“Now Dinah daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob, went out [unattended] to see the girls of the place. And when Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he seized her, lay with her, and humbled, defiled, and disgraced her.” Genesis 34:1-2
These have to be some of the saddest verses in the Bible, especially when you consider it all could have been avoided. It’s also sad to note that situations like this are still happening today in probably greater numbers than at any other time in history! How can we as parents, neighbors and friends protect and prepare our daughters, so that they will never have to face the pain and humiliation that Dinah went through? Let’s take a look at all that Leah & Jacob did, or failed to do, that led to Dinah’s rape.
1.) Provide Them With the Safest Surroundings
Jacob should not have been living in this pagan neighborhood and deliberately endangered his family by doing so. He was supposed to have traveled to Bethel. We’re not clearly told why he tarried here, but we do know that Shechem was lush and green, sort of reminds us of Lot. Surely Jacob had to have heard the stories of Lot and his family but chose not to heed the cautions.
Consequently,we should do all we can to make sure our daughters are living and being raised in the best environment we can provide for them, which doesn’t have to mean the richest.
2.) Let Them Know They Are Loved
“Now Dinah daughter of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob”(34:1). Why not, “Now Dinah, Jacob and Leah’s daughter”? We’re reminded that Dinah is “the daughter of Leah”—the “unloved” wife of Jacob (29:31, 33). One would think she would have been spoiled, being the only daughter, but Jacob only ever seemed to favor his sons born to Rachel. Unfortunately, Leah, already knowing and dealing with Jacob’s rejection, should have helped Dinah find her value, love and acceptance in God!
We need to convey our love to our children through focused attention, physical touch (hugs, messing up their hair, etc.) as well as verbally, and we also need to make sure they know how great the Father’s love for them is by reading and studying His Word with them daily! This is so important! Don’t count on others to do what He counts on you doing for them!
3.) Teach Them to Fear the Lord
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
God’s Word has so much to say on fearing the Lord. This verse is just one example, but a good one, because it conveys that He will judge everything we do, both good and evil, and I think that’s important for all children to remember. Unfortunately, we never see Jacob or Leah instructing their children to fear the Lord. This is why I believe, even though in biblical times, when girls of marriageable age were not permitted to leave the tents of their people to go about visiting without a chaperone, the Scripture clearly lets us know that Dinah went out unattended, in that the Hebrew word translated “went out” (yatsa) also bears a sense of impropriety.
As parents and elders, we need to set guidelines for our girls, making it very clear what is acceptable and what is not and the consequences to certain actions. I believe there are far too little guidelines in place today and far too much freedoms.
4.)Teach Them True Beauty is Found Within
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1Peter 3:4-5
We would do our daughters a great service by causing them to work on the inner beauty that is far more valuable in the eyes of God and won’t fade away over time.
5.) Purity is a Priceless Gift
I recall a story where one girl, who was the only virgin left among her school-aged friends, was being teased by all the other girls constantly. Until finally one day, she said to them: “It would only take me five minutes to become like all of you, but you can never become like me.” That shut up her friends and is such an important truth. Once lost, it can never be regained. It’s that valuable and should never, ever be taken lightly by anyone.
I’m sure this isn’t a complete list, but it’s a good place to start and the best time to begin to instill these truths is now before it’s too late! It’s also so important to note, that despite the best of our intentions evil still exist in this world, and all our best efforts may not be able to protect our daughters as we wish they could.
We never hear from Dinah after this incident, but I do hope Leah and Jacob were able to share with her God’s infinite love, mercy and grace to keep going.
~ It’s now your turn! We’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can do to protect and prepare our daughter for the world out there! Please join in the conversations by going to Women in the Word’s Facebook page and requesting an invitation. There you can freely share and see what others are saying! If you’re visiting us today, you can find out all about our online Bible study of the Women in the Word right here!
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