“Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place. Let not my soul enter their council; let not my honor be united to their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung an ox. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5-7)
Wow! Pretty strong words and especially when we understand that these were some of the last words Jacob spoke to these two offspring. We must consider that the last words of a dying man are to be regarded as critical and, consequently, should be heeded. Much of what Jacob alludes to is most likely based on the actions that Simeon and Levi took when their sister was violated. On one hand, we could argue that something needed to be done so that Dinah’s honor was defended but Jacob felt it necessary to address the harshness of their wrath. Jacob goes so far as to imply that these two conspired in secret with each other and kept everyone else in the dark regarding their intentions.
In other words, Jacob was warning them of a tendency to plot in secrecy in order to carry out hostile actions. Many years later, validating Jacob’s warning, the Bible tells us that elements of Simeon participated in a rebellion against the LORD in the affair of the Ba’al of Peor (Numbers 25:14). It was a leader from the tribe of Levi, Korah, who led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16).
Though Jacob cursed their anger, he did not curse them — he loved them and knew that they had purpose in God’s plan. Likewise, we have purpose and are to serve a role in God’s overall plan for His Kingdom. Therefore, let us be careful not to allow passion, emotion — especially violent anger — to rule our actions. Just one dramatic misstep can alter the entire trajectory of our life and, at the very least, frustrate God’s plan for us. So then, let us learn from the mistakes of others and resolve not to repeat what they have done. More importantly, let us strive to emulate the character and attributes of our King, the Messiah, of whom Isaiah said:
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. (Isaiah 42:2-3)
Blessings and Shalom,