Genesis 34 Commentary
Jacob’s daughter is raped. The rapist moves to secure another advantage by wanting to marry Dinah but her brothers have another plans. The response is swift and brutal. At the end of it all Simeon and Levi act in anger and slaughter all the men in the city. Jacob is not at all happy but his sons won’t bulge.
Later on Jacob would reflect on this incident and counted it against Simeon and Levi when passing on the blessing to his children. Very few things go unnoticed in the spiritual world. History would record a near disappearance for Simeon as a tribe while Levi experienced scattering though via the priesthood. It says a lot about our actions early in our lives and the kind of attention required from us. Sin must be confessed and not justified like Simeon and Levi did. Sin must be faced and confessed and not grossed over and ignored like Simeon and Levi did.
The story is inserted here for reasons that will be clear as we travel through the book of Genesis…and the rest of the Bible.
These pages also tell us something about man’s justice system. When man sets to apply justice we are often excessive to the point of committing sin in the process. An act that would otherwise be seen as care for sister ended up being mass murder of an entire people. The LORD doesn’t WANT us to avenge ourselves because we don’t know how to do it.
Simeon and Levi possessed a bad spirit similar to sinful Lamech’s (a descendant of Cain) who boasted that he would be avenged seventy-seven times (not just seven times – as the LORD had put it for Cain). Later on, in blessing his sons, the patriarch Jacob would distance himself from this spirit.
“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
Indeed cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel. These two men made many fatherless. Many were made widows in an instant. We see the seed of evil right in the household of faith. ‘cursed be their anger’ reflects on many other instances we have encountered where man is cursed like in the case of Ham, but that is for later.