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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Genesis 49:6

"Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Into their secret council, etc. - Jacob here exculpates himself from all participation in the guilt of Simeon and Levi in the murder of the Shechemites. He most solemnly declares that he knew nothing of the confederacy by which it was executed, nor of the secret council in which it was plotted.

If it should be said that the words תבא tabo and תחד techad should be translated in the future tense or in the imperative, as in our translation, I shall not contend; though it is well known that the preterite is often used for the future in Hebrew, and vice versa. Taken thus, the words mark the strong detestation which this holy man's soul felt for the villany of his sons: "My soul shall not come into their secret council. My honor shall not be united to their confederacy.

For in their anger they slew a man - איש ish, a noble, an honorable man, viz., Shechem.

And in their pleasure - This marks the highest degree of wickedness and settled malice, they were delighted with their deed. A similar spirit Saul of Tarsus possessed previously to his conversion; speaking of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, St. Luke says, Acts 8:1; : Σαυλος δε ην συνευδοκων τῃ αναιρεσει αυτου· And Saul was gladly consenting to his death. He was with the others highly delighted with it; and thus the prediction of our Lord was fulfilled, John 16:2; : Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And it is represented as the highest pitch of profligacy and wickedness, not only to sin, but to delight in it; see Romans 1:32. As the original word רצון ratson signifies, in general, pleasure, benevolence, delight, etc., it should neither be translated self-will nor willfulness, as some have done, but simply as above; and the reasons appear sufficiently obvious. They murdered a prince - Hamor, the father of Shechem. Instead of שור shor, which we have translated a wall, and others an ox, I read שר sar, a prince, which makes a consistent sense; (see Kennicott's first Dissertation, p. 56, etc.); as there is no evidence whatever that Simeon and Levi either dug down a wall or houghed the oxen, as some have translated the passage; Or houghed oxen; on the contrary, the text, Genesis 34:28, Genesis 34:29, proves that they had taken for their own use the sheep, oxen, asses, all their wealth, their wives, and their little ones.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/genesis-49.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

O my soul, come not thou into their secret,.... Their cabinet counsels, combinations and conspiracies; this Jacob said, as abhorring the wicked counsel they had took of slaying the Shechemites; and lest any should think he was concerned in it, or connived at it, he expressed a detestation of the fact on his dying bed: the future tense may be put for the past; and so Onkelos renders it, "my soul was not in their secret"; and so the other two Targums paraphrase it, that when they got and consulted together, his soul was not pleased and delighted with their counsel, but abhorred it; or "my soul shall not come", which Jarchi thinks prophetical refers to the case of Zimri, the son of Salu, of the tribe of Simeon, as the following clause to the affair of Korah, of the tribe of Levi, as foreseeing and disapproving them, and desiring they might not be called by his name, or his name called upon them, Numbers 25:14.

unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united; the same thing expressed in different words; by his "honour or glory" he means his soul, the more honourable part of man, or his tongue, with which man glorifies God; and hereby Jacob intimates, that he did not in thought, and much less in express words, give any consent unto, and approbation of the deed of those two sons of his, and that he never was, nor never desired to be with them in their meetings and consultations:

for in their anger they slew a man; Hamor or Shechem, together with all the males of the city; and so "man" may be put for "men", the singular for the plural, as is frequent. The Targum of Jonathan is, a king and his governor; and the Targum of Jerusalem, kings with governors:

and in their selfwill they digged down a wall; not the wall of the city of Shechem, which does not appear to be walled, by their easy access into it; and if it was, they do not seem to have had proper instruments for such an undertaking, nor a sufficient number for such work, and which would have required longer time than they used, unless it was a poor wall indeed: rather the wall of Shechem's house, or the court before it, which they dug down, or broke through to get in and slay Hamor and Shechem, and take away their sister; though the word, as here pointed, always signifies an ox; and so the Samaritan and Septuagint versions render it, they hamstringed a bull, or houghed an ox, just in like manner as horses are said to be houghed, Joshua 11:6 and which some understandF12R. Jacob Ben Eleazer in Ben Melech, in loc. figuratively of a prince or ruler; so great personages are called bulls of Bashan, Psalm 22:12 and interpret it either of Hamor or of Shechem, who was a prince among his people, and furious in his lust towards Dinah, and so this clause is much the same with the former: and besides, him they enervated by circumcision, and took the advantage of this his condition at the worst, and slew him, which seems to be the true sense of the text, agreeably to Genesis 34:25 but the Jerusalem Targum paraphrases it of Joseph, whom his brethren sold, who was like unto an ox; and so Jarchi interprets it of him, whom they designed to slay, see Deuteronomy 33:17 but it is better to take the words in a literal sense, either of the oxen that Simeon and Levi took from the Shechemites, which they plucked or drove away from their mangers, as some render the wordsF13עקרו שור "avulserunt boves", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; others, "enervarunt bovem", Schmidt; so Ainsworth. ; and some of them they might hough or hamstring, that they might not get away from them, see Genesis 34:28 or rather of Shechem himself, who was שר, "a prince", a word which has some likeness and affinity to this in the text.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/genesis-49.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

O my soul, come not thou into their d secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a e man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

(d) Or, tongue: meaning that he neither consented to them in word or thought.

(e) The Shechemites (Genesis 34:26).


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/genesis-49.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

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.

O my soul, come not thou into their secret — Hereby he professeth not only his abhorrence of such practices in general, but his innocency particularly in that matter. Perhaps he had been suspected as under-hand aiding and abetting; he therefore solemnly expresseth his detestation of the fact.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/genesis-49.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Genesis 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Ver. 6. O my soul, come not thou, &c.] Jacob here meaneth that neither should any, neither would he approve of their perfidy, saith an interpreter. And yet Thuanus writes that the Pope caused the massacre of Paris to be painted in his palace. Another of them highly extolled in his consistory the noble act of Clement the monk, that killed the king of France, comparing it with the work of creation, incarnation, &c. Friar Garnet, our chief gunpowder plotter, had his picture set among the rest of their saints, in the Jesuits’ Church at Rome. And Cornel. a Lapide, upon Apoc. vii. 3, crowns this traitor with fresh encomiastics. (a)

In their anger they slew a man.] Yea, many innocents; and then cried out, O rem regiam! as Valesius did when he had slain three hundred. O pulchrum spectaculum! as Hannibal, when he saw a pit full of man’s blood. Quam bonus est odor hostis mortui! as Charles IX, in the massacre of Paris; where they poisoned the Queen of Navarre; pistoled the Prince of Conde; murdered the most part of the peerless peers of France, their wives and children; with a great sort of the common people, in various parts of the realm, - thirty thousand in one month, three hundred thousand in the space of a year! Mohammed I, Emperor of the Turks, was thought, in his time, to have been the death of eighty thousand men. Selymus II, in revenge of the loss he had received at the battle of Lepanto, would have put to death all the Christians in his dominion, in number infinite. Mithridates, king of Pontus, with one letter, slew eighty thousand citizens of Rome in Asia, that were scattered up and down the country for traffic’s sake. It was the cruel manner of Uladus, prince of Wallachia, together with the offenders, to execute the whole family; yea, sometimes the whole kindred. (b) Did not these two brethren in sin do so, and worse?


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/genesis-49.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Genesis 49:6. O my soul, come not thou, &c.— Or, into their secret my soul entered not. But our translation is much more emphatic. Jacob, by this pathetic exclamation, testifies the higher detestation of his sons' barbarity. Their secret, means their wicked designs, which are called their secret, because such designs are commonly carried on with deep secrecy. See Psalms 64:2. He goes on, unto their assembly, Mine honour, be not thou united. Mine honour answers to my soul in the preceding line, and, like it, is frequently used in poetry for the pronoun of the first person, Psalms 16:9. Grotius explains this:—"I have not stained mine honour, or rather, let mine honour never be stained, by joining in their cursed assembly." The sentiment rises: in the former clause Jacob says, that he would not choose to be concerned in their secret designs: here he declares, that, as he valued his honour and self-approbation, he would shun the very place where they were assembled, for fear of catching the infection.

In their anger they slew a man The singular for the plural; for he means the inhabitants of Shechem, see ch. Genesis 34:25. [slew all the males]; as he means the town of Shechem by the wall, which they are said to have digged down.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/genesis-49.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Their secret; or, counsel, or company, as the word is used, Psalms 64:2 Jeremiah 15:17; i.e. do not partake with them in their secret and wicked designs. Hereby he signifies to all posterity, that that bloody enterprise was undertaken without his consent or approbation, and that he could not think of it without detestation, nor let it pass without a severe censure. Or, O my soul, thou wast not in their secret, as the Chaldee, Syriae, and Arabic take it, by a common enallage of the future tense for the past.

Mine honour; either,

1. Properly so called. So the sense is, Let not my honour or good name be bound up with theirs; they gloried in this wickedness, which I abominate, and which indeed is their shame. Or,

2. Improperly; so he understands either,

1. His soul, which is indeed the glory of a man, though I do not remember any place of Scripture where that word must necessarily be so understood. So this is a repetition of the same thing in other words, which is usual in Scripture. Or rather,

2. His tongue, for which the word honour or glory is commonly put, as Psalms 16:9, compared with Acts 2:26 Psalms 30:12 57:8 108:1, because the tongue or speech is the glory of a man, by which he is distinguished from unreasonable creatures, and, if well used, it brings much honour to God, and to the man that speaks with it. So the sense is, As my soul did not approve of that wicked action, so my tongue never gave consent to it, nor shall it now by silence seem to own it, but shall publicly witness my abhorrence of it.

In their anger they slew a man, i.e. men, the Shechemites, Genesis 34:25,26, the singular number for the plural, as Genesis 3:2 32:5 1 Chronicles 10:1, compared with 1 Samuel 31:1. He saith man rather then men, either with respect unto the prince, whose slaughter was principally designed, or to show that they slew them all to a man.

In their self-will: it may note, that this cruelty of theirs was committed,

1. By their own will and choice, not by Jacob’s will or consent, which they never asked nor obtained.

2. Without any necessity or sufficient provocation, but merely by their own will and proper motion.

3. Not rashly and hastily, but wilfully and resolvedly, after mature deliberation.

4. Not unwillingly, but cheerfully, and with delight and good will, as that word commonly signifies.

They digged down a wall; not the walls of the city, but of private houses; it may be only of the prince’s house, who upon the first noise of the tumult might, and probably did, retire and secure himself in some strong room of the house, whose wall they brake down that they might come at him. For neither were the walls of houses or cities so strong then as now many are; nor were Simeon and Levi destitute of fit instruments to break down a wall, which doubtless they brought with them, as easily foreseeing that difficulty in their enterprise. But because the Hebrew word is not shur, a wall, but schor, an ox, others translate the words thus, they houghed, or killed an ox, or bull, meaning Shechem, so called either from his lust, or from his strength and power, from which princes are oft so called, as Deuteronomy 33:17 Psalms 22:12 68:30. Or rather thus, they rooted out, or drove away an ox, i.e. the oxen, the singular number for the plural, as before; and under them are comprehended the other cattle of the Shechemites, which they drove away, as we read they did, Genesis 34:28. For as the words may bear this sense, so it seems more reasonable to understand them of that which certainly was done by them, than of their breaking a wall, of which we do not read any thing in the history.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/genesis-49.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6. Their secret council — Allusion to their private conspiracy to massacre the men of Shechem.

Unite not — This uniting in secret assembly is to be punished by dividing and scattering them. Genesis 49:7.

My honour — Used of the heart or soul, as the noblest and most honourable part of man’s nature. Compare Psalms 7:5; Psalms 16:9; Psalm 30:13. But at the same time the ordinary meaning of the word may be here kept prominent: Let not my honour be compromised or tarnished by any union with their counsels.

They slaughtered men — Hebrews, a man. The singular, though used collectively, gives peculiar vividness to the thought as conceived in the Hebrew idiom.

They houghed oxen — Here, too, the Hebrew employs the singular in the same collective sense. The fact stated illustrates the wanton cruelty of these brothers. The common version, they digged down a wall, follows the Chaldee, Syriac, Vulgate, Aquila, and Symmachus; but the authority of these versions, which have copied from one another, is outweighed by the fact that in all other passages where the Piel of this word ( עקר ) occurs, it means to hamstring or hough an animal. Such uniform usage has greater authority than the testimony of many versions.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/genesis-49.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Genesis 49:6. My soul, come not thou into their secret — Their cursed plot hatched in secret: far be it from me to approve of their secret designs. And let not mine honour — Or good name, be stained by being associated with theirs. Thus he signifies to all posterity that that bloody enterprise was undertaken without his consent, and that he could not think of it without detestation, nor let it pass without a severe censure. For in their anger they slew a man — Shechem himself, and many others: and to effect that wickedness they digged down a wall — Broke into their houses to plunder them, and murder the inhabitants.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/genesis-49.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Slew a man, viz., Sichem, the son of Hemor, with all his people, chap. xxxiv. Mystically and prophetically it alludes to Christ; whom their posterity, viz., the priests and the scribes, put to death. (Challoner) --- A wall, Sichem, which they destroyed: or, according to the Septuagint, "they ham-strung" a bull, as the same Hebrew word signifies; both which may refer to the prince of the town, or to Joseph, (Calmet) in whose persecution these two were principally concerned. Jacob declares, he had no share in their attack upon the people of Sichem: his soul, or his glory, was not impaired by their misconduct. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/genesis-49.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

my soul = myself. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

secret = council.

unto. Samaritan Pentateuch, The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel, Septuagint, and Syriac insert "and" = "and into".

assembly. Hebrew. kahal = Greek. eeclesia. See Genesis 28:3.

digged down a wall. Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint read "hamstrung an ox". Compare Genesis 34:26.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/genesis-49.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

Into their secret , [ cowd (Hebrew #5475)] - a divan, a conclave of wicked conspirators.

Mine honour , [ k


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/genesis-49.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) Their secret.—The word sôd used here is literally the little carpet, or cushion, upon which an Oriental sits. Consequently, for two persons to sit upon the same carpet marks a high degree of friendship and familiarity. It would therefore be more exactly translated alliance, or intimacy.

Unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united.—For assembly (Heb. congregation), see Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11. It means here their union, or confederacy. In the first clause Jacob bids his soul, his true self, not to enter their alliance; here, after the manner of the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, he intensifies the meaning. For by mine honour, he signifies all that gave him dignity and worth in the sight of God and man. And this nobleness would be degraded and lost by union with men banded together for evil.

In their self-will they digged down a wall—Self-will is worse than anger, and signifies that arrogant temper which leads on to wanton cruelty. The last words mean, they houghed an ox. The Vulgand Syriac took it as our version does, and understood it of making a breach in the walls of Shechem; but they had a different reading, shur, whereas the word in the Hebrew is shor, an ox, and it is so rendered by the LXX. The ox was in old times the symbol of majesty, and thus bulls are put for princes in Psalms 22:12; Psalms 68:30. Thus, then, the meaning is, “In their anger at the wrong done to their sister they slew Hamor, prince of Shechem, with his people; and from wanton cruelty, without any just cause for indignation, they hamstrung the noblest of their brethren, not killing Joseph outright, but disabling him by selling him into slavery, that he might there perish.”


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/genesis-49.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
O my soul
Judges 5:21; Psalms 42:5,11; 43:5; 103:1; Jeremiah 4:19; Luke 12:19
come
34:30; Psalms 5:10; 26:4,5; 28:3; 94:20,21; 139:19; Proverbs 1:11,15,16; 12:5
secret
Deuteronomy 27:24; Psalms 26:9; 64:2; Jeremiah 15:17
unto their
Psalms 1:1; 26:9; 94:20; 2 Corinthians 6:14
honour
Psalms 16:9; 30:12; 57:8
a man
34:25,26,30
digged down a wall
or, houghed oxen.

Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Genesis 49:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/genesis-49.html.

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