Who was Dinah in the Bible?
Question: "Who was Dinah in the Bible?"
Answer: Dinah was the daughter born to Jacob from his first wife, Leah (Genesis 30:21). When Jacob returned to his homeland after working for his father-in-law, Laban, for over 20 years, he settled in in a place called Shechem. Dinah was a young woman at this time.
Genesis 34 gives the account of Dinah’s venture into the city to visit the women there. When Shechem, the son of the city ruler, saw her, he raped her. Verse 3 says that he was drawn to her and wanted her for a wife. Shechem appealed to his father, Hamor, to get her for him.
When Dinah’s brothers heard that their sister had been defiled, they were furious. Hamor, ruler of the city of Shechem, went to speak with Jacob about getting Dinah for his son. Shechem himself offered a great sum: “I will give you whatever you ask. Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me” (Genesis 34:11–12). The Bible does not record Jacob’s reaction but follows the story of his sons. They intentionally deceived Hamor and Shechem, pretending to work out a deal with them. Jacob’s sons told the ruler of Shechem that they could not give their sister to a man who was not circumcised—but if Shechem and all the men of the city would be circumcised as the Israelites were, they could intermarry from then on (verses 13–17).
Shechem was so taken with Dinah that he and his father agreed to this. Because Jacob’s household was so wealthy and large, the men of Shechem thought it would be to their benefit to incorporate this family. So everyone agreed to be circumcised. Genesis 34:25–26 say, “Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left.” Then the other brothers looted the city, carrying away everything, including their women and children (verses 27–29).
When Jacob learned what his sons had done, he was horrified. He knew when word got out to the nations around them, they would be in trouble (Genesis 34:30). His sons replied that they had vindicated the men who treated their sister like a prostitute (verse 31). The next few chapters of Genesis record Jacob moving his family, at God’s instruction (Genesis 35:1), to new lands. Nothing more is heard of Dinah in the Bible.
Recommended Resource: Genesis - NIV Application Commentary by John Walton
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