Birthday of Simeon
According to Jewish tradition, today is the birthday of Simeon, the second son born of Jacob and Leah, recorded in Genesis 29:33. On the biblical calendar the date is Tevet 28, in the year 1757 BC (1), but some sources put his birth date as Tevet 21, 1567 BC on the Hebrew calendar (2).
The name Simeon in Hebrew means to hear (3). Simeon was named in light of the fact that Leah became Jacob’s wife under less than ideal circumstances. Leah was the first wife of Jacob, but was loved less than his second wife, Rachel, her sister. Leah was the first wife to give birth to a son, named Reuben, but she still felt unloved and cried out to God. When she conceived a second time and had another son, she acknowledged that God had heard her prayers by naming him Simeon.
Simeon was a grandson of Isaac and Rebekah and a great-grandson of Abraham and Sarah.
Simeon had eleven siblings: Reuben, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. In addition to Leah, his father was married to Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah (Genesis 35:23-26).
As Simeon grew up, the Bible records two important events in which he was directly involved. The first involved his sister, Dinah, who was seduced by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, King of Shechem. As the story unfolded, Simeon joined his brother, Levi, in killing the men of the city of Shechem. You can read more about these events in Genesis 34:1-35:4.
The next biblical record involving Simeon is found in Genesis 42. Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. After seventeen years, God promoted Joseph to second in command of all Egypt. During a famine, ten of Joseph’s brothers traveled from Canaan to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph sent nine of these brothers back to Canaan to bring his youngest brother, Benjamin, to Egypt. He kept Simeon imprisoned while the nine traveled back. Once the brothers returned to Egypt with Benjamin, Joseph released Simeon from prison and reunited with his brothers.
The descendants of Simeon settled into the Promised Land within the boundaries of the tribe of Judah. The last mention of the tribe of Simeon in the Bible comes in Revelation 7:7, when 12,000 men from that tribe will play a role at the end of time.
Leah prayed, God heard her prayers and answered. When is a time God heard your prayers and answered in a big way?
1. James Ussher, Larry Pierce, and Marion Pierce, The Annals of the World (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004), 28.
2. “Simeon, son of Jacob.” 2017. Chabad.org. Accessed November 27. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/107219/jewish/Simeon.htm.
3. Strong, James, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004).