Tribe of Simeon

The Tribe of Simeon is one of the Hebrew tribes, founded by Simeon son of Jacob. It was "divided and scattered" according to the prediction in Gen. 49:5-7. They gradually dwindled in number, and sank into a position of insignificance among the other tribes. They decreased in the wilderness by about two-thirds (comp. Num. 1:23; 26:14). Moses pronounces no blessing on this tribe. It is passed by in silence (Deut. 33). Contemporary scholars believe that the tribe had been absorbed by Judah by the time that Moses' blessings were written.

This tribe received as their portion a part of the territory already allotted to Judah (Josh. 19:1-9). It lay in the south-west of the land, with Judah on the east and the Tribe of Dan on the north; but it is unlikely that it was a compact territory. In Jacob's blessings, Simeon is compared to his brother Levi, and the two were cursed for their massacre of the inhabitants of Shechem. Rather than being allotted a separate territory, Levi was given scattered cities in the territories of other tribes. It is therefore assumed that Simeon was also given scattered cities in the southern half of the Tribe of Judah.

Subsequent notices of this tribe are but few (1 Chr. 4:24-43). Like the Tribe of Rueben on the east of Jordan, this tribe had little influence on the history of Israel.

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