“Get Me This Girl”
The Stories Pile Up
Allegations of sexual harassment continue to pile up against media executives, politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and athletes across the United States and some in Britain. Since the first accusations came out against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, more than 50 men have been accused by both women and men of unwanted sexual advance contact.
An Important Dialogue
Following the allegations against Weinstein, #MeToo spread across social media, making it clear that this kind of harassment was not an isolated incident. Women across the country posted about their own experiences of harassment ranging from unwanted comments to rape. As victims continue to come forward, their stories are spurring an important dialogue within workplaces and social settings across the country.
The Church is No Stranger
The Christian church is no stranger to stories like these. Church leaders, despite their spiritual roles, have also been guilty of harassing and abusing women. This fact reminds us that religious commitment does not translate to a sinless existence or spotless reputation. Nor does the Bible promise anything like that. Quite the opposite in fact.
Victims Seeking Justice
The Bible does not shy away from recounting numerous stories of sexual misconduct, reminding us that what these current perpetrators have done is not new. Throughout the Bible, women, who were victimized and sought justice, are named again and again: Dinah, Bathsheba, Tamar, Vashti, Esther (Genesis 34; 2 Samuel 11, 13; book of Esther). Even a concubine woman who is never named has her story told (Judges 21).
Although some people believe the Bible demeans women, it is in fact one of the earliest documents to illuminate injustices against them. Not only does it tell the stories of those women. It also honors women who exhibited courage, strength, and even success in a male-dominated culture—women like Deborah, Jael, Ruth, Abigail, Lydia, and Priscilla. Their stories are told in Judges 4–5; the book of Ruth; 1 Samuel 25; Acts 16; 18.
Stories >>> Justice
Dinah’s story is one of the earliest, told in Genesis 34, and dates to around 1900 BC—nearly 4,000 years ago. Her story reminds us that the current news is nothing new, and we must return again and again to tell these stories in our effort to seek justices.
One day Dinah, the daughter Leah had given Jacob, went to visit some of the women in that country. Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite who was chieftain there, saw her and raped her. Then he felt a strong attraction to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, fell in love with her, and wooed her. Shechem went to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl for my wife.”
Jacob heard that Shechem had raped his daughter Dinah, but his sons were out in the fields with the livestock so he didn’t say anything until they got home. Hamor, Shechem’s father, went to Jacob to work out marriage arrangements. Meanwhile Jacob’s sons on their way back from the fields heard what had happened. They were outraged, explosive with anger. Shechem’s rape of Jacob’s daughter was intolerable in Israel and not to be put up with.
Hamor spoke with Jacob and his sons, “My son Shechem is head over heels in love with your daughter—give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us. Give your daughters to us and we’ll give our daughters to you. Live together with us as one family. Settle down among us and make yourselves at home. Prosper among us.”
Shechem then spoke for himself, addressing Dinah’s father and brothers: “Please, say yes. I’ll pay anything. Set the bridal price as high as you will—the sky’s the limit! Only give me this girl for my wife.”
Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father with cunning. Their sister, after all, had been raped. They said, “This is impossible. We could never give our sister to a man who was uncircumcised. Why, we’d be disgraced. The only condition on which we can talk business is if all your men become circumcised like us. Then we will freely exchange daughters in marriage and make ourselves at home among you and become one big, happy family. But if this is not an acceptable condition, we will take our sister and leave.”
That seemed fair enough to Hamor and his son Shechem.
The young man was so smitten with Jacob’s daughter that he proceeded to do what had been asked. He was also the most admired son in his father’s family.
So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the public square and spoke to the town council: “These men like us; they are our friends. Let them settle down here and make themselves at home; there’s plenty of room in the country for them. And, just think, we can even exchange our daughters in marriage. But these men will only accept our invitation to live with us and become one big family on one condition, that all our males become circumcised just as they themselves are. This is a very good deal for us—these people are very wealthy with great herds of livestock and we’re going to get our hands on it. So let’s do what they ask and have them settle down with us.”
Everyone who was anyone in the city agreed with Hamor and his son, Shechem; every male was circumcised.
Three days after the circumcision, while all the men were still very sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each with his sword in hand, walked into the city as if they owned the place and murdered every man there. They also killed Hamor and his son Shechem, rescued Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left. When the rest of Jacob’s sons came on the scene of slaughter, they looted the entire city in retaliation for Dinah’s rape. Flocks, herds, donkeys, belongings—everything, whether in the city or the fields—they took. And then they took all the wives and children captive and ransacked their homes for anything valuable.
Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You’ve made my name stink to high heaven among the people here, these Canaanites and Perizzites. If they decided to gang up on us and attack, as few as we are we wouldn’t stand a chance; they’d wipe me and my people right off the map.”
They said, “Nobody is going to treat our sister like a whore and get by with it.”