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Third son of Jacob and Leah. He and Simeon, an older brother, were prone to violence. When their sister, Dinah, was raped by Shechem (Genesis 34:1-2), they vowed revenge and killed not only Shechem but also his father, Hamor, and all their followers, pillaged their town, and confiscated their wealth and property. Jacob was horrified by the extent of their vengefulness (Genesis 34:25-31). In the prophecies he made for each of his sons, he singled out Simeon and Levi for special condemnation. "Accursed be their rage for its ruthlessness, their wrath for its ferocity" (Genesis 49:7).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.