Genesis Overview: The Rape of Dinah

It is difficult to conduct a literary analysis of this text: 34.4, 6,8-10 (where 6 cuts 5 from 7) contradict 11f. and 19; 25-26 contradict 27; 19 and 24 repeat. The safest conclusion is J with additions.

34.1-24: Dinah only appears elsewhere in 30.21 and 46.15. cf. 30.21 and 31.41, Dinah cannot have been a mature girl; cf. 33.17, there may be some years' gap for Jacob's stay in Succoth but she is only six at Jacob's departure; the same for Simeon and Levi, too young to bear arms. Dinah, freed from the traditional place of the Israelite woman, looked about her and "... loosened the stone which became a landslide." (p331). "... the emphasis on the great love for the girl, which brooks no hindrance, receives the benefit of the narrative, and the figure of Shechem is made more human for the reader." (p331). According to the older variant Shechem took matters into his own hands; he had apparently abducted Dinah cf. 34.2b and 34.26. The act is a sacrilege which incriminates the whole cultic community where Israel was distinct from the Canaanites in the sexual realm. Jacob's impassivity may be explained by his absence from the original text. Hamor goes to extraordinary lengths to put matters right. The role of circumcision is to place the Israelites apart, even in its adult form before it was confined to babies but only later did it take on theological significance with reference to the covenant, a point not suggested in the narrative. The statement that the brothers spoke "deceitfully" is remarkable in such a reticent narrative. The Shechem and Hamor accounts differ: in the former Shechem decides, in the latter there is a council. 34.20 and 34.24 are an attempt to harmonise. Hamor shows the advantages of relationship in property.

34.25-31: Simeon and Levi, Dinah's full brothers, feel more responsibility than the rest and take revenge; 34.27 is a variant. The succeeding verses are a "comfortable" later addition. The narrative is not aetiological but to announce an event, the "prehistoric" conflict of Simeon and Levi; but what is essentially personal takes on political colour.

KC VI/14

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