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Biblical People

Bible People: Dinah

Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob and Leah. She is born after Zebulun, son #10, and before Joseph, son #11. Tragically, Shechem, a Hivite prince, rapes her. After his act of lust, he falls in love with her, offering whatever dowry her family asks. He demands his father make this happen.

Jacob fails to respond to his daughter’s rape. We don’t know if he’s afraid or waiting for his sons to help avenge her dishonor. Regardless, Dinah’s brothers are outraged when they hear what happened and immediately come home.

While her father fails to act, two of Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, do. They retaliate without Jacob’s knowledge. After killing Shechem and all the men of the village, they liberate their sister and leave. Was this revenge, a rescue, or both?

When her other brothers see that everyone in the town is dead, they plunder it. 

Although Jacob criticizes Simeon and Levi for their excessive reaction and the subsequent risk to the entire family—should neighboring towns take revenge—they feel justified in avenging their sister’s rape, despite the risk of retaliation.

After her rescue, we hear nothing more about Dinah. The end to her story is for us to ponder. Though we know what happens to Dinah and what happens because of her, we know nothing about what she says, does, or thinks. Though she’s the center of action in this story, she plays a minor role.

When we encounter injustice, how do we respond? Overreacting may be as bad as not reacting at all. 

[Discover more about Dinah in Genesis 34.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.