As Jacob and his family travelled into the land of Canaan they arrived at a place called Shechem (Genesis 34). He bought land outside the town and settled there with his family. There he built an altar to the God he worshipped and called it El-Elohe-Israel; meaning ĎMighty One, God of Israelí.
Like most young girls, Dinah soon became bored of the same company all the time and she decided to go and make friends with the young women of Shechem. She was quick to be spotted by the local prince, also known as Shechem. He didnít waste time in courting her but took her into his palace and raped her. This must have been the norm in the way he conducted himself with the Hivite women. He didnít ask for friendship or betrothal but simply took any woman he desired. These peopleís morals were loose and the princeís attitude towards women did not bother them at all. But something happened when he raped Dinah. He actually fell in love with her, so strongly that he even tried to win her affection. He even spoke to his father, Hamor the Hivite king and asked him to get the girl for him. He loved her and longed for her to be his wife. Her innocence must have gotten to him and he couldnít wait to make her his long-term possession.
But on the other hand Dinah felt the physical and emotional trauma of being violated. She had opened herself to these people, trusted them and they had taken advantage of her innocence and raped her. One man committed the crime but the whole town had stood by in silence as the savagely act was being conducted within the beautiful palace of the Hivite king. A girlís adventure into town turns into a life time nightmare.
Were Dinahís brothers justified in their anger and vengeance towards Shechem, Hamor and whole town? They knew Godís standards and realized that this man had used their sister in a way that God would not condone. A man who feared God would never have treated her that way. This man had used her against her will, with no thought of her deep value as a person; with no thought of the fact that she was a special being who bore the image of God. Shechem paid no regard for her capacity to enjoy true love, to be protected and the desire in her to give of herself in a truly loving relationship. He introduced fear to a world she had grown feeling free-in-spirit and loved.
Would she ever heal? Would she ever forget such a traumatic experience? Maybe she even conceived a child through this rape! Yes, she can heal. The God of Israel whom her father and family worshipped remained faithful, even when it didnít seem that way to her. Maybe she had even become bitter towards God; accusing Him of not protecting her from one man and yet having protected her father Jacob from his brother Esau and his army of four hundred men! But did she herself realize her own part in allowing her own eyes and feet in taking her where her soul should have dreaded to go?
The Bible teaches us that though we at times are unfaithful, unworthy; God always remains faithful and worthy. He does not change. Faithfulness is His very character (Psalm 89:8). He is a forgiving God and He is the God who heals us of every disease and every trauma (Psalm 103:1-4). He cleanses our memories from negative memories and He gives us a song where bitterness had taken root. He can take the ashes of our lives and build a fire from the one single spark left in us. Because He is God, He can restore our self image. We can forgive not only ourselves but also the one who did us harm. We will laugh again and learn to live again; because He is God and because He loves us unconditionally.
Psa 73:21-26 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, (22) I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. (23) Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. (24) You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. (25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Amen.
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