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.
464 Gert T.M. Prinsloo
(3b.4a) or â€œsleepâ€ (4a) but is constantly present as â€œyour shade at your
right handâ€ (5b) (33) and consequently can protect the petitioner from
all kinds of peril (cf. â€œsunâ€ [6a] and â€œmoonâ€ [6b] (34); â€œall evilâ€ [7a] and
â€œyour coming and goingâ€ [8ab]). YHWHâ€™s presence surpasses the
constraints of time (â€œnow and for evermoreâ€ 8b) and space (â€œheaven
and earthâ€ 2b) therefore he can assist the petitioner in his journey from
negative to positive space. The poem contains the first hint that the
petitioner is moving from private to public space when he refers to
YHWHâ€™s protection of â€œIsraelâ€ (4b).
Psalm 122 abounds with terminology that suggests the concept of
â€œarrivalâ€. As in Psalm 120 concrete, physical space is mentioned. Now,
however, the physical space is positive. The petitioner has arrived in
Jerusalem (35). The petitioner is now at-centre, in the presence of
Yahweh. And Jerusalem has important â€œsymbolicâ€ connotations. It is
a symbol of religious and political authority. 1ab is still suggestive of
the journey. The petitioner states: â€œI rejoiced with those who told me:
â€˜Letâ€™s go to the house of YHWHâ€™â€œ. Significantly there is a movement
from first person singular to first person plural in 1ab. The journey
from positive to negative space is also a journey from private space to
public space (36). And now they have arrived at their destination. They
are standing â€œin your gates, Jerusalemâ€ (2a). Jerusalem is the ultimate
destination of â€œthe tribes of Yahâ€ (4a) (37); their ultimate goal is â€œto
praise the name of YHWHâ€ (4b). In Jerusalem they are confronted by
the symbols of YHWHâ€™s presence, the â€œthrones of judgement, the
thrones of the house of Davidâ€ (5ab). The reference to the â€œhouse of
Davidâ€ emphasises the symbolic value of David, at once historical
king and representative of the Messiah to come (38). The sense of
(33) YHWH thus differs from the vegetation gods of the cultivated land who
die at the change of the seasons (KRAUS, Psalms, 429).
(34) In the Ancient Near East both â€œsunâ€ and â€œmoonâ€ function as gods and
can cause humans harm (cf. DE LIAGRE BÃ–HL â€“ GEMSER, Psalmen, 175).
(35) MITCHELL, Message, 113 suggests that the exact context might well be
the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Weeks and Tabernacles or Sukkoth
(cf. Exod 23,14-17; 34,18-24; Lev 23,4-44; Deut 16,1-17).
(36) KRAUS, Psalms, 43; J. TEICHMAN, â€œPsalm 122. ErwÃ¼nschet den Frieden
Jerusalemsâ€, Aus den Psalmen leben. Das gemeinsame Gebet von Kirche und
Synagoge neu erschlossen (Hrsg. W. STROLZ) (Freiburg â€“ Basel â€“ Wien 1979)
(37) MITCHELL, Message, 113 remarks: â€œThe tribes of Yah would well de-
scribe those in attendance at the feasts, for every male Israelite was required to
attend (Exod 34,23; Deut 16,16)â€.
(38) TEICHMAN, â€œPsalm 122â€, 205.