Dinah was a young girl that historians say was around 15. Her father was Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, father of the Israelites. Schechem was a prince, son of King Hamor. Gentiles.
Schechem raped Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and in her culture, it meant she was ruined. King Hamor recognizes that he must act quickly, but it wasn’t with any sort of sorrow for his son’s sin. It was opportunity that he had in mind.
But Hamor said to them… Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.
Dinah’s brothers wanted something else. They agreed to Hamor’s request, with one condition. Every one of their males had to get circumcised, in keeping with the Abrahamic covenant. No male can be part of that covenant without circumcision. And they know what adult circumcision will do to the men. It will incapacitate them, make them unable to fight when the brothers come for their revenge.
They shook hands or exchanged goats or whatever they did back then to seal a deal, and 3 days later the brothers attacked. All the men, including the king and his son, were killed, Dinah was rescued and brought back home. And then they faced Jacob.
Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”
As I read this story, I sensed that Dinah got lost in the middle of two sides trying to get what they wanted. Lost in the deception, the violence, and greed. Lost between people who made her victimization about themselves.
And now I’m looking at us.
I’m looking at the burning cities, the utter destruction being rained down, and the sounds of voices that are screaming their hatred. I see the fury of a generation determined to eradicate the history of a nation they admittedly hate, burning the flag that covers the coffins of men and women who died defending that same nation, and their right to burn it down. There is no reasoning. No actual conversations taking place. Maybe talking was attempted in the beginning, but not now. Now, an angry Godzilla is seeking revenge for something. Anything. Everything. Violence, hatred, deception, mistrust, and confusion are the air we breathe now.
I wonder if Dinah felt seen. I wonder if she felt that her family cared more about what was done to her, than how it affected them.
I wonder the same thing about the many victims we have today. The black ones. The white ones. The brown ones and those of every other color. The ones in jogging shorts and the ones in uniform. The children. The grieving families.