WTF Bible Stories: Rape, Marriage, and Circumcision

The Bible has the best (read: craziest) stories. Take Genesis 34 for example.


Hebrew patriarch Jacob gets tricked into marrying his cousin, Leah, when he actually wanted to marry her sister Rachel. The girls become the original “sister wives.” Jacob also marries two of their servants so he can spawn more babies. Out of this, he gains 12 sons (the tribes of Israel) and a daughter named Dinah.

WTF? Genesis 34

TL;DR Dinah gets raped. Dicks are trimmed, men murdered, and families are enslaved.

This is fucked up, and the cat knows it.

Dinah is taking a tip to visit her girlfriends. The local ruler’s son Shechem thinks she’s smokin’ hot so he—of course—rapes her. I guess he had a good time, because he falls in love with her. The writer doesn’t give a damn about Dinah from here on out.

Shechem’s father Hamor asks Dinah’s  father Jacob to let Shechem marry the girl he assaulted (remember, rape is okay in the Bible as long as you marry the girl after! See Deuteronomy 22:28-29). During the meeting, Dinah’s brothers come back from the fields and go apeshit about their little sister’s  rape. Shechem says “Oops, my bad” and tells them he’ll do absolutely anything to marry this chick.

Hamor and Shechem offer to trade their own women to Jacob’s family for intermarriage as bargaining chips. They just have to purchase Dinah. Women are property. This girl must have some skills.

Dinah’s brothers are—understandably—really fucking angry about their sister’s rape. For revenge, they screw around with Hamor, demanding that every man in his town gets the tip of his penis cut off. You heard right—foreskins for a chick. For some demented reason, Hamor and Shechem agree to the deal and go order everyone to get circumcised. Poor blokes.

Three days later while all those penises are still sore (I love that this fact is included in the text, by the way), Jacob’s sons attack the town and murder every single male! KABLAMMO! They loot the place, snatching the herds and capturing all the women and children (who I’m sure were so thrilled that their family members were just murdered right in front of them!).

Jacob gets pissed because his sons make his social life more difficult.


Who is more fucked up in this story? Everyone except Dinah seems like a complete brutish arse. Read this to your kids at night and see what kinds of dreams they have.

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March 15, 2011  |  Christianity, history, religion, the bible


  1. Christians have a different take on it. Here’s one explanation that puts the blame on DINAH:

    “It was true Shechem had wrought folly in Israel, in defiling Dinah: but it ought to have been considered how far Dinah herself had been accessary to it. Had Shechem abused her in her mother’s tent, it had been another matter; but she went upon his ground, and struck the spark which began the fire. When we are severe upon the sinner, we ought to consider who was the tempter.” (

    • Blaming the victim! Sooooo classy.

      • There are so many stories like this in the Old Testament. I don’t understand Ali’s need to defend the Christian view. What about the story of Judah, Onan and Tamar. Women were just “babymakers” in this story. Having a son: that was what was important. And then God commits murder because he thinks so much of male offspring that he gets pissed when a guy shoots in on the ground instead of making another male baby. I laugh when Christian women try to defend the book that makes them such second class citizens. It reminds me of battered women who defend their husbands once the police show up. The book is obviously historical fiction.

    • There’s a beautiful old saying which I think aptly applies Ali…. “it’s always better to be thought an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

  2. I was reading through Joshua and when the tribes of Israel crossed the River Jordan to conquer the heathen they took a break so that the army could get circumsised. After the army got circumsised they had to rest for a few days, and then they got onto doing the genocide.

  3. I still like the Traditional Marriage explanation by Betty Bowers, of Landover Baptist Church fame (and I heartily recommend that we atheists enjoy Landover’s site on occasion):

  4. The bible — every child that wants to see R-rated movies and can’t, needs one.

    • I was a staffer at a Christian youth camp back in college. One of the boys’ counselors felt bad about using secular scary stories to entertain his cabin, so instead he read from the most violent, crazy parts of the Bible. Fitting, don’t you think?

  5. I have a somewhat regrettable childhood story about that particular bible story and a reinactment we did at a Jewish bible camp type place that is still on video somewhere.


  6. I like your take on this stuff. I find bible stories like this pretty refreshing. In what other history book will you find this much honesty and failure of human beings. The winner writes the history. Well, this seems like the opposite of what I’d expect, then, if God won. I just don’t see it in the writings of other religions.

    Of course this passage isn’t one of those commandment passages, e.g. “You must rape your cousin, so sayeth the Lord.” It is one of those “whoah, people, get a grip, I mean, you are my people, right?” kind of passages.

  7. I read an interesting book called The Red Tent by Anita Diamant that expands on Dinah’s story. In Diamant’s version of events, Dinah wasn’t raped by Shechem but was seduced by him and fell in love with him. What happens after follows the bible closely: a dowry is paid, all of Shechem’s countrymen are circumcised and then subsequently killed by Dinah’s valiant brothers. Afterward, she leaves her family and goes to Egypt while pregnant with Shechem’s son to start a new life.

    I’ve been thoroughly bored trying to read the bible, but maybe I’ll seek out these crazy parts because they’re hilarious and a great source of literary inspiration apparently!

  8. I’m surprised you don’t mention the Sodom and Gemorah story. When the group of men come to gang rape the travelers, who are actually angels, Lot decides to offer them his own daughters to be gang raped instead. God forbid men have sex with men, consensual or otherwise, but rape is ok as long as it’s heterosexual. Wtf?!?!

    • Don’t forget that they not only gang raped but also murdered the daughter. And that daddy dear then cut her into pieces and mailed her to all the fam along with notes that said, “This is pretty effed up, eh?”

    • Duh, he offered them women because he knew they didn’t want women! They were homosexuals! I’m pretty sure that not one gay guy I know would bother to rape a woman if offered. ; ) Pretty smart on his Lot’s part!

  9. The story of Lot shows how messed up Lot’s reasoning had become, as he chose to settle in this evil city while Abraham chose to stay away….Lot and his wife still didn’t want to leave this place and had become so comfortable with the lifestyle. No one in their right mind would offer their daughter to any group of men, even if they were gay.
    The fact that the bible tells all of the horrible details doesn’t mean that God is saying that this stuff is ok…but is just telling it like it happened without editing it out, unlike other historical writings that Lift the main characters to legendary status. Let’s horrible decision to offer his daughter to the men of the city is not much different than some of the crazy messed up stuff we see in the news today.

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