[b-hebrew] Dinah raped?

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 20 21:43:14 EDT 2007


Dear James,
>
> e.g. Consider verse 7
>
> NWT Genesis 34:7
> 'And the sons of Jacob came in from the field as soon as they heard of it; and the men became hurt in their feelings and they grew very angry, because he had committed a disgraceful folly against Israel in lying down with Jacob’s daughter, whereas nothing like that ought to be done.'
>
> Note that no mention of force is included when 
> why her brothers were angry. It is the mere thought of 
> their unmarried sister having extra marital sex.
>   


HH: Yes, but the context has already described the force used (34:2), so 
that can be assumed. The language is still strong, because they use a 
word that means "outrage": NBLH. Context suggests that the "taking" in 
verse 2 was a violent one:

Gen. 34:1  Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to 
visit the women of the land.
Gen. 34:2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, 
saw her, he took her and violated her.

LQX ("take") is a verb often used of marriage. Yet the context seems 
clear enough that this is physical taking, a forceful taking. Dinah is 
going out, minding her own business. A guy sees her, grabs her, and lies 
with her. Similar language in used twice in Deuteronomy 22 of rape:

Deut. 22:25  But if the man meets the engaged woman in the open country, 
and the man seizes her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with 
her shall die.
Deut. 22:26 You shall do nothing to the young woman; the young woman has 
not committed an offense punishable by death, because this case is like 
that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor.
Deut. 22:27 Since he found her in the open country, the engaged woman 
may have cried for help, but there was no one to rescue her.


Deut. 22:28  If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her 
and lies with her, and they are caught in the act,
Deut. 22:29 the man who lay with her shall give fifty shekels of silver 
to the young woman’s father, and she shall become his wife. Because he 
violated her he shall not be permitted to divorce her as long as he lives.

The narrative in Genesis 34:1-2 is not speaking about a prolonged 
situation lasting months. It is about a particular errand that a girl 
was on that required her to walk from one place to another. A guy 
physically saw her, and lay with her sexually. The other verb, "took" I 
presume to describe a similar one-time physical act. Since the girl had 
other things on her mind, I presume it was a forceful taking.

> Further consider their response in verse 31 when being 
> reprised by Isreal for their actions:
>
> “Ought anyone to treat our sister like a prostitute?”
>
> What are prostitutes better known for in Tanakh?
> For being forced to have sex?
> Or for having immoral extra-marital sex?
>   


HH: I have never had that thought, and I've read the passage for many 
years. It is not a necessary one. People have little respect for 
prostitutes. They take them to have sex with them.

> However, one contextual point seems to stand in favour 
> of an element of force. And that is why does there 
> seem to be a complete lack of any indication of 
> responsibility on Dinah's shoulders? Why aren't her 
> brothers angry with her for acting 'like a prostitue'?
>  feelings and they grew very angry, because he had committed a disgraceful folly against Israel in lying down with Jacob’s daughter, whereas nothing like that ought to be done.'
>   


HH: This is a good point. Another is how Dinah's family found out about 
what happened. Probably it is because she told them what Shechem did.

Yours,
Harold Holmyard




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