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Simeon

Simeon was the second-born son of Jacob/Israel, after Reuben and before Levi (see Levites). His mother was Leah. Simeon was fierce toward his enemies e.g. he and his full-brother Levi (Jacob's twelve sons were born by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and two Concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah - see Children of Jacob) slaughtered Hamor and the Shechemites after the violation of Simeon and Levi's sister Dinah. His loyalty to his family was at times opportunistic e.g. he joined with his brothers in selling their brother Joseph (see Coat Of Many Colors) to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt (Genesis 37:12-28). For that, he was later, after Joseph's rise to power in Egypt, temporarily held as a hostage (Genesis 42:24). After the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, the offspring of Simeon, the tribe of Simeon, were allotted the territory in the south of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which included the cities of Beersheba (see also Dan to Beersheba) and Arad (see also Bible Places).

Tribes of Israel

The birth of Leah's first four children, which included Simeon:

"And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, "Because The Lord has looked upon my affliction; surely now my husband will love me." She conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Because The Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also"; and she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons"; therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "This time I will praise The Lord"; therefore she called his name Judah" (Genesis 29:32-35 RSV)

Simeon and Levi's vengeance on Hamor, for which later their father Jacob vilified them on his death bed:

"On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came upon the city unawares, and killed all the males. They slew Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away." (Genesis 34:25-26 RSV)

"Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. O my soul, come not into their council; O my spirit, be not joined to their company; for in their anger they slay men, and in their wantonness they hamstring oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." (Genesis 49:5-7 RSV)

The first descendants of Simeon:

"The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon." (Exodus 6:15 RSV)

After the Exodus, the Simeonites camped on the south side of The Tabernacle In The Wilderness between Reuben and Gad (see The Camp):

"On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben by their companies, the leader of the people of Reuben being Elizur the son of Shedeur, his host as numbered being forty-six thousand five hundred. And those to encamp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, the leader of the people of Simeon being Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, his host as numbered being fifty-nine thousand three hundred. Then the tribe of Gad, the leader of the people of Gad being Eliasaph the son of Reuel, his host as numbered being forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty." (Numbers 2:10-15 RSV)

After their entry into the Promised Land, the tribe of Simeon was allotted the land south of Judah (see map above):

"The second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of Simeon, according to its families; and its inheritance was in the midst of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah ... together with all the villages round about these cities as far as Baalathbeer, Ramah of the Negeb. This was the inheritance of the tribe of Simeon according to its families. The inheritance of the tribe of Simeon formed part of the territory of Judah; because the portion of the tribe of Judah was too large for them, the tribe of Simeon obtained an inheritance in the midst of their inheritance." (Joshua 19:1,8-9 RSV)

Fact Finder: Will 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon be among the 144,000?
Revelation 7:4-8


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