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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dinah (Genesis 34)

We were talking about Dinah, and in order to see where her error in judgment was... I had to look to previous lessons. You can never just look at one scripture alone, because what God says before and after affect what you read. I studied Genesis with a bible study group - and it took a year. So here is my best attempt to summarize the big points that affected Dinah:

Summary:

The land of Canaan was very evil. The area of Canaan contained the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah. Sexual sin was rampant in that area. Think about the long term effects of sexual sin. In Genesis 19, it said EVERY man, young and old, in Sodom were rapists. Even though Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed, it can be assumed that this area would have still had victims of rape and even predators left. In fact, Abraham told his household (in Genesis 24) "Do not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but go to my country (Paddan Aram) and my own relatives and get a wife." God was keeping his people set-apart so that He could pass on a blessing to them. Jacob had just spent 20 years in 'Abraham's country' getting a wife. God then tells Jacob to leave that land and return to Canaan, because God is going to give the land of Canaan to 'Abraham's descendants'. Jacob puts his family tents just outside of Shechem. Now Dinah (in Genesis 34), the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. The result of Dinah leaving camp, was she was raped.

Now read the excerpt on pg 183-184 of "A Woman's High Calling (pp. 183-184)":

Dinah had everything going for her. She was the daughter of the patriarch Jacob and his wife Leah. When we first meet her, we are told that Dinah “went out to see the daughters of the land” (Genesis 34:1). Evidently Dinah left the safety of her family quarters and ventured outside to take a look at the land and to visit with the local women. Then “when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her” (verse 2). Bad went to worse as Dinah’s brothers took the matter of retribution into their own hands and maliciously connived to murder all the males of the Hivite camp. And please note that is the end of this woman-full-of-promise’s biography. Dinah slipped back into oblivion, shamed and forgotten, and was never mentioned again. Someone well described Dinah’s tale as “Dinah’s sad moment in the spotlight.”5 Her curiosity and failure to use wisdom contributed to her defilement. One scholar describes the scene in this way (sending us as women who desire to live godly lives a loud message to stay home!):
Dinah’s love for sight-seeing set off a train of tragic consequences. Young and daring, and curious to know something of the world outside, she stole away one day from the drab tents of her father, to see how the girls in their gorgeous Oriental trappings fared in nearby Shechem. Roaming around, the eyes of Prince Shechem…lighted upon her…Had Dinah been content to remain a “keeper at home” (Titus 2:5), a terrible [thing] would have been averted, but her desire for novelty and forbidden company spelled disaster.



All the details that got me to the summary:

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. Father Abraham had many sons... Here's part of his family tree.
Terah > Abraham & Sarah > Isaac & Rebekah > Jacob & Leah > Dinah

Genesis 13 = in Bethel, Abraham let Lot have whatever land he wanted. Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. (The people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.) Abram lived in the land of Canaan, near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the LORD.

Genesis 17 = God appeared to Abram, gives him a new name, establishes his everlasting covenant, & gives the whole land of Canaan to him (and his descendents). All the males of Abrahams household (current & future) are circumcised.

Genesis 19 = All the men in Sodom tried to rape 2 angels visiting Lot. Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed. God remembered Abraham, and brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Genesis 20-21 = Abraham moved into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her...Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.

Genesis 23 = Sarah dies, Abraham buys the first piece of land: Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property (by the Hittites as a burial site).

Genesis 24 = Abraham tells his household, do not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but go to my country (Paddan Aram) and my own relatives and get a wife

Genesis 25 & 26 = Esau sold his birthright to Jacob; Esau married 2 Hittite women.

Genesis 27 = Esau said he would kill Jacob after Isaac died

Genesis 29 = Jacob travels to Paddan Aram, wants to marry Rachel. Jacob commits to stay & work 7 years; Laban tricks Jacob and swaps the bride at the wedding - the next day Jacob finds out he married Rachel's sister, Leah. Jacob commits to stay & work 7 more years to marry Rachel.

Genesis 30 = Leah gives birth to Dinah, Jacob's 10th child. Then Rachel gave birth to Joseph.

Genesis 31 = After 20 years of working for Laban, the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”

Genesis 32 & 33 = Jacob returns to the lands where Esau is; and is hugged by Esau. (After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. He bought the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.)

Genesis 34 = Jacob camps near the town of Shechem. "Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land" (the Canaanites). Jacob returns to Bethel.

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