Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shechem's in the kitchen with Dinah

Got in trouble in Sunday morning Bible study this week. I guess I have some sympathy for (not true identification with) Shechem, whom we meet quite unpleasantly in Genesis 34. Right off the bat we hear that he violates Dinah. Depending on your Bible version, the forcefulnes of this violation is ambiguous. And in all versions the confusion intensifies immediately when we're told that Shechem loved Dinah and spoke tenderly to her. I suggested in class that perhaps the violation was against Dinah's family (father and brothers), since he didn't ASK PERMISSION before having his way with her. Perhaps this was consensual but considered a "statutory" vilolation. Glad I raised the question, I think it caused my fellow class members to see this story in more alive ways. But I'm probably wrong. More accurately, I think Shechem did force himself on Dinah (the most accurate word-for-word translations seem to suggest so. But, my sympathy for Shechem (as long as he lives) remains. I think that after the violent act, he experienced an immediate change of heart. he turns out to be a sweet guy who would do anything (including spending money, speaking tenderly, and well... agreeing to painful surgery) to gain the woman he desires. Yeah, he eventually pays with his life (not to mention the lives of his kinsmen). Am I that passionate about anything?

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