Fausset's Bible Dictionary



1. (See LEVI.) Jacob's second son by Leah, Gen_29:33. From shaama, "hear"; as the birth of Reuben ("see a son") her firstborn convinced Leah that God saw her, so that of Simeon that God heard her. Levi's and Simeon's slaughter of the Shechemites (Gen_34:25; Gen_34:30) incurred Jacob's reproof (Gen_49:5-7). Judah and Simeon joined together in the conquest of southern Canaan (Jdg_1:3; Jdg_1:17). Joseph's selection of Simeon as hostage for Benjamin's appearance was perhaps due to his having been a leader in the brothers' cruel attack (Genesis 37; Gen_42:24). Simeon's families are enumerated (Gen_46:10; Num_26:12-14; 1Ch_4:24-43). At the census at Sinai Simeon numbered 59,300 (Num_1:23); it was then the most numerous after Judah and Daniel At Shittim it had become the smallest, numbering 22,200. The mortality consequent on the idolatry of Peor was a leading cause (Num_25:9; Num_25:14).

Zimri, slain in the act, was a prince of Simeon (Num_26:14). Simeon was doomed by Jacob to be "scattered in Israel" (Gen_49:7); its sins caused its reduction to such small numbers as found adequate territory within Judah (Jos_19:2-9). Simeon was the "remnant" with Judah and Benjamin, which constituted Rehoboam's forces (1Ki_12:23). Still Simeon remained strong enough in Hezekiah's days to smite the men of Ham with an expedition under 13 Simeonite princes, and to occupy their dwellings "at the entrance of (rather, as Keil, "westward from") Gedor to the E. side of the valley" (1Ch_4:34-43). The Simeonites "found the Meunim" (not as KJV, 1Ch_4:41, "habitations") there besides the Hamites (whether Egyptians, Cushites, or Canaanites). (See MAON.)

The Meunim were connected with Maan, a city near Petra, E. of wady Musa, "nomads". Five hundred Simeonites undertook a second expedition under four chiefs, sons of Shimei, against the remnant of Amalek that had escaped from Saul and David (1Sa_14:48; 1Sa_15:7; 2Sa_8:12) to the mountains of Idumea; they smote them utterly, and dwelt in their place, and were there at the date of the composition of 1 Chronicles, i.e. after the return from Babylon. Simeon is omitted in Moses' blessing, possibly because of the idolatry of Peor. Simeon in the wilderness marched south of the tabernacle, with Reuben and Gad, sons of Zilpah, maid of Leah, Simeon's mother. The Canaanitess mother of Shaul (Gen_46:10) and the Horite father of Shaphat the spy from Simeon (Num_13:5) indicate the laxness of Simeon in marriage connections, from whence sprang his paganish degeneracy.

Their villages and 18 or 19 cities lay round the well Beersheba in Judah's extreme south. Simeon stands first of the tribes appointed to bless the people on Mount Gerizim (Deu_27:12). Though cities of Simeon were among those to which David sent presents of the Amalekite spoils, and though Ziklag was David's own property, received from Achish king of the Philistines who had wrested it from Simeon (1Sa_27:6; 1Sa_30:26, etc.), yet Simeon and Judah were few in numbers at his installation at Hebron (1Ch_12:23-37), and Simeon more than Judah. Some men of Simeon were apparently settled in the northern kingdom of Israel after the disruption (2Ch_15:9; 2Ch_34:6). Simeon is between Issachar and Benjamin, not beside Judah, in Eze_48:25. Simeon is also in Rev_7:7.

2. Luk_3:30.

3. SIMON PETER . The Hebrew form of the Greek Simon used by James; the most Hebraistic of the twelve (Act_15:14). Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus manuscripts read "Symeon" (2Pe_1:1), but Vaticanus "Simon." His mentioning his original name accords with his design in 2 Peter, to warn against coming false teachers (2 Peter 2) by setting forth the true "knowledge" of Christ on the testimony of the original apostolic eye witnesses like himself. This was not required in 1 Peter.

4. Luk_2:25-32. "Just and devout, waiting (like the dying Jacob, Gen_49:18) for the consolation of Israel" (promised in Isaiah 40), and having upon him "the Holy Spirit," who "revealed that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ." When Jesus' parents brought Him into the temple to redeem Him as the firstborn with five shekels according to the law (Num_18:15), and to present Him to the Lord, Simeon took Him up in his arms, and blessing God said, "Lord, now Thou dost let Thy servant depart in peace (not a prayer, but a thanksgiving; again like Jacob, Gen_46:30); for mine eyes (not another, Job_19:27) have seen (1Jo_1:1) Thy (Isa_28:16; Luk_3:6) salvation: which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people (the universality of the gospel): a light to lighten the Gentiles (Isa_9:2), and (not only light, but also) the glory of Thy people Israel" (Isa_60:1-3).

He is mentioned so vaguely, "a man in Jerusalem," that Lightfoot's view is hardly correct that he was president of the Sanhedrin and father of Gamaliel (Act_5:34-40) who took so mild a view of Christianity, and that because of his religious opinions Simeon is not mentioned in the Mishna. Rabban Simeon's grandfather was of the family of David; he succeeded his father Hillel as president, A.D. 13; at the feet of his son Gamaliel Paul was brought up. But the Simeon of Luke 2 would scarcely have trained his son a Pharisee; Simeon was a common name. Christ's advent brings to view some of His hidden ones, as Simeon and Anna, who, unknown to the world, were known to Him as yearning for Him.

5. Brother, i.e. cousin, of Jesus (Mat_13:55; Mar_6:3). Probably the apostle Simeon Zelotes, "the zealot" (Luk_6:15; Act_1:13) for the honour of the law and the Israelite theocracy. Called "the Canaanite" (not the nation, but Kananaios, in Chaldee equivalent to the Greek Zeelotees; "zealot," Mat_10:4; Mar_3:18). Tenth among the twelve in Luke, but eleventh in Matthew and Mark. Eusebius from Hegesippus makes Simeon son of Clopas to succeed James in the bishopric of the Jerusalem church which was removed to Pella. He was martyred in his 120th year, under Trajan, A.D. 107, as David's descendant who might claim the throne and give trouble to the Romans.

6. Father of Judas Iscariot (Joh_6:71; Joh_12:4; Joh_13:2; Joh_13:26).

7. "The leper," cleansed probably by Jesus. In his house at Bethany Mary anointed the Lord's feet (Mat_26:6, etc.; Mar_14:3). He was probably father of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus; perhaps for a time he was away through leprosy, so that he is not named in Luk_10:38 where the house is called Martha's house, nor John 11, but in Mar_14:3. (See LAZARUS.)

8. "The Pharisee" in whose house the sinful, but forgiven, woman anointed Jesus' feet. Uncharitableness, ignorance, and pride prompted his thought, "this man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, for she is a sinner." Christ shinned His own knowledge by answering Simon's unexpressed thought; His holiness, by not only being undefiled by her touch, but also sanctifying her by His touch; His judicial power, as One more than "a prophet," by justifying her and condemning him (Luk_7:36-50; Luk_18:9-14). By the parable of the debtor forgiven 500 pence loving the creditor more than the one forgiven only 50, Christ showed that her warm and demonstrative love flowed from consciousness of forgiveness, his want of love from his fancy that he needed but little God's forgiveness. Where little or no love is shown, little or no sense of forgiveness (which answers to her "faith," Luk_7:50) exists to prompt it. Her sins, though many, were forgiven, not on account of her love, but as the moving cause of her love; the "for" in Luk_7:47 is evidential, her much love evidenced her much forgiveness and much sense of it.

9. Of Cyrene; attending the Passover "from the country, father of Alexander and Rufus" (known to Roman Christians, Rom_16:13, for whom Mark wrote); impressed to bear after Christ the cross to Golgotha, when the Lord Himself had sunk under it (Joh_19:17; Mar_15:21; Luk_23:26). An honourable ignominy.

10. SIMON THE TANNER with whom Simon lodged at Joppa (Act_9:43; Act_10:6; Act_10:32). As rigid Jews regarded the business as unclean, Peter's lodging there shows already a relaxation of Judaism. His house was near the seaside for the convenience of the water. By the Sultan's order the old walls of Jaffa ("Joppa") have been lately removed. In cutting a gate through a water battery at an angle of the sea wall built by Vespasian, and directly in front of the reputed house of Simon the tanner on the rocky bluff above, the men came on three oval shaped tanner vats hewn out of the natural rock and lined with Roman cement, down near the sea, and similar to those in use 18 centuries ago. Probably no more than one tanner would be living in so small a place as Joppa; so that the tradition is confirmed that here was the house of Simon with whom Peter lodged when he received the call of Cornelius.

11. Simeon Magus. The Samaritan who practiced magic, "bewitching the people of Samaria, giving out that he himself was some great one," so that all said "this is the power of God which is called great" (so the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts). Born at the Samaritan village (Gittim, according to Justin Martyr), Simeon was converted nominally and baptized through Philip at Sichem or Sychar, where Christ's ministry (John 4) had already prepared the way. Josephus (Ant. 20:7, section 2) records that Simeon was Felix' tool to seduce Drusilla away from her husband Azizus, king of Emesa. The Pseudo Clemens represents him as disciple, then successor, of Dositheus the gnostic heresiarch.

The Recognitiones and Clementina report fabulous controversies between Simeon and Peter. His followers report his saying "I am the word of God, the paraclete, omnipotent," in fact the incarnation of the word (the Logos, Philo and Joh_1:1). Simeon, viewing baptism as the initiation into communion with some powerful spirit through whom he could do greater wonders than before, was baptized. His case shows that the apostles could not always infallibly read motives, and that the grace symbolized in baptism is not indifferently conferred on all as Romanists teach giving sacraments a magic power as if they could profit without faith. Simeon, subsequently seeing extraordinary powers of the Holy Spirit conferred through laying on of Peter's and John's hands on those already baptized, and supposing that their bestowal was by the outward act independently of the inward disposition, desired to buy the power of conferring such gifts (from whence comes our term "simony"); evidently Simeon himself had not received the gifts, not having yet presented himself.

Peter said "thy money perish with thee" (1Co_6:13; Col_2:22), undesignedly in coincidence with Peter's language in the independent epistle (1Pe_1:7); so "thou hast neither part, nor lot," etc.; compare 1Pe_1:4 "inheritance," literally, lot (kleeros); "thy heart is not right (in motives and ends) in the sight of God; repent ... if perhaps the thought ... may be forgiven," implying his sin verged toward the unpardonable one (Mat_12:31). God, not the apostles, in Peter's view could absolve; compare Joh_20:23. "For I perceive thou art in the gall," etc. (Heb_12:15). Simeon in his prayer, "pray that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me," shows that fear of punishment, not hatred of sin, influenced him as Pharaoh (Exo_8:8).


Taken from: Fausset's Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910)