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Simeon


Sim’eon (heard).

1. The second of Jacob’s sons of Leah. His birth is recorded in Gen. 29:33. The first group of Jacob’s children consists, besides Simeon, of the three other sons of Leah—Reuben, Levi, Judah. Besides the massacre of Shechem, Gen. 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. Gen. 42:19, 24, 36; 43:23. The chief families of the tribe of Simeon are mentioned in the lists of Gen. 46:10. At the census of Sinai Simeon numbered 59,300 fighting men, Num. 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. Josh. 19:1–8; 1 Chron. 4:28–33. Of these places, with the help of Judah, the Simeonites possess themselves, Judges 1:3, 17; and here they were found, doubtless by Joab, residing in the reign of David. 1 Chron. 4:31. What part 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 Chron. 15:9 and 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 Chron. 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.