Tag Archives: virginity

Dinah: Don’t Hang Your Head

Dinah1

In their analysis of Genesis 34 most commentators  assume that Dinah was raped by Shechem, the local Hivite prince. Feminists use the story as the textbook example of what is wrong with patriarchy. In addition, Genesis 34 also records the massacre of the Hivite people by Dinah’s brothers in retaliation for the way in which they perceived Shechem had treated their sister. Even today, some ultra-orthodox Jews claim the brothers as heroes for cleansing the land of the Canaanites and look to the narrative as a model for “solving” the current Palestinian “problem.” Continue reading

Lot’s Daughters

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“Lot and his daughters” by the French painter Lubin Baugin (c. 1612-1663).

In Deuteronomy God wants to be perfectly clear with Moses that Yahweh has a covenantal relationship with Lot’s descendants and that their lands are to be respected. In other words, God condones the incestuous actions of Lot’s daughters which resulted in the two nations being given ancestral lands east of the Jordan. More than matriarchs of great nations, the daughters are also depicted as the ancestors of Ruth through whom the Davidic and Messianic line flows and Naamah, the Ammonite wife of King Solomon, mother of Rehoboam, King of Judea. Indeed, Lot and his daughters appear to hold an illustrious place in biblical history right alongside Abraham, Sarah and their descendants. As modern readers, we are challenged by this inference and must return to the story of Lot and his daughters to consider more carefully the nuances of this incestuous tale. Continue reading

Jephthah’s Daughter: How to Regard the Silence of God

Jephthat's daughter1

“Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand… Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’ And she said to him, ‘My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.’So she said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.’ ” (Judges 11:29-37)

The judge and general Jephthah maked a vow to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house when he returned victorious from battle. When it was his daughter who danced out of his house, he maked no effort to rescind his oath. To further complicate matters, Jephthah made his vow under the influence of the Spirit of Yahweh. His military victory seems to be a tacit acceptance by God of the terms of his vow.  Lev. 27:1-8 stipulates a payment can be made to annul a vow made to God. My first question is obvious. Wasn’t there a way to avert this tragedy? Continue reading