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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Simeon, 1

Sim´eon (favorable hearing), the second son of Jacob, born of Leah (), and progenitor of the tribe of the same name. He was the full brother of Levi (; ), with whom he took part in cruelly avenging upon the men of Shechem the injury which their sister Dinah had received from the son of Hamor () [DINAH]. The ferocity of character thus indicated probably furnishes the reason why Joseph singled Simeon out to remain behind in Egypt, when his other brethren were the first time dismissed (); but when they returned he was restored safely to them (). Nothing more of his personal history is known. The tribe descended from Simeon contained 59,300 able bodied men at the time of the Exode (), but was reduced to 22,000 before entering Palestine (). This immense decrease in the course of one generation was greater than that sustained by all the other tribes together, and reduced Simeon from the third rank to the lowest of all in point of numbers. It cannot well be accounted for but by supposing that the tribe erred most conspicuously, and was punished most severely in those transactions which drew down judgments from God. As it appeared that Judah had received too large a territory in the first distribution of lands, a portion of it was afterwards assigned to Simeon. This portion lay in the southwest, towards the borders of Philistia and the southern desert, and contained seventeen towns (). However, the Judahites must afterwards have re-appropriated some of these towns; at least Beersheba () and Ziklag () appear at a subsequent period as belonging to the kingdom of Judah. The remarkable passage in points to an emigration of or from this tribe, perhaps more extensive than the words would seem to indicate, and suggests that when they ceased to have common interests, this small tribe was obliged to give way before the greater power of Judah and the pressure of its population (comp. ). Nothing more of this tribe is recorded, although its name occurs in unhistorical intimations (; ).

Simeon, 2

Simeon, the aged person who, when Jesus was presented by His mother at the temple, recognized the infant as the expected Messiah, and took Him in his arms and blessed Him, glorifying God (). The circumstance is interesting, as evincing the expectations which were then entertained of the speedy advent of the Messiah; and important from the attestation which it conveyed in favor of Jesus, from one who was known to have received the divine promise that he should 'not taste of death till he had seen the Lord's Christ.' It has been often supposed that this Simeon was the same with Rabban Simeon, the son of the famous Hillel, and father of Gamaliel: but this is merely a conjecture, founded on circumstances too weak to establish such a conclusion.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Simeon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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