What’s the Deal with Levi?

Levi was one of Jacob’s sons (the third of twelve).  The Bible doesn’t tell us much about him; what it does say, doesn’t bode well.

The short version is that Levi’s sister, Dinah is raped.  Levi and brother Simeon exact revenge by killing the perpetrator, his family, and the whole village, plus taking all their stuff.  Levi’s version of justice far exceeds the crime — and father Jacob is ticked.  [Genesis 34:1-5, 25-31]

Jacob doesn’t forget this incident either.  On his deathbed he gathers his sons to prophetically tell them their future.  This would be a time of expected blessing.  Not so for Levi (along with Simeon).  Because of their misdeed, Jacob essentially curses them.  [Genesis 49:1, 5-7]

Interestingly, many centuries later God — through the prophet Malachi — reveals what he thinks of Levi, saying “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.”  [Malachi 2:6]

God’s view of Levi is certainly different than Jacob’s.  While Jacob focuses on the bad and can’t forget it, God forgets the bad and focuses on the good.

When we follow God, that’s what he does.