Sarah Hale's37 brief account of Dinah's life focused on the lessons to be learned from her life. Hale's interpretive approach was that "every character in the Bible has its mission as an example or a warning." Unlike Cornwallis, Hale showed no sympathy for Dinah. Nor did she portray her as a victim of violence. She thought Dinah's mission was to be "the beacon to warn the young of her sex against levity of manners and eagerness for society." She imputed to Dinah the qualities of "idle curiosity and weak vanity" and warned all women against "seeking excitement and amusement," as these could lead to a potentially fatal end for themselves and their families.
From Sarah Hale, Woman's Record; or, Sketches of all Distinguished Women,
from the Creation to A.D. 1854 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855).
The only daughter of the patriarch Jacob. Her seduction by prince Shechem; his honourable proposal of repairing the injury by marriage, and the prevention of the fulfilment of this just intention by the treachery and barbarity of her bloody brethren Simeon and Levi, are recorded in Gen. xxxiv. But every character in the Bible has its mission as an example or a warning, and Dinah's should be the beacon to warn the young of her sex against levity of manners and eagerness for society. "She went out to see the daughters of the land"; the result of her visit was her own ruin, and involving two of her brothers in such deeds of revenge as brought a curse upon them and their posterity. And thus the idle curiosity or weak vanity of those women who are always seeking excitement and amusement, may end most fatally for themselves and those nearest connected and best beloved. Dinah lived B.C. 1732.
37 For a biography of Sarah Hale, see part 5, "Leah and Rachel—Founders of the House
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on the Women of Genesis. Contributors: Marion Ann Taylor - Editor, Heather E. Weir - Editor. Publisher: Baylor University Press. Place of publication: Waco, TX. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 427.
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