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Simeon. [1]

(Heb. Shimon', ] שַׁמְעוֹ , A Hearing, i.e. by Jehovah; Sept. and New Test. Συμεών , and so Josephus, Ant. 1, 19, 7), the name of one of the heads of the Hebrew tribes, and of several .other Jews named from him. In our account of the former we collect all the ancient and modern information. (See Simon).

1. The second of Jacob's sons by Leah. B.C. 1918. His birth is recorded in  Genesis 29:33, and, in the explanation there given of the name it is derived from the root Shama ' , "to hear" Jehovah hath heard that I was hated . . . and she called his name Shimeon." This metaphor is not carried on (as in the case of some of the other names) in Jacob's blessing; and in that of Moses all mention of Simeon is omitted. Fiirst, ( Hebr. Handwb. s.v.) inclines to the interpretation "famous" ( Ruhmreicher ) . Redslob ( Alttest. Namen, p. 93), on the other hand, adopting the Arabic root shama, considers the name to mean "sons of bondage," or "bondmen." But the above text gives the natural etymology.

The first group of Jacob's children consists, besides Simeon, of the three other sons of Leah Reuben, Levi, and Judah. With each of these Simeon is mentioned in some connection., "As Reuben and Simeon are mine," says Jacob, "so shall Joseph's sons Ephraim and, Manasseh be mine" ( Genesis 48:5). With Levi, Simeon was associated in the massacre of the Shechemites ( Genesis 34:25), a deed which drew on them the remonstrance of their father ( Genesis 34:30), and evidently also his dying curse ( Genesis 49:5-7). With Judah the connection was drawn still closer. He and Simeon not only "went up" together, side by side, in the forefront of the nation, to the conquest of the south of the Holy Land ( Judges 1:3;  Judges 1:17), but their allotments lay together in a more special manner than those of the other tribes, something in the same manner as Benjamin and Ephraim. Besides the massacre of Shechem a deed not to be judged of by the standards of a more civilized and less violet age, and, when fairly estimated, not wholly discreditable to its perpetrators the only personal incident related of. Simeon is the fact of his being selected by Joseph, without any reason given or implied, as the hostage for the appearance of Benjamin ( Genesis 42:19;  Genesis 42:24;  Genesis 42:36;  Genesis 43:23).

These slight traits are characteristically amplified in the Jewish traditions. In the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan it is Simeon and Levi who are the enemies of the lad Joseph. It is they who counsel his being killed, and Simeon binds him before he is lowered into the well at Dothan. (See further details in Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. p. 535.) Hence Joseph's selection of him as the hostage, his binding and incarceration. In the Midrash the strength of Simeon is so prodigious that the Egyptians are unable to cope with him, and his binding is only accomplished at length by the intervention of Manasseh, who acts as the house steward and interpreter of Joseph. His powers are so great that at the mere roar of his voice seventy valiant Egyptians fall at his feet and break their teeth (Weil, Bibl. Leg. p. 88). In the "Testament of Simeon" his fierceness and implacability are put prominently forward, and he dies warning his children against the indulgence of such passions (Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. p. 533- 543).