“Simeon and Levi are brothers – their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7/NIV).
These are Jacob’s words. Those were his last words to his sons before he died. Jacob gathered his twelve sons round him in order to bless them and to tell them, i.e. to prophecy to them, about things to come.
Here he speaks to his sons Simeon and Levi. He refers to some of their actions, he had been sorely displeased with. It is important for him that he should distance himself forever from that kind of cruelty and trickiness.
Jacob and his family had been strangers in the country of Canaan. One of Jacob’s daughters had visited other women belonging to the local people group. Lo and behold she was noticed by a young man, a son of the ruler of the area. He took her and had sex with her without asking neither if she wanted to nor if her family would agree with that.
This man told his father he wanted Jacob’s daughter as his wife. Hamor the Hivite therefore approached Jacob and his sons. He suggested that they should intermarry and become one people. Jacob’s sons – somewhat deceitfully because of the rape – said they would do so only on the condition that all their men should get circumcised.
The Hivites agreed and unsuspectingly got themselves circumcised. This of course did cause them considerable pain.
Simeon and Levi then took their swords and killed all these men. They plundered and took all their wealth, their women and children.
Jacob was very displeased with the fierce anger of Simeon and Levi. They of course merely sought to take revenge for their sister having been raped.
“Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.’” (Genesis 34:30/NIV).
The fierce anger of Simeon and Levi could have brought all their family into serious trouble. Their revenge was cruel and disproportionate.
Those who have read the bible will have noticed that anger is not encouraged in this book. Blind anger can lead into many sinful words and deeds.