Simeon was the second born son to Jacob, son of Leah.
When he was born, Leah said, "The LORD heard that I was unloved and has given me another son."
Jacob said, "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.
Moses: Simeon's tribe was the only tribe Moses did not bless.
When the first census was taken there were 59,300 men over the age of twenty in the tribe of Simeon. At the second census there were 22, 200.
The Simeonites camped on the south side of the tabernacle, Ezekiel also saw them on the south gate of heaven.
When Jacob told his sons to go to Egypt to buy grain during the famine, Joseph recognized his brothers before they knew they were dealing with the brother they had conspired to kill years earlier. After Joseph sent them back to fetch Benjamin, Simeon was "taken from them and bound before their eyes." Simeon may have been the ringleader years before in getting rid of Joseph, and Joseph may have used the opportunity to administer some of his own revenge.
Simeon and Levi were the ones who avenged the rape of their sister Dinah, so there appears to be a bent of violence in the second son of Jacob. Be sure to come back on U day and I will have more to tell you about what may have been an underlying root to Simeon's behavior.
All was not violent for Simeon's descendants though. During the reign of King Asa, the tribe of Simeon was among those who encouraged King Asa after Asa heeded the words of the prophet Azariah:
"Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded....."
King Asa went on to remove the detestable idols and he repaired the altar of the LORD. 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."
We live in a time of great distress now. Violence is becoming more and more the norm for unchecked and uncontrolled emotions. Revenge is an attitude that continues to be used both privately and on the world's stage. We are not unlike the ancient people of King Asa's or Simeon's time. We can easily be persuaded to take one of two routes:
Revenge or repentance.
May we be like the descendants of Simeon and the other tribes who sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. May the Lord then give us rest on every side.
2 Chronicles 15