Dinah

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Dinah (דִּינָה) was the daughter of the prophet Jacob and Leah.

Biography[edit]

Dinah was born in her mother's homeland of Mesopotamia, and she, along with her parents, moved to Canaan due to the commands of God. They settled in Shechem, where her father purchased property and built an alter to God.

Dinah was hanging out with the girls of the city, without the protection of her parents or brothers. Shechem, son of the city's ruler Hamor the Hivite, took Dinah and had intercourse with her, dishonoring her. Shechem was in love with Dinah and asked his father to negotiate with Jacob for a marriage between Dinah and him.

Hamor went to Jacob to propose the marriage. Dinah's brother learned about what happened and were displeased. Meanwhile, Hamor proposed not only for the marriage between Dinah and Shechem but for general intermarriage between Hamor's people and Jacob's people so that they may live freely together and in harmony. Hamor said that he was willing to pay however large a bride price as Jacob or his sons demand.

Jacob's son hatched a plan. They told Hamor that they would intermarry with his people if they become circumcised. Hamor and Shechem agreed to this proposal, and Shechem immediately had himself circumcised in order to be with Dinah. Hamor then convinced his people to had themselves circumcised as well so that they and the Israelite may benefit from each other and become "one people".

The circumcisions caused the men of the men pain and soreness. Dinah's brothers Simeon and Levi used this to their advantage and killed every man in the city, including Hamor and Shechem, in order to recover Dinah and avenge her lost honor. Dinah's other brothers then joined in and looted the city. They took the city's livestock, crops, wealth, children, and women.

Jacob chided his sons for dishonoring their arrangement and jeopardizing their ties with local and more numerous Canaanites and the Perizzites, but Jacob's sons stood by their actions, stating that they were avenging Dinah's lost honor.

Due to these events and a vision from God, Jacob and his family migrated to a different area of Canaan, and Jacob later cursed Simeon and Levi for their actions.

Legacy[edit]

In the apocryphal (in the view of Protestants and Jews), or deuterocanonical (in the view of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches), text the Book of Judith, the Simeonite Judith, while praying to God, recounted Dinah's defilement at the hands of foreigners and the vengeance God wrecked upon the Hivites through her ancestor Simeon.

Lord, God of my father Simeon, into whose hand you put a sword to take revenge upon the foreigners who had defiled a virgin by violating her, shaming her by uncovering her thighs, and dishonoring her by polluting her womb. You said, This shall not be done! Yet they did it. Therefore you handed over their rulers to slaughter; and you handed over to bloodshed the bed in which they lay deceived, the same bed that had felt the shame of their own deceiving. You struck down the slaves together with their masters, and the masters upon their thrones. Their wives you handed over to plunder, and their daughters to captivity, and all the spoils you divided among your favored children, who burned with zeal for you and in their abhorrence of the defilement of their blood called on you for help. O God, my God, hear me also, a widow.

It is you who were the author of those events and of what preceded and followed them. The present and the future you have also planned. Whatever you devise comes into being. The things you decide come forward and say, Here we are! All your ways are in readiness, and your judgment is made with foreknowledge.

— Judith 9:2–9:6 (NABRE)

In 4 Maccabees, a commentary and thesis that is included as an appendix in Greek Orthodox bibles, the author called Simeon's and Levi's actions against Shechem an "irrational slaughter" (4 Maccabees 2:19–2:20 (NRSV)).