Old Testament

The Pentateuch

What did Dinah’s family think of her rape?

Jacob was concerned about relations with other tribes. Jacob’s sons were concerned with family honor. After Shechem raped Dinah, he wanted to marry her. Shechem’s father, Hamor, tried to smooth things over with Jacob and Jacob’s sons by offering a high bride price. Jacob’s sons pretended to agree to the deal on the condition that all of Hamor’s men, including Shechem, would be circumcised. Hamor agreed to that. While Hamor and his men recovered from their circumcisions, Simeon and Levi ransacked Hamor’s town and killed all of the men, including Hamor and Shemech. Dinah, who had been staying in Shechem’s house, was retrieved by Simeon and Levi, and taken back home. Jacob got angry at Simeon and Levi, and said, “‘You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizites; my numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.’ But they said, ‘Should our sister be treated like a whore?’” (NRSV, Genesis 34:30–31) Dinah’s thoughts are never described. She is mentioned only once more, when Jacob packs his family up and moves to Egypt (Genesis 46).


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