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Genesis 34:25-31

Context
34:25 In three days, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword 1  and went to the unsuspecting city 2  and slaughtered every male. 34:26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and left. 34:27 Jacob’s sons killed them 3  and looted the city because their sister had been violated. 4  34:28 They took their flocks, herds, and donkeys, as well as everything in the city and in the surrounding fields. 5  34:29 They captured as plunder 6  all their wealth, all their little ones, and their wives, including everything in the houses.

34:30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought ruin 7  on me by making me a foul odor 8  among the inhabitants of the land – among the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I 9  am few in number; they will join forces against me and attack me, and both I and my family will be destroyed!” 34:31 But Simeon and Levi replied, 10  “Should he treat our sister like a common prostitute?”

1 tn Heb “a man his sword.”

2 tn Heb “and they came upon the city, [which was] secure.” In this case “secure” means the city was caught unprepared and at peace, not expecting an attack.

3 tn Heb “came upon the slain.” Because of this statement the preceding phrase “Jacob’s sons” is frequently taken to mean the other sons of Jacob besides Simeon and Levi, but the text does not clearly affirm this.

4 tn Heb “because they violated their sister.” The plural verb is active in form, but with no expressed subject, it may be translated passive.

5 tn Heb “and what was in the city and what was in the field they took.”

6 tn Heb “they took captive and they plundered,” that is, “they captured as plunder.”

7 tn The traditional translation is “troubled me” (KJV, ASV), but the verb refers to personal or national disaster and suggests complete ruin (see Josh 7:25, Judg 11:35, Prov 11:17). The remainder of the verse describes the “trouble” Simeon and Levi had caused.

8 tn In the causative stem the Hebrew verb בָּאַשׁ (baash) means “to cause to stink, to have a foul smell.” In the contexts in which it is used it describes foul smells, stenches, or things that are odious. Jacob senses that the people in the land will find this act terribly repulsive. See P. R. Ackroyd, “The Hebrew Root באשׁ,” JTS 2 (1951): 31-36.

9 tn Jacob speaks in the first person as the head and representative of the entire family.

10 tn Heb “but they said.” The referent of “they” (Simeon and Levi) have been specified in the translation for clarity.



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