Dinah: what bad association?

by acsot 28 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • acsot

    Okay, so I was at the Ministry School/Service meeting last night (as to why and all that see my answer to Blondie’s Watchtower review this week), which actually was not totally horrendous since I brought some essay questions to work on for a university class I’m taking. I probably looked so theocratic™ (hehehe). So during the Service Meeting there’s a part on bad association, being careful at school, at work, blah blah blah. I wasn’t paying attention until the brother mentioned the account in Genesis about Dinah visiting Shechem and his family, and how because of this bad association she was raped, blah blah blah.

    I then read the account and noticed how Shechem was the most honorable in the land (I had read that before, and previously would just meld with the JW mindset that even though he was the most honorable, still he wasn’t a worshipper of Jehovah, etc. so it was still wrong to associate with him).

    He falls in love with Dinah: (Revised Standard Version:) And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob; he loved the maiden and spoke tenderly to her Gen. 34:3

    Now, my question: the NWT has Shechem “violating” Dinah, to me that sounds like rape, which is what the brother on the platform went on about “see, her bad association resulted in her being raped, yada yada yada”.

    (Revised Standard Version:) Now Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with his cattle in the field, so Jacob held his peace until they came . Gen. 34:5

    Was she “defiled” in Jacob’s eyes because she was raped, or was it because it was out of wedlock, Shechem wasn’t a Hebrew, and hadn’t first asked permission of Jacob to marry Dinah? Since women were considered property of their fathers in those times, it suddenly occurred to me (I know, I know, it’s taken a long time) that maybe this girl Dinah decided for herself that here was a great guy, totally unlike her violent brothers and patriarchal, domineering father, and that she had had consensual sex with him.

    I mean, considering what her brothers did afterwards, maybe, just maybe Dinah had an inkling of what her brothers were like (after all, she lived with them, probably waited on them hand and foot) and saw marriage to Shechem as her way out of a bad situation (kind of like marrying a non-JW in order to get out of the cult). It was the Hebrews who come across as really bad association in this account, not Shechem and Hamor, who were even willing to be circumcised so that Schechem could marry Dinah (now that’s a sacrifice!)

    "The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah … On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came upon the city unawares, and killed all the males. They slew Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away." Gen. 34:13, 25, 26

    What are your thoughts? Was Dinah raped, or does it sound more like she was very willing, both to have sex with and then marry Shechem? Seems to me that the WTS has totally twisted this account around. Those ancient Hebrews were not the kindest, most gentle people one would ever want to associate with!

    (I am just assuming, for the sake of argument, the account happened as written, this is not about whether Genesis is literal or not, etc. - just would appreciate people's comments on the account as interpreted by the WTS)

  • RunningMan

    I agree. Assuming that the story is literally true, a careful reading of the account indicates that it was the Hebrews who were lying, vicious, and bloodthisty.

    Shechem and his clan looked like pretty good people.

    However, as we all know the society is always right. Bad associations DO spoil useful habits. Just look at what happened to Shechem. He started hanging out with a pretty rough crowd of Hebrews, and it ended up with his family being massacred.

  • cruzanheart

    Actually, what always scared me was what might have happened to Dinah AFTER she was "rescued" by her brothers. Killing women who are considered unmarriageable (damn that hymen!) is still not unheard of in the Middle East.


  • acsot

    Runningman: that was hysterical, yeah the WTS got it backwards, it was bad association all right, for Shechem.

    Cruzan: I had wondered about the same thing but didn't post it. We don't hear about Dinah anymore, so I can just imagine how she was treated afterwards!

  • bluesapphire

    Acsot, this is one of my most favorite subjects about the WTS and their sleasy interpretations of the bible. You absolutely have got to read the book "The Red Tent." It is exactly about the Dinah/Shechem fiasco only the author took liberties and expanded on it and really when you read it it seems that it could actually have happened that way had all the details been included. It's not a factual book (it's in the fiction section at the library) but it is a historical novel. Read it and tell me what you think.

    My comment on the biblical account (leaving WTS interpretations aside) ... it shows how low women were in the bible. Dinah doesn't even deserve a further mention. Poor poor girl if this is a true story. She is one of the many victims of "god's people."


    Thanks, ascot. Interesting take. I'd always just accepted the "rape" without much contemplation. The thing, though, about the WTS's whole Dinah/bad association/"rape" rant that always made me bristle was the inevitable implication that Dinah was yet another woman whose abuse was her fault, likely a result of some ill-advised action on her part.

    In roughly the last decade of my 29 years in the WT religion, hardly a meeting or assembly or magazine issue passed without my being left with a vague discomfort akin to having been violated. I was---without realizing it fully, yet also feeling guilty about it--- being affected by the indistinct, subliminal undercurrent that I eventually came to understand was the Society's and organization's utter contempt toward women. No opportunity is ever passed on to take a swipe at the female gender. The "account" of Dinah is just one more in a long list.


  • acsot

    BlueSapphire: Amazing that you should recommend that book! My boss just bought it because she's heard of the author, but didn't have a clue that Dinah is from the Old Testament. After she reads it she told me I could borrow it, otherwise I will definitely get it from the library! Maybe we should start a book club!


    You know, I had completely forgotten about that tale.

    Yeah Dinah...independent woman...forebearer of the women's movement, do you think?

    Probably not, but she gave it a good try.

    ascot - that was a great post, got me thinking...and remembering...which I don't do much of these days ( see...too much aluminum in my diet ).

  • bittersweet

    gosh....I never even thought about all that.I do remember thinking Dinah's brothers were a little crazy. I used to say that was my favorite bible story when I was a kid.That one and Jezebel.How pathetically sad.I did always wonder what the heck dinah was doing at Schecem's house if he had raped her.As time goes on,I see more and more twisted truths from the jw organization.

  • bluesapphire

    acsot, another good one is Queen Maker. It's another historical novel - this one about David. Very eye opening as well. I love these authors who challenge the common thinking on these biblical characters.

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