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image of Vetus Testamentum

The widespread opinion that the verb 'innâ in the Pi'el refers to "rape" or "sexual abuse" is not acceptable. It suffers from a lack of analysis of all the biblical material and of the distribution of 'innâ with a female object in the Hebrew Bible. A semantic analysis of the lexical collocations, of the word order and of the textual occurrences in which 'innâ functions shows that this verb is used as an evaluative term in a juridical context denoting a spatial movement downwards in a social sense and should be translated as "debase". By implication, the verb 'innâ in Gen. xxxiv 2 does not describe Shechem's rape or sexual abuse of Dinah, but evaluates Shechem's previously described actions as a debasement of Dinah from a social-juridical point of view.


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