Dinah incident

Genesis 34:1 KJV

1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. 3 And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.

Joseph incident

Genesis 37:12 KJV

12 And his brethren went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

When Joseph was sold by his brothers they must have been living in the environs of Shechem because it is said they were pasturing their flock around that area.After the Dinah incident Jacob & his sons left Shechem in a huff fearing reprisals for the killing of the inhabitants of Shechem.Immediately after this incident God clearly instructs Jacob to go to Bethel and live there.There is no record of Jacob ever coming back to Shechem until he went to Egypt.

So could Joseph have been sold before the Dinah incident?

2 Answers 2


The short answer - it could have been either possibility. Gen 37:12 & 14 makes it clear that the brothers were not living near Shechem but had travelled there for extra pasture. Further, When Joseph arrived at Shechem (after travelling some distance) he was told that the brothers had moved further (north) to Dothan (v17) and it was from there that Joseph met his brothers and was sold. So the place where Jacob was living at the time of Joseph being sold is not stated; however, it was almost certainly Bethel.

In understanding the incidents in Genesis, the events are not necessarily in chronological order anymore than a modern history is. The author(s) often finish a subject before moving to the next. For example, Gen 25:19, 20 is well before Gen 25:5, 6.

As best I can work out (it is not certain) Dinah was several years older than Joseph so the incident with Dinah could have been before or after Joseph was sold.

There is another possibility as well. Perhaps the incident at Shechem (while Dinah was "keeping house" for her brothers?) occurred just before Joseph arrived (had Jacob heard something??) and this was what made the brothers move to Dothan where Joseph found them. Just a possibility?



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Drawn as an overlay upon the map at bible-history.com

The narrative from Genesis 32 through to Genesis 37 principally depicts the chronological sequence of events: from Jacob's anticipation of his meeting with Esau up until Joseph was sold into Egypt.

  • Genesis 32:22-32
    Jacob wrestles with God at Penuel, prior to his meeting with Esau.

  • Genesis 33:17
    After Jacob meets with Esau, he moves to Succoth and builds a house for himself and booths for his cattle.

  • Genesis 33:18-20
    Jacob moves to Shechem and buys a "parcel of a field".

  • Genesis 34:9-10
    Hamor's conversation with Jacob and his sons (post rape of Dinah, pre slaughter of men of Shechem ) indicates Jacob was a new arrival in the land, i.e. "...make marriages with us, ... dwell with us, ... trade with us... get possessions within..."

  • Genesis 34:30
    After Jacob's sons slaughter the men of Shechem, Jacob fears the people of the land will gather together against him.

  • Genesis 35:1
    God tells Jacob to move to Bethel.

  • Genesis 35:5
    Jacob sets out for Bethel, and the people of the land do not pursue him.

  • Genesis 35:6
    Jacob arrives as Bethel (Luz) where he builds an altar, and Deborah (Rebekah's nurse) dies.

  • Genesis 35:16
    Jacob is nearing Ephrath (Bethlehem) and stops because Rachel goes into labour.

  • Genesis 35:18-20
    Benjamin is born, Rachel dies, is buried near to Ephrath (Bethlehem), and Jacob builds a pillar upon her grave.

  • Genesis 35:27
    Jacob comes to his father Isaac at Mamre.

  • Genesis 36
    Esau and his descendants.

  • Genesis 37:14
    Jacob sends Joseph from the "Vale of Hebron" (Mamre) to seek out his brothers in Shechem.

    According to the scale on the map at bible-history.com, Shechem is about 65 miles from Mamre (as the crow flies) -- a three day journey for Joseph (A Day's Journey). It is evident that Jacob's sons went with the flocks to Shechem for seasonal pasturing (a long stay), which gave rise to the need for Jacob to send Joseph for a report on their status.


Jacob sent Joseph from Mamre to Shechem to seek out his brothers. This occurred AFTER Jacob had arrived at Mamre, AFTER Rachel had died during the delivery of Benjamin, AFTER Jacob arrived at Bethel, AFTER the incident involving the rape of Dinah by the son of Hamor the Hivite.

Joseph was sold into slavery AFTER the incident involving the rape of Dinah.

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