Study Guide

The Red Tent Part Three, Chapter Four

By Anita Diamant

Part Three, Chapter Four

  • The chapter begins with Re-mose hand-delivering a message to Dinah.
  • After some good old-fashioned awkwardness, Re-mose tells Dinah why he's there: he needs her to help deliver a child for his master, Zafenat Paneh-ah.
  • Dinah can tell that Re-mose doesn't like his master but must still obey him.
  • Dinah reluctantly agrees, and so does Benia, who doesn't want to see his wife leave. Meryt can't go.
  • Overall, the birth isn't too bad: Dinah delivers a healthy baby for a woman named As-naat.
  • But when Dinah wakes up the next morning, she's sick with fever. It takes her about three days to recover.
  • A pleasantly plump servant, Shery, is summoned to take care of Dinah. She speaks very lowly of Zafenat Paneh-ah and even swears about him.
  • Hmm, that's a bold way to talk about your master.
  • Anyway, Shery goes on to tell her master's life story in order to entertain Dinah.
  • Shery goes on and on and on, and Dinah is pretty bored by the middle.
  • Apparently, Zafenat Paneh-ah was sold into slavery by his brothers at a young age, and he has just recently acquired the name Zafenat Paneh-ah.
  • Though he was a slave, he was very good looking, and his master's wife had an affair with him. That earned him a one-way trip to prison.
  • But Zafenat Paneh-ah was able to use his charm not only to be freed, but also to become the king's first-in-command.
  • Uh, talk about luck.
  • Shery then goes on about how repulsive he is, and how he ordered his child to be circumcised immediately, which is crazy to the Egyptians.
  • That's when Dinah recognizes the story: Zafenat Paneh-ah is Joseph.
  • So Dinah gets woozy from the thought and passes out.
  • Later, Re-mose comes to see how Dinah is doing, but she ushers him out. Shery then spills the beans to Re-mose about how Dinah muttered "Joseph" and then fell ill.
  • Re-mose then asks his master why "Joseph" could have made his mother fall ill.
  • Zafenat Panah-ah—or Joseph, as we know him—then starts to get mighty nervous.
  • Re-mose demands that Joseph tell him about Joseph's sister, Dinah.
  • Apparently, Joseph thought that Dinah had died—but while telling the story of her death, he also tells the whole entire story about her husband's murder—and about how Joseph didn't stop his brothers.
  • That's when Re-mose blows up and tells Joseph that the midwife is Dinah, who is alive.
  • Re-mose also threatens to kill Joseph for being at fault for his father's murder.
  • Re-mose is put in a temporary prison; meanwhile, Joseph and Dinah meet awkwardly to talk about stuff.
  • Yeah, stuff.
  • Basically, Dinah asks for her son's release and then pretty much denounces Joseph as her brother.
  • Joseph really has nothing to back himself up, so he agrees. He also agrees to give Re-mose a van—er, house by the river where he can be happy. And that's that.
  • In the next scene, Dinah tells Re-mose about his father. She also tells him why she couldn't talk about the real story behind his birth.
  • Dinah tells Re-mose his birth name, Bar-Shalem, and then leaves, most likely never to see her son again.
  • Daw, things just got really sad again.