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Biblical People
Simeon (sim'e-un). [Heb. Shimon, “hearkening (of prayer),” or “answering (of prayer).” The name is attested in a Heb. contract among the Dead Sea scrolls, in an inscription on a Jewish ossuary , and in Nabataean and Palmyrene inscriptions. Gr. Sumeoµn.]

1.    The second son of Leah and Jacob (Gen 29:33). He and his brother Levi massacred the men of Schechem in revenge for the humiliation of their sister Dinah (ch 34:25-31). Simeon was selected by Joseph to be kept bound in prison as security until the other brothers returned with Benjamin (ch 42:24). Simeon had 6 sons, of whom 5 became ancestors of tribal families (Gen 46:10; Num 26:12-14; 1 Chr 4:24). When Jacob on his deathbed blessed his sons he condemned Simeon's and Levi's cruelty and predicted that their descendants would become divided and scattered in Israel (Gen 49:5-7).

2.    The tribe descended from Simeon, 1. The tribal leader during the early wilderness wandering was Shelumiel, son of Zurishaddai (ch 1:6; 2:12; 7:36, 41; 10:19), and later, Shemuel, son of Ammihud (ch 34:20). Shaphat, son of Hori, represented the tribe among the spies (ch 13:5). It seems strange that in the blessings of Moses (Deut 33) no mention is made of Simeon. It is not known whether the omission was intentional on the part of Moses or whether some scribe later inadvertently omitted it.

When the 12 tribes gathered at the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim, the tribe of Simeon stood on the slopes of Mount Gerizim, pronouncing the blessings of the Lord (Deut 27:12). When the country was distributed by lot, the tribe of Simeon, which apparently had become one of the most insignificant, was given land within the southern part of the territory of Judah (Palestine Under Joshua and the Judges), in which some important cities were located, such as Beer-sheba, Ziklag, and Hormah (Jos 19:1-9). Subsequently the Simeonites joined Judah in their wars against the Canaanites (Jgs 1:1, 3, 17). They seem eventually to have been absorbed by Judah, and hardly ever played a role as a separate tribe, although they did not entirely lose their identity, for in the time of Hezekiah they are reported to have defeated the people of Ham and the Meunim who dwelt in the valley of Gedor, and to have occupied their territory (1 Chr 4:24, 39-41). About the same time some 500 Simeonites exterminated the remnants of the Amalekites and took over their land (vs 42, 43). The tribe was envisioned by Ezekiel in the ideal Israel in Canaan (Eze 48:24, 25, 33), and by John among those sealed by the angel of Revelation 7 (v 7).

3.    A pious man who waited for the salvation of Israel. Having received the promise from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, he was present at the Temple when Joseph and Mary were there to present the infant Jesus to the Lord according to Hebrew law. Simeon recognized in Him the Christ and made predictions concerning the Child and His mother, at the same time expressing his willingness to die now that his most fervent desire had been fulfilled (Lk 2:25-35).

4.    For Acts 15:14, KJV, see Peter.

5.    For Lk 3:30, KJV, see Symeon, 1.

6.    For Acts 13:1, KJV, see Symeon, 3.

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.

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