(Heb. Shimon', ]שַׁמעוֹ, a hearing, i.e. by Jehovah; Sept. and New Test. Συμεών, and so Josephus, Ant. 1, 19, 7), the name of one of the heads of the Hebrew tribes, and of several .other Jews named from him. In our account of the former we collect all the ancient and modern information. SEE SIMON.
1. The second of Jacob's sons by Leah. B.C. 1918. His birth is recorded in Ge 29:33, and, in the explanation there given of the name it is derived from the root shama', "to hear" Jehovah hath heard that I was hated . . . and she called his name Shimeon." This metaphor is not carried on (as in the case of some of the other names) in Jacob's blessing; and in that of Moses all mention of Simeon is omitted. Fiirst, (Hebr. Handwb. s.v.) inclines to the interpretation "famous" (ruhmreicher). Redslob (Alttest. Namen, p. 93), on the other hand, adopting the Arabic root shama, considers the name to mean "sons of bondage," or "bondmen." But the above text gives the natural etymology.
The first group of Jacob's children consists, besides Simeon, of the three other sons of Leah — Reuben, Levi, and Judah. With each of these Simeon is mentioned in some connection., "As Reuben and Simeon are mine," says Jacob, "so shall Joseph's sons Ephraim and, Manasseh be mine" (Ge 48:5). With Levi, Simeon was associated in the massacre of the Shechemites (Ge 34:25), a deed which drew on them the remonstrance of their father (ver. 30), and evidently also his dying curse (Ge 49:5-7). With Judah the connection was drawn still closer. He and Simeon not only "went up" together, side by side, in the forefront of the nation, to the conquest of the south of the Holy Land (Jg 1:3,17), but their allotments lay together in a more special manner than those of the other tribes, something in the same manner as Benjamin and Ephraim. Besides the massacre of Shechem — a deed not to be judged of by the standards of a more civilized and less violet age, and, when fairly estimated, not wholly discreditable to its perpetrators — the only personal incident related of. Simeon is the fact of his being selected by Joseph, without any reason given or implied, as the hostage for the appearance of Benjamin (Ge 42:19,24,36; Ge 43:23).
These slight traits are characteristically amplified in the Jewish traditions. In the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan it is Simeon and Levi who are the enemies of the lad Joseph. It is they who counsel his being killed, and Simeon binds him before he is lowered into the well at Dothan. (See further details in Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. p. 535.) Hence Joseph's selection of him as the hostage, his binding and incarceration. In the Midrash the strength of Simeon is so prodigious that the Egyptians are unable to cope with him, and his binding is only accomplished at length by the intervention of Manasseh, who acts as the house steward and interpreter of Joseph. His powers are so great that at the mere roar of his voice seventy valiant Egyptians fall at his feet and break their teeth (Weil, Bibl. Leg. p. 88). In the "Testament of Simeon" his fierceness and implacability are put prominently forward, and he dies warning his children against the indulgence of such passions (Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. p. 533- 543).
Tribe Of Simeon.
The six sons of Simeon and the chief families of the tribe are mentioned in the lists of Ge 46:10 (in which one of them, bearing the name of Shaul, [Saul], is specified as "the son of the Canaanitess"), Nu 26:12-14, and 1Ch 4:24-43. In the last passage (ver. 27) it is mentioned that the family of one of the heads of the tribe "had not many children, neither did they multiply like to the children of Judah." This appears to have been the case not only with one family, but with the whole tribe. At the census at Sinai Simeon numbered 59,300 fighting men (Nu 1:23). It was then the most numerous but two, Judah and Dan alone exceeding it; but when the second census was taken, at Shittim, the numbers had fallen to 22,200, and it was the weakest of all the tribes. This was no doubt partly due to the recent mortality following the idolatry of Peor, in which the, tribe of Simeon appears to have taken a prominent. share, but there must have been other causes which have escaped mention.
The connection between Simeon and Levi implied in the blessing of Jacob (Ge 49:5-7) has already been adverted to. The passage relating to them may be thus rendered:
Simeon and Levi are [uterine] brethren, Instruments of violence are their swords. Into their [secret] council come not my soul! Unto their assembly join not my honor. For in their wrath they slew man, And in their self-will they houghed ox. Cursed be their wrath, for it [was] fierce, And their anger, for it [was] cruel! I will divide them in Jacob, And scatter them in Israel.
The terms of this denunciation seem to imply a close bond of union between Simeon and Levi, and violent and continued exploits performed under that bond, such as the one that now remains on record. The expressions of the closing lines evidently refer to the more advanced condition of the nation of Israel after the time of the death of the father of the individual patriarchs. Taking it, therefore, to be what it purports — an actual prediction by the individual Jacob — it has often been pointed out how differently the same sentence was accomplished in the cases of the two tribes. Both were "divided" and "scattered." But the dispersion of the Levites arose from their holding the post of honor in the nation, and being spread, for the purposes of education and worship, broadcast over the face of the country. In the case of Simeon the doom refers primarily to the fact that originally this tribe had no separate allotment of territory, but only a series of cities selected from the region at first assigned to Judah (Jos 15:21 sq.; comp. with 19:1 sq.). SEE SOUTH COUNTRY. The eventual dispersion seems to have arisen from some corrupting element in the tribe itself, which first reduced its numbers, and at last drove it from its allotted seat in the country — not, as Dan, because it could not, but because it would not, stay — and thus in the end caused it to dwindle and disappear entirely. The non appearance of Simeon's name in the blessing of Moses (De 33:6) may be explained from the circumstance that the tribe is, in accordance with the above peculiarities, not regarded as having an independent existence.
During the journey through the wilderness Simeon was a member of the camp which marched on the south side of the sacred tent. His associates were Reuben and Gad — not his whole brothers, but the sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid. The head of the tribe at the time of the Exode was Shelumiel, son of Zurishaddai (Nu 1:6), ancestor of its one heroine, the intrepid Judith. Among the spies Simeon was represented by Shaphat, son of Hori, i.e. Horite, a name which, perhaps, like the "Canaanitess" of the earlier list, reveals a trace of the lax tendencies which made the Simeonites an easy prey to the licentious rites of Peor, and ultimately destroyed the permanence of the tribe. At the division of the land his representative was Shemuel, son of Ammihud.
The connection between Judah and Simeon already mentioned seems to have begun with the conquest. Judah and the two Joseph brethren were first served with the lion's share of the land; and then, the Canaanite's having been sufficiently subdued to allow the sacred tent to be established without risk in the heart of the country, the work of dividing the remainder among the seven inferior tribes was proceeded with (Jos 8:1-6). Benjamin had the first turn, then Simeon (19:1). By this time Judah had discovered that the tract allotted to him was too large (ver. 9), and also too much exposed on the west and south for even his great powers. To Simeon accordingly was allotted a district out of the territory of his kinsman, on its southern frontier, which contained eighteen or nineteen cities, with their villages, spread round the venerable well of Beersheba (ver. 1-8; 1Ch 4:28-33), Of these places, with uthe help of Judah, the Simeonites possessed themselves (Jg 1:3,17); and here they were found, doubtless by Joab, residing in the reign of David (1Ch 4:31). During his wandering life David must have been much among the Simeonites. In fact, three of their cities are named in the list of those to which he sent presents of the spoil of the Amalekites, and one (Ziklag) was his own private property. It is therefore remarkable that the numbers of Simeon and Judah who attended his installation as king of Hebron should have been so much below those of the other tribes (12:23-37). Possibly it is due to the fact that the event was taking place in the heart of their own territory, at Hebron. This, however, will not account for the curious fact that the warriors of Simeon (7100) were more numerous than those of Judah (6800). After David's removal to Jerusalem, the head of the tribe was Shephatiah, son of Maachah (27:16).
The following list contains all the names of places in this tribe, with the probable modem names. (On the possible identifications, see the Quar. Statement of the "Pal. Explor. Fund," Jan. 1875, p. 23 sq.). SEE TRIBE.
Acrabbim. Hills. SEE MAALEH-ACRAB-BIM. Adadah. Town. Kasr-el-Adadah? Adar. do. SEE HAZAR-ADDAR. Ain. do. SEE EN-AIMMON. Amam. do. SEE HAZOR. Arad. do. Tell-Arad. Aror. do. Ararah. Aruboth. District. [Jebel Khalil]? Ashan. Town. [Deir Samil]? Athach. do. Wady Ateiche? Azem. do. [Tell-Akhmar]? Azmon. do. [On Wady es-Shutein]? Baal. do. SEE BAALATH-BEER. Baalah, or Baalath-beer, or Balah, or Bealoth. do. SEE LEHI. Beer-lahai.roi. Well. SEE LEHI. Beer-sheba. do. Bir es-Seba. Bered. Town. [Khulassah]? Besor. Brook. Wady Gazzeh? Beth-birei, or Beth-lebaoth. Town. [Sheta]?? Beth-marcaboth. do. Mirkib. Beth-palet or -phelet. do. [Tell-Kuseifeh]? Bethuel, or Bethul. do. [Themail]?? Bizjoth-jah. do. SEE BAALAH. Chesil. do. SEE BETHUL. Chor-ashan. do. See ASHAN. Dimonah. do. [Um-Mzoghal]? Eder. do. [Wady Emaz]? Eltolad. do. [Tell-Meraha]? En-hakkore. Spring. Tell-Hora? En-rimmon. do. SEE RIMMON. Esek. Well. SEE GERAR. Etam. Town and Rock. Tell-Khewelfeh? Ether. Town. [Beit Anwa]? Gerar. do. Um el-Jerar.
Hadattah. do. SEE HAZOR-HADATTAH. Hazar-addar. Village. [On Wady Madurah]? Hazar-gaddah. do. [Jurrah]? Hazar-shual. do. SEE SHEMA. Hazar-susah, or Hazar-susah, or Hazar-susim. do. SEE SANSANNAH. Hazor. do. [Tayibeh]? Hazor-amam. do. SEE KEIROH-HEZRON. Hazor-hadattah. do. [Beyudh]? Heshmon. do. See AZMON. Hezron. do. SEE KERIOTH-HEZRON. Hormah. do. SEE ZEPHATH. Iim. do. [Jebel Rukhi]? Ithnar. do. SEE ZIPH. Jagur. do. [On Wady Jurrah]? Kabzeel. do. [On Wady Kuseib]? Kadesh-barnea. do. A'in-Hasb? Karkaa. Village. [Bir Abu Atreibe]? Kedesh. do. SEE KADESII. Kinah. do. [On Wady Fikreh]? Lebaoth. do. SEE BETH-LEBAOTH. Lehi. do. Tell Lekiyah? Maaleh-acrabbim. Ascent. Hills S.W. of Dead Sea. Madmannah. Village. SEE BETH-MARCABOTH. Moladah. do. Tell Milh. Rachal. do. [Makhul]? Ramath, or Ramoth. do. SEE LEHI. Rehoboth. Well. Ruheiba. Rimmon. Town. Um er-Rummamin. Sansannah. do. Simsin? Sharuhen, or Shlilhim. do. [Tell Sheriah]? Sheba, or Shema. do. Saweh? Siphmoth. do. [Kasr es-Sir]? Sitnah. Well. SEE JERAI. Telem, or Telaim. Town. [Sudeid]? Tochen. do. SEE TELEM. Tolad. do. SEE ELTOLAD. Zephath, or Ziph. do. Ruins S. of Nakb es-Safeh. Ziklag. do. [Musrefa]?
What part Simeon took at the time of the division of the kingdom we are not told. The tribe was probably not in a sufficiently strong or compact. condition to have shown any northern tendencies even had it entertained them. The only thing which can be interpreted into a trace of its having taken any part with the northern kingdom are the two casual notices of 2Ch 15:9; 2Ch 34:6, which appear to imply the presence of Simeonites there in the reigns of Asa and Josiah. But this may have been merely a manifestation of that vagrant spirit which was a cause or a consequence of the prediction ascribed to Jacob. On the other hand, the definite statement of 1Ch 4:433 (the date of which by Hezekiah's reign seems to show conclusively its southern origin) proves that at that time there were still some of them remaining in the original seat of the tribe, and actuated by all the warlike, lawless spirit of their progenitor. This fragment of ancient chronicle relates two expeditions in search of more eligible territory. The first, under thirteen chieftains, leading, doubtless, a large body of followers, was made against the Hamites and the Mehunim, a powerful tribe of Bedawin, "at the entrance of Gedor at the east side of the ravine." The second was smaller, but more adventurous. Under the guidance of four chiefs a band of five hundred undertook an expedition against the remnant of Amalek, who had taken refuge from the attacks of Saul or David, or some later pursuers, in the distant fastnesses of Mount Seir. The expedition was successful. They smote the Amalekites and took possession of their quarters; and they mere still living there after the return of the Jews from captivity, or whenever the first book of Chronicles was edited in its present form.
The audacity and intrepidity which seem to have characterized the founder of the tribe of Simeon are seen in their fullest force in the last of his descendants of whom there is any express mention in the sacred record. Whether the book which bears her name be a history or a historic romance, Judith (q.v.) will always remain one .of the most prominent figures. among the deliverers of her nation. Bethulia would almost seem to have been a Simeomnitish colony. Ozias, the chief man of the city, was a Simeonite (Judith 6:15), and so was Manasses, the husband of Judith (8:2). She herself had the purest blood of the tribe in her veins. Her genealogy is traced up to Zurishaddai (in the Greek form of the present text Salasadai, ver. 1), the head of the Simeonites at the time of their greatest power. She nerves herself for her tremendous exploit by a prayer to "the Lord God of her father Simeon" and by recalling in the most characteristic manner, and in all their details, the incidents of the massacre of Shechem (9:2).
Simeon is named by Ezekiel (Eze 48:25) and the author of the book of Revelation (Re 7:7) in their catalogues of the restoration of Israel. The former removes the tribe from Judah and places it by the side of Benjamin. See Meth. Quar. Revelation Jan. 1875, p. 121.
2. (A.V. "Shimeon."), An Israelite of the .family of Harim who divorced his Gentile wife after the return from Babylon (Ezr 10:31). B.C. 458.
3. A priest, son of Joiarib (i.e. Jehoiarib), father of John. and grandfather of Mattathias the father of the Maccabee brothers (1 Macc. 2, 1).
4. The son of Judah and father of Levi in the maternal genealogy of our Lord (Lu 3:30). B.C. cir. 886. He seems to have been the same with Maaseiah the son of Adaiah (2Ch 23:1).
5. A devout Jew, inspired by the Holy Ghost, who met the parents of our Lord in the Temple, took him in his arms, and gave thanks for what he saw, and knew of Jesus (Lu 2:25-35). B.C. 6. The circumstance is interesting as evincing the expectations which were then entertained of the speedy advent of the Messiah; and important from the attestation which it conveyed in favor of Jesus from one who was known to have received the divine promise that he should "not taste of death till he had seen the Lord's Christ." In the Apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus, Simeon is called a high priest, and the narrative of our Lord's descent into hell is put into the mouths of Charinus and Lenthius, who are described as two sons of Simeon, who rose from the grave after Christ's resurrection (Mt 27:53) and related their story to Annas, Caiaphas, Nicodemus, Joseph, and Gamaliel.
Rabban Simon, whose grandmother was of the family of David, succeeded his father Hillel as president of the. Sanhedrim about A.D. 13 (Otho, Lexicon Rabb. p. 697), and his son Gamaliel was the Pharisee at whose feet Paul was brought up (Ac 22:3). A Jewish writer specially notes, that no record of this Simeon is preserved in the Mishna (Lightfoot, Horie Heb. Lu 2:25). It has been conjectured that he (Prideaux, Connection, anno 37, Michaelis) or his grandson (Schottgen, Horoe Heb. Lu 2:25) of the same name may be the Simeon of Luke. In favor of the identity it is alleged that the name, residence, time of life, and general character are the same in both cases, that the remarkable silence of the Mishna and .the counsel given:by Gamaliel (Ac 5:38) countenance a, suspicion of an inclination on. the part of the family of the rabban towards Christianity. On the other hand, it is argued that these facts fall far short of historical proof, and that Simeon was a very common name among the Jews; that Luke would never have introduced so celebrated a character as the president of the Sanhedrim merely as, "a man in Jerusalem;" and that his son Gamaliel, After all, was educated as a Pharisee. The question is discussed in Witsius, Miscellanea Sacra, 1, 21, 14-16. See also Wolf, Curoe Philologicae at Lu 2:25; and Bibl. Hebr. 2, 682. SEE SIMON BEN-HILLEL.
6. A form (Ac 15:14; also 2Pe 1:2 in some MSS.) of the name of Simon Peter (q.v.).
7. The proper name (Ac 13:1) of NIGER SEE NIGER (q.v.), an eminent Christian at Antioch.