🔼The name Dinah: Summary
- (Female) Judge, Judgment
- From the verb דין (din), to judge or govern.
🔼The name Dinah in the Bible
The name Dinah occurs only once in the Bible, as the only daughter of Israel's arch-father Jacob (Genesis 30:21). Her mother is Leah, and Dinah is Leah's seventh child and Jacob's eleventh child, only to be followed by the two sons of Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin.
On account of Dinah's rape by Shechem the Hivite (who actually wished to marry her, even afterwards — Genesis 34) Dinah's brothers Simeon (Jacob's son number 2 who rose to number 1 after Reuben slept with Bilhah — Genesis 35:22 and 49:4) and Levi (Jacob's son number 3, and later number 2) first manage to make the men of Shechem's town circumcise themselves and then kill them all by sword and loot the place (that means steal all the livestock, women and children). When Jacob hears of this he mentions nothing about any ethical rules that were transgressed but rather his fear for political or military retaliation (Genesis 34:30).
On his deathbed Jacob curses the brothers and disperses them into Israel (Genesis 49:5-7). The tribe of Levi became the landless priestly clan, and Simeon was assimilated by Judah. Judah was son number 4, but moved up the list because of the actions of his three brothers Reuben, Simeon and Levi.
🔼Etymology of the name Dinah
The name Dinah is the feminine form of Dan and both come from the verb דין (din), meaning to judge or plead:
The verb דין (din) means to judge or govern. It's an old verb that mostly describes the authority of a naturally superior (because that person is wiser, stronger, older, etcetera) in contrast to the governing done by a formal government (by politically favored and appointed officials).
The noun דין (dayyan) describes one such a leader, and noun דין (din) describes anything pertaining to primitive governing: a judgment, plea, complaint, contention. Noun מדון (madon) literally describes a "place or judging" and is synonymous with the contending that goes on in such a place. Noun מדונה (medina) described the jurisdiction of one judge, and became the word for province.
For the meaning of the name Dinah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Judgment; Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names gives Judged, i.e. Vindicated.
Also see our article on the verb περιτεμνω (peritemno), to circumcise.