Dinah: Bible

by Lyn M. Bechtel

Dinah is the daughter of Jacob, the father of twelve sons (and thus the twelve tribes) in the ancestor narratives of Genesis. She is born to Leah after Leah has given birth to six sons. Leah names her (Gen 34:21), as biblical women often did as part of the maternal role. Of Jacob’s daughters (others are noted in Gen 46:15), only Dinah is mentioned by name.

The story of Dinah deals with the Israelites’ attempt to establish social boundaries for marriage. It seems to advocate an inclusive perspective (represented by Dinah and Jacob) in which, when mutual respect and honor characterize the relationship, cooperation and bonding (“give and take”) with outsiders (represented by Shechem, Hamor, and the Shechemites) can take place.

The story is set during the ancestral period in the city of Shechem, the geographical center of a movement in which people of diverse backgrounds, customs, and religious beliefs merged to become the community of Israel. Dinah goes out “to visit the women of the region” (the indigenous people, 34:1). The phrase implies an openness to and acceptance of outsiders. Dinah’s subsequent sexual intercourse with Shechem, the Hivite prince of the region, is the ultimate symbol of acceptance. And Hamor speaks to Jacob about “giving” his daughter in marriage to Shechem, in the same way that the Jacobites and Shechemites will "give and take” wives, live and trade in the same region, and hold property together peacefully.

But separatist tendencies within Jacob’s community (represented by Simeon, Levi, and the other sons of Jacob) are threatened by this possibility and by Shechem’s intercourse with Dinah. They want to resist intermarriage. Their idea of “give and take” is “taking” the sword, killing all the Shechemite males, plundering the city, and taking their wives and children. The story passes “judgment” (the meaning of Dinah’s name) on their friendly attitude.

The story invites two opposing interpretations. The traditional understanding is that Dinah has been raped by Shechem. Her brothers Simeon and Levi retaliate by violently slaying and plundering Shechem, Hamor, and the Shechemite community. But the retaliation puts Jacob’s group in jeopardy by making subsequent social intercourse and peaceful coexistence impossible. Jacob thus reprimands his sons for their behavior. But concerning the question of whether Dinah has been raped, the final clue comes in the last sentence of the story. Simeon and Levi say, “Should our sister be treated like a whore?” (34:31). Prostitutes engage in sexual intercourse for financial gain, and their sexual actions involve mutual consent. Rape therefore does not characterize either prostitution or what has happened to Dinah. Furthermore, one of the purposes of sexual intercourse in the ancient world was to create permanent bonding and obligation; but in prostitution, there is no bonding or obligation. By saying that Dinah has become like a prostitute, Simeon and Levi might be suggesting that, from their perspective, Dinah and Shechem’s intercourse could never lead to bonding and obligation. They are not suggesting that she was raped.

Upon hearing the news about his daughter, Jacob is at first silent; then he negotiates Dinah’s marriage to Shechem. If Dinah has been raped, Jacob ignores his obligation to protect the women of his household and ignores Dinah’s suffering. This seems peculiar—does it suggest that Dinah was not raped? In the Hebrew Scriptures, rape is generally indicated by a cry for help from the woman (showing lack of consent) and violence on the part of the man (indicating a forcible, hostile act).

But the intercourse of Shechem does not fit this pattern. Genesis 34:2 reports that he sees Dinah, takes her (the Hebrew word for “take” is often used for taking a wife), lies with her (a euphemism for sexual intercourse), and shames her (the NRSV combines the last two verbs, rendering “lay with her by force,” a reading that should be contested). Then the text (v. 3) provides three expressions of affection: first it says he bonds with her (the NRSV uses “was drawn” to her, but the word bonds more appropriately represents a word used for marital bonding), then that he loves her, and finally that he speaks tenderly to her. From this description Shechem appears to be a man in love, not a man committing an exploitative act of rape. Rapists feel hostility and hatred toward their victims, not closeness and tenderness.

So why does the text include the verb to shame (or to humble, put down), and why does it record that Jacob’s daughter has been “defiled” (34:5; compare 34:13, 27)? Shame, or intense humility, usually relates to failure to live up to societal goals and ideals. Because sexual intercourse should be part of marital bonding, it is shameful for an unmarried woman like Dinah to have sex. The declaration of love and desire for marriage comes after she and Shechem have intercourse. Furthermore, Dinah’s intercourse with Shechem makes her “defiled,” a term (Hebrew tm’) indicating here an unacceptable sexual act. The unacceptability of premarital sex in this case is intertwined with the response of Dinah’s brothers, who insist that Shechem’s requested marriage with her would be an unacceptable union.

Ironically, if there is a rape in this story, it is Simeon and Levi who “rape” the people of Shechem’s city. It is their behavior that is violent, hostile, and exploitative. Shechem’s desire for marital bonding stands in tension with Simeon and Levi’s determination that no such liaison take place. The tension between marriage within a group (endogamy) and marriage with outsiders (exogamy) is dramatized in this story of love and violence. The premarital sexual act is the narrative’s representation of the violation of group boundaries. Also, the fact that Shechem figures prominently first as a friend and then as a victim of Jacob’s group may prefigure what another biblical narrative reports—that Shechem is peacefully incorporated into Israel but then is violently destroyed (see Judges 9).


Bechtel, Lyn.“What If Dinah Is Not Raped? (Genesis 34).” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 62 (June 1994): 19–36.

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Atlanta: 1982; Sheres, Ita. Dinah’s Rebellion: A Biblical Parable for Our Times. New York: 1990.

Meyers, Carol, General Editor. Women in Scripture. New York: 2000.


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This story has always “bothered” me. I don’t believe she was “raped,” or was prostituted. He took her, lay with her, spoke tenderly to her, delighted in her. He desired to have her for his wife. He loved her. He was willing to do “anything” to have her for his wife. What “bothers” me about this story, was that despite the willingness of Shechem, Hamer, and his famiily (male members) to be circumcized, Dinah’s brothers refused to accept their good intentions. Instead, Simeon and Levi slay all the Shechemites. I assume Dinah was brought back home. I think she may have “grieved” the loss of Shechem, and perhaps “angered at her brothers’ actions. Later in Genesis, when Jacob and all his family go to Egypt, Dinah is not mentioned. I wonder: did she die when the Shechemies were slain, or taken bake to her family, and died sometime later.

Thank you. I have learned a lot from the article and from the readers' sharing. I was also in doubt if Dinah was raped. Was it okay at that time that Dinah went visiting without a companion or a chaperon? If she was raped, was there no witness of her struggle?

I guess we will really never actually know what took place but I am having trouble with how 've and other more modern style bibles use the word rape and KJV uses the word defile. They don't mean the same thing. This is how I found my way here. I asked what the Torab says and this is where I came.It is interesting.

Thank you I think now the whole saga can better be digested with your explanation otherwise Jacob will be a horrible father in my sight. I also thought it was not rape when I first read it but the narrative was conflicting as love and rape does not go hand in hand.

Keep in mind that Jacob's sons were Laban's grandsons. Laban who made Jacob toil for seven years to win Rachel's hand in marriage, then tricked Jacob into marrying Leah.

You know, it's funny- I grew up in Church always thinking that Israel's wars and battles against the Canaanites were somehow willed by God- that they were cleansing the land of unrighteousness. But after reading more and more of the first violent tendencies of Jacob's sons, it is seeming more and more likely to me that Gods chosen people, the ones who were supposed to bless the whole earth, were in fact responsible for causing much of the initial suffering of other nations and populations. When Simeon and Levi took it upon themselves to utterly annihilate the Shechemites for the utter crime of wanting to intermarry with Israel's daughters, and wanting to receive some of Gods blessings, were they not starting the trend of violence that would follow their nation throughout its entire history? As Jacob said, they had made Israel a stench in the nostrils of all surrounding nations. Supposedly Jacob walked with God, and presumably his sons had the potential of communicating with God as well. Did not Jacob inquire of the Lord and did he not instruct his sons to seek the Lords will for their lives? Didnt Jacob and his sons have the ability to discern the will of God? Shouldn't Levi and Simeon have inquired of the Lord before slaughtering all the men in a city? Was Shechem so evil just for loving their sister and speaking tenderly to her, and deflowering her virginity? Apparently God did nothing to stop Levi and Simeon from killing all the men of Shechem and looting them, and taking their women and children as war booty. And yet God later kills Judah's son Onan for refusing to inseminate Tamar during sex. I guess I just dont understand Gods justice and his laws very well.

In reply to by Christopher Moyer

Yeah, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His ways. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

In reply to by JB

Exactly JB. When you look at the story of Judges 9 about Shechem and his family, God knew in advance that he was going to send an evil spirit among Shechem that would cause all men and women to die by fire in the house of a false god. Simeon and Levi knew that the men of Shechem having agreed to get circumcised would be under the covenant of their God by circumcision, but would still be serving their falls gods with their circumcision which is an abomination, and also Dinah had already slept with the man while he was uncircumcised. If they would have agreed to give Dinah to Shechem, she would've been subjected to her husband and his false religion and would've died in that tower along with them in Judges 9. So, that's why God didn't fully punish Simeon and Levi, just like he didn't punish Phinehas in Numbers 25. God can foresee the future. We can't. The fact of the matter is, Shechem and the men of Shechem were never going to serve the true and living God, so that's not a place that Dinah needed to be. So what they did, although not conventional, really was smart and saved her life. You're right, our thoughts are not God's thoughts. His thoughts are higher than ours because He is righteous and can foresee the future.

I understand that this article represents an alternative interpretation of the story, which is very interesting. There is one line in this article I find troubling which no one in the comments has mentioned yet (I think), which is:

"Rapists feel hostility and hatred toward their victims, not closeness and tenderness."

This appears to buy into the false stereotype about rapists being hostile strangers, whereas the majority of rapes are from people the victims know and often have relationships with. Many rapes are not the product of conscious and purposeful hatred but rather bad boundaries on the part of the perpetrator, lack of understanding about consent, etc. There is a very real phenomenon in abusive relationships wherein the abusive partner will go back and forth between abusive behavior and loving, even nurturing behavior and build emotional (albeit dysfunctional) bonds with their partner. To reduce rape to the above is to leave out a lot of people who have experienced sexual violence, and I don't think it's a helpful generalization, or necessary to this overall interpretation of Dinah's story.

Considering Dinah's very important roles, concerning regional women & inter-ethnic outreach (diplomacy), can Dinah's position be viewed as a "tribe," of sorts?

If so, in the context of a tzaddeket, could she not also be seen as a Messianic figure?

The book of Jasher is a forgery so never happened. Dinah was most definitely not raped. https://www.gotquestions.org/book-of-Jasher.html

Dinah was definitely raped, here's an except from The Book of Correct Record also known as The Book of Jasher:

“And in some time after Jacob went away from the borders of the land, and he came to the land of Shalem, that is the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, and he rested in front of the city. 2 And he bought a parcel of the field which was there, from the children of Hamor the people of the land, for five shekels. 3 And Jacob there built himself a house, and he pitched his tent there, and he made booths for his cattle, therefore he called the name of that place Succoth. 4 And Jacob remained in Succoth a year and six months. 5 At that time some of the women of the inhabitants of the land went to the city of Shechem to dance and rejoice with the daughters of the people of the city, and when they went forth then Rachel and Leah the wives of Jacob with their families also went to behold the rejoicing of the daughters of the city. 6 And Dinah the daughter of Jacob also went along with them and saw the daughters of the city, and they remained there before these daughters whilst all the people of the city were standing by them to behold their rejoicings, and all the great people of the city were there. 7 And Shechem the son of Hamor, the prince of the land was also standing there to see them. 8 And Shechem beheld Dinah the daughter of Jacob sitting with her mother before the daughters of the city, and the damsel pleased him greatly, and he there asked his friends and his people, saying, Whose daughter is that sitting amongst the women, whom I do not know in this city? 9 And they said unto him, Surely this is the daughter of Jacob the son of Isaac the Hebrew, who has dwelt in this city for some time, and when it was reported that the daughters of the land were going forth to rejoice she went with her mother and maid servants to sit amongst them as thou seest. 10 And Shechem beheld Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and when he looked at her his soul became fixed upon Dinah. 11 And he sent and had her taken by force, and Dinah came to the house of Shechem and he seized her forcibly and lay with her and humbled her, and he loved her exceedingly and placed her in his house. 12 And they came and told the thing unto Jacob, and when Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah, Jacob sent twelve of his servants to fetch Dinah from the house of Shechem, and they went and came to the house of Shechem to take away Dinah from there. 13 And when they came Shechem went out to them with his men and drove them from his house, and he would not suffer them to come before Dinah, but Shechem was sitting with Dinah kissing and embracing her before their eyes. 14 And the servants of Jacob came back and told him, saying, When we came, he and his men drove us away, and thus did Shechem do unto Dinah before our eyes. 15 And Jacob knew moreover that Shechem had defiled his daughter, but he said nothing, and his sons were feeding his cattle in the field, and Jacob remained silent till their return. 16 And before his sons came home Jacob sent two maidens from his servants' daughters to take care of Dinah in the house of Shechem, and to remain with her, and Shechem sent three of his friends to his father Hamor the son of Chiddekem, the son of Pered, saying, Get me this damsel for a wife.”

I think another way to look at the text is through the lens of the Documentary Hypothesis.  This "encounter" was in Gen. 34.  That whole chapter is a J text intrusion on a E discussion.  Gen 33 is all E; and the first few verses of Gen 35 is E.  So why is this story being dropped into the text?  The J text moves from Dinah to Joseph (E contributes to the Jospeh story).  I think when you step back and look at these sorts of details the alleged rape seems more and more like the issue was intermarriage.  In that period the girl marrying at 12 would not be unusual, sadly.  Older men falling in love with younger women is an old story too.  Add up all the arguments and it does seem like the rape interpretation is a priestly intrusion in a story about primitive tribal thinking.  The priestly interpretation is meant to reinforce obedience; where the love story interpretation suggests free thinking rejection of tribalism.  All of which is really to say that I agree with Richard Friedman that all we can know for sure is the family disapporoved, but of what we cannot be sure.

What you are proposing is a type of  forbidden "love story" between Dinah and Shechem.  Regardless of your play on words, it is obvious from the aftermath that it was a "Rape".  One of the things that I have learned in studying the bible is that God is very straight forward and certainly in this case.  There are plenty of "love stories" in the bible, and this is not one. 

In reply to by Elaine Adams

Elaine Adams - I agree with you... While maybe the rape is debateable, there doesn't appear to be any indication that Dinah loved Shechem.

In reply to by Elaine Adams

I agree this information seem to coming from a man perspective Dinah was a child between the age of ten or twelve give or take. give me a break

"Prostitutes engage in sexual intercourse for financial gain, and their sexual actions involve mutual consent."

Yikes- this is an untrue generalization in modern times and likely in ancient Isreal as well. I don't know if Dinah was raped or consented, but the above claim made by the author of this article is concerning. "Prostitutes" often don't gain financially or consent to the acts. See the below website regarding modern day sex trafficking (which includes prostitution"): https://polarisproject.org/sex...

"But concerning the question of whether Dinah has been raped, the final
clue comes in the last sentence of the story. Simeon and Levi say,
“Should our sister be treated like a whore?” (34:31). Prostitutes engage
in sexual intercourse for financial gain, and their sexual actions
involve mutual consent. Rape therefore does not characterize either prostitution or what has happened to Dinah."

I think that this is a very superficial interpretation. To treat a woman like a whore does not mean to have sex with her for money. It means and it has meant at all times, to treat her very badly. To take of her what you want. And men who rape women never feel love for them? You seem to live in a black-and-white-world. Of course some rapists love the women they rape. Maybe you might say: but if they love the woman, they wouldn't hurt her. And in a perfect world, that would be true. But in the real world, we hurt the people we love all the time. So that's not even an argument.

Every source that I know and that can be taken seriously says that the text deals with rape. The verbs that are used in the original are only used in connection with forced sexual intercourse, at least that's what I read. I don't speak Hebrew so I can't really say anything about that or about your remarks concerning the language in this passage, but when it comes to your other arguments, I think they are not very strong.

I enjoyed reading all the comments and they gave me quite a bit to think about. Perhaps it isn't "cut and dry" that she was raped as I'd always assumed. I was surprised by one thing though. With such heart felt consideration of the issue by the author and those commenting, no one focused on verse one:

Genesis 34 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Perhaps she was lonely for female companionship of her age or just curious. There is no mention of her asking permission from either of her parents before going and if Jacob had consented to Dinah's visit, he would have blamed himself at least in part for what had happened. You may say I'm assuming he would but do any of you have daughters ? Even if I'm wrong concerning Jacob's possible reaction, would Jacob have consented to his young daughter going unaccompanied to a people he wasn't intimately familiar with ? What happened to Dinah aught never to happen whether rape or consenting at a young age. Both have their consequences, an example of which we see here.

One last point. Dinah was part of a covenant people. Abraham said no Canaanite wife for Isaac. Isaac said no Canaanite wife of Jacob. Yet Jacob so readily agrees to the marriage ? Perhaps, as one commenter pointed out, he agrees to the marriage to insure Dinah would have a husband (as Deuteronomy 22:28-29 later ensure) and I suppose from a certain point of view it would be understandable. However, would Jacob's consent to the marriage constitute a compromise ? We are not to compromise with the "world" (the world system if you prefer) and if Jacob had not consented to the marriage there would have been no circumcision of the men and no slaughter (because of their 'painful and weakened' state) afterward. Some might say not being a virgin may have resulted in no marriage and no "happy" life. If Dinah is in Heaven right now (and she is I believe) do you think that matters to her one bit...? The bottom line is this incident should never have happened and wouldn't have had Dinah not gone out to investigate, regardless of her reasons or her maturity level (meaning ability to make a rational decision whether it was prudent or not to do what she intended).

In reply to by Michael from Montana

You’re blaming the victim, which you yourself readily admit, she is a victim. But Dinah is not to blame for Shechem actions. You clearly feel that a woman wearing daisy dukes would be the cause of her being raped... if only she had not worn those daisy dukes... then the man would not have lost his self control. Are men not accountable for their own actions? Are men not required and expected by God to maintain self control over their own actions. You deflect the blame because it’s easier for you to accept, however, God never once excuses the act of rape.. not on the basis of what a female wears or where she goes, only if she doesn’t cry out if she’s being raped in the city where in fact other people are around. Beyond that, no excuses are accepted or given ever to justify a man raping a woman. Simply put, your speculation which is wrong btw about Dinah not having permission (that’s all you, The Bible doesn’t say that), but even so, is not an excuse for Shechem choosing to rape Dinah. Furthermore, the very word “victim” means one who does not have power or control over what’s happening or happened to them, means that power and control was taken from them. But according to your definition and understanding of a victim then is someone who made the victimization occur herself. Can one victimize their own self? That concept is an oxymoron. Dinah can not be the cause of herself being raped (victimized) and still be the victim, as you yourself have stated, as well. So your understanding and your argument is completely illogical and biblically unfounded. Be blessed in The Holy Name of The Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, amen.

In reply to by Erick

Read that article

want to also point out that in the book of Jubilees, it describes Dinah as"a little girl" of 12 years old. [In this culture, the Shechemite would have been concidered a pediphile]. In this book it states that the brothers did good by killing this group of men, because they dared defile a Israelite virgin. It was forbidden for the Israelites to marry into this group of people because these people worshiped a pagan god named Moloch. This religion involved burning a child alive and committed impurity and defiled children. According to this account, Dinah could not have married into such a clan. Of course, according to the Genesis account they were willing to convert to Judaism. Another point of view. Hmmm

Another source is the book of Jubilee, which is also called the Little Genesis. It expounds on the books of Genesis. In this book it says: " On that day Bilhah heard that Joseph had perished, and she died mourning him. She was living in Qafratef, and Dinah his daughter, died after Joseph had perished. [They thought he had perished, but his brothers sold him into slavery]*. There were now three reasons for Israel to mourn in one month. They buried Bilhah next to the tomb of Rachel, and Dinah his daughter. They were (all) buried there." *My note. This is Jubilee 34: 15 and 16.I downloaded this book along with others on my Kindle ereader. Its Joseph Lumpkin's The Lost Books of the Bible: The Great Rejected Texts [Lost Sea Scrolls]. Would be good to study out all these sources and discern which is most reliable.

May I recommend a book called, The Bible as it Was by James L Kugel? In this book Dinah has her own chapter. The references in this book include many Jewish sources of ancient writings. In a few of these writings it states that Dinah was the wife of Job or his name is also Jobab. Very interesting.

I think that the macho pride of these boys could not accept that Dinah did not respected the boys club tradition. They were dishonored, not the little sister or the daughter but the men's club or tribe was dishonored. So, the version of redemption percolated as: "the rape of Dinah". They have to protect their honor and respect, not Dinah's, as the SUPER MACHOS killing everyone and it was out of the question that one woman of their property accepted to live with these lower class humans without their approval.

Dinah was not raped because the scripture tells us that the one she layed with greatly admired Dinah and spoke tenderly toward her. She did have sex with this man but it was consensual, and this man she lay with wanted to appease Jacob and agreed to circumcision. The whole kingdom under this prince got circumcised and was with fever we=hen attacked by Simon and Levi. Jacob was displease with his son's behavior. Oh Teenagers!!! Imagine the teenage behaviror. Jacob had to move his tribe after this incident to Bethel. Later in writings, Moses does not regard the tribe of Simon. And Jacob rebukes Simon and Levi...but Moses did not mention Simon who did this to Dinah. Perhaps Levi repented and was forward moving as blessed after repenting...but notice Moses did not mention the Simon tribe. I think this was an injustice done toward Dinah. Even Jacob rebuked it. But what happened to Dinah we know not. After Genesis 34 she is not mentioned again. Her brother Joseph was mentioned after being thrown into a pit by the same brothers. Dinah? What happened to her?

I'm amazed by this Red Tent story. Dinah..a cherished child in her tribe, and she falls in love with a prince. And her over zealous brothers killed him. She was not raped, it was consent is written he loved her and spoke tenderly to her. They were in love. And then her brothers...the same ones who threw her bother Joesph into the pit; betrayed her, I like the author's depiction of what happened to Dinah. We don't know because after reviewing Genesis 34..we don't know what happened to Dinah after this. I think the author brings a good account of what happened to Dinah. Though we don't really know what happened to Dinah after Genesis 34. It doesn't say. At least the author brought Dinah the respect of remembering Dinah's life. It is not stated in the bible. Some Hebrew texts elaborate thar Dinah became a Canaanite woman, and some Hebrew suggests she had a daughter that married Joseph. We know not...this author brings a good subject to view...Women of the Bible. and Dinah was a very special woman. Dinah a sibling sister who are the 12 tribes of Israel...their sister. loved and special sister. I admire this author who remembered her. And helps us to remember who is Dinah and what happened to her. As Joseph whose story is remembered in Genesis. But the bible doesn't tell us what happened to Dinah?

In reply to by Elizabeth

The text says she was raped (see my comment of a few days ago) and that her rapist tried to make nice afterward. Color me unimpressed.

As for The Red Tent, I canÌ¢‰â‰ã¢t see how itÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s in any way respectful toward Dinah to paint her rapist as the good guy and her brothers who rescued her as the villains. The term Ì¢‰âÒrape denialÌ¢‰âÂå comes to mind.

In reply to by J. C. Salomon

The term rape was used in new versions of the text....the actual Hebrew term was taken which was used in reference as in "take a wife." If we want to really understand the Bible we need a better understanding of the language of its authors, not the crude translations that have brought so much controversy.

In reply to by J. Hoffman

Define for me this word: ÌщۢÌÐåáÌщã¢ÌÐå¡ÌÑå¢ÌÐåáÌÑåÊÌÐå_ÌÐå¦Ìщ۝ÌÐåü vayÌ¢‰âÂèÏanneha, used to describe the way in which Shechem lay with Dinah; and find some use of it where it refers to marriageÌ¢‰â‰۝or even consensual sex.

(Hint: you canÌ¢‰â‰ã¢t. As Deuteronomy 22:29 and Samuel II 13:14 prove, the word is only ever used for forced sexual relations.)

In this context, the word Ì¢‰âÒtookÌ¢‰âÂå earlier in the sentence cannot mean anything but Ì¢‰âÒabductedÌ¢‰âÂå.

In reply to by J. C. Salomon

I agree J.C. (rhyme time) Shechem seemed to take Dinah forcefully, ravaging or abducting her, and then tried to make up for his acts, with Daddy helping as well.

No where does it say that Dinah loved Shechem. She has zero dialogue in the whole narrative -- poor girl never gets a word in edgewise. Just because Shechem spoke kindly to her doesn't mean it worked and made her forget the (probable) rape that occurred. If it did, well, Shechem must have had some powerful words.

Jacob most likely agreed to the marriage to save his daughter the shame. It wouldn't be likely for another man to take Dinah for a wife after Shechem defiled her; female purity was fashionable back then.

Simeon and Levi went a bit crazy too. Overall, it was a lose-lose situation, and terrible for Dinah -- not because she loved Shechem, but because she was molested and didn't have much of a say in the ordeal, like most women in ancient Israel.

In reply to by J.C.'s Hype Man

One slight point of disagreement: Nowhere is it written that Jacob agreed to the marriageÌ¢‰â‰۝the proposal came from DinahÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s brothers, and the text notes it was a ruse from the start.

In reply to by J. C. Salomon

The Hebrew word 'anah translated in the NIV in this passage as "raped" and KJV as "defiled" is used 80 times in the Old Testament and translated a variety of ways. In Genesis it is used 4 other times and translated "afflict" (15:13) "dealt harshly with" (16:6) "submit" (16:9) and "afflict" (31:50) (all from KJV); none in a sexual context. It is true that it is used to refer to rape in II Samuel 13:12, 14, 22, 32 (Tamar and Amnon) and Judges 19:24; 20:5 (the Levite's concubine and the Benjaminites), as well as of the women of a conquered Jerusalem in Lamentation 5:11 (ironically a situation more akin to the Shechemite women taken by the Israelites at the end of this story - Genesis 34:29). It is also used to refer to sexual sin that may or may not be consensual in Ezekiel 22:10-11. The example you site in Deuteronomy, however, is problematic. In the situation described in Deuteronomy 22:24, the woman is specifically determined not to have been raped as she did not cry out and is judged equally culpable and deserving of death. In other words, this is an example of the word being used to describe consensual sex (as you challenged J. Hoffman above to find). Contrast that with the next example (Deuteronomy 22:25-27) where the women is blameless because she did cry out and did not consent. This is an example of true rape as defined by Hebrew law, and a separate Hebrew word is used: "chazaq" (translated "force" in the KJV). In other words, the term "defiled," or "humbled" as 'anah appears in the KJV in this context may simply refer to the taking of a woman's viginity (irrespective of consent). Therefore either interpretation (rape or consensual fornication) in Genesis 34 may be valid.

In reply to by J.C.'s Hype Man

I agree with what you are saying.

wow. Dinah a sister of the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel. Her brothers murdered her love of her life. She grew up in a happy childhood and spent her years thereafter her lover was murdered..where? What happened to her? God loves her and she was provided for. Surely God watched over His own. She was mistreated like her brother Joseph. Surely God supplied goodness in her later days. Love the fact that this author took time to tell her story.

We also have the same term ÌÑèÏÌÐå«Ìс_ÌÐå_ÌÐåµÌÑå in Ezekiel 18:6

Eze 18:6 If he has not eaten on the mountains, Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, Nor defiled [ÌÑèÏÌÐå«Ìс_ÌÐå_ÌÐåµÌÑå] his neighbor's wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity;

Denoting a type of defilement which seems to exclude rape.

This article glosses over an important point: the word translated as Ì¢‰âÒhe shamed herÌ¢‰âÂå or Ì¢‰âÒhe humbled herÌ¢‰âÂå, ÌщۢÌÐåáÌщã¢ÌÐå¡ÌÑå¢ÌÐåáÌÑåÊÌÐå_ÌÐå¦Ìщ۝ÌÐåü vayÌ¢‰âÂèÏanneha, is used throughout the Bible specifically in cases of rape; see, e.g., Deuteronomy 22:29 or Samuel II 13:14.

The NRSV reading, Ì¢‰âÒlay with her by force,Ì¢‰âÂå is correct and a good translation of Hebrew idiom into an English equivalent.

indeed the text i the Hebrew masoretic text, the septuagint translation, the kingJames version all concur that Dinah was humiliated, anah in Hebrew, humbled, whcih socially means exactly what this article suggest: she was socially humbled. the idea that she was raped was developed during the second temple era by well-intentioned second temple motivational scholars seeking to regroup the dispersed Judens, separated into 24 different sects, each having their interpretation of the Torah (law) as concerning the gentile influence on the israelites, regarding the southern kingdon, Judeah, as well and in view f what happened to the assimilated northern kingdom who inherited of Shechem's land. thus any passages in the scriptures that these biased teachers could manipulate was game for they purpose of bringing all Judeans back to their doctrine of supremacy over the gentiles, a doctrine forcefully fought in the New Testament as being contrary to the Abrahmic covenant of assimilation of all gentiles into Israel, the Army of the Most High God. the fact that Shechem entered into the covenant of oneness should therefore awaken in any person claiming salvation by grace that Shechem was saved by grace, out of love for Dinah. the Torah is very clear on what he stands for as far as honorability. as it is very clear on the unrighteousnes of the brothers, who ended up losing their birthrights as Jacob said: instrument of cruelty is in their habitation". the honest disposition of Shechem is in stark contrast with that of the brothers and that alone should be taken as a clue of the subject matter: the entry of the gentile into the covenant. Dinah's defilement was the only method by which the Almighty could have subjugated the ruler of the land, Shechem's family, to a newly comer who barely had a foothold on a local farm. the Torah's punishment for taking a woman's virginity is 50 shekels of silver and marriage for life. Shechem brought a lot more out of love and not duty. his entering the covenant fulfilled the promised that God made to the Patriarchs, to wit: the gentiles shall be blessed (enter the covenant) and the inheritance of the land of Canaan (as Shechem was bringing in). therefore the destruction of Shechem defiled the Order of Melchizedek that Israel was representing. and this curse lasted until today. before seeing the defilement as rape and vile, perhaps we should look at the long term consequence of the murder and looting Israel's sons committed: they broke all ten major commandments of deuteronomy 5 and committed the 7 capital sins, hardly a righteous outcome for a slight mistake by young teenagers which was promptly fixed.

In reply to by Betsalel

well stated!!

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a beautiful account of what could have happened to Dinah. Having read that book numerous times, I appreciated this article immensely.

In reply to by Anonymous

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant has little to do with the biblical story about Dina and whole things.

In reply to by viola

I am currently reading, "The Red Tent," and I'd have to disagree. It seems to me that Anita Diamant was quite familiar with the biblical story, kept true to it for the most part and simply brought it back to life...if you will.

In reply to by Scott

The series of The Red Tent is on LIFE channel, a great story about love and conflict.

In reply to by viola

Even the Author calls it a work of fiction.

How to cite this page

Bechtel, Lyn M.. "Dinah: Bible." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 18, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/dinah-bible>.


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