Love at First Rape

 

Holy shit! I think we’ve reached the pinnacle of fucked-upedness in the Bible with this chapter. Every time I think we’ve peaked, we round a bend and there is another mountain of ridiculous bullshit. This chapter is about Jacob’s daughter Dinah, and it has everything you’d want in a moral exemplar: rape, genocide, penis-skin, xenophobia, and more. I’m going to be quoting directly from the source extensively because of how ridiculous it is.

Dinah decides to leave her tent and go for a walk and immediately gets raped. Super-awesome Bible lesson #1: women belong in the house. It’s also nice to see that the architects of three major religions don’t call it a “rape,” though, but rather a “humbling.”

and Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, a prince of the land, seeth her, and taketh her, and lieth with her, and humbleth her

Super-awesome Bible lesson #2: women, if you get uppity, a man will have to “humble” you with his penis.

Sweetheart that he is, Shechem falls in love with his rape-victim:

and his soul cleaveth to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and he loveth the young person, and speaketh unto the heart of the young person.

Ahhh, young love. Their souls connected through a violent rape. Swoon. He wants his father to arrange for this “damsel” to be his wife. Meanwhile, Jacob and his sons learn about what has happened and they are infuriated not because their sister was raped, but that she had sex with a foreigner.

and the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard, and the men grieve themselves, and it [is] very displeasing to them, for folly he hath done against Israel, to lie with the daughter of Jacob — and so it is not done.

As far as I can tell, if you read this as a schematic narrative, that is the moral of this story. Super-awesome Bible lesson #3: rape ok, miscegenation bad.

Shechem’s father Hamor suggests a woman-swap between the tribes: Jacob’s daughters to Hamor’s tribe and Hamor’s women to Jacob’s tribe (which makes no sense because Dinah and Jacob’s wives are the only women that have ever been mentioned as being in existence). Jacob’s sons respond to the offer by lying to Shechem and Hamor, saying that they will agree if the entire tribe of Hamor gets circumcised. Shechem, who really must be taken by the young woman whom he raped, complies immediately:

19 and the young man delayed not to do the thing, for he had delight in Jacob’s daughter, and he is honourable above all the house of his father.

That is such a disgusting sentence I need to translate it to modern English for full effect:

19 and Shechem immediately pulled down his pants and sawed off some of his penis skin with a primitive, unsterilized cutting tool, because he had enjoyed raping Dinah so much he wanted to lock in that pussy for life. Everyone agreed that this made him “the man.”

Shechem and Hamor see this as win-win: they get all the women of Jacob’s tribe (of which there are, like, five, and only one is not already spoken for by Jacob), and probably some cows and goats in the bargain. Score! They direct every male in town to cut off his dong-skin in preparation for the intermarriage of tribes. Then, when they’re sore FROM CUTTING OFF THEIR OWN PENIS-SKIN, Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi storm in with their swords and kill every male in the city. Then, they steal and enslave all the wives and infants, and plunder the wealth of the city. That’s…proportional.

Jacob mildly rebukes the two, not because of the slaughter, per se, but because he thinks he might get a reputation as a troublemaker that could make the remaining tribes gang up on him. They respond with (and the chapter ends with) a rhetorical question:

31 As a harlot doth he make our sister?’

What a truly uplifting and progressive story. It really makes you reflect on your life and think about how you can align yourself with Godly Biblical principles. There are some interpretations about this chapter that might illuminate it a bit. Kugel, for example, suggests that the whole story was inserted in Genesis much later, when the nation of Israel was actually a nation not just a single extended family unit, as a cautionary tale about intermarrying with foreigners. There are other interpretations out there as well, but I tend to feel like maybe a religion where you don’t have to undertake extensive, ridiculous contortions to rationalize a story about rape and genocide would be, you know, preferable.

GENESIS 34

1 And Dinah, daughter of Leah, whom she hath borne to Jacob, goeth out to look on the daughters of the land,

and Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, a prince of the land, seeth her, and taketh her, and lieth with her, and humbleth her;

and his soul cleaveth to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and he loveth the young person, and speaketh unto the heart of the young person.

And Shechem speaketh unto Hamor his father, saying, `Take for me this damsel for a wife.’

And Jacob hath heard that he hath defiled Dinah his daughter, and his sons were with his cattle in the field, and Jacob kept silent till their coming.

And Hamor, father of Shechem, goeth out unto Jacob to speak with him;

and the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard, and the men grieve themselves, and it [is] very displeasing to them, for folly he hath done against Israel, to lie with the daughter of Jacob — and so it is not done.

And Hamor speaketh with them, saying, `Shechem, my son, his soul hath cleaved to your daughter; give her, I pray you, to him for a wife,

and join ye in marriage with us; your daughters ye give to us, and our daughters ye take to yourselves,

10 and with us ye dwell, and the land is before you; dwell ye and trade [in] it, and have possessions in it.’

11 And Shechem saith unto her father, and unto her brethren, `Let me find grace in your eyes, and that which ye say unto me, I give;

12 multiply on me exceedingly dowry and gift, and I give as ye say unto me, and give to me the young person for a wife.’

13 And the sons of Jacob answer Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and they speak (because he defiled Dinah their sister),

14 and say unto them, `We are not able to do this thing, to give our sister to one who hath a foreskin: for it [is] a reproach to us.

15 `Only for this we consent to you; if ye be as we, to have every male of you circumcised,

16 then we have given our daughters to you, and your daughters we take to ourselves, and we have dwelt with you, and have become one people;

17 and if ye hearken not unto us to be circumcised, then we have taken our daughter, and have gone.’

18 And their words are good in the eyes of Hamor, and in the eyes of Shechem, Hamor’s son;

19 and the young man delayed not to do the thing, for he had delight in Jacob’s daughter, and he is honourable above all the house of his father.

20 And Hamor cometh — Shechem his son also — unto the gate of their city, and they speak unto the men of their city, saying,

21 `These men are peaceable with us; then let them dwell in the land, and trade [in] it; and the land, lo, [is] wide before them; their daughters let us take to ourselves for wives, and our daughters give to them.

22 `Only for this do the men consent to us, to dwell with us, to become one people, in every male of us being circumcised, as they are circumcised;

23 their cattle, and their substance, and all their beasts — are they not ours? only let us consent to them, and they dwell with us.’

24 And unto Hamor, and unto Shechem his son, hearken do all those going out of the gate of his city, and every male is circumcised, all those going out of the gate of his city.

25 And it cometh to pass, on the third day, in their being pained, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, take each his sword, and come in against the city confidently, and slay every male;

26 and Hamor, and Shechem his son, they have slain by the mouth of the sword, and they take Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and go out.

27 Jacob’s sons have come in upon the wounded, and they spoil the city, because they had defiled their sister;

28 their flock and their herd, and their asses, and that which [is] in the city, and that which [is] in the field, have they taken;

29 and all their wealth, and all their infants, and their wives they have taken captive, and they spoil also all that [is] in the house.

30 And Jacob saith unto Simeon and unto Levi, `Ye have troubled me, by causing me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanite, and among the Perizzite: and I [am] few in number, and they have been gathered against me, and have smitten me, and I have been destroyed, I and my house.’

31 And they say, `As a harlot doth he make our sister?’

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