I have been informed that the reason Yaakov was upset with Shimon and Levi for slaughtering the males of Shechem is because the inhabitants became circumsized and had a new halachic status, or because by killing them they put Yaakov and his family in danger. However, before they circumsized they were liable to die for neglecting to set up courts and carry out justice against their prince. Would there be justification today for a war with a country/society for them failing the Noahide command to set up courts and carry out justice? What if the neglection is not a rapist, but a thief, idolator/witch, or another Noahide law? Thank you.

  • Much better, but still: or because by decimating them they put Yaakov and his family in danger. is irrelevant in my view. The question is also irrelevant today, see further reading here. So the times of the Sanhedrin or Yaakov avinu would be more interesting. Oct 8, 2020 at 20:23
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    I should note that Yaakov's sons did not decimate the population of Shechem, they killed the entire male population. Decimate is a technical term meaning exactly 10% are killed. It comes from a Roman punishment in which 1 out of every ten rebellious soldiers were killed whether they were guilty of a crime or not. Oct 9, 2020 at 1:23
  • Thank you, I apologize Oct 9, 2020 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


The Ramban learns if a non jew violates his laws one can kill him. However you don't have to kill him. Therefore if it's unwise to do so, there would be no need to.

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    Thank you so much, could you direct me to this conclusion by the Ramban? Oct 8, 2020 at 20:13
  • By the story of Shchem
    – Shlomy
    Oct 9, 2020 at 1:16

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