Simon (3)


a name common to a number of Jewish rabbins and literati, of whom we mention the following:


Bible concordance for SIMON.

2. SIMON BEN-GAMALIEL I, A.D. cir. 50-70, succeeded his father Gamaliel (q.v.). The authentic notices of him are very few. We get a glimpse or two of him in the storm which was then so fiercely raging in Jerusalem. As the resolute opponent of the Zealots, he took an active part in the political struggles whose convulsions hastened the, ruin of the state. He also took an active part in the defense of Jerusalem, and fell, one of the many victims of the national struggle. Josephus (Life, § 38) says of him: ο δὲ Σίμων ουτος ην πόλεως μὲν ῾Ιεροσολύμων, ηένους δὲ σφόδρα λαμροῦ, τῆς δὲ Φαρισαίων αἱρέσεως, οἱ περὶ τὰ πάτρια νόμιμα δομοῦσι τῶνἀἄλλων ἀκριβείᾷ διαφέρειν.᾿Ην δὲ οὑτος ἀνὴρ πλήρης συνέσεὠς τε καὶ λοιγισμοῦ, δυνάμεώς τε πράγματα κακῶς κείμενα φρονήσει τῇ ἑαυτοῦ διορθώσασθαι His recorded maxim is: "The world exists by virtue of three things — viz., truth, justice, and peace; as it is said, Truth and the judgment of peace shall be in your gates" (Aboth, i, 18). He also belongs to the ten teachers who were called הרוגי מלכות, the killed for the kingdom," and their death is celebrated on the 25th of Sivan, for which day a fast is ordained. Comp. Schurer, Lehrbuch der neutest. Zeitgeschichte (Leips. 1874), p. 335, 453, 459; Derenbourg, Essai sur Histoire et la Geographie de la Palestine, p. 270 sq; Back, Gesch. desjud. Volkes (Lissa, 1878), p. 157; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 3, 324, 354, 370, 388 sq.; Cassel, Lehrbuch der jud. Gesch. u. Literatur (Leips. 1879), p. 147, 150, 166, 168, 177.

3. SIMON BEN-GAMALIEL II, A.D. cir. 140-160, a contemporary of Nathan the Babylonian (q.v.), was the only schoolboy who escaped from the slaughter at Bethira under Bar-cocheba. He was the father of the famous Judah the Holy (q.v.), and was elected to the presidency when yet a youth. Simon was much regarded by the people for the sake of his illustrious forefathers; but his striving for autocratic power aroused an opposition party against him, which rendered his position very difficult. From some of the decisions of Simon which have come down to us, he seems to have been not only a man with a passable knowledge of Hebrew law, but, for a Jew at that time, an extraordinary proficient in Gentile literature. He cultivated the study of the Greek language, and gave his countenance to the reading of the Sept. Comp. the essay by Ph. Bloch on Simon, in Frankel's Monutsschrift, 1864, p. 81 sq.

4. SIMON BEN-HILLEL, who succeeded his father Hillel (q.v.) A.D. cir. 10- 30, is said (Baronius, A.D. 1, n. 40), upon the authority of Athanasius and Epiphanius, to have been that same Simon whom Luke described as embracing the infant Savior in the Temple and pronouncing the Nunc dimittis (2, 23-35). Whether he is the same whom Josephus (Ant. 19, 7, 4) describes as accusing king Agrippa of an unholy living, and that he should be excluded from the Temple, since it belonged only to native Jews (προσηκοῦσης τοῖς ἐγγενέσι) is difficult to tell. Simon's recorded maxim is found in Aboth, 1, 17: "All my life have I been brought up among sages, nor have I found anything better than to keep silence; for to act, and not to explain, is the principle and basis of all; but he who multiplies words only induces sin." SEE SIMEON 5.

5. SIMION BEN-JOCHAI, the reputed author of the Zohar (q.v.), lived in the 2d century. The biographical notices of him are so enveloped in mythical extravagances as to make it difficult to give a true statement of his life. His whole life was absorbed in the study of the Cabala, in which science he was regarded as one of the most eminent masters. He existed in a world of his own, a region beyond the bounds of ordinary nature, and peopled by the genii of his own imagination. His occasional intercourse with his coreligionists did not propitiate their good affections; he was disliked by some for the moroseness of his disposition, and feared by others from his supposed connection with the spirits of the other world. "He had the character of being an unpleasant companion and a bitter opponent; moreover, he merited the reproaches of his countrymen by causing the overthrow of the school at Jamnia. At a time when their Gentile rulers were grudging the Jews the partial relaxation they had lately enjoyed from the severe discipline of Hadrian, and when the jealousy and suspicion entertained against them were so great that the patriarch, who dared not use the title of nasi nor assume any outward mark of authority, was constrained to screen the ordinary routine of the schools as much as possible from observation, and not only to prohibit the publication of books, but also to forbid the students to take written notes of the lectures, Simon ben-Jochai was rash enough to inveigh against their oppressors in a public discourse." The affair, becoming a topic of public conversation, aroused the displeasure of the civil authorities. A process of law was instituted, and Simon was doomed to die. He managed, however, to escape, and, accompanied by his son, he concealed himself in a cavern, where he remained for twelve years. Here, in the subterranean abode, he occupied himself entirely with the contemplation of the sublime Cabala, and was constantly visited by the prophet Elias, who disclosed to him some of its secrets which were still concealed from the theosophical rabbi. Here, too, his disciples resorted to be initiated by their master into those divine mysteries; and here Simon ben-Jochai expired with this heavenly doctrine in his mouth while discoursing on it to his disciples. Scarcely had his spirit departed when a dazzling light filled the cavern, so that no one could look at the rabbi; while a burning fire appeared outside, forming, as it were, a sentinel at the entrance of the cave and denying admittance to the neighbors. It was not till the light inside and the fire outside had disappeared that the disciples perceived that the lamp of Israel was extinguished. As they were preparing for his obsequies, a voice was heard from heaven, saying, "Come ye to the marriage of Simon ben-Jochai; he is entering into peace, and shall rest in his chamber!" When the funeral procession moved towards the grave, a light revealed itself in the air; and when the remains were deposited in the tomb, another voice was heard from heaven, saying, "This is he who caused the earth to quake and the kingdoms to shake!" Such is the statement concerning Simon ben-Jochai, and in its traditional garb it is probably more intended to show the affection and reverence with which this sage was regarded by his disciples. See Furst, Bibl. Jud. 3, 329 sq.; Etheridge, Introduction to Jewish Literature, p. 80 sq.; Ginsburg, The Kabbalah, p. 9; Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation, p. 261; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 4, 196 sq.; 470 sq.; Back, Gesch. des jud. Volkes, p. 199; Cassel, Lehrbuch der jud. Gesch. u. Literatiur (Leips. 1879), p. 176; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

6. SIMON I "THE JUST" (B.C. cir. 300-200). Under this name he was known διά τε τὰ πρὸς θεὸν εὐσεβὲς καὶ τὸ πρὸς τοὺς ὁμοφύλους εὔνουν (Josephus, Ant. 12, 2). Derenbourg has conclusively, established that this Simon is the same that is spoken of in Ecclesiasticus. There are many legends about him. According to one, it was he who encountered Alexander the Great; according to another, he was the last surviving member of the Great Synagogue (משירי כנסת הגדולה); according to another, it was he who warned Ptolemy Philopator not to enter the Temple. All the traditions, however, combine in representing Simon as closing the better days of Judaism. "Down to his time," says dean Stanley (History of the Jewish Church, 3, 276 sq.), "it was always the right hand of the high priest that drew the lot of the consecrated goat; after his time the left and right wavered and varied. Down to his time the red thread round the neck of the scapegoat turned white, as a sign that the sins of the people were forgiven; afterwards its change was quite uncertain. The great light at the entrance of the Temple burned, in his time, without fail; afterwards it often went out. Two fagots a day sufficed to keep the flame on the altar alive in his time; afterwards piles of wood were insufficient. In his last year he was said to have foretold his death, from the omen that, whereas on all former occasions he was accompanied into the Holy of Holies on the Dav of Atonement, to the entrance only, by an old man clothed in white from head to foot, in that year his companion was attired in black, and followed him as he went in and came out. These were the forms in which the later Jewish belief expressed the sentiment of his transcendent worth, and of the manifold changes which were to follow him." In the book called Ecciesiasticus we are told of Simon's activity for his people. Thus he made the city of Jerusalem, which had suffered much through the wars, a great stronghold, in order that it might not be so easily taken, for which many gloomy prospects continually sprang up. The Temple Simon also fortified, repaired all damaged places, and raised the foundation of the forecourt. The reservoir in the Temple, holding the water, he enlarged to the extent of a pond, in order that the inhabitants might not suffer from scarcity of water in case of a siege. Since that time, the Temple had always large quantities of water in store, which, in a hot climate, and on dry soil like Jerusalem, was looked upon with great astonishment. If Simon thus cared for the material interest of his people, he was not the less severed from the idea of Judaism, that Israel's strength does not depend upon such means. "Of three things Israel's salvation, is composed" is taught by the choice sentence preserved to us — "upon observance of the law (Torah), upon reconciliation with God by virtue of means of grace, which the Temple worship furnishes (Abodah); and upon works of charity (Gemiluth Chassadim)." His piety was a purified one, free from ascetic excess. His period, full of wars and troubles, brought about many evils, and the strictly pious sought, as during the time of the prophets, to withdraw from human society altogether and to consecrate themselves in vowing to lead a Nazaritish life — the first step to the sect of the Assidaeans. Simon did not like this mode of life, and showed his protest against it by not allowing the priests to use the pieces due to them from the sacrifices of the Nazarites. Only once he made an exception in favor of a young beautiful shepherd who came to him as a Nazarite. "Why do you wish," inquired the high priest of the youth, with a splendid head full of ringlets, "to destroy thy beautiful head of hair?" To this the shepherd replied, "Because my head full of ringlets has nearly enticed me to sin from mere vanity. I once saw my reflection in a clear stream, and, as my likeness thus met my eye, the thought of self-deification took hold of me; wherefore I consecrated my hair unto the Lord through the Nazarite vow." On hearing these words Simon kissed the young shepherd of such morally pure simplicity, and said to him, "Oh, if there were only in Israel many Nazarites like yourself!" Beautiful, indeed, is the magnificent eulogy of Ben-Sira, the writer of Ecclesiasticus, in which he describes our Simon (1, 1-21):

"How beauteous was he when, coming forth from the temple, He appeared from within the veil! He was as the morning star in the midst of clouds, And as the moon in the days of Nisan: As the sun shining upon a palace, And as the rainbow in the cloud. As the waving wheat in the field, As the Persian lily by a fountain, And as the trees of Lebanon in the days of vintage: As the perfume of frankincense upon a censer, As a collar of gold of variegated beauty. And adorned with precious stones: As a fair olive tree whose boughs are perfect, And as the tree of anointing whose branches are full." This description, says Stanley, "is that of a venerable personage who belonged to a nobler age and would be seen again no more." See Derenbourg, Essai sur l'Histoire et la Geographie de la Palestine, p. 47- 51; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden. 2, 235 sq., and his essay, Simon der Gerechte und seine Zeit, in Frankel's Monatsschrift, 1857, p. 45-56; Etheridge, Introduction to Hebrew Literature, p. 19 sq.; Edersheim, The Temple, its Ministry and Services at the Time of Jesus Christ, p. 325; Milman, History of the Jews, 1, 495; Stanley, History of the Jewish Church, 3, 276 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 14, 383; Back, Gesch. d. jud. Volkes, p. 37 sq.

7. SIMON BEN-LAKISH, was born at Bostra A.D. cir. 200, and died cir. 275. He was a man remarkable for his bodily stature and a corresponding magnitude of intellect. "For some time he served as a legionary in the Roman army, and after his restoration to a life of study became, by marriage, the brother-in-law of R. Jochanan Bar-Napacha (q.v.). Ben- Lakish, or more commonly Resh-Lakish, is the same who held that the book of Job was only an allegory, משל היה איוב לא היה ולא נברא אלא, i.e. "Job never lived and never existed, but is a parable." See Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 4, 260 sq.

8. SIMON BEN-SHETACH was the brother of Alexandra (q.v.), queen of Alexander Jannaeus (q.v.). When the Jews revolted against Jannaeus and six thousand were killed, Simon ben-Shetach was saved by escaping to Egypt; but soon returned to Jerusalem, having been recalled through the influence of his sister. By way of supplement to what has already been stated on Simon ben-Shetach in the art. Scribes (q.v.), we will add the following. He was a man of inflexible rigor, a high-minded ecclesiastic, sensitive withal, thought it no sin to refuse forgiveness to an adversary, and was ever on the alert to magnify his office before his flight to Alexandria. In the Talmud (Sanhedrin, tr.]גדול כה) we read the following: "One of the king's servants had committed a murder and then absconded. The king, as master of the fugitive, was summoned to answer for his servant, and, as master, did honor to the law by coming. As king, he remembered his dignity and sat down in court, Ben-Shetach being judge. Stand up, king Jannai! shouted this haughty judge; stand up upon thy feet while they bear witness concerning thee for thou dost not stand before us, but before Him who spake and the world was… The royal displeasure was so signally manifested in consequence that a law was enacted to this effect: 'The king neither judges nor is judged'" (Mishna, 2, 1). See Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, 3; 107, 109, 111, 126, 133; Rule, History of the Karaite Jews, p. 22 sq.; Derenbourg, Histoire et Geaographie de la Palestine, p. 96 sq.; Pick, The Scribes Before and in the Time of Christ, in Lutheran Quarterly, 1878, p. 260 sq.; Schurer, Lehrbuch der neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 122 sq., 128 sq., 411, 452, 454. (B.P.)

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