Poem: “Disgracing Dinah”


Disgracing Dinah
from Genesis 34 prior to the law of “an eye for an eye”

Dinah’s weeping, Judah. Dinah’s weeping. Do you hear?
Does she fear the horror that will happen
when her big brothers hear of the ill-fated love
upon her
as forcibly as the trial of retaliation that’s sure to come?

Why doesn’t she go home?

Shechem, son of Hamor, has taken her by force, yes,
and longing love, no
one hesitates a moment to restrain. But after she’s lain
with him against her will, what will she find awaiting her

Why doesn’t she go home?

Hamor, from whom Jacob bought some land,
goes to intercede, negotiate, and gain hard-won
permission for your sister’s marriage to his love-
struck son, not guessing he too would be struck
by the swords of Simeon and Levi — along
with the entire male populace of his town.

Dinah’s weeping, Judah. Dinah’s weeping. 
Do you wonder if the plunder of people and
possessions taken by you and your brothers over
those dead bodies — those savagely slaughtered
bodies — that whole town of butchered bodies — 
will reimburse her loss of choice when she’s been
as an excuse for displaying power, pride,
and prowess then returned at last, alone,
to face her father’s house where she no
longer knows what makes a welcome home.

Mary Harwell Sayler


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