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 477
experience their plight as a new exile and long for the eschatological
intervention of YHWH (84). Their voice is heard in the twl[mh yryv as
they visit Jerusalem and find consolation in the fact that, even though
they are exiles in their own country, they are safe in the protective arms
of YHWH who will never forsake his true people. Concentrating on the
concept of â€œspaceâ€ in these songs, the fortitude of the singers can only
be admired. These are indeed songs of â€œâ€¦ Hoffnung inmitten eines
harten und verzweifelten Alltagsâ€ (85).
This study does not claim to have discovered â€œtheâ€ structure or
â€œtheâ€ meaning of the twl[mh yryv. However, it has shown that the
concept of â€œspaceâ€ plays an important role in every single poem in the
collection. By mapping â€œspaceâ€ and relating it to the content of the
poems in the context of Book V of the Psalter, the â€œstoryâ€ of these
poems can be discerned. It is a meaningful story with a sad beginning
but a happy end. The happy end resides especially in the expectation
that YHWH â€œascendsâ€ with his people towards the eschathological and
Messianic future. The study indicates that research into aspects of the
â€œstoryâ€ told in the Book of Psalms if it is read as a meaningful unity
might prove fruitful and will contribute towards our understanding of
the intentions and ideologies of its author-redactor (s).
Department of Ancient Languages Gert T.M. PRINSLOO
University of Pretoria
This study reads the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120â€“134) from the perspective of the
concept of â€œspaceâ€ and argues that they form as a single, interrelated unit that tells a
meaningful â€œstoryâ€. By applying the principles of â€œcritical spatialityâ€ the spatial
orientation of each poem is analysed. The conclusion is reached that the poems can
be grouped together in five triads of three poems each. By mapping â€œspaceâ€ and
relating it to the content of the poems in the context of Book V of the Psalter, the
â€œstoryâ€ of these poems can be discerned. It is a meaningful story with a sad beginning
but a happy end. The happy end resides especially in the expectation that YHWH
â€œascendsâ€ with his people towards the eschathological and Messianic future.
(84)WILLI, â€œDas twl[mh ryvâ€, 157.
(85) ZENGER, MorgenrÃ¶te, 129.