7 Accounts of Kidnapping & Hostage Taking in Genesis

List of 7 Accounts of Kidnapping & Hostage Taking in the Book of Genesis

  1. Sarah - in two separate incidents (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18)
  2. Lot - is resolved after a war waged by Avraham and his allies (Gen. 14:11-16)
  3. Rivkah - fear of kidnapping leads Isaac to preemeptive action (26:1-13)
  4. Dinah - is resolved after her brothers massacre her kidnappers (Gen. 34:1-31)
  5. Yosef - sold and resold until he reaches Egypt (Gen. 37:12-36)
  6. Shimon - taken by his own brother to force them to bring Binyamin to Egypt (Gen. 42:6-24; 43:23)
  7. Binyamin - attempt by Yosef serves as the final test for his brothers (Gen. 44:1-45:15)
The frequency of this theme in the Book of Genesis suggests that the injustice faced by hostages and kidnapping victims is an important and even foundational Jewish concern. The differences between the cases indicate the familiarity with the many ways such situations play out.
The cases of Sarah and Rivkah involve the potential threat to the male relatives of the kidnapping victim. Lot is kidnapped in the context of war. Yosef, Shimon, and Binyamin are all taken by their own brother(s). The cases of Lot and Dinah result in the violent deaths of the kidnappers.