(e.g. john 8 32)

Genesis 34:1  (King James Version)

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Genesis 34:1

As far as we know, Dinah was Jacob's only daughter. We can easily imagine many scenarios of life for an only girl with, at that time, eleven brothers. Would she be a tomboy? Spoiled? Over-protected? Possibly, but she could just as well have been kind, giving, respectful, and obedient. She was not only the daughter of Leah and Jacob, but the granddaughter of Isaac and Rebekah and the great granddaughter of Abraham and Sarah. She had some pretty good genes, and she certainly had been told their stories, giving her good examples to follow.

We are immediately told that she is Leah's daughter. This could be just a simple statement of fact, or under God's inspiration, Moses could be hinting that she was not one of Jacob's favorites, since her mother was Leah, not Rachel. After all, favoritism was a great sin Jacob dealt with much of his adult life. This would help to explain Jacob's subdued reaction, which is seen later on.

It is difficult to pin down Dinah's age at this point, but she was probably thirteen or fourteen years old. Most commentators agree on this, though some think she was as old as her late teens. By following the timeline of Jacob's journey, service to Laban, and return to Canaan, the evidence points to a young girl of around thirteen. Some thirteen-year-old girls look and act like streetwalkers, yet other girls of that age still play with dolls.

Where did Dinah fit? She was curious enough to leave the safety of the camp and to explore, so it is unlikely that she was still playing with dolls. She was certainly physically mature enough to draw attention from men, and girls of that time may have grown up early, yet no matter how one theorizes, she remains a young girl. Perhaps she was a bit full of herself, maybe a bit silly and giggly, as girls this age can be. Her trip into town was unwise, certainly.

She went out of her family's camp, left its safety, specifically to see the "daughters of the land." The Jewish historian, Josephus, says that the Hivites were having a festival of some sort. We can picture the color, the pageantry, and music of an exotic celebration and realize how that would catch the eye of a tent-dwelling young girl with no sisters.

Mike Ford
The Rape of Dinah

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