hivites are mentioned several times as one of the nations inhabiting the land of Canaan. In Genesis 34:2, the Hivites play a prominent role in the story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, who is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite. But who exactly were the Hivites, and what is their significance in the biblical narrative?

The Hivites were one of the groups of people who inhabited the land of Canaan during the time of the Israelite conquest. They are first mentioned in Genesis 10:17, where they are listed as descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Later, in Genesis 34, we learn more about the Hivites and their relationship with the Israelites.

According to the biblical narrative, the Hivites were a Canaanite people who lived in and around the city of Shechem. They were known for their skill in metalworking and were likely involved in trade and commerce, as well as agriculture. The Hivites were also a polytheistic people, worshiping a variety of gods and goddesses.

In Genesis 34, we see the Hivites through the eyes of Jacob and his family. After Shechem rapes Dinah, Jacob's sons Simeon and Levi take revenge on the Hivites, slaughtering all the men in the city. This act of violence is condemned by Jacob, who fears reprisals from the other peoples living in the land of Canaan.

Despite this violent encounter, the Hivites continue to play a role in the story of the Israelites. In the book of Joshua, the Hivites are mentioned as one of the groups of people who are defeated by the Israelites as they conquer the land of Canaan. The Hivites are also mentioned in the book of Judges, where they are listed as one of the groups of people who were not driven out of the land by the Israelites.

In later Jewish tradition, the Hivites are sometimes identified with the Hurrians, a people who lived in the region of modern-day Syria and Iraq. The Hurrians were known for their skill in metalworking, and their culture was heavily influenced by the nearby Mesopotamian civilization.

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Jamie Larson