Genesis 49:5

5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swordsa are weapons of violence.

Read Genesis 49:5 Using Other Translations

Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
"Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.
“Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence.

What does Genesis 49:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Genesis 49:5

Simeon and Levi are brothers
Not because they were so in a natural sense, being brethren both by father and mother's side, for there were others so besides them; but because they were of like tempers, dispositions, and manners F6, bold, wrathful, cruel, revengeful, and deceitful, and joined together in their evil counsels and evil actions, and so are joined together in the evils predicted of them: instruments of cruelty are in their habitations:
or vessels, utensils, household goods gotten by violence and rapine, and through the cruel usage of the Shechemites; these were in their dwellings, their houses were full of such mammon of unrighteousness, or spoil; or, as others, "instruments of cruelty" are "their swords" F7; what they should only have used in their own defence, with these they shed the blood of the Shechemites very barbarously, ( Genesis 34:25 ) . Some think the word here used is the Greek word for a sword; and the Jews say F8 that Jacob cursed the swords of Simeon and Levi in the Greek tongue; and others say it is Persic, being used by Xenophon for Persian swords; but neither of them seems probable: rather this word was originally Hebrew, and so passed from thence into other languages; but perhaps the sense of it, which Aben Ezra gives, may be most agreeable, if the first sense is not admitted, that it signifies covenants, compacts, agreements F9, such as these men made with the Shechemites, even nuptial contracts; for the root of the word, in the Chaldee language, signifies to espouse F11; and these they abused to cruelty, bloodshed, and slaughter, in a most deceitful manner: in the Ethiopic language, the word signifies counsels; so De Dieu takes it here.


F6 "--------par nobile fratrum Nequitia et nugis pravorum et amore gemellum." Horat. Sermon. l. 2. Satyr. 3.
F7 (Mhytrkm) "Machaerae eorum", Montanus, Tigurine version, Schmidt; and so R. Sol. Urbin Ohel Moed, fol. 31. 2.
F8 Pirke Eliezer, c. 38.
F9 So Castell. Lexic. col. 2058. Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F11 (rkm) Chald. & Syr. "despondit", "desponsavit", Schindler. Lex. col. 998.
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