The Rape Of Dinah In Genesis 34: An Exegetical, Theological, And Pastoral Consideration Of Sexual Abuse And Its Effect On The People Of God -- By: Daniel Green

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 16:2 (Fall 2012)
Article: The Rape Of Dinah In Genesis 34: An Exegetical, Theological, And Pastoral Consideration Of Sexual Abuse And Its Effect On The People Of God
Author: Daniel Green


The Rape Of Dinah In Genesis 34: An Exegetical, Theological, And Pastoral Consideration Of Sexual Abuse And Its Effect On The People Of God

Daniel Green

Professor of Pastoral Studies
Moody Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois

Introduction

A basic exegesis of the Dinah incident provides a starting point for reflection on the devastating effects of sexual abuse on God’s people, and how the church and, secondarily, the professional counseling community can cooperate in addressing it.

The initial sexual experiences of the human race were altogether lovely. God commanded Adam and Eve to cleave (דבק) in an intensely pleasurable way that promoted physical and emotional security.1 However, the Genesis text shows how quickly human sexuality degenerated after the fall, coming to include such perversion as (1) the mockery of Noah’s exposed nakedness by his son in 9:22; (2) attempted forcible sodomy in 19:1–11, accompanied by an offer to placate the lust of the abusers by offering virgin daughters in the place of male visitors; (3) incestuous assault(?) of a drunken father by his daughters in order to conceive children in 19:30–38; and (4) a patriarch’s use of a supposed temple prostitute who turns out to be his daughter-in-law in 38:12–26. To these may be added the

enigmatic events of 6:1–3 that seem to have exhausted divine patience, leading to the flood.2 All of the instances noted above are demeaning, and some are violent.3 The Dinah account fits well within these parameters. She is yet another who is used and abused.

Genesis 34

The Rape Of Dinah (Vv. 1–4)

The narrative begins with Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, going out to be among the daughters of Caanan. The implication of ותצא is debated. It may be that she went out among the Caananites regularly as the preterite form can be given a characteristic (perfect) nuance. The word לִרוֹת can refer to “looking at with interest” and “gazing at so as to become acquainted.”4 Although it was not unusual for young women of this period to be unsecluded (Gen 24:13–21, 29:6, 11–12),5 to go...

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