Analysis

When Dinah tells the story of her old family to her new family, she is released from her burden. Re-mose, Meryt, and Benia have become Dinah’s new family, though none of them know the story of her past. When she is forced to tell Re-mose about his father, she realizes that she must then tell everyone she loves in order to find closure and release. Driven by her confession and farewell to Re-mose, she arrives home from Joseph’s palace and tells Meryt her story. Meryt, ever accepting, comforts her. Later, when Benia questions Dinah about Joseph, she discovers that her defenses are too worn down to hide the truth anymore and she tells him her story. When she tells Benia, she discovers that she has come to terms with her past, for her heart does not race and her eyes do not fill up with tears. By telling her story to the three most important people in her life, Dinah finally lets go of the sorrow and anger from her past and embraces the life she has made for herself in Egypt.

Meryt functions as a mother figure to the adult Dinah. When she arrives in Egypt, alone and frightened, Dinah has nobody to trust. Meryt, a kind midwife with two adult sons, sees Dinah’s loneliness and reaches out to her, recognizing that she needs a mother and a friend. They find common ground through their shared experience as midwives, and Dinah slowly begins to open up to Meryt. Over time, Meryt convinces Dinah to attend births with her, drawing Dinah out of her garden shed and showing that there is a life to be had in Egypt. Meryt brings Dinah to the market, where she meets Benia, and urges her to move to the Valley of the Kings, where Dinah and Benia reunite and marry. Not only does Meryt act as a surrogate mother to Dinah, but her granddaughter Kiya becomes a substitute daughter for Dinah. When Dinah finally tells Meryt her tragic history, Meryt tells Dinah that no daughter could have made her happier or more proud. Through Meryt’s steadfast love, Dinah becomes a beloved daughter once more.

Dinah finds a surrogate mother in Meryt, and when she dies, Dinah finds that she needs closure with her other mothers. Immediately after Meryt dies, Dinah begins to dream of each of her mothers in turn. When she finally dreams of Leah, her mother asks her for forgiveness and Dinah gladly gives it. In her dream, she apologizes for doubting her love and feels her pardon in her heart. The next day, Dinah goes to Meryt’s grave and pours an offering in thanks for sending her mothers back to her. Dinah’s long-awaited goodbyes with Leah, Rachael, Zilpah, and Bilhah release her. Though she has known in her heart that they were all dead, she could not be at peace with herself or their deaths until she said goodbye to them. Meryt’s love and her confessions of her story have enabled her to honor her mothers one last time.

Dinah’s meeting with her niece Gera gives her the knowledge that her name lives on, which finally brings closure to Dinah’s story. Before she meets Gera, Joseph has told her that her story is no longer told in the house of Jacob and that what happened to her is no longer considered important. Dinah believes that her story has been forgotten. Gera carefully recounts Dinah’s tale and assures her that the name Dinah is remembered, which gives her the reassurance that she needs. Shalem’s death and the murder of the men of Shechem did not happen in vain, for their story will survive along with Dinah’s. She says that this knowledge gives her peace, for her own history is too terrible to be forgotten. As long as Jacob’s name lives on, so will Dinah’s. Though the past has wronged Dinah, she has nothing to fear of the future. Gera tells her that she will name her daughter Dinah, and with this information Dinah feels free at last.