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Click here to read Genesis 34 on BibleGateway.com

Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me… if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” – Genesis 34:30

downloadIt’s hard to comprehend how people can say the Bible is boring. “Outdated” I can understand; “irrelevant” I can see; “difficult to understand” I can sympathize. But “boring”? Really? If people say the Bible is boring, generally one can assume they’ve never actually read it. Let’s take Genesis 34. (and quick caveat – this one is not really for the kiddos. Be forewarned.)

The chapter starts off with the rape of Dinah, who is the daughter of Jacob and the sister of all 12 of his sons (half-sister in some cases. It’s complicated). The man involved is named Shechem (actually, Prince Shechem. More on that later), and this jerk-weasel actually has the gumption to try to sweet talk Dinah afterwards, and try to get her family to arrange their marriage.


When her brothers (specifically, Simeon and Levi) hear about this, they are understandably a little miffed. However, rather than engaging in a little immediate facepunching, and being sons of Jacob (literally, “the deceiver”), they decide to get their revenge a little more craftily. They tell Shechem they’ll agree to the marriage, but only if he and all the males in his town are circumcised (look it up). Somehow Shechem manages to convince all the other guys in town to go along with this (must have to do with being “prince” Shechem, or possibly some cashola). Then, in the words of the Bible, “while they were all still in pain,” the brothers come and slaughter the whole town.

Now, we might be able to sympathize with killing Shechem, but the whole town? Seems like a bit of overkill (see what I did there?). Their dad Jacob certainly thought so. He tells them that they’ve brought danger to their whole family, as the people around will try to take vengeance on the brothers (and their families). So the family up and moves away, and not to the town of Beverly.


Here’s the thing: actions have consequences, often far beyond yourself. Jacob starts the ball rolling, demonstrating for his sons the habit of deception. And what apt pupils they were. But it doesn’t end there. Years later, in Genesis 49, as Jacob is describing blessings (and prophesying) about his sons, he alludes to this incident and says “cursed is their anger and fury…they will be scattered.” This prophecy comes true when Levi’s descendants don’t get their own land in the country of Israel, and Simeon’s tribe is absorbed.  Their actions let their greaty-great grandkids with no place to call their own, hardly the family inheritance they would have asked for.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? Simeon and Levi’s actions had consequences for their families immediately, and for their descendants 400 years after their own deaths. Judah’s family (the next son of Jacob) didn’t get involved in this incident, and his whole tribe was blessed, including surviving right down to the present day, not to mention the fact that Jesus himself came from Judah. That’s pretty decent.

Before you watch that, go there, or say that, take a moment and consider that whatever you do now may be talked about 100 or 1000 years from now.

What kind of story do you want to have?

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