Does Christ Speak in the Rape of Dinah?

| December 4, 2014

I don’t want to read the news. 

There I find stories of renewed violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where sexual violence is a weapon of war and children’s heads are bashed against walls. I read of a beloved Canadian radio personality accused of terrible crimes against many women. Another gunman opens fire on students, murdering four, injuring one, and killing himself. He was only 14.  

I don’t want to know these stories. And yet the Scriptures tell narratives that are difficult to hear, too. Dinah’s story is one of these. 

Dinah, the teenage daughter of Jacob and Leah, is sexually assaulted by Shechem, a Hivite prince. Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, are enraged. They plot revenge and negotiate a treaty demanding that every Hivite male be circumcised. The Hivite men agree. Dinah’s brothers kill the incapacitated Hivite men, taking their women and children as plunder.

God is not mentioned in Genesis 34. At first listen, the story sounds godless.

But this is the beautiful thing about Dinah’s story. God, in a sense, is saying: “I will not condone this.” He has commanded nothing, approved nothing. Even Jacob and his sons do not dare invoke the name of Yahweh. 

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