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Is Genesis 34:1-4 an example of Chiastic structure?


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar 22, 5775
Genesis 34:1-4 reads: 1. Dinah, the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to look about among the daughters of the land. 2. And Shechem the son of Hamor, the Hivvite, the prince of the land, saw her, and he took her, lay with her, and violated her. 3. And his soul cleaved to Dinah the daughter of Jacob; he loved the girl and spoke to the girl’s heart. 4. And Shechem spoke to his father Hamor saying, "Take this girl for me as a wife." Is it possible that this is not in chronological order and that the event in verse 3 comes before the event in verse 2?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. After discussing the issue with my learned wife, your idea that verses 2 and 3 should be understood in the opposite order (i.e. as you wrote, a chiastic structure), certainly is a plausible reading of the text. However, none of the classical commentators read it in this way. In order to explain the order of the verses as written, both Rav Ovadia Sforno and Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch explain that after first raping Dina, Shechem then felt more in love with her and wanted to marry her. As opposed to the story of Tamar and Amnon (in Samuel II,Chapter 13), where Amnon hated her after he had raped her, here it was the opposite result. May you be blessed to continue your Torah learning with every success.
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