3. Jacob shall never know peace again. He will lose what he treasures and repudiate those he should embrace. He will never again find rest, and his prayers will not find the favor of his father’s god.
Dinah speaks these lines in Part Two, Chapter Eight, as she verbally attacks and curses her father, Jacob, for his hand in the slaughter of Shechem. Dinah has just been carried out of her murdered husband’s bed by her brothers Levi and Simon and forcibly returned to her family’s camp. In an uncharacteristic move, Dinah acts blindly and authoritatively, going to Jacob to accuse him of his responsibility in the mass murder of Shechem’s men. Though he denies participation in the massacre, she glimpses the guilt in his eyes. As the only daughter of her family, Dinah has had very little contact with Jacob up until this point. In fact, in one passage in the previous chapter, Jacob muses that he cannot quite conjure up the image of Dinah’s face, since he only has a vague impression of her appearance. Dinah is the first person in the novel to stand up to Jacob.
This quote is the first real interaction Dinah has with her father as an adult. Dinah’s marriage and skills as a midwife have made her a woman in the eyes of her community, even though she is probably just fourteen years old. She stands before her guilty father and finds that she looks at him with the clear eyes of an equal. She draws upon a well of power within herself as she curses Jacob and leaves the camp immediately after, planning never to return. Her words find their mark: after this time, Jacob’s luck does indeed change. He changes his name to Isra’El so that he will not be recognized as the “butcher of Shechem.” This moment marks the beginning of Dinah’s own adventure in the novel, and from now on she acts not as a child of her mothers but as her own woman, leaving behind everything she has ever known to travel to a new land and begin a new life.