Today was BSF day. That is Bible Study Fellowship for those asking. The study was based on Genesis chapters 34 and 35. Now, chapter 34 reads like an action movie. It begins;
“Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land.“
Nothing out of the ordinary here, unless you know the full story. BSF this year has been a study of Genesis and having begun from chapter 1, I can claim a very good understanding of Dinah’s part in this story. She’s the only daughter of Jacob at this point, and she is blessed to have eleven brothers. Imagine that! The princess in this big household. You’d think she’s untouchable. Especially from the young men hanging around the neighborhood. But no. She had to go out to visit with the women of the land.
Again, this may pass as ordinary – after all which teenager wants to be locked up in the house? Except, this family was not like any other family in Shechem. They were set apart. By God Himself. They were not to mix with the Canaanites who were living in the land. But wait? She was an only daughter. Who else was she to interact with?
Anyway, she did go to visit and with that, one of the ugliest incidents in the Bible is recorded. Dinah is raped by a guy who claims to love her and will do anything to make her his wife. Including getting circumcised, as demanded by her brothers. And not just him but all the men of his entire clan. You see, this guy, Shechem, was a prince so he kinda had power over his people. But Dinah’s brothers were real schemers and in revenge for their sister, they attacked the Shechemites at their weakest moment – on the third day after they were circumcised! The aftermath would have ended up with these guys at the International Criminal Court for mass murder, enslaving women and children, and theft through plunder. It was total pandemonium!
Enough with the background! Grab your Bible and read the rest of the story. That chapter is one where God is not even mentioned. It is chaotic. If you thought today’s world is evil, human beings are just perpetuating what they have learned from their forefathers.
As a mother to three teenage daughters, Dinah’s story struck a nerve. Our world isn’t safe for children. Worrying about them is now a defining trait of being a parent. Even when they are not in any immediate physical danger, the internet presents a daily threat. I don’t want to judge Leah (or Jacob for that matter), but they should have kept that girl on a tight leash! She had no business wandering off, unaccompanied, to God knows where! I fight all the time with my girls – they want to visit their friends, go to the movies, etc and they think I’m controlling when I demand to know all the little details! And my requesting for their friends’ parents’ contacts is always a deal breaker. I know I cannot always protect them but I will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Well, until they are eighteen!
Damn! The oldest turned eighteen a couple of months ago. I guess I’ll revise that age to twenty-one! But really? What must we do to keep our children safe? I need Solomonic wisdom and maybe the wise guy knew his stuff when he said:
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Oh Dinah! Why couldn’t you just stay home helping your mother Leah? She had weak eyes and she probably needed you in the kitchen to help cook for all those your brothers! See the tragedy you brought about? And you made my mind wander from the rest of the Bible teachings….