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 475
member of the â€œtribes of Yahâ€ (122,4). His eyes are expectantly upon
YHWH as the â€œeyes of servantsâ€ and the â€œeyes of a maidâ€ upon their
owners (123,2). He identifies with those who â€œtrust in YHWHâ€
(125,1). He is one of the â€œrighteousâ€ (125,3), one of those â€œwho are
goodâ€ and â€œupright in their heartâ€ (125,4). He â€œfears YHWHâ€ (128,4).
His â€œheart is not proudâ€ nor his â€œeyes haughtyâ€ (131,1). He is one of
the â€œpoorâ€ who expects â€œfoodâ€ from YHWH (132,15), one of the
â€œsaintsâ€ of Jerusalem who will â€œever sing for joyâ€ (132,16). In short,
he is one of the â€œservants of YHWHâ€ (134,1).
A second hint is the preoccupation of the poet (s) with two kinds
of space (66). On the one hand the focus is upon Jerusalem/Zion/the
house of Yahweh (cf. 122,188.8.131.52; 125,1.2; 126,1; 128,5; 129,5;
132,184.108.40.206.14; 133,3; 134,1-3) (67). Linked to that is the focus on Israel
as the people that belong to Yahweh and in Jerusalem in a very special
sense (121,4; 122,4; 124,4; 125,5; 128,6; 129,1; 130,7.8; 131,3). A third
characteristic is the explicit mentioning of David, either in the
superscript to the psalms (122,1; 124,1; 127,1; 131,1; 133,1) or in the
case of Psalms 122 and 132 in the poem itself (122,5; 132,220.127.116.11)(68).
Thus the poems are concerned with Israel as a political and religious
entity whose true destination is to be found in Jerusalem, the centre of
political and religious authority, the centre of the universe.
On the other hand the poems describe private space (69). It ranges
from extremely negative, an experience of being in exile (120), to
extremely positive, an experience of being safe in the arms of YHWH
(131). Noteworthy is the focus on private space in the heart of the
collection (126â€“128). There, surrounded by the protective arms of
YHWH, the â€œlittle peopleâ€ find pleasure in going about their daily
business of sowing and reaping (126), building houses and raising
families (127) and enjoying the fruit of their labour (128), expecting
deliverance and the coming of the new David and the Messianic
None of these terms are innocent. Scholars working in the field
of the redaction of the Psalter have shown that Book V is â€œconcerned
with the restoration of Israel after the exile and has a distinctly
(66) ZENGER, â€œZion als Ortâ€, 110-111.
(67) GOULDER, Psalms of the return, 112; HUNTER, Psalms, 229.
(68) DE LIAGRE BÃ–HL â€“ GEMSER, Psalmen, 172.
(69) HUNTER, Psalms, 230 remarks that the focus on the â€œdomestic realm of
family and farmâ€ is â€œscarcely paralleled elsewhere in the Psalterâ€.