The Simeonite Ruse
Synopsis Judith 8:36-9:11 10/22/2020
The Assyrian army besieged Bethulia, Judith’s hometown. The Israelites who lived there despaired because of their lack of water. So, they petitioned the city’s leaders to surrender.
But Judith approached the leaders and castigated them for listening to the people. Despite their weakness, she gained permission from the leaders to single-handedly deliver the city and break the siege. And then, she went home to pray.
Judith prayed to the Lord for deliverance. Specifically, she recounted how Simeon, her tribal father, had once slain the Shechemites because their leader had raped Dinah, his sister. Accordingly, she prayed that God would similarly deliver Israel from the Assyrian siege through deception.
The Simeonite Ruse
In the book of Genesis, there is the story of Dinah. A man named Shechem raped Dinah. But Dinah was Jacob’s daughter. And Shechem was a prince from a nearby community.
Shechem was captivated by Dinah’s beauty. So, he raped her with the intention of making her his wife. However, because he had failed to marry first, Dinah’s brothers (Jacob’s sons) became indignant. And so two of the brothers, Simeon and Levi, tricked Shechem into a deal whereby he would circumcise himself in exchange for getting Dinah as his wife. Additionally, he agreed to convince all the other men of his community to do likewise.
So, the Shechemites circumcised themselves. Afterward, Simeon and Levi went into the community and killed all the men as retribution for Dinah’s rape. They also captured all the women from that community, and their belongings. These they kept as booty.
In her prayer, Judith recalled this ruse and asked God to deliver the Assyrian forces besieging Bethulia in a similar way.
Deception is a curious thing. It’s different than my merely making a mistake. Instead, it works when another person appeals to my perceived value of an object instead of the object’s real value. In other words, this kind of appeal tends to by-pass my rational ability by relating to my affections – according to the flesh.
So, a tempter comes with a deal that would bring immediate satisfaction. My affection for what’s being offered is so great that I don’t really scrutinize the offer. The failure is to see the offer only in terms of how it might satisfy my desires – especially my most basic, fleshly desires.
So, when I succumb to deception, it is because someone has knowingly offered me something, with the hopeful intention that I won’t scrutinize the details. And, in the end, the offer is always to exchange some greater value for something less valuable but more immediate.
In war, this kind of deceit is called a ruse.
So, keep up the good fight. Avoid falling for the alluring deception of easy money and no-cost relationships.
“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” Eph 6:12