Jacob Is Told of the Rape of Dinah

5th century, with medieval and modern restorations
Nave, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

This is part of the sequence of Old Testament scenes portrayed in mosaics along the two walls of the nave. In the upper register Jacob buys from the sons of Hamor a field in which to pitch his tents (Genesis 33:17-20). In the lower register he is informed that his daughter Dinah has been kidnapped and raped by Shechem, a son of Hamor (Genesis 34:1-5).

In the text Dinah "went out" of her father's home "to see some of the women of that country." The commentaries interpret this as the soul leaving its true home with God, visiting "foreign religions" and then being corrupted by the devil through carnal desires.1

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Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

1 Glossa Ordinaria, I, 361-63. Isidore, Allegoriae, §51.