Sunday, February 26, 2017


Two of the more horrifying passages of the Old Testament are the Book of Ezra, and the story of the rape of Dinah and the retaliatory murder of the Hivites.

Most of Ezra is the prophet exhorting the people of Israel to put away their "strange" husbands and wives and "such that are born of them." In other words, to repudiate the families that the Israelites, as immigrants in the land, had taken on, in defiance of the Lord, who was (according to Ezra), horrified at this mingling of the holy seed. Personally I just think Ezra couldn't get laid and was jealous.

I've turned the story literally around, writing the Bible verse in semi-mirror writing, and reimagining the story from the perspective of the wives, having them exhort the people to make a covenant with God to love their strange spouses and children.

The Book of the Foreign Wives

Dinah is another Old Testament woman denied sexual agency. Shechen the Hivite supposedly rapes "defiles" and there's some dispute about what that truly means), but then falls in love with her. His father makes a deal with Jacob to have all the Hivite men circumcised so that Shechem can marry Dinah. While they are recovering, Dinah's brothers murder all the men on the rationale "should they deal with our sister as an harlot?" I like to think of the story as Dinah falling in love with Shechem; his murder and that of his people was retaliation against her for demanding and acting on her own sexual freedom. There's a wonderful novel that tells Dinah's story from this point of view, The Red Tent.

The Book of Leah: Dinah's Story

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