What does Genesis 34:25 mean?
ESV: On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah 's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males.
NIV: Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male.
NASB: Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons—Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers—each took his sword and came upon the city undetected, and killed every male.
CSB: On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords, went into the unsuspecting city, and killed every male.
NLT: But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there,
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Now it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males.
Verse Commentary:
The town is home to Hamor, the local prince, and his son, Shechem. Jacob and his massive clan had recently moved into the area (Genesis 34:18–19). Unfortunately, Shechem chose to attack and rape Dinah, Jacob's daughter (Genesis 34:1–3). When he and his father came to negotiate to marry Dinah (Genesis 34:8–12), her brothers lied in order to set up this massacre (Genesis 34:13). They claimed that if all the men of town were circumcised, they'd be open to free trade and intermarriage (Genesis 34:14–16). Their actual intent was revenge, but it worked, and the townspeople agreed (Genesis 34:20–24).

Circumcision involves cutting away the foreskin: a flap of tissue covering the end of the penis. This is typically done soon after birth, when it's relatively quick and easy. Circumcising an adult male involves significant discomfort and a longer recovery time. Jacob's sons know exactly what the recovery process is like, and they've planned accordingly. By the third day, their enemies are suffering the full effects. When the attack comes, the fighting men are partly disabled—preoccupied with pain and in no condition for combat.

The result is a brutal and catastrophic revenge that goes far beyond paying back the original crime. Shechem, Hamor, and the men of the city had trusted Jacob's family. They expected to reap financial benefits from their circumcision, but that day never came. When the people of the city felt most secure, Simeon and Levi lead a surprise attack and slaughtered every adult male. Most likely, this assault was carried out by more than just the two brothers—a full-scale attack such as this would have included their respective servants, as well.

It should be noted that Simeon and Levi are sons of Jacob's first wife, Leah, who is also the natural mother of Dinah. Jacob's outright favoritism (Genesis 29:31) may have played a role in their choice to respond with such violence.
Verse Context:
Genesis 34:13–31 describes the response of Jacob's sons to the rape of his daughter, Dinah. The rapist, Shechem, has asked for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers suggest that if the men of the town will be circumcised, they will agree to marriages between the two groups. Shechem and his father, Hamor, gladly agree to these terms. But this is a trap. While the men are still sore from circumcision, Simeon and Levi spring an attack, killing all the men and looting the town. Jacob is afraid this will bring retaliation from the Canaanite and Perizzite people. His sons, however, are adamant that their actions were justified.
Chapter Summary:
Jacob's family has settled within sight of the city of Shechem. Dinah, Jacob's daughter by Leah, is raped by the son of the city's ruler Hamor, also named Shechem. Shechem decides he loves Dinah and wants to marry her. Dinah's brothers are outraged. Hamor and Shechem, however, ask for Dinah to be given to Shechem as a wife and for their people to intermarry. Jacob's sons pretend to agree, provided the men of the city are circumcised. Instead, while the town's men are recuperating, Dinah's brothers by Leah, Levi and Simeon, lead a slaughter of all the men of the city.
Chapter Context:
With the blessing of the Lord, Jacob has survived his reunion with his brother Esau and settled his family in the land of Canaan, in a city called Shechem. Some time passes and then Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped by the son of the ruler of the city. To exact revenge and defend their sister's honor, Jacob's sons trick the men of the city into being circumcised and then slaughter all of them when they are recovering, plundering all the wealth of the people. This creates fear in the local Canaanite communities, who avoid future confrontation with Jacob's family.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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