Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) The second son of Jacob by Leah ( Genesis 29:33 ). He was associated with
Levi in the terrible act of vengeance against Hamor and the Shechemites ( Genesis
34:25 , 34:26 ). He was detained by Joseph in Egypt as a hostage ( Genesis 42:24
). His father, when dying, pronounced a malediction against him ( Genesis 49:5
- 7 ). The words in the Authorized Version ( Genesis 49:6 ), "they digged down
a wall," ought to be, as correctly rendered in the Revised Version, "they houghed
(2) An aged saint who visited the temple when Jesus was being presented before
the Lord, and uttered lofty words of thankgiving and of prophecy ( Luke 2:29 -
(3) One of the ancestors of Joseph ( Luke 3:30 ).
(4) Surnamed Niger, i.e., "black," perhaps from his dark complexion, a teacher
of some distinction in the church of Antioch ( Acts 13:1 - 3 ). It has been supposed
that this was the Simon of Cyrene who bore Christ's cross. Note the number of
nationalities represented in the church at Antioch.
(5) James ( Acts 15:14 ) thus designates the apostle Peter (q.v.).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
that hears or obeys; that is heard
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The second of Jacobs son by Leah. His birth is recorded in ( Genesis 29:33
) The first group of Jacobs children consists, besides Simeon, of the three other
sons of Leah --Reuben, Levi, Judah. Besides the massacre of Shechem, ( Genesis
34:25 ) the only personal incident related of Simeon is the fact of his being
selected by Joseph as the hostage for the appearance of Benjamin. ( Genesis 42:19
, 42:24 , 42:36 ; 43:23 ) The chief families of the tribe of Simeon are mentioned
int he lists of ( Genesis 46:10 ) At the census of Sinai Simeon numbered 59,300
fighting men. ( Numbers 1:23 ) 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, but
there must have been other causes which have escaped mention. To Simeon was allotted
a portion of land out of the territory of Judah, on its southern frontier, which
contained eighteen or nineteen cities, with their villages, spread round the venerable
well of Beersheba. ( Joshua 19:1 - 8 ; 1 Chronicles 4:28 - 33 ) Of these places,
with the help of Judah, the Simeonites possessed themselves, ( Judges 1:3 , 1:17
) and there they were found, doubtless by Joab, residing in the reign of David.
( 1 Chronicles 4:31 ) What part of the tribe took at the time of the division
of the kingdom we are not told. 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 ( 2 Chronicles 15:9 ) and 2 Chronicles 34:6 which appear to imply the
presence of Simeonites there in the reigns of Asa and Josiah. On the other hand
the definite statement of ( 1 Chronicles 4:41 - 43 ) 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.
(2) 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. ( Luke 2:25 - 35 ) There was a Simeon who succeeded his father Hillel
as president of the Sanhedrin about A.D. 13, and whose son Gamaliel was the Pharisee
at whose feet St. Paul was brought up. ( Acts 22:3 ) It has been conjectured that
he may be the Simeon of St. Luke.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
sim'-e-on (shim`on; Sumeon; the Hebrew root is from shama'`,
"to hear" (Genesis 29:33); some modern scholars (Hitzig, W. R. Smith, Stade, etc.)
derive it from Arabic sima`, "the offspring of the hyena and female wolf"):
(1) Simeon is given as full brother to Reuben, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun, the son of Leah
(Genesis 29:33 ; 30:18 - 21 ; 35:23); and in Genesis 34:25 ; 49:5 as the brother
of Levi and Dinah. He was left as a hostage in Egypt by orders of Joseph (Genesis
42:24 ; 43:23).
1. The Patriarch:
| In the "blessing" of the dying Jacob, Simeon and Levi are linked together:
"Simeon and Levi are brethren;
Weapons of violence are their swords.
O my soul, come not thou into their council;
Unto their assembly, my glory, be not thou united;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hocked an ox.
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce;
And their wrath, for it was cruel:
I will divide them in Jacob,
And scatter them in Israel"
(Genesis 49:5 - 7).
Whatever view may be taken of the events of Genesis 34:25 (and some would see
in it "a tradition of the settlement of Jacob which belongs to a cycle quite independent
of the descent into Egypt and the Exodus" (see S. A. Cook, Encyclopedia Brit,
article "Simeon")), it is clear that we have here a reference to it and the suggestion
that the subsequent history of the tribe, and its eventual absorption in Judah,
was the result of violence. In the same way the priestly Levites became distributed
throughout the other tribes without any tribal inheritance of their own (Deuteronomy
18:1 ; Joshua 13:14). From the mention (Genesis 46:10 ; Exodus 6:15) of Shaul
as being the son of a Canaanite woman, it may be supposed that the tribe was a
In the "blessing of Moses" (Deuteronomy 33) Simeon is not mentioned at all in
the Hebrew text, although in some manuscripts of the Septuagint the latter half
of Deuteronomy 33:6 is made to apply to him: "Let Simeon be a small company."
The history of the tribe is scanty and raises many problems. Of the many theories
advanced to meet them it cannot be said that any one answers all difficulties.
2. The Tribe in Scripture:
In the wilderness of Sinai the Simeonites camped beside the Reubenites (Numbers
2:12 ; 10:19); it was Zimri, a member of one of the leading families of this tribe,
who was slain by Phinehas in the affair of Baal-peor (Numbers 25:14). The statistics
in Numbers 1:22, where the Simeonites are given as 59,300, compared with the 2nd
census (Numbers 26:14), where the numbers are 22,200, indicate a diminishing tribe.
Some have connected this with the sin of Zimri.
At the recital of the law at Mt. Gerizim, Simeon is mentioned first among those
that were to respond to the blessings (Deuteronomy 27:12). In the conquest of
Canaan "Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that
we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy
lot. So Simeon went with him" (Judges 1:3 ; compare Judges 1:17). (Many scholars
find in Genesis 34 a tribal attempt on the part of the Simeonites to gain possession
of Shechem; if this is so, Judah did not assist, and the utter failure may have
been a cause of Simeon's subsequent dependence upon, and final absorption in,
Judah.) In Judges 4 and 5 Simeon is never mentioned. In the settlement of the
land there is no account of how Simeon established himself in his territory (except
the scanty reference in Judges 1:3), but "their inheritance was in the midst of
the inheritance of the children of Judah" (Joshua 19:1); this is accounted for
(Joshua 19:9), "for the portion of the children of Judah was too much for them."
Nevertheless we find there the very cities which are apportioned to Simeon, allotted
to Judah (Joshua 15:21 - 32 ; compare Nehemiah 11:26 - 29). It is suggested (in
1 Chronicles 4:31) that the independent possession of these cities ceased in the
time of David. David sent spoil to several Simeonite towns (1 Samuel 30:26), and
in 1 Chronicles 12:25 it is recorded that 7,100 Simeonite warriors came to David
in Hebron. In 1 Chronicles 27:16 we have mention of a ruler of the Simeonites,
Shephatiah, son of Maacah.
In 1 Chronicles 4:39 f mention is made of certain isolated exploits of Simeonites
at GEDOR (which see), against the MEUNIM (which see), and at Mt. SEIR (which see).
Later references associate certain Simeonites with the Northern Kingdom (2 Chronicles
15:9 ; 34:6), and tradition has come to view them as one of the ten tribes (compare
Ezekiel 48:24 , 25 , 33 ; Revelation 7:7), although all the history of them we
have is bound up with Judah and the Southern Kingdom. There is no mention of the
return of any Simeonites after the captivity; their cities fall to Judah (Nehemiah
3. References in Egyptian and Assyrian Inscriptions:
It has been supposed by many authorities that the name Shim`an occurs in the list
of places plundered by Thothmes III (see Petrie, Hist, II, 104; also Hommel, Ancient
Hebrew Tradition, 268; Sayce, Early Hebrew Traditions, 392). In the 7th century
we have a doubtful reference in an inscription of Esar-haddon relating his Egyptian
campaign when a city Ap-ku is mentioned as in the country of Sa-me-n(a), which
may possibly be a reference to Simeon. The survival of the name so late, if true,
is strange, in the light of what we gather from the Bible about the tribe. (For
discussion of both of these inscriptions, with references to the lit., see EB,
4. The Territory of Simeon:
The cities of Simeon as given in Joshua 19:2 - 6 and 1 Chronicles 4:28 , 31 are
(the names in parentheses are variations in the latter reference): Beer-sheba,
Moladah, Hazar-shual, Balah (Bilhah), Azem (the King James Version) (Ezem), Eltolad
(Tolad), Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah (Hazar Susim), Beth-lebaoth
(Beth-biri), Sharuhen (Shaaraim) (Etam), Ain Rimmon, Ether (Tochen), Ashan--in
all, 16 cities in Joshua and 17 cities in 1 Chronicles. Ashan (1 Chronicles 6:59)
is the only one assigned to the priests. It is written wrongly as "Ain" in Joshua
21:16. All the above cities, with certain variations in form, and with the exception
of Etam in 1 Chronicles 4:32, which is probably a mistake, occur in the list of
the cities of Judah (Joshua 15:26 - 32 , 42). Ziklag is mentioned (1 Samuel 27:6)
as being the private property of the kings of Judah from the days of David, who
received it from Achish, king of Gath.
For the situation of these cities, so far as is known, see separate articles under
their names. It is clear that they were all situated in the southwestern part
of Palestine, and that Simeon had no definite territorial boundaries, but isolated
cities, with their villages, among those of the people of Judah.
E. W. G. Masterman
(2) The 2nd son of Jacob by Leah (see separate article (1)).
(3) Great-grandfather of Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 2:1).
(4) A man in Jerusalem described as "righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel."
When the infant Jesus was brought into the Temple, he
took Him into his arms and blessed God in words which are famous as the Nunc dimittis.
Simeon bestowed his blessing on the wondering father and mother (Luke 2:25 , 34).
Legend has made him the son of Hillel and father of Gamaliel I, but this has no
(5) An ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:30);
the Revised Version (British and American) "Symeon."
(6) The Revised Version (British and American) "Symeon": one of the prophets and teachers in the Christian community at Antioch.
He is also called Niger, which
was the Gentile name he had assumed, Symeon being Hebrew. He was among those who
set apart Paul and Barnabas for their missionary work (Acts 13:1,2). Nothing more
is known of him.
(7) The Revised Version (British and American) "Symeon": the Hebrew name of Simon Peter (Acts 15:14).
S. F. Hunter
antioch teacher, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, nunc dimittis, peter (apostle), second son of jacob by leah, simeon, simeon niger, simon of cyrene