My Story (Chapter 8)

Leah falls to the ground upon seeing Dinah’s bloodied body and fears that she has been murdered. Relieved when she sees her daughter walk, Leah reaches out to her, but Dinah tries to run back to Shechem. Her aunts take Dinah into their care. From the tent, Dinah hears her brothers return and boast of the booty they have taken from the city. Dinah leaves the tent to confront her brothers and screams for her father. When Jacob emerges from his tent, she curses her father for the murders that her brothers have committed in his name. In a voice that she does not recognize as her own, Dinah tells her father that he will never again know peace in his house. She curses each of her brothers, naming them one by one in honor of her murdered husband, Shalem. All stand in silence.

Wearing nothing but a small shift, Dinah walks away from her father’s camp and does not look back. She leaves behind all that she hates and also all that she loves. She does not stop walking until she reaches the gates of Shechem. Dinah is guided by a vision of returning to the palace and slitting her own wrist with the knife that killed her husband; she wishes that the two would be buried together. Jacob has dispatched Dinah’s eldest brother, Reuben, to find her, but he is too late.

Dinah thinks of all the things that might have happened if her eldest brother had found her on the way back to Shechem: Simon and Levi would have killed her baby, Dinah would have seen her father take the name Isra’El, she would have been happy to see Jacob’s gift with animals leave him. Dinah would have been present to witness the deaths of her mothers. Rachel dies giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, and is buried hastily on the roadside. Inna erects a stone pillar in her honor and asks women from far and wide to tie red ribbons around the pillar in return for happy births. Bilhah disappears after Jacob strikes her upon learning of the love she and his eldest son, Reuben, have shared for years. Zilpah dies of fever after Jacob destroys the last of Rachel’s teraphim. Leah, old and worn, loses the use of her hands and arms and wakes up one morning in her own excrement. Her daughters-in-law refuse to cook her a deadly drink, and she wastes away in her own body.

Dinah knows that the gods have other plans for her, and Reuben never finds her on the way back to Shechem. From the gate of the city, other arms carry Dinah away.