Women in the Bible: Dinah

Women in the Bible: Dinah

Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and Leah, is the central character of Genesis 34. Though we know what happened to her and because of her, we know nothing about what she said, did, or thought.

Her story begins tragically. She is raped by Shechem. Yet after his act of lust, he falls in love with her, offering to give whatever dowry is asked.

Jacob doesn’t respond to his daughter’s rape. Is he passive, afraid, or wise as he waits for his sons to return? Dinah’s brothers are outraged when they hear the news and immediately come home.

While their father fails to act, Simeon and Levi, two of Dinah’s full brothers, do. They kill Shechem and all the men in his village; then they rescue her from Shechem’s house. Later, her other brothers plunder the town.

Although Jacob criticizes Simeon and Levi for their excessive reaction and the subsequent risk to the entire family (should neighboring towns take revenge), Dinah’s brothers felt duty bound to avenge their sister’s rape, despite the risk of retaliation or harm.

After her rescue, nothing more is said about Dinah. The end to her story is for us to wonder.

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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