Tribe of Simeon

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Simeon (/ˈsɪmiən/; Hebrew: שִׁמְעוֹן, Modern: Shim'on, Tiberian: Šimʻôn, "Hearkening; listening") was one of the twelve tribes of Israel.[1] The Book of Judges locates its territory inside the boundaries of the Tribe of Judah. It is one of the ten lost tribes.

The biblical narrative has it coming into the land of Israel following the Exodus, while scholarly reconstructions have offered a variety of opinions as to its origins and early history. From Genesis until the Babylonian captivity, the Bible provides various details about its history, after which point it disappears from the record. A variety of extrabiblical traditional Jewish sources also provide additional material on the tribe.


At its height, the territory occupied by the Tribe of Simeon was in the southwest of Canaan, bordered on the east and south by the tribe of Judah; the boundaries with the tribe of Judah are vague, and it seems that Simeon may have been an enclave within the west of the territory of the tribe of Judah.[2] Simeon was one of the less significant tribes in the Kingdom of Judah.

Attempts to reconstruct the territory of Simeon work with three biblical lists: Joshua 19:2-9, 1 Chronicles 4:28-32, which list towns belonging to Simeon, and Joshua 15:20-30, which lists these same towns as part of the territory of Judah.[3] Nadav Na'aman divides scholarly work on the subject into two "schools of thought," which he calls "the Alt school" (following Albrecht Alt) and the "other school."[3] The Alt school takes the list in Joshua 15 as reflecting the historical situation during the reign of Josiah, and sees the other two as later, and less reliable, attempts by editors to work out the earlier Simeonite territory. The "other school" sees the first two lists as reflecting the actual historical situation in the time of David (compare 1 Chronicles 4:31), and Joshua 15 as reflecting the situation at a later date.[3] According to Na'aman, Simeonites settled in a pattern which overlapped Judah: while maintaining a distinct tribal identity and organization throughout the First Temple period (until 586 BC), Simeonites and Judahites lived in some of the same areas.[4]


12 Tribes of Israel Map
Map of the twelve tribes of Israel

According to the Hebrew Bible, the tribe consisted of descendants of Simeon, the second son of Jacob and of Leah, from whom it took its name.[5] However, Arthur Peake (1919) suggested that the narratives about the twelve sons of Jacob in Genesis might include later tribal history "disguised as personal history," in which the later histories of these tribal groups are recast in the form of narratives about supposed ancestors.[6] Likewise, the consensus position of contemporary scholarship is that "there is little or no historical memory of pre-Israelite events or circumstances in Genesis."[7]

In the biblical account, following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. Kenneth Kitchen, a well-known conservative biblical scholar, dates this event to slightly after 1200 BCE.[8] However, the consensus view of modern scholars is that the conquest of Joshua as described in the Book of Joshua never occurred.[9][10][11]

Martin Noth argued that the six tribes that the Bible traces to Leah, including Simeon, were once part of an amphictyony prior to the later coalition of twelve tribes.[12][13] According to Niels Peter Lemche, "Noth's amphictyonic hypothesis determined a whole generation of Old Testament scholars' way of thinking."[14] However, more recently a large number of scholars have dissented from Noth's theory.[15]

In the opening words of the Book of Judges, following the death of Joshua, the Israelites "asked the Lord" which tribe should be first to go to occupy its allotted territory, and the tribe of Judah was identified as the first tribe.[16] According to this narrative, the tribe of Judah invited the tribe of Simeon to fight with them in alliance to secure each of their allotted territories.

However, the tribe of Simeon is not mentioned in the ancient Song of Deborah, generally considered one of the earliest-written parts of the Hebrew Bible,[17][18] and the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906) claims that Simeon was probably "not always counted as a tribe."[19] According to Israel Finkelstein, the south of Canaan, in which Simeon was situated, was simply an insignificant rural backwater at the time the poem was written.[20] Another possibility is that Simeon, along with Judah, had simply not joined the Israelite confederacy at this point,[21][22] or that they had seceded.[23]

Biblical narrative

Towns belonging to Simeon are listed in the Book of Joshua;[24] elsewhere in Joshua these towns are ascribed to Judah.[25][26] Most modern scholars view the Book of Joshua as being spliced together from several different source texts, in this particular case, the lists of towns being different documents, from different periods to each other.[27][28][29]

The tribe seems to have dwindled in size, and the size of the tribe dramatically drops by over half between the two censuses recorded in the Book of Numbers.[30] Although the Bible places these censuses during the Exodus, some textual scholars place their authorship in the period of Priestly Source, which Richard Elliot Freedman dates to between 722 and 609 BC.[31][32] Other scholars usually place the Priestly Source in the post-exilic period, and some deny its existence altogether.[33][34] The tribe is completely absent from the Blessing of Moses which some textual scholars date associate with the Deuteronomist,[35] some Septuagint manuscripts appear to have attempted to correct this, adding the name of Simeon to the latter half of verse 6, which some scholars view as unwarranted based on the Hebrew manuscripts.[25]

The impression gained from the Books of Chronicles is that the tribe was not entirely fixed in location; at one point it is mentioned that some members of the tribe migrated southwards to Gedor, so as to find suitable pasture for their sheep.[36] In the following verse, which may or may not be related,[37] it is mentioned that during the reign of Hezekiah, part of the tribe came to the land of some Meunim, and slaughtered them, taking the land in their place.[38] Further verses state that about 500 men from the tribe migrated to Mount Seir, slaughtering the Amalekites who had previously settled there.[39]

As part of the kingdom of Judah, whatever remained of Simeon was ultimately subjected to the Babylonian captivity; when the captivity ended, all remaining distinctions between Simeon and the other tribes in the kingdom of Judah had been lost in favour of a common identity as Jews.

In Revelation 7:7, the Tribe of Simeon is once again listed among the Twelve Tribes of Israel with 12,000 of the sons of Israel from the tribe sealed on the forehead.

Extrabiblical sources

According to a Midrash, many Simeonite widows were married into other Israelite tribes, after the death of 24,000 Simeonite men following the scandal involving Zimri.[25]

An apocryphal midrash claims that the tribe was deported by the Babylonians to the Kingdom of Aksum (in what is now Ethiopia), to a place behind the dark mountains.[25] Conversely, Eldad ha-Dani held that the tribe of Simeon had become quite powerful, taking tribute from 25 other kingdoms, some of which were Arabians; though he names their location, surviving versions of his manuscripts differ as to whether it was the land of the Khazars or of the Chaldeans (Chaldeans would be an anachronism, though it could possibly refer to Buyid Dynasty Persia).


  1. ^ See Genesis 29:33, Genesis 46:10, Numbers 26:12-14, Joshua 15:21-32, Joshua 19:1-9, Judges 1:3,17.
  2. ^ Joshua 19:1-9
  3. ^ a b c Na'aman, Nadav. “The Inheritance of the Sons of Simeon.” Zeitschrift Des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins (1953-), vol. 96, no. 2, 1980, pp. 143. JSTOR,
  4. ^ Na'aman, Nadav. “The Inheritance of the Sons of Simeon.” Zeitschrift Des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins (1953-), vol. 96, no. 2, 1980, p. 152. JSTOR,
  5. ^ See for example Genesis 29, Exodus 1, Numbers 1
  6. ^ Peake, Arthur. (1919). Peake's Commentary on the Bible, Introduction to Genesis.
  7. ^ Ronald Hendel (20 March 2012). "Historical Context". In Craig A. Evans; Joel N. Lohr; David L. Petersen (eds.). The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation. BRILL. p. 64. ISBN 90-04-22653-2.
  8. ^ Kitchen, Kenneth A. (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)(ISBN 0-8028-4960-1)
  9. ^ “Besides the rejection of the Albrightian ‘conquest' model, the general consensus among OT scholars is that the Book of Joshua has no value in the historical reconstruction. They see the book as an ideological retrojection from a later period — either as early as the reign of Josiah or as late as the Hasmonean period.” K. Lawson Younger, Jr. (1 October 2004). "Early Israel in Recent Biblical Scholarship". In David W. Baker; Bill T. Arnold (eds.). The Face of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Contemporary Approaches. Baker Academic. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-8010-2871-7.
  10. ^ ”It behooves us to ask, in spite of the fact that the overwhelming consensus of modern scholarship is that Joshua is a pious fiction composed by the deuteronomistic school, how does and how has the Jewish community dealt with these foundational narratives, saturated as they are with acts of violence against others?" Carl S. Ehrlich (1999). "Joshua, Judaism and Genocide". Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, Volume 1: Biblical, Rabbinical, and Medieval Studies. BRILL. p. 117. ISBN 90-04-11554-4.
  11. ^ "Recent decades, for example, have seen a remarkable reevaluation of evidence concerning the conquest of the land of Canaan by Joshua. As more sites have been excavated, there has been a growing consensus that the main story of Joshua, that of a speedy and complete conquest (e.g. Josh. 11.23: 'Thus Joshua conquered the whole country, just as the LORD had promised Moses') is contradicted by the archaeological record, though there are indications of some destruction and conquest at the appropriate time." Adele Berlin; Marc Zvi Brettler (17 October 2014). The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 951. ISBN 978-0-19-939387-9.
  12. ^ Donald G. Schley (1 May 1989). Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition and History. A&C Black. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-567-06639-8.
  13. ^ John H. Hayes (7 June 2013). Interpreting Ancient Israelite History, Prophecy, and Law. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-63087-440-7.
  14. ^ Niels Peter Lemche (19 September 2014). Biblical Studies and the Failure of History: Changing Perspectives 3. Taylor & Francis. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-317-54494-4.
  15. ^ George W. Ramsey (30 August 1999). The Quest for the Historical Israel. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-57910-271-5.
  16. ^ Judges 1:1-2
  17. ^ For the age of the Song of Deborah see David Noel Freedman (1980). Pottery, Poetry, and Prophecy: Studies in Early Hebrew Poetry. Eisenbrauns. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-931464-04-1.
  18. ^ On the age of the Song of Deborah, see also Wong, Gregory T.K. “Song of Deborah as Polemic.” Biblica, vol. 88, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1–22. JSTOR,
  19. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSinger, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Simeon, Tribe of". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  20. ^ Finkelstein, I., The Bible Unearthed
  21. ^ Baruch Halpern (1981). "The Uneasy Compromise: Israel between League and Monarchy". In Baruch Halpern; Jon D. Levenson (eds.). Traditions in Transformation: Turning Points in Biblical Faith. Eisenbrauns. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-931464-06-5.
  22. ^ Norman K. Gottwald (18 August 2009). A Light to the Nations: An Introduction to the Old Testament. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-60608-980-4.
  23. ^ John H. Hayes (7 June 2013). Interpreting Ancient Israelite History, Prophecy, and Law. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-63087-440-7.
  24. ^ Joshua 19:2-6
  25. ^ a b c d "Simeon, Tribe of" in Jewish Encyclopedia (1906).
  26. ^ Joshua 15:26-32, 15:42
  27. ^ On the authorship of Joshua in general, see the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906) in the article entitled "Joshua, Book of."
  28. ^ On these passages specifically, see Na'aman, Nadav. “The Inheritance of the Sons of Simeon.” Zeitschrift Des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins (1953-), vol. 96, no. 2, 1980, pp. 143. JSTOR,
  29. ^ On the authorship of Joshua in general, see Thomas B. Dozeman (25 August 2015). Joshua 1-12: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Yale University Press. p. 441. ISBN 978-0-300-17273-7.
  30. ^ From 59,300 in Numbers 1:23 to 22,200 in Numbers 26:14.
  31. ^ "Priestly Code," in Jewish Encyclopedia (1906).
  32. ^ Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (Harper San Francisco) (1987) ISBN 0-06-063035-3. For the census accounts being priestly material, see pp. 252, 254. On the dating of the priestly source, see p. 210.
  33. ^ Susan Niditch (26 January 2016). The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Ancient Israel. John Wiley & Sons. p. 407. ISBN 978-0-470-65677-8.
  34. ^ "The impressive arguments marshaled on its behalf for over a century have not produced a consensus that the Priestly Source, the object of our present inquiry, ever really existed, as posited by Wellhausen and his followers." William H. C. Propp. “The Priestly Source Recovered Intact?” Vetus Testamentum, vol. 46, no. 4, 1996, p. 458. JSTOR,
  35. ^ Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (Harper San Francisco) (1987) ISBN 0-06-063035-3. On the relationship between the Blessing of Moses and the Deuteronomistic material, see pp. 255, 260.
  36. ^ 1 Chronicles 4:38-40
  37. ^ "Simeon, Tribe of." Jewish Encyclopedia (1906)
  38. ^ 1 Chronicles 4:41
  39. ^ 1 Chronicles 4:42-43

Adiel (Hebrew: עדיאל‎) is a personal meaning "ornament of God" or possibly "God passes by." It could be used to refer to any of the following:

The father of Azmaveth, who was treasurer under David and Solomon, mentioned only in 1 Chr. 27:25.

A family head of the tribe of Simeon, who participated in driving out the Meunim, mentioned only in 1 Chronicles 4:36.

A priest mentioned only in 1 Chr. 9:12, in the genealogy of Maasai.According to Cheyne and Black, the "Aduel" of Tobit 1:1 has a name which is a Greek variant form of Adiel.

Ain (Bible)

Ain (; from the Hebrew עין for spring) was a Levitical city in the ancient Tribe of Judah territory. It is referred to in the Bible in the Book of Joshua as a city allotted to the tribe of Judah and as a village allotted to the tribe of Simeon, whose territory lay within the land allotted to the tribe of Judah. Ain was one of the southernmost cities of Judah, towards the Dead Sea coast of Edom, on the border of the Negev between Shilhim and Rimmon.


Amaziah or Amasias (in the Douay-Rheims translation) (Hebrew: אֲמַצְיָה‎, "strengthened by God"; Latin: Amasias) may refer to:

Amaziah of Judah, the king of Judah

A Levite, son of Hilkiah, of the descendants of Ethan the Merarite (1 Chronicles 6:45)

Amaziah (Book of Amos), a priest of the golden calves at Bethel (Amos 7:10-17)

The father of Joshah, one of the leaders of the tribe of Simeon in the time of Hezekiah (1 Chr. 4:34)


Ammihud (Hebrew: עַמִּיהוּד‎ ‘Ammîhūḏ, "people of glory" or "renowned") is the name of several Hebrew Bible figures:

The father of the Ephraimite chief Elishama, the father of Nun, at the time of the Exodus (Book of Numbers 1:10; 2:18; 7:48,53).

The father of Shemuel, of the Tribe of Simeon (Numbers 34:20)

The father of Pedahel, a prince of the Tribe of Naphtali (Numbers 34:28)

The father of Talmai, king of Geshur, to whom Absalom fled after the murder of Amnon (2 Samuel 13:37)

The son of Omri, and the father of Uthai (1 Chronicles 9:4) This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Easton, Matthew George (1897). "Ammihud" . Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.


Asaiah (Hebrew: עשיה "God made me") was the personal secretary of Josiah, king of Judah in the 7th century BCE, and according to the Bible (II Kings, Chapter 22, and Books of Chronicles 2, Chapter 34), is one of Josiah’s deputation to the prophet Huldah.


A town named Baalath-Beer is mentioned in the Masoretic Text of Joshua 19:8, which places near the end of a list of towns belonging to the Tribe of Simeon (19:1-9). Where the Masoretic Text reads "Baalath-beer Ramath-negeb", one version of the Septuagint reads "Baalath as you come to Ramath-negeb." It is unclear which is the earlier reading. For Ramath-negeb, various biblical translations render the Hebrew rmt ngb as "Ramah of the South", "Ramah in the Negev", "Ramah of the Negev", and so on.

Modern archaeologists have not agreed on whether the site of Baalath-Beer can be identified. The existing evidence is ambiguous as to whether or not Baalath-beer is the same town as Ramath-negeb, and Baalath-beer may be the same as the location referred to elsewhere as Baal


Bethuel (Hebrew: בְּתוּאֵל – Bəṯūʾēl, “house of God”), in the Hebrew Bible, was an Aramean man, the youngest son of Nahor and Milcah, the nephew of Abraham, and the father of Laban and Rebecca.Bethuel was also a town in the territory of the tribe of Simeon, west of the Dead Sea. Some scholars identify it with Bethul and Bethel in southern Judah, to which David gives part of the spoils of his combat with the Amalekites.

Etam (biblical figure)

Etam (Hebrew: עיטם) is a proper name in the Bible. There are five references to the name Etam in the Hebrew Bible:


Etam is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:3 as a descendant of Judah. Etam is the father of Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash and their sister Hazelelponi.Places

Etam (biblical town), as referenced in 2 Chronicles 11, was located southwest of Bethlehem near Tekoah.

A village in the tribe of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:32).

Rock of Etam, a rock where Samson hid.

Lives of the Prophets

The Lives of the Prophets is an ancient apocryphal account of the lives of the prophets from the Old Testament. It is not regarded as scripture by any Jewish or Christian denomination. The work may have been known by the author of some of the Pauline Epistles, as there are similarities in the descriptions of the fates of the prophets, although without naming the individuals concerned.


According to the Book of Genesis, Naphtali (; Hebrew: נַפְתָּלִי, Modern: Naftali, Tiberian: Nap̄tālî, "my struggle") was the sixth son of Jacob and second son with Bilhah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Naphtali.


Ramah may refer to:

In ancient IsraelRamathaim-Zophim, the birthplace of Samuel

Ramoth-Gilead, a Levite city of refuge

Ramah in Benjamin, mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah and also in the Gospel of Matthew

Baalath-Beer, also known as Ramoth of the South, in the tribe of Simeon

a city of Asher, which seems to be difficult to identify. Some have believed it to be the same as Rameh, southeast of Tyre

a city in Naphtali's territory. It may be the same as Khirbet Zeitun er-Rameh east of today's Rameh villageOthersCamp Ramah, a number of Jewish summer camps affiliated with the Conservative Movement of Judaism

Ramah, the Hebrew acronym of Rabbi Meir Abulafia

Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation, New Mexico

Ramah, New Mexico, a town in the U.S. state of New Mexico

Ramah, Colorado, a town in the U.S. state of Colorado

Ramah, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Ramah, an alternate name used in the Book of Mormon for the hill Cumorah


Ramoth or Remeth may refer to:

one of several places in ancient Israel:

Ramoth-Gilead, a Levite city of refuge

Baalath-Beer, also known as Ramoth of the South, a city of the tribe of Simeon

Ramoth (Issachar), a Levite city in the tribe of Issachar

Ramoth (dragon), a fictional dragon in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books


Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew שמעון (Biblical Šimʿon, Tiberian Šimʿôn), usually transliterated as Shimon. In Greek it is written Συμεών, hence the Latinized spelling Symeon.

Simeon (son of Jacob)

According to the Book of Genesis, Simeon (Hebrew: שִׁמְעוֹן, Modern: Šim'ōn, Tiberian: Šime‘ōn) was the second son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Simeon. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an etiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. With Leah as a matriarch, Biblical scholars regard the tribe as having been believed by the text's authors to have been part of the original Israelite confederation, however, the tribe is absent from the parts of the Bible which textual scholars regard as the oldest (for example, the ancient Song of Deborah), and some scholars think that Simeon was not originally regarded as a distinct tribe.

Tribe of Gad

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Gad (Hebrew: גָּד, Modern: Gad, Tiberian: Gāḏ, "soldier" or "luck") was one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel who, after the Exodus from Egypt, settled on the eastern side of the Jordan River. It is one of the ten lost tribes.


Yoshivia (Hebrew: יוֹשִׁבְיָה) is a religious moshav in southern Israel. Located near Netivot, it falls under the jurisdiction of Sdot Negev Regional Council. In 2018 it had a population of 667.


Zimri may refer to:

Either of two people in the Bible:

Zimri (prince), the Prince of the Tribe of Simeon during the time of the Israelites were in the desert

Zimri (king), King of Israel after Elah and before Omri

Zimri (nation), a nation mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah

Zimri (tribe), a Pashtun tribe in Pakistan

Leah Horowitz-Zimri (born 1933), Israeli Olympic hurdler

Zimri (prince)

Zimrī (Hebrew: זִמְרִי, lit. “praiseworthy”) son of Salu was the prince or leader of a family within the Tribe of Simeon during the time of the Israelites’ Exodus in the wilderness at the time when they were approaching the Promised Land. The Book of Numbers describes how, at Abila or Shittim, he took part in the Heresy of Peor, taking as a paramour a Midianite woman, Cozbi. Zimrī openly defied Moses before the people who were standing at the entrance of the Tabernacle by going in to the Midianite. Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, killed them both by impaling them on a spear (Numbers 25:6-15).

The Israelites subsequently launched an attack on the Midianites (Numbers 25:16-18).


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