My Story (Chapter 4)

The family’s fear of Jacob’s brother, Esau, increases when Esau’s eldest son, Eliphaz, arrives at their camp and announces the upcoming arrival of his father. But Jacob insists on meeting Esau on the way, and the family walks to meet his brother. Surprisingly, the two brothers embrace upon their greeting. Jacob leads his brother back to his family and introduces his many sons and wives; Esau does the same.

Dinah quickly favors her cousin Tabea, the only daughter of Esau’s wife Basemath. Back at Jacob’s camp, Dinah and Tabea are sent to fetch wild onions for the evening meal. Once away from everyone else, the girls talk about their mothers and their Grandmother Rebecca. Dinah reveals the close nature of the women in her family who share the red tent at the new moon and times of birth, but Tabea says that the women in her family are consumed by jealousies that keep them apart. When the girls rejoin their families at supper, Jacob and Esau entertain all with stories from their youth. Esau then gives a signal to his first wife, Adath, who leads the women in a most beautiful song that enchants all.

The next morning, Dinah awakes to the sounds of Esau’s family packing to leave—Jacob and Esau decide that although their reunion has been sweet, they must part ways to remain on good terms. Esau will go back to his home, while Jacob will settle his family in a separate area where he and his sons can stake their claim. Before Esau’s family leaves, Tabea kisses Dinah and promises that they will one day meet again at a festival of their Grandmother. Jacob’s family then moves to a village named Succoth. Here, Dinah’s elder brothers Simon and Levi wed two sisters, and Judah marries Shua, who quickly becomes the favorite daughter-in-law among Dinah’s mothers. The bondswomen birth many children and the flocks multiply. Bilhah conceives another child and miscarries; Leah carries another child that she delivers prematurely. The little girl dies in Dinah’s arms, and the family buries her beneath a strong, old tree.

One morning, a visitor with flaming red hair visits Jacob’s camp carrying a message from Rebecca inviting the family to a festival. The women in the camp are startled by the boldness of this visitor but are happy when Jacob consents to honor his mother’s invitation. Dinah looks forward to at last meeting her Grandmother.