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Genesis 49:5 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Simeon and Levi are brethren; Weapons of violence are their swords.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Simeon and Levi [are] brethren; instruments of cruelty [are in] their habitations.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Simeon and Levi [are] brethren: instruments of cruelty [are in], their habitations.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Simeon and Levi are brethren: Instruments of violence their swords.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Simeon and Levi, are brethren,—Instruments of violence, are their agreements:
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Simeon and Levi [are] brethren! Instruments of violence—their espousals!
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Simeon and Levi brethren: vessels of iniquity waging war.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Simeon and Leui [are] brethren, instruments of crueltie [are in] their habitations.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Simeon{gr.Symeon} and Levi, brethren, accomplished the injustice of their cutting off.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Shimon and Lewi [are] brethren; instruments of cruelty [are in] their habitations.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
im`n שִׁמעוֹן 8095
{8095} Prime
שִׁמְעוֹן
Shim`own
{shim-one'}
From H8085; hearing; Shimon, one of Jacob's sons, also the tribe descendant from him.
and Lw לֵוִי 3878
{3878} Prime
לֵוִי
Leviy
{lay-vee'}
From H3867; attached; Levi, a son of Jacob.
[are] brethren; 251
{0251} Prime
אָח
'ach
{awkh}
A primitive word; a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H0001)).
instruments 3627
{3627} Prime
כְּלִי
k@liy
{kel-ee'}
From H3615; something prepared, that is, any apparatus (as an implement, utensil, dress, vessel or weapon).
of cruelty 2555
{2555} Prime
חָמָס
chamac
{khaw-mawce'}
From H2554; violence; by implication wrong; by metonymy unjust gain.
[are in] their habitations. 4380
{4380} Prime
מְכֵרָה
m@kerah
{mek-ay-raw'}
Probably from the same as H3564 in the sense of stabbing; a sword.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 49:5-7

_ _ Genesis 49:5-7. Simeon and Levi.

_ _ Simeon and Levi were associate in wickedness, and the same prediction would be equally applicable to both their tribes. Levi had cities allotted to them (Joshua 21:1-45) in every tribe. On account of their zeal against idolatry, they were honorably “divided in Jacob”; whereas the tribe of Simeon, which was guilty of the grossest idolatry and the vices inseparable from it, were ignominiously “scattered.”

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 49:5-7

_ _ These were next in age to Reuben, and they also had been a grief and shame to Jacob, when they treacherously and barbarously destroyed the Shechemites, which he here remembers against them. Children should be afraid of incurring their parents' just displeasure, lest they fare the worse for it long afterwards, and, when they would inherit the blessing, be rejected. Observe, 1. The character of Simeon and Levi: they were brethren in disposition; but, unlike their father, they were passionate and revengeful, fierce and uncontrollable; their swords, which should have been only weapons of defence, were (as the margin reads it, Genesis 49:5) weapons of violence, to do wrong to others, not to save themselves from wrong. Note, It is no new thing for the temper of children to differ very much from that of their parents. We need not think this strange: it was so in Jacob's family. It is not in the power of parents, no, not by education, to form the dispositions of their children; Jacob bred his sons to every thing that was mild and quiet, and yet they proved to be thus furious. 2. A proof of this is the murder of the Shechemites, which Jacob deeply resented at the time (Genesis 34:30) and still continued to resent. They slew a man, Shechem himself, and many others; and, to effect that, they digged down a wall, broke the houses, to plunder them, and murder the inhabitants. Note, The best governors cannot always restrain those under their charge from committing the worst villanies. And when two in a family are mischievous they commonly make one another so much the worse, and it were wisdom to part them. Simeon and Levi, it is probable, were most active in the wrong done to Joseph, to which some think Jacob has here some reference; for in their anger they would have slain that man. Observe what a mischievous thing self-will is in young people: Simeon and Levi would not be advised by their aged and experienced father; no, they would be governed by their own passion rather than by his prudence. Young people would better consult their own interests if they would less indulge their own will. 3. Jacob's protestation against this barbarous act of theirs: O my soul, come not thou into their secret. Hereby he professes not only his abhorrence of such practices in general, but his innocence particularly in that matter. Perhaps he had been suspected as, under-hand, aiding and abetting; he therefore thus solemnly expresses his detestation of the fact, that he might not die under that suspicion. Note, Our soul is our honour; by its powers and faculties we are distinguished from, and dignified above, the beasts that perish. Note, further, We ought, from our hearts, to detest and abhor all society and confederacy with bloody and mischievous men. We must not be ambitious of coming into their secret, or knowing the depths of Satan. 4. His abhorrence of those brutish lusts that led them to this wickedness: Cursed be their anger. He does not curse their persons, but their lusts. Note, (1.) Anger is the cause and original of a great deal of sin, and exposes us to the curse of God, and his judgment, Matthew 5:22. (2.) We ought always, in the expressions of our zeal, carefully to distinguish between the sinner and the sin, so as not to love nor bless the sin for the sake of the person, nor to hate nor curse the person for the sake of the sin. 5. A token of displeasure which he foretels their posterity should lie under for this: I will divide them. The Levites were scattered throughout all the tribes, and Simeon's lot lay not together, and was so strait that many of the tribe were forced to disperse themselves in quest of settlements and subsistence. This curse was afterwards turned into a blessing to the Levites; but the Simeonites, for Zimri's sin (Numbers 25:14), had it bound on. Note, Shameful dispersions are the just punishment of sinful unions and confederacies.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Genesis 49:5

Simeon and Levi are brethren — Brethren in disposition, but unlike their father: they were passionate and revengeful, fierce and wilful; their swords, that should have been only weapons of defence, were (as the margin reads it) weapons of violence, to do wrong to others, not to save themselves from wrong.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Simeon:

Genesis 29:33-34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I [was] hated, he hath therefore given me this [son] also: and she called his name Simeon. ... And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
Genesis 34:25-31 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. ... And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
Genesis 46:10-11 And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman. ... And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

instruments:
etc. or, their swords are weapons of violence,
Genesis 34:25-29 And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. ... And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that [was] in the house.
Genesis 34:31 And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?
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Gn 29:33; 34:25, 31; 46:10. Pv 18:9.

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