The vengeance of Simeon and Levi (Gen 34:25-34:31)

“On the third day, when they were they were still in pain, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city unawares, and killed all the males.  They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went away. The other sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because their sister had been defiled. They took their flocks and their herds, their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field.  All their wealth, all their little ones and their wives, all that was in the houses, they captured and made their prey. Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites.  My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed, both I and my household.’  But they said, ‘Should our sister be treated as a whore?’”

Wow, this takes a sudden turn. Three days later, when the two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi were ‘still in pain,’ they took their swords and killed all the men in the city, including Hamor and Shechem.  They took Dinah, who had the same mother as her, away.  What happens to her is not clear.  When the other sons of Jacob came and found out what happened, they plundered the city, taking all the herds and whatever was in the city.  They captured everyone and everything. Jacob said that Simeon and Levi had brought trouble to him among the Canaanites and the other people. ‘My numbers are few, and if they gather themselves against me and attack me, I shall be destroyed both I and my household.’  However, the brothers were defiant.  Our sister should not be treated like a whore.

Clearly, this is breaking a covenant or treaty.  Hamor and Shechem had done what they were asked, but the concept of revenge and deceit was very common among the sons of Jacob.  Jacob himself was a crafty man as can be seen with his dealings with Esau and Laban, but not a killer like his sons, Simeon and Levi.  This ancient idea of killing for a rape offense still exists in some areas of the world today.  Notice too, the other brothers joined in the looting.