Catholic Answers

Search Articles


Search Scans
Scans by volume
Random Article
Login - advanced access


1,001 Saints
List of Popes
Art Gallery
Map Room


Church Hierarchy
Church History - to 1517 A.D.
Hagiography - saints
Homiletics - sermons
Mariology - on Mary
Religious Orders
Sacred Scripture

Front Matter — Vol I

Title Page
Copyright & Imprimatur
To the Knights of Columbus
Tables of Abbreviations

Site Status

Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
prev: Silvia, Saint Silvia, Saint Holy Simeon next: Holy Simeon


Second son of Jacob by Lia and patronymic ancestor of the Jewish tribe bearing that name

High Resolution Scan ———————————

Login or register to access high resolution scans and other advanced features.

Registration is Free!

Errata* for Simeon:

Login or register to access the errata and other advanced features.

Registration is Free!

* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Simeon (Hebrew: SM`VN), the second son of Jacob by Lia and patronymic ancestor of the Jewish tribe bearing that name. The original signification of the name is unknown, but the writer of Gen., xxix, 33-35, according to his wont, offers an explanation, deriving the word from shama, "to hear". He quotes Lia as saying: "Because the Lord heard that I was despised, he hath given this also to me; and she called his name Simeon" (Gen., xxix, 33). Similar etymologies referring to Levi and Juda are found in the two following verses. In Gen., xxxiv, Simeon appears with his full brother Levi as the avenger of their sister Dina who had been humiliated by Hemor a prince of the Sichemites. By a strange subterfuge all the men of the latter tribe are rendered helpless and are slaughtered by the two irate brothers who then, together with the other sons of the patriarch, plunder the city. This act of violence was blamed by Jacob (Gen., xxxiv, 30), though for a rather selfish reason; his disapproval on more ethical grounds appears in the prophetical blessing of his twelve sons in Gen., xlix, 5-7. Regarding Simeon and Levi Jacob says: "Cursed be their fury, because it was stubborn; and their wrath because it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and will scatter them in Israel."

There is a striking contrast between this earlier appreciation of the treacherous and bloody deed and that of the writers of post-Exilic Judaism, who have only words of praise for the action of the two brothers, and even consider them as incited to it by Divine inspiration (see Judith, ix, 2, 3). The same change of ethical sense may be gathered more fully from the uncanonical Book of the Jubilees (xxx) and from a poem in commemoration of the massacre of the Sichemites by Theodotus, a Jewish or Samaritan writer, who lived about 200 B.C. Simeon figures in only one other incident recorded in Genesis. It is in connection with the visit of the sons of Jacob to Egypt to buy corn. Here he is detained by Joseph as a hostage while the others return to Chanaan promising to bring back their younger brother Benjamin (Gen., xlii, 25). According to some commentators he was selected for this purpose because he had been a principal factor in the betrayal of Joseph into the hands of the Madianite merchants. The narrative, however, makes no mention of this, and it is but a conjectural inference from what is otherwise known of Simeon's violent and treacherous character. (See Tribe of Simeon.)


discuss this article | send to a friend

Discussion on 'Simeon'

prev: Silvia, Saint Silvia, Saint Holy Simeon next: Holy Simeon

Report translation problem

*Description: Copy and paste the phrase with the problem or describe how the trascription can be fixed.
  * denotes required field


Art Gallery
Art Gallery

Catholic Q & A

Popular Subjects
Top 20 Questions

Ask A Faith Question

Quotable Catholics RSS

"Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it."
-- Toribio Mogrovejo, of noble birth, educated at the finest schools, law professor at the University of Salamanca, Spain; who became a tireless missionary, baptizing nearly 500,000 as Archbishop of Lima, including St. Rose of Lima, St. Francis Solano, and St. Martin of Porres. Canonized in 1726.


Latest OCE Discussion

Your usage constitutes agreement with User License :: Permissions :: Copyright © 2015, Catholic Answers.
Site last updated Aug 12, 2013