The second of Jacob’s sons by Leah. His birth is recorded in (Genesis 29:33). The first group of Jacob’s children consists, besides Simeon, of the three other sons of Leah—Reuben, Levi, and 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, 24, 36; 43:23). The chief families of the tribe of Simeon are mentioned in the 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, 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.
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 Paul was brought up (Acts 22:3). It has been conjectured that he may be the Simeon of St. Luke.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).
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