Alexander Rofé, «Defilement of Virgins in Biblical Law and the Case of Dinah (Genesis 34)», Vol. 86 (2005) 369-375
Seduction or rape of a virgin in the Biblical milieu did not signify her being
defiled. The Hebrew verb t-imme) (to defile) applied to married or betrothed
women only. The case of Dinah is an exception. In Genesis 34, it is stated three
times that Jacob’s daughter was defiled by Shechem (vv. 5.13.27). A plausible
explanation of this state of affairs is that Genesis 34 reflects the late, postexilic
notion that the idolatrous gentiles are impure which implies the prohibition of
intermarriage and intercourse with them (Ezra 9, 11-12). The concept of the
impurity of idolaters persisted in post-biblical literature. Thus, the assertion that
Dinah was defiled by Shechem betrays a late date of composition in respect of
this story. This confirms Kuenen’s hypothesis that Genesis 34 in its present form
is a late chapter, containing an anti-Samaritan polemic which originated in the
Restoration Community of the Fifth-Fourth centuries BCE.
The Role of Space in the twl[mh 463
longâ€ (6a) amongst those â€œwho hate peaceâ€ (6b). He is â€œpeace-lovingâ€
(7a) but lives amongst people who are always ready â€œfor warâ€ (7b).
His only hope is the fact that once he â€œcriedâ€ (1b) â€œto YHWHâ€ (1a)
and YHWH â€œansweredâ€ (1b) (30). Once the mythological world
touched the human, concrete world, therefore he can urgently pray
â€œYHWH save me!â€ (2a), and expect that his enemies will become the
target of â€œsharp arrows of a warriorâ€ (4a) with â€œburning coals of the
broom treeâ€ (4b).
Psalm 121 contains numerous hints that the poet is â€œon the moveâ€
or â€œascendingâ€ (31). The poem describes a journey from negative to
positive space, from being off-centre to being at-centre, with emphasis
upon a physical journey. The rhetorical question in 1ab hints at this
journey. A first person singular narrator describes his reality with the
words: â€œI lift my eyes to the mountainsâ€ (1a). In the same breath he
asks: â€œwhere does my help comes from?â€ (1b). Although confronted
by obstacles and danger (32), he is on the move upwards. The sense of
movement is emphasised by expressions such as â€œhe will not let your
foot slipâ€ (3a) and â€œYHWH protects your coming and your goingâ€
(8a). His answer: â€œMy help is from Yahweh who made heaven and
earthâ€ (2ab) indicates the possibility that the human and divine plane
can intersect (cf. 120,1a-2a) to the benefit of the petitioner. The
positive meeting between the human and divine spheres is emphasised
in numerous ways: by means of the repetition of the Leitwort rmv (cf.
3b.4b.5a.7a.7b.8a); the assurance that YHWH does not â€œslumberâ€
(30) 1ab is regarded as a recollection of past redemption, 2ab as a plea for
help in a current crisis. The same pattern occurs in Psalm 126 (cf. HUNTER,
(31) Formcritical studies classify the poem as a cultic dialogue between peti-
tioner and priest at the occasion of the farewell from the sanctuary after a pil-
grimage festival (cf. GUNKEL, Psalmen, 539; KRAUS, Psalms, 427). Read in iso-
lation the interpretation is possible. Reading Psalm 121 as part of the â€œstoryâ€ of
the twl[mh yryv indicates that it is not a liturgy, but a description of the dangerous
and uncertain journey (cf. DEISSLER, Psalmen, 493; MITCHELL, Message, 118;
GOULDER, Psalms of the return, 42).
(32) Some interpret â€œmountainsâ€ as a reference to the dwellings of gods (cf.
S. TERRIEN, The Psalms. Strophic structure and theological commentary (Critical
Eerdmans Commentary; Grand Rapids 2003) 812 who sees a veiled reference to
the danger of syncretism in 1a). Others interpret the reference literally â€” the
mountains are obstacles, symbols of danger (cf. DEISSLER, Psalmen, 495; K.
SEYBOLD, Die Psalmen (HAT I/15; TÃ¼bingen 1996) 478. ZENGER, â€œZion als
Ortâ€, 105 interprets it metaphorically as everything that endangers the life of the