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The Tribe of Simeon: History, Territory & 4 Lessons We can Learn

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Continuing ourt series on the 12 Tribes of Israel, we turn our focus to the second son of Jacob by Leah, Simeon. (See this post for the Tribe of Reuben in the Bible).

 

“His name come from the Hebrew word shaama, which means “hear”. 

 

 “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.” – Genesis 29:33

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Simeon and his brother, Levi, are known for murdering the Shechemites. Levi’s and Simeon’s slaughter of the Shechemites (Genesis 34:25; Genesis 34:30) incurred Jacob’s disapproval. (see Genesis 49:5-7 below)

 

Judah and Simeon joined together in the conquest of southern Canaan (Judges 1:3; Judges 1:17).

 

During the life of Joseph in Egypt Simeon was chosen by Joseph as the hostage for the return of Benjamin. Joseph’s choosing Simeon as the hostage in exchange for Benjamin was possibly due to his having been a leader in the brothers’ cruel attack (Genesis 37; Genesis 42:24).

 

At the time of the census at Sinai, the tribe of Simeon nearly 59,300 strong made up of fighting men. It was then the most numerous tribe after Judah and Daniel.

 

The Tribe of Simeon  depended upon Judah for the conquest of its portion of the land.

 

This tribe received as their portion a part of the territory already allotted to Judah (Joshua 19:1-9). It was located in the South-West of the land, with Judah on the East and Dan on the North; The tribe of Simeon settled in the southwest part of Israel between Judah and Philistia.

 

tribe of simeon territory map

 

 The tribe of Simeon was “divided and scattered” according to the prediction in Genesis 49:5-7.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.” –

Genesis 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. Moses pronounces no blessing on this tribe. It is passed by in silence (Deuteronomy 33).

 

Later the Tribe of Simeon was dwindled to just 22,000 at Shittim. At Shittim it had become the smallest, numbering 22,200. The leading cause of the significant drop in tribe members is due to the high mortality rate as a result of the idolatry of Peor. (Numbers 25:9; Numbers 25:14).

 

It was eventually absorbed by Judah, Exodus 15:16 and Numbers 1:23.

 

Like Reuben on the east of Jordan, this tribe had little influence on the history of Israel. It is considered one of the “lost tribes”.

 

 

Key Bible Verses about the Tribe of Simeon:

“The second lot came out for the tribe of Simeon according to its clans. Their inheritance lay within the territory of Judah.” – Joshua 19:1 

 

“He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.” – Genesis 42:24 

 

“Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.” –

Revelation 7:4-8 

 

“Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.” – 2 Chronicles 15:9 

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“The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them.” – Judges 1:3 

 

 

What can we learn from the tribe of Simeon?

Your actions will determine your blessings (or lack of)


Each of the twelve sons of Israel received a blessing from their father, Jacob, just before his death. The twelve sons were the originators or “founders” of the twelve tribes of Israel, and each blessing included prophecy about the future of each tribe. In the case of the tribe of Simeon, which was paired in the prophecy with the tribe of Levi,

 

Jacob prophesied about Simeon (and Levi):

Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel.” – Genesis 49:5–7

 

Basically, Simeon and Levi received little inheritance and the tribes were scattered due to their behavior.

 

Think about your actions, words and thoughts and consider the ramifications on this earth and in heaven for each.

Think about your actions, words and thoughts and consider the ramifications on this earth and in heaven for each.Click to Tweet

 

Anger Can Cause Us to Sin

When we read the story of Simeon in the Bible, we learn that anger can cause things to boil over and result in sin. People are hurt and we let that anger turn into health problems and even more unhealthy behavior including hurting others. 

 

“Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.” – 

Proverbs 29:11

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Anger leaves a trail of hurt and hardened hearts and in some cases, devastation. Additionally, we can be angry about sin but need to be prayerful that we have to separate the sin from the sinner. We aren’t to love the sin but should never hate or be angry at the sinner as we all fall short, at times. We are to love our neighbors but not their sins.

 

Don’t Take Counsel or Advice from an Angry Person

Jacob stated “Let me not enter their counsel; let me not join their assembly. That statement is a lesson for us, as well. When someone is angry they are not able to think clearly or control their emotions.

 

When anger is in our hearts continually it is an indication of a lack of self-control. 

 

is a defining trait in another’s life, it is an indication of the lack of self-control. Self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit and so critical to the Christian walk:

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 

 

When someone is angry, they are not able to give good advice as their anger clouds their perspective. When possible, avoid any angry person – until they are able to confess their anger and are able to deal with it in a godly manner.

 

Siblings Can Bring Out the Best or Worst in Each Other

Siblings can have complicated relationships. Simeon and Levi appear almost always together in scripture but, like many brothers and sisters, they seem to have brought out the worst in each other.

 

As Christian parents, we should pay attention to our children who develop either unhealthy relationships or  who bring out the worst in each other. Sometimes even separating them when one might be in a circumstance to encourage the other to sin or misbehave.

 

Encourage good relationships between your children and help them to bring out the best in each other.

 

Sermon on the Tribe of Simeon (and its Inheritance)

You may enjoy this sermon (it’s on the long side, but fascinating) by Messiah Matters by Torah Resource:

 

 

 

For additional reading, you may enjoy these recommended resources on the Tribe of Reuben in the Bible and The Lost Tribes of Israel.

 

 

 

 

How are you enjoying the series on the twelve tribes of Israel? Did you learn anything new about the tribe of Simeon? Tell me in the comments below – your opinion matters to me!

Because of Him,

Sue

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Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.
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