My Story (Chapter 7)

After hearing tales about Hamor’s palace in Shechem from her brother Joseph, Dinah longs to visit the city and is thrilled when a messenger arrives from the queen, Re-nefer, requesting the help of the midwives. Upon arrival, Rachel speaks frankly with Re-nefer, and Dinah aids Ashnan through her delivery. Hearing a male voice in the hallway, Dinah goes to the door and there is caught in the gaze of the prince, Shalem. For many nights, Dinah dreams of the prince; she stifles her tears when he does not come after her when she and Rachel depart the palace. But Dinah’s dreams soon come true when another messenger is sent from Hamor’s palace requesting that the daughter of Jacob return. Levi takes Dinah back to Shechem, charging her to behave.

Re-nefer has sensed the love brewing between her son and Dinah and has already gathered details of Dinah’s upbringing from subtle conversations with Rachel and others who know the family of Jacob. Re-nefer devises a plot to send the two to the local market, where they meet; they return happily in each other’s arms. Shalem takes Dinah to a room in the palace, and they consecrate their love. Re-nefer sends delicacies to their door and instructs all to leave the lovers alone.

While Dinah falls madly in love, her brother Levi storms from the palace because he has not been invited to stay the night. He returns home cursing the name of Hamor. As a result, Hamor is not well received by Jacob and his sons when he comes bearing an extravagant bride price for Dinah. Jacob is enraged by the thoughts of his daughter as a woman, and he scolds first Leah and then Rachel for allowing Dinah to go to the palace to be defiled. Jacob refuses to negotiate with the king. Hamor is sent back to his palace, and Shalem fears that he will lose his bride. Hamor assures him that Dinah is already his wife, yet he wishes to make the marriage honorable for the joining of the two families. Hamor and Shalem return to Jacob’s tents with an even larger bride price. When Jacob makes the men promise to be circumcised in honor of his father’s god El, they are shocked, but Shalem submits himself to the wishes of his father-in-law. Dinah is appalled by the request that her father has made, and she is upset that her husband has consented. Re-nefer, however, assures her that circumcision is a small hurdle, and Dinah’s fears are somewhat comforted. Yet although the men keep their promise upon return to Shechem, Dinah’s brothers Simon and Levi ransack the palace and slay Shalem (along with all the other men in the palace), drenching their sister in his blood. The two carry Dinah back to Jacob’s tents while she silently screams in horror.