In the Hebrew Bible, Dinah (Hebrew: דִּינָה, Modern Dina Tiberian Dînā ; "Judged; vindicated") was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelites, and Leah, his first wife. The episode of her abduction and violation by a Canaanite prince, and the subsequent vengeance of her brothers Simeon and Levi, commonly referred to as "The Rape of Dinah", is told in Genesis 34.
The Seduction of Dinah 
Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, went out to visit the women of Shechem, where her people had made camp and where her father Jacob had purchased the land where he had pitched his tent. Shechem the son of Hamor, the prince of the land, "took her and lay with her and humbled her. And his soul was drawn to Dinah ... he loved the maiden and spoke tenderly to her," and Shechem asked his father to obtain Dinah for him, to be his wife.
Hamor came to Jacob and asked for Dinah for his son: "Make marriages with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. You shall dwell with us; and the land shall be open to you," and Shechem offered Jacob and his sons any bride-price they named. But "the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah," saying they would accept the offer if the men of the city agreed to be circumcised.
So the men of Shechem were deceived, and were circumcised; and "on the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came upon the city unawares, and killed all the males. They slew Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away." And the sons of Jacob plundered whatever was in the city and in the field, "all their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses."
"Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, 'You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites; 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 (Genesis 34:31), 'Should he treat our sister as a harlot?'"
The 19th century scholar Julius Wellhausen divided the Dinah story between two original texts, the Elohist, which tells of Jacob's purchase of land at Shechem and his erection of an altar, and the Jahwist, telling the rape-and-vengeance story which takes up the bulk of the narrative. Wellhausen believed that the Jahwist's story was designed to cast a bad light on the northern Kingdom of Israel, which had Shechem as its first capital, the Jahwist text itself originating in the southern Judah. The brief Elohist account of the purchase of land by Jacob in Genesis 33 represents the northern kingdom's more peaceable account of the origins of Shechem.
Later scholars have questioned Wellhausen's analysis, often drastically, but the general view is that Genesis does combine originally separate strands and does not pre-date the 1st millennium BC. Post-Wellhausian scholars have suggested two layers of narrative within Genesis 34 itself, an older account ascribing the slaughter of Shechem and to Simeon and Levi alone, and a later addition (verses 27 to 29) involving all the sons of Jacob. One contemporary biblical scholar, Alexander Rofé, has suggested that the verb describing Dinah as "defiled" was added at this time also, as elsewhere in the Bible only married or betrothed women are "defiled" by rape; the fact that Genesis 34 is the sole exception suggests that it reflects a "late, postexilic notion that the idolatrous gentiles are impure [and supports] the prohibition of intermarriage and intercourse with them." The anachronistic preoccupation with racial purity indicates a date in the 5th or 4th centuries BC, when the restored Jewish community in Jerusalem was similarly preoccupied with anti-Samaritan polemics. It is not clear that Dinah was actually raped at all in the original story: the narrative is vague about what happened between Shechem and Dinah (the verb translated as "humbled" or "violated" can also mean "to subdue"), and the older version of Genesis 34 may therefore reflect a custom of abduction marriage.
Dinah in rabbinic literature 
The Midrash (later explications of the bible by the rabbis) provide many further investigations of the story of Dinah, answering questions such as her offspring from Shechem and possible links to later incidents and characters. One implicates Jacob in Dinah's misfortune: when the Patriarch went to meet Esau he locked Dinah in a box, for fear that Esau would wish to marry her, but God rebuked him in these words: "If thou hadst married off thy daughter in time she would not have been tempted to sin, and might, moreover, have exerted a beneficial influence upon her husband" (Gen. R. lxxx.). Dinah herself, widowed by her brothers' action, demanded that Simeon marry her and remove her shame. (According to Nachmanides, she only lived in his house and did not have sex with him.) Her brother Simeon promised to marry her; but she did not wish to leave Shechem, fearing that after her disgrace no one would take her to wife (Gen. R. l.c.); she was later married to Job however (Bava Batra 16b; Gen. R. l.c.). When she died, Simeon buried her in the land of Canaan. She is therefore referred to as "the Canaanitish woman" (Gen. 46:10). Shaul (ib.) was her son by Shechem (Gen. R. l.c.). According to Rabbinic Literature her child after her rape by Shechem was Asenath the wife of Joseph.
Simeon and Levi 
According to the Midrash, Simeon and Levi were only 14 and 13 years old, respectively, at the time of the rape of Dinah. They possessed great moral zealousness (later, in the episode of the Golden Calf, the Tribe of Levi would demonstrate their absolute commitment to Moses' leadership by killing all the people involved in idol worship), but their anger was misdirected here. On his deathbed, Jacob cursed their anger and divided their tribal portions in the land of Israel so that they would not be able to regroup and fight arbitrarily. One midrash told how their father Jacob later tried to restrain their hot tempers by dividing their portions in the land of Israel, and neither had lands of their own. Therefore Dinah's son by Shechem was counted among Simeon's progeny and received a portion of land in Israel, Dinah herself being "the Canaanite woman" mentioned among those who went down into Egypt with Jacob and his sons (Gen. 46:10). When she died, Simeon buried her in the land of Canaan. (According to another tradition her child from her rape by Shechem was Asenath the wife of Joseph, and she herself later married the prophet Job (Bava Batra 16b; Gen. R. l.c.).) The Tribe of Simeon received land within the territory of Judah and served as itinerant teachers in Israel, traveling from place to place to earn a living. The Tribe of Levi received a few Cities of Refuge spread out over Israel, and relied for their sustenance on the priestly gifts that the Children of Israel gave them.
Travel to Egypt 
When Jacob's family prepares to descend to Egypt Genesis 46:8-27, the Torah lists the 70 family members who went down together. Simeon's children include "Saul, the son of the Canaanite woman." According to Rashi, this is Dinah's son by Shechem. After the brothers killed all the men in the city, including Shechem and his father, Dinah refused to leave the palace unless Simeon agreed to marry her and remove her shame. (According to Nachmanides, she only lived in his house and did not have sex with him.) Therefore Dinah's son is counted among Simeon's progeny, and he received a portion of land in Israel in the time of Joshua. The list of the names of the families of Israel in Egypt is repeated in Exodus 6:14-25.
The Red Tent 
The novel The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, is a fictional autobiography of Dinah based on historical texts. In Diamant's version, Dinah falls in love with Shalem, the Canaanite prince, and goes to bed with him in preparation for marriage. Simon and Levi, Jacob's sons, instigate the discord between Jacob and the men of the King of Shechem out of fear for their own prosperity, even though Dinah tells them the truth.
- Friedman, Richard (1987). Who wrote the Bible?. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 62–63. ISBN 0-671-63161-6. OCLC 15281395.
- Hirsch, Emil G.; Max Seligsohn. "Shechem". In Cyrus Adler. Jewish Encyclopedia.
- "Table D Source Analysis: Revisions and Alternatives". Reading the Old Testament. Archived from the original on 2001-02-17.
- Van Seters, John (2001). "The Silence of Dinah (Genesis 34)". In Jean-Daniel Macchi and Thomas Römer. Jacob: Commentaire à Plusieurs Voix de Gen. 25–36. Mélanges Offerts à Albert de Pury. Geneva: Labor et Fides. pp. 239–247. ISBN 2-8309-0987-9. OCLC 248784525.
- Rofé, Alexander (2005). "Defilement of Virgins in Biblical Law and the Case of Dinah (Genesis 34)". Biblica 86 (3): 369–375.
- JewishEncyclopedia.com - DINAH
- Bereishit - Chapter 46 - Genesis
Further reading 
- Yael Shemesh, "Rape is Rape is Rape: The story of Dinah and Shechem (Genesis 34)", ZAW 119 (2007), pp. 2–21
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- Dinah's Abduction from a Jewish perspective at Chabad.org
- Blyth, C. (2008). "Redeemed by His Love? The Characterization of Shechem in Genesis 34". Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 33: 3. doi:10.1177/0309089208094457.